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Bristol, Connecticut
St Joseph Church, Bristol CT.
St Joseph Church, Bristol CT.
Flag of Bristol, Connecticut
Flag
Official seal of Bristol, Connecticut
Seal
Nicknames: 
Mum City, Home of ESPN, Bell City
Location in Hartford County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°40′52″N 72°56′26″W / 41.68111°N 72.94056°W / 41.68111; -72.94056Coordinates: 41°40′52″N 72°56′26″W / 41.68111°N 72.94056°W / 41.68111; -72.94056
Country  United States
State  Connecticut
Metropolitan area Hartford
Incorporated (town) 1785
Incorporated (city) 1911
Neighborhoods
  • Cedar Lake
  • Chippens Hill
  • East Bristol
  • Edgewood
  • Federal Hill
  • Forestville Village
  • Maple End
  • Northeast Bristol
  • West End
  • Rustic Terrace
Government
 • Type Mayor-council
Area
 • Total 26.81 sq mi (69.44 km2)
 • Land 26.41 sq mi (68.39 km2)
 • Water 0.40 sq mi (1.05 km2)
Elevation
305 ft (93 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 60,833
 • Estimate 
(2019)
59,947
 • Density 2,270.20/sq mi (876.52/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
06010–06011
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-08420
GNIS feature ID 0205727
Major highways US 6.svg Connecticut Highway 72.svg

Bristol is a suburban city located in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States, 20 miles (32 km) southwest-west of Hartford. The city is also 120 miles southwest from Boston, and approximately 100 miles northeast of New York City. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 60,477.

Bristol is the location of the general studios of ESPN, and the location of Lake Compounce, the United States's oldest continuously operating theme park. Bristol was known as a clock-making city in the 19th century, and is the location of American Clock & Watch Museum. Bristol is the site of the former American Silver Company and its predecessor companies.

Bristol's nickname is the "Mum City", because it was once a leader in chrysanthemum production and still holds an annual Bristol Mum Festival.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.8 square miles (69.5 km2), of which 26.4 square miles (68.4 km2) is land and 0.39 square miles (1.0 km2), or 1.51%, is water. The city contains several distinct sections, including Chippens Hill in the northwestern quarter of Bristol, Edgewood in the northeastern quarter, and Forestville, and in the southeastern quarter. The majority of Bristol's cityscape is residential in character, though since 2008 there has been a push for commercial development in the city. The city is part of the Naugatuck Valley Regional Planning Organization following the closure of the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency, the metropolitan planning organization for Bristol, New Britain, and surrounding towns for decades.

Forestville was the hunting grounds of the Tunxis tribe until the 19th century. The village was established in 1833 and named Forestville for its wooded surroundings. Forestville today has grown into a mini-metropolis of suburban neighborhoods and local businesses. The boundaries of Forestville go from the Plainville town line, south to the Southington town line, west up to the industrial development along Middle street and crosses King Street, including properties on Kingswood Drive and Bernside Drive, north up to Bristol Eastern High School, then north up to the south edge of properties on Louisiana Avenue, then to the west of properties on the west side of Brook Street and from there, goes up to commercial development along Farmington Avenue. Within the Forestville area, there are two subsections known as East Bristol and the Stafford District. Forestville village has a library (Manross), post office, meeting hall, community group (Forestville Village Association), fire station, cemetery, funeral home, two urban parks (Quinlan Veterans Park and Clock Tower Park), Pequabuck Duck Race, Memorial Day Parade, Summer Concert Night, Pumpkin Festival, and a railroad station (no longer in use). At one time all of Forestville had its own zip code.

Demographics

See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income
Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 2,462
1800 2,722 10.6%
1810 1,428 −47.5%
1820 1,362 −4.6%
1830 1,707 25.3%
1840 2,109 23.6%
1850 2,884 36.7%
1860 3,436 19.1%
1870 3,788 10.2%
1880 5,347 41.2%
1890 7,382 38.1%
1900 6,268 −15.1%
1910 9,527 52.0%
1920 20,620 116.4%
1930 28,451 38.0%
1940 30,167 6.0%
1950 35,961 19.2%
1960 45,499 26.5%
1970 55,487 22.0%
1980 57,370 3.4%
1990 60,640 5.7%
2000 60,062 −1.0%
2010 60,477 0.7%
2020 60,833 0.6%
2019 (est.) 59,947 −0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the 2010 census, there were 60,477 people, 25,189 households, and 16,175 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,265.8 inhabitants per square mile (874.8/km2). There were 26,125 housing units at an average density of 985.6 per square mile (380.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city is 87.74% White, 3.84% African American, 9.64% Hispanic, 0.19% Native American, 1.94% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.72% from other races, and 2.54% from two or more races.

In 2000 there were 24,886 households in Bristol, of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.0% were non-families. Of all households 28.9% were made up of individuals, and 10.7% consisted of a sole resident who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38, and the average family size was 2.94.

The age diversity at the 2000 census was 23.2% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city in 2010 was $57,610. The per capita income for the city was $30,573. Of the population 10.5% was living below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 8.7% of those under the age of 18 and 5.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Revitalization

Downtown

Since 2008, Bristol has begun another renovation of the downtown area. This has included a complete overhaul of a park in the center of the city. In addition, an outdated and underused mall from the 1970s was demolished in 2008. Also, North Main Street was improved in 2008 by adding islands in the road, elegant street lighting and a brick median when the road was repaved. In 2010, a preferred developer agreement was signed for a comprehensive $225 million redevelopment utilizing new urbanism strategies. A sharp decline in the availability of federal funding and a sluggish economy has stalled the project significantly. There has yet to be any groundbreaking as of the year 2016. Most of the city's redevelopment plans can be found in the city's "West End Study" and its 2015 Plan of Conservation and Development.

Blight Committee

In the 1990s, the Blight Committee was formed to enforce appearance laws, and even demolish properties which it deems are unsightly and unkempt. This committee is tasked with ensuring that properties are not abandoned and that all properties are reasonably maintained.

In 2008, the Bristol Blight Committee was disbanded in order to make way for a new committee, the Bristol Code Enforcement Committee. This new committee has even greater powers and can now deal with both appearances and structural integrity issues of buildings in Bristol. The purpose of the committee is to streamline the process of enforcing the issues the former Blight Committee was tasked with. The law requires all structures to be free of "abandoned vehicles, nuisances, refuse, pollution and filth ... broken glass, loose shingles, holes, cracked or damaged siding, crumbling brick and other conditