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Bridgeport, Connecticut
City
City of Bridgeport
Clockwise from top: Downtown Bridgeport, the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, the United Congregational Church, St. Patrick's Church, and the P.T. Barnum Museum
Clockwise from top: Downtown Bridgeport, the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, the United Congregational Church, St. Patrick's Church, and the P.T. Barnum Museum
Flag of Bridgeport, Connecticut
Flag
Official seal of Bridgeport, Connecticut
Seal
Nickname(s): The Park City, The Port, B-Port, BPT, "Philly's & Boston's Midpoint"
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
Country United States
State Connecticut
County Fairfield
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region Greater Bridgeport
Incorporated (town) 1821
Incorporated (city) 1836
Area
 • City 19.4 sq mi (50.2 km2)
 • Land 16.0 sq mi (41.4 km2)
 • Water 3.4 sq mi (8.8 km2)
 • Urban 9,014.3 sq mi (3,843.8 km2)
Elevation 3 ft (1 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 144,229
 • Estimate (2013) 147,216
 • Rank US: 172nd
 • Density 8,720.9/sq mi (3,354/km2)
 • Urban 923,311 (US: 48th)
 • Metro 939,904 (US: 57th)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06601, 06602, 06604, 06605, 06606, 06607, 06608, 06610, 06650, 06673, 06699
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-08000
GNIS feature ID 0205720
Website City of Bridgeport

Bridgeport is a seaport city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is the largest city in the state and is located in Fairfield County at the mouth of the Pequonnock River on Long Island Sound. Bridgeport had a population of 144,229 during the 2010 Census, making it also the 5th-most populous in New England. It is bordered by the towns of Trumbull to the north, Fairfield to the west, and Stratford to the east. The Greater Bridgeport area is the 48th-largest urban area in the United States and forms part of the Greater New York City Area.

Bridgeport was inhabited by the Paugussett Indian tribe at the time of its English colonization. The English farming community became a center of trade, shipbuilding, and whaling. The town incorporated itself to subsidize the Housatonic Railroad and rapidly industrialized following its connection to the New York and New Haven railroad. Manufacturing was the mainstay of the local economy until the 1970s. Industrial restructuring and suburbanization caused the loss of many jobs and affluent residents, leaving Bridgeport struggling with problems of poverty and crime. In the 21st century, conversion of office and factory buildings to residential use and other redevelopment is attracting new residents.

The showman P.T. Barnum was a resident of the city and served as the town's mayor in the late 19th century. Barnum built four houses in Bridgeport, and housed his circus in town during winter. The first Subway restaurant opened in the North End section of the city in 1965. The Frisbie Pie Company was located here, and Bridgeport is credited as the birthplace of the Frisbee.

History

Colonial history

Old Stratfield (Bridgeport) Map before 1886
Colonial Stratfield

The first documented English settlement within the present city limits of Bridgeport took place in 1644, centered at Black Rock Harbor along North Avenue and between Park and Briarwood Avenues. The place was called Pequonnock (Quiripi for "Cleared Land"), after a band of the Paugussett, a Native American people who then occupied this area. One of their sacred sites was Golden Hill, which overlooked the harbor and was the location of natural springs and their planting fields. (It has since been blasted through for an expressway.) The Golden Hill Indians were granted a reservation here by the Colony of Connecticut in 1639 that survived until 1802. (It exists today in adjoining Trumbull.)

Bridgeport's early years were marked by residents' reliance on fishing and farming, not altogether different from the economy of the Native Americans, who had cultivated corn, beans, and squash and fished and gathered shellfish from both the river and sound. A village called Newfield began to coalesce around the corner of State and Water Streets in the 1760s. The area officially became known as Stratfield in 1695 or 1701 due to its location between the already existing towns of Stratford and Fairfield. During the American Revolution, Newfield Harbor was a center of privateering.

19th century

Iranistan, Residence of P.T. Barnum, 1848
Iranistan, the residence of P.T. Barnum, in 1848
Bridgeport 1824
Bridgeport in 1824, by H. L. Barnum
1845 NY&NH
The route of the NY&NH, showing Bridgeport in 1845
East Bridgeport Bridge over Pequannock River, by Whitney, Beckwith & Paradice
East Bridgeport Bridge over Pequannock River, ca. 1850

By the time of the State of Connecticut's ratification of the American constitution in 1781, many of the local farmers held shares in vessels trading at Newfield Harbor or had begun trading in their own name. Newfield initially expanded around the coasting trade with Boston, New York, and Baltimore and the international trade with the West Indies. The commercial activity of the village was clustered around the wharves on the west bank of the Pequonnock, while the churches were erected inland on Broad Street. In 1800, the village became the Borough of Bridgeport, the first so incorporated in the state. It was named for the Newfield or Lottery Bridge across the Pequonnock, connecting the wharves on its east and west banks. Bridgeport Bank was established in 1806. In 1821, the township of Bridgeport became independent of Stratford.

The West India trade died down around 1840, but by that time the Bridgeport Steamship Company (1824) and Bridgeport Whaling Company (1833) had been incorporated and the Housatonic Railroad chartered (1836). The same year, the New York and New Haven Railroad began operation, connecting Bridgeport to New York and the other towns along the north shore of the Long Island Sound.

Now a major junction for western Connecticut, the city rapidly industrialized. Following the Civil War, it held several iron foundries and factories manufacturing firearms, metallic cartridges, horse harnesses, locks, and blinds. Wheeler & Wilson's sewing machines were exported throughout the world. Bridgeport annexed the West End and the village of Black Rock and its busy harbor in 1870. In 1875, P.T. Barnum was elected mayor of the town, which afterwards served as the winter headquarters of Barnum and Bailey's Circus and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

20th century

PostcardBridgeportCTMainSt1912
1912 postcard showing Main Street in Bridgeport
BridgeportCT SterlingBlockBishopArcade Inside
Sterling Block-Bishop Arcade, a Victorian-era shopping arcade

From 1870 to 1910, Bridgeport became the major industrial center of Connecticut and its population rose from around 25,000 to over 100,000, including thousands of Irish, Slovaks, Hungarians, Germans, English, and Italian immigrants. A Singer factory joined Wheeler & Wilson in producing sewing machines and the Locomobile Company of America was a prominent early automobile manufacturer, producing a prototype of the Stanley Steamer and various luxury cars. The town was the center of America's corset production, responsible for almost 20% of the national total, and became the headquarters of Remington Arms following its 1912 merger with the Union Metallic Cartridge Co. Around the time of the First World War, Bridgeport was also producing steam-fitting and heating apparatuses, brass goods, phonographs, typewriters, milling machines, brassieres, and saddles.

A series of strikes in the summer of 1915 imposed the eight-hour day on the town's factories; rather than moving business elsewhere, the success spread the eight-hour day throughout the Northeast. The First World War continued the city's expansion so that, on the eve of the Great Depression, there were more than 500 factories in Bridgeport, including Columbia Records' primary pressing plant. The build-up to World War II helped its recovery in the late 1930s.

Restructuring of heavy industry starting after the mid-20th century caused the loss of thousands of jobs and residents. Like other urban centers in Connecticut, Bridgeport suffered during the deindustrialization of the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. Continued development of new suburban housing attracted middle and upper-class residents, leaving the city with a higher proportion of poor. The city suffered from overall mismanagement, for which several city officials were convicted, contributing to the economic and social decline. In September 1978, Bridgeport teachers went on a 19-day strike due to deadlocked contract negotiations. A court order, as well as a state law that made strikes by public workers illegal in Connecticut, resulted in 274 teachers being arrested and jailed. Bridgeport made numerous efforts at revitalization. In one proposal, Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn was to build a large casino, but that project failed. In 1991, the city filed for bankruptcy protection but was declared solvent by a federal court.

21st century

Bridgeport 101 0153small
A street scene in Bridgeport

In the early 21st century, Bridgeport has taken steps toward redevelopment of its downtown and other neighborhoods. In 2004, artists' lofts were developed in the former Read's Department Store on Broad Street. Several other rental conversions have been completed, including the 117-unit Citytrust bank building on Main Street. The recession halted, at least temporarily, two major mixed-use projects including a $1-billion waterfront development at Steel Point, but other redevelopment projects have proceeded, such as the condominium conversion project in Bijou Square. In 2009, the City Council approved a new master plan for development, designed both to promote redevelopment in selected areas and to protect existing residential neighborhoods. In 2010, the Bridgeport Housing Authority and a local health center announced plans to build a $20 million medical and housing complex at Albion Street, making use of federal stimulus funds and designed to replace some of the housing lost with the demolition of Father Panik Village.

Notable speeches

On March 10, 1860, Abraham Lincoln spoke in the city's Washington Hall, an auditorium at the old Bridgeport City Hall (now McLevy Hall), at the corner of State and Broad Streets. The largest room in the city was packed, and a crowd formed outside, as well. Lincoln received a standing ovation before taking the 9:07 pm train that night back to Manhattan. A plaque marks the site where Lincoln spoke; later that year, he was elected president.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke three times at the Klein Auditorium during the 1960s. Additionally, President George W. Bush spoke before a small group of Connecticut business people and officials at the Playhouse on the Green in 2006. President Barack Obama also spoke at the Harbor Yard arena in 2010 to gain support for the campaign of Democratic Governor Dan Malloy.

Geography

See also: Geography of Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport is located along Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Pequonnock River, named for the Native American tribe who historically lived along it.

Parks

Bridgeport is renowned for its public park system, which has led to its official nickname as "The Park City". The city's first public park was the westerly portion of McLevy Green, first set aside as a public square 1806, although the Clinton Park Militia Grounds (1666) and Old Mill Green (1717) were set aside earlier as public commons by the towns of Fairfield and Stratford, respectively. As the city rapidly grew in population, residents recognized the need for more public parks and by 1864, Barnum and other residents had donated approximately 44 acres (180,000 m2) to create Seaside Park, now increased by acquisition and landfill to 375 acres (1.52 km2). In 1878, over 100 acres (400,000 m2) of land bordering the Pequonnock River was added as Beardsley Park. Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for creating New York City's Central Park, designed both Seaside and Beardsley Parks. Over time, more parks were added including 35-acre (140,000 m2) Beechwood Park and Pleasure Beach, home to a popular amusement park for many years.

Neighborhoods

The city of Bridgeport is divided into many distinct neighborhoods, divided into five geographic areas: Downtown, the East Side, the North End, the South End, and the West Side.

  • Downtown
    • McLeevy Green
    • Harral Square
    • The Hollow
    • Enterprise Zone
  • East Side
    • Boston Avenue/Mill Hill
    • East End
    • Lower East Side
    • Newfield
    • Pleasure Beach
    • Steel Point
    • Upper East Side
  • North End
    • Brooklawn/St. Vincent
    • Lake Forest
    • Lake Success
    • North Bridgeport/Little Italy
    • Reservoir/Whiskey Hill
  • South End
    • Seaside Park
    • Soundgate
  • West Side
    • Black Rock
    • West End

Climate

Under the Köppen climate classification, Bridgeport straddles between a humid subtropical (Cfa) and humid continental (Dfa) climate, with some maritime influence; it is part of USDA hardiness zone 7a. The normal average monthly temperature ranges from 30.1 °F (−1.1 °C) in January to 74.3 °F (23.5 °C) in July; on average, there are 20 days where the temperature remains at or below freezing and 7.6 days with a high at or above 90 °F (32 °C) annually; the last year to not reach the latter mark was 2004. Temperatures reaching 0 °F (−18 °C) or 100 °F (38 °C) are rare, and were last seen respectively on February 14, 2016 and July 22, 2011. The record low is −7 °F (−22 °C), set on January 22, 1984, while the record high is 103 °F (39 °C), set on July 22 in 1957 and 2011.

Precipitation averages 42.7 inches (1,080 mm) annually, and is somewhat evenly distributed throughout the year, though March and April are the wettest months in terms of total precipitation. Snowfall averages 27.6 inches (70 cm) per winter, falling almost entirely from December to March. As is typical of coastal Connecticut, snow cover does not usually remain for long, with an average of 29 days per winter with snow cover of at least 1 inch (2.5 cm).

Climate data for Bridgeport, Connecticut (Sikorsky Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1948–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
(20)
67
(19.4)
84
(28.9)
91
(32.8)
97
(36.1)
97
(36.1)
103
(39.4)
100
(37.8)
99
(37.2)
89
(31.7)
78
(25.6)
76
(24.4)
103
(-17.8)
Average high °F (°C) 37.1
(2.83)
39.7
(4.28)
47.2
(8.44)
57.7
(14.28)
67.6
(19.78)
77.0
(25)
82.2
(27.89)
80.9
(27.17)
74.0
(23.33)
63.3
(17.39)
53.1
(11.72)
42.3
(5.72)
60.2
(15.67)
Average low °F (°C) 23.0
(-5)
25.2
(-3.78)
31.4
(-0.33)
41.0
(5)
50.6
(10.33)
60.4
(15.78)
66.4
(19.11)
65.8
(18.78)
58.3
(14.61)
46.5
(8.06)
38.0
(3.33)
28.4
(-2)
44.6
(7)
Record low °F (°C) −7
(-21.7)
−6
(-21.1)
4
(-15.6)
18
(-7.8)
31
(-0.6)
41
(5)
49
(9.4)
44
(6.7)
36
(2.2)
26
(-3.3)
16
(-8.9)
−4
(-20)
-7
(-17.8)
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.10
(78.7)
2.79
(70.9)
4.05
(102.9)
4.13
(104.9)
3.80
(96.5)
3.61
(91.7)
3.46
(87.9)
3.96
(100.6)
3.48
(88.4)
3.64
(92.5)
3.39
(86.1)
3.33
(84.6)
42.74
(1,085.6)
Snowfall inches (cm) 7.7
(19.6)
8.1
(20.6)
5.1
(13)
0.9
(2.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.7
(1.8)
5.1
(13)
27.6
(70.1)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 10.9 9.7 11.3 11.0 11.8 11.1 8.9 8.9 8.2 8.8 10.0 11.1 121.7
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 4.8 3.5 2.4 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 3.1 14.6
Source: NOAA

Demographics

See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income
Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 1,089
1820 1,500 37.7%
1830 2,800 86.7%
1840 3,294 17.6%
1850 7,560 129.5%
1860 13,299 75.9%
1870 18,969 42.6%
1880 27,643 45.7%
1890 48,866 76.8%
1900 70,996 45.3%
1910 102,054 43.7%
1920 143,555 40.7%
1930 146,716 2.2%
1940 147,121 0.3%
1950 158,709 7.9%
1960 156,748 −1.2%
1970 156,542 −0.1%
1980 142,546 −8.9%
1990 141,686 −0.6%
2000 139,529 −1.5%
2010 144,229 3.4%
Est. 2015 147,629 2.4%
Population 1840–1970
U.S. Decennial Census
2014 Estimate

As of the census of 2000, there were 139,529 people, 50,307 households, and 32,749 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,720.9 people per square mile (3,367.0/km²). There were 54,367 housing units at an average density of 3,398.1 per square mile (1,312.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.0% White, 30.8% African American, 0.5% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 20.3% of the population. Other ancestry groups include: Italian (8.6%), Irish (5.1%), Portuguese (2.9%), Polish (2.8%), and German (2.4%).

As of the 2010 census, there were 144,229 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city residents was 39.6% White; 34.6% Black or African American; 3.4% Asian; and 4.3% from two or more races. A total of 18.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 50,307 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% were married couples living together, 24.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the city, the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,658, and the median income for a family was $39,571. Males had a median income of $32,430 versus $26,966 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,306. About 16.2% of families and 18.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.8% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over. Since 1849, FSWINC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has provided care for individuals living in difficult socioeconomic situations in both Bridgeport and Fairfield.

According to 2010 census data, the Bridgeport MSA, containing all of Fairfield County, is the most economically unequal region in America, with 57% of the wealth going to the top percentile.

Culture

Performing arts

Theater and music

Bridgeport has a number of venues for live theater and music events, ranging from intimate performing spaces to a stadium hosting rock concerts.

  • Downtown Cabaret Theatre – cabaret, children's theater, concerts
  • Playhouse on the Green – (228 seats) theater with plays and varied musical events
  • Klein Memorial Auditorium – (1,400 seats) home to the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, touring shows and concerts
  • Webster Bank Arena – Sporting events venue, but also hosts large concerts

Music festivals and concert series

Bridgeport has been the annual home to Gathering of the Vibes, a weekend long arts, music and camping festival featuring some of the best names in festival talent. In 1999, 2000, and 2007 through 2010, thousands of people have come from all over the world to camp in Seaside Park and enjoy such talent as Buddy Guy, Bob Weir and Ratdog, Deep Banana Blackout, Les Claypool, Assembly of Dust, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Los Lobos and Bridgeport's own The Alternate Routes.

Since 1945, the Greater Bridgeport Symphony has been a cultural and musical gem for the City of Bridgeport and its surrounding towns, performing at the 1,400 seat Klein Memorial Auditorium. The orchestra has a rich and vibrant history. Under the direction of Gustav Meier for the past 41 years, the prestigious orchestra has welcomed international soloists Beverly Sills, Midori, Benny Goodman, Itzhak Perlman with other links to legends like Leonard Bernstein, Jose Iturbi. Through its annual Carlson-Horn Competition for Young Instrumentalist created many new bright professional soloists including Andrew Armstrong, Alexander Markov, and Anita Chen.

Museums, zoos and parks

Bridgeport has a number of museums, ranging from the science-oriented to fine arts and historical, as well as the state's largest zoo.

  • The Discovery Museum and Planetarium emphasizes exhibits on science, with the state's only Challenger Center, affiliated with the national space program.
  • Housatonic Museum of Art, located at Housatonic Community College, has the largest collection of art of any two-year college in the nation.
  • The Barnum Museum celebrates the showman, circuses and Bridgeport history.
  • Beardsley Zoo is the only such center in Connecticut.

In popular culture

Movies

A list of films shot or partially filmed in the city:

  • Officer Down (2012)
  • A Dance for Grace (2010)
  • Ironmen (2010)
  • 3 Weeks to Daytona (2009)
  • Accidental Mayor (2009)
  • All Good Things (2009)
  • Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009)
  • Dear Beautiful (2009)
  • The Godfather Musical Part III: Luca Brasi Sleeps with the Fishes (2009)
  • House of Satisfaction (2009)
  • Made for Each Other (2009)
  • The Music of Erich Zann (2009/II)
  • Old Dogs (2009/I)
  • College Road Trip (2008)
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
  • Pistol Whipped (2008)
  • Righteous Kill (2008)
  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 (2008)
  • What Just Happened (2008)
  • Bobby Dogs (2007)
  • Dear Beautiful (2007)
  • Praying to Hendrix (2007)
  • Die Hard 3 (1995)
  • A Walk with Death (1993)
  • Route One USA (1989)
  • There's a Nightmare in My Closet (1987)
  • Without a Trace (1983)
  • The Case of the Cosmic Comic (1976)
  • The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972)
  • The Light that Failed (1916)

Television

  • Kitchen Nightmares (Season 4, Episode 7, "Tavolini Restaurant", 2011)
  • Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular (2010) (TV)
  • Ghost Adventures:"Remington Arms Factory" (Episode 21, November 2009)
  • WWE Raw (Nov. 18, 2002; Mar. 8, 2004; Dec. 26, 2005; August 21, 2006; April 9, 2007; April 27, 2009; June 21, 2010, April 11, 2011 and Sep 17, 2012)
  • WWE Smackdown, ECW, and WWE NXT (May 7, 2002; March 4, 2003; August 2, 2005; Dec. 9, 2008; Nov. 24, 2009; Nov. 2, 2010; and Nov. 15, 2011)
  • Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's For One More Day (2007)
  • WWE Raw's 15th Anniversary Special (2007)
  • Flip This House: "Burning Down the House" (2005)
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2003 & 2007)
  • Made in America (2003)
  • U.S. Bounty Hunter (2003)
  • Muggsy (1976)
  • The Twentieth Century (1957, The Class of '58 episode)
  • Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye (TV Movie, 1977), bar scene of JFK campaigning with local workers filmed in the Ideal Bar on Barnum Avenue across from the former Singer Building
  • Live PD (2016-)

Others

Novels

  • Bridgeport is the setting for Maureen Howard's Natural History, a novel that includes scenes from the city's history and depicts important historical figures such as P. T. Barnum.

Transportation

Airports

Sikorsky Memorial Airport in neighboring Stratford is owned by the city of Bridgeport. It once provided regional flights to major cities, but commercial operations at the airport were terminated in November 1999.

Roads

Surface thoroughfares

The main portion of the city is divided by major north/south roads that approximately parallel each other:

  • Main Street, the city's principal artery, extending from the Trumbull town line down through the North End, under Routes 8/25, and into downtown, with its southern terminus at Seaside Park. The portion North of State Street was laid out as the "Newtown Turnpike" in 1795. Porter Street, Beechmont Avenue, and Kaechele Place are former curves in this highway that were lopped of as the road was straightened in the 19th century.
  • Park Avenue lies on the borderline with the town of Fairfield (North of its intersection with Brooklawn Avenue) and extends from the Trumbull, Connecticut border in the North End to the South End at Seaside Park. It was known as "Division Street" until 1867. It is the easternmost of the "11 o'clock" roadways laid out in 17th-century Fairfield (their north-northwesterly direction points them like a clock's hands at that hour, exactly perpendicular to the shoreline of Long Island Sound, that facilitated land distribution).
  • Clinton/Brooklawn Avenues are a central artery through the West End, extending North from Railroad Avenue to the Fairfield line at the Rooster River. The portion to the North of Fairfield Avenue was laid out in the 17th century at the center of the agricultural village of Stratfield. It was known as "Stratfield Road" prior to 1870.
  • Brewster Street extends from Black Rock Harbor North to the Fairfield line at Ash Creek, and is the major north-south artery through the Black Rock neighborhood. This was the southernmost portion of the "Black Rock Turnpike," a toll road of the late-18th century that extended North as far as Danbury.
  • Madison Avenue is situated between Main Street and Park Avenue, that extends from the Trumbull town line in the North End and continues through the West Side. It was formerly known as "Chestnut Hill Road," and follows the route of an Indian path.
  • Reservoir Avenue was part of a turnpike that was laid out in 1817 in an almost arrow-straight line from Bridgeport north to the Monroe Green (it followed Daniels Farm Road in Trumbull and Moose Hill Road in Monroe). The "Reservoir" was a stone structure at the intersection of Sylvan Avenue, to which water was pumped from nearby Bunnell's Pond, and from which water was supplied to the entire city by gravity. Prior to construction of the Route 25-8 Expressway, this street extended South to North Avenue.
  • Noble Avenue extends from the corner of Congress Street just South of Washington Park to the intersection of East Main Street and Huntington Turnpike. The portion below Boston Avenue was laid out in 1850 as "Noble Street;" the part to the north was added to connect with the entrance to the new Beardsley Park in 1878.
  • East Main Street is the major North/South road through East Bridgeport, extending from the Trumbull/Stratford line though the East Side, ending at Bridgeport Harbor. The portion South of Boston Avenue/Old Mill Green was laid out in 1800.
  • Huntington Road/Huntington Turnpike is the major roadway through the Upper East Side, extending Northeasterly from the Berkshire Bridge to the Trumbull town line (a small portion today becomes part of East Main Street). It was one of a number of turnpikes laid out in the immediate post-Revolutionary period to funnel rural commerce to the fledgling city's seaport, and formerly extended to the city center by way of North Washington Avenue.
  • Seaview Avenue runs the length of the East End neighborhood on the East shore of Pembroke Lake, Yellow Mill Pond, and Bridgeport Harbor. It extends Northwesterly from Central to Stratford Avenues, then due North from Stratford to Boston Avenues. It was laid out at the time of the Civil War in three sections that were later connected: "Sea View Avenue" South of Stratford Avenue: "West Avenue" at Deacon's Point, from Sixth Street North to the railroad tracks; and "Lake Avenue," from Barnum Avenue North to Boston Avenue.
  • Central/Palisade Avenues were laid out as farm highways through the westerly portions of what was the town of Stratford in the early 19th century. They form a North-South axis through the center of today's East End. The portion of Central Avenue to the north of Barnum Avenue was known as "Prospect Street" from the 1860s through 1889 due to the vistas from its hillside location.

The major East/West roads in the city include Barnum Avenue, Boston Avenue, Fairfield Avenue/Stratford Avenue, North Avenue, Capitol Avenue, State Street, and Railroad Avenue:

  • Barnum Avenue extends from the Stratford line, below Old Mill Hill, and ends at the Pequonnock River. The portion through the East Side was laid out as "Barnum Street" in 1850. From Pembroke Lake to Mill Hill Avenue was added in 1863. The road from Mill Hill Avenue to the Washington Bridge between Stratford and Milford was laid out as the "Air Line Highway" in 1870.
  • Boston Avenue breaks off from Barnum Avenue near the Bridgeport line in Stratford and travels east-west over Old Mill Hill to the Upper East Side toward the North End. It follows the route of an Indian path, crossing Old Mill Brook and the Pequonnock River and the southernmost points where they were fordable, that became the Post Road in the 1670s.
  • Stratford Avenue starts in the South End of the town of Stratford and travels Southwest through the East End. It then travels East through East Bridgeport directly into the center of Downtown Bridgeport, where it turns into Fairfield Avenue at Water Street. It was laid out in 1795 as a more direct route for the "Post Road," and the bridge built that year over the Pequonnock was the origin of the name "Bridgeport." Connecticut Avenue, which parallels it one block to the North through the East End, is a one-way street heading West, while Stratford Avenue is one-way heading East.
  • Fairfield Avenue extends West and then Southwest through the West End and into Black Rock, where it turns into the Boston Post Road, or simply, the Post Road, at the Fairfield, Connecticut line. Its route through the West End parallels what had been the northerly edge of an extensive salt marsh, and had been in existence in the 18th century. The portion through Black Rock was added in the 1870s.
  • North Avenue begins at Boston Avenue where the East Side abuts the Island Brook neighborhood at the Pequonnock River and extends Southwest diagonally through the city as US 1. It then turns into Kings Highway in Fairfield. As with Boston Avenue, it was follows an Indian trail, and was formalized as a part of the New York-to-Boston Post Road in the 1670s.
  • Capitol Avenue begins by breaking off from North Avenue at Island Brook Avenue Extension. It travels West across the Old North End and Brooklawn neighborhoods and ends at the Fairfield line.
  • State Street begins in Downtown and cuts across the West End, where it terminates (as 'State Street Extension') at the Fairfield line. The portion from Park Avenue to Bridgeport Harbor was in existence by the 1760s; the part to the West of Park Avenue was extended across what was then marshy terrain in 1867.
  • Atlantic Street bisects the South End neighborhood, historically separating the well-to-do residential district that adjoined the old portion of Seaside Park from the working-class blocks to the north. Today it forms the north border of the University of Bridgeport campus.
  • Railroad Avenue extends from Broad Street just below Downtown Bridgeport and runs parallel with the Metro North/New Haven Railroad lines. The Westbound side is to the north of the tracks, and the Eastbound side to the south of them. It terminates at Fairfield Avenue in the West End.

Highways

Bridgeport has several major roadways. Interstate 95 and the Route 8/Route 25 Connector meet in downtown Bridgeport. I-95 runs east-west near the coast heading towards New York City to the southwest and Providence to the northeast. Routes 8 and 25 run north-south across the city, with the two routes splitting just north of the city. Route 8 continues towards Waterbury and Torrington and Route 25 continues towards the Danbury area. Both Routes 8 and 25 connect to the Merritt Parkway in the adjacent town of Trumbull.

Other major surface arteries are U.S. 1 (the Boston Post Road), which runs east-west north of downtown, and Main Street, which runs north-south towards Trumbull center. The city also has several secondary state highways, namely, Route 127 (East Main Street), Route 130 (Connecticut Ave, Stratford Ave, Fairfield Ave and Water Street), and the Huntington Turnpike.

Railroad and ferries

New Haven Line train approaches Bridgeport, CT station eastbound, December 2012
A New Haven Line train approaches the intermodal transit hub at Bridgeport Station

The Bridgeport Traction Company provided streetcar service in the region until 1937. The Housatonic Railroad carried passengers North through the Pequonnock and Housatonic Valleys prior to 1933.

The city is connected to nearby New York City by both Amtrak and Metro-North commuter trains, which serve Bridgeport's Metro-North station. Many residents commute to New York jobs on these trains, and the city to some extent is developing as an outpost of New York–based workers seeking cheaper rents and larger living spaces. Connecting service is also available to Waterbury via Metro-North, and New Haven via Amtrak and Metro-North. Shoreline East service links Old Saybrook and New London with New Haven, which extends to Bridgeport and Stamford during weekday rush hours only.

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry service runs from Bridgeport across Long Island Sound to Port Jefferson, New York; the three vessels "Grand Republic", "P.T. Barnum" and "Park City" transport both automobiles and passengers.

Buses

The Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority (GBTA) provides bus service to Bridgeport and its immediate suburbs. Route 2 the Coastal Link goes west to Norwalk and east to Westfield's Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, from where Connecticut Transit can bring passengers to the New Haven Green. Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines both offer intercity bus service to points throughout the Northeast and points beyond.

Historic sites

Historic districts

Bridgeport has five local historic districts, where exterior changes to structures are under the control of two Historic District Commissions:

  • Black Rock Harbor Historic District, 88 buildings along Ellsworth, Brewster, and Beacon Streets, includes the village center of a historic seaport, with buildings that date back to the 17th century
  • Pembroke City Historic District, 266 buildings in a general two-block radius of Washington Park, a planned residential development constructed 1850-1900 that contains the city's most important concentration of Victorian architecture
  • Stratfield Historic District, 300 buildings along Clinton, Brooklawn, and Laurel Avenues that made up an elite residential district of the Edwardian era
  • Barnum-Palliser Development Historic District, 33 buildings on Austin, Gregory, and Atlantic Streets and Myrtle Avenue that was a planned working-class development of the 1880s designed by the architectural firm of Palliser, Palliser, and Company
  • Marina Park Historic District, 14 buildings along South Park Avenue and Marina Park, contains some of the city's most opulent late 19th-early 20th century mansions overlooking Seaside Park

Images for kids


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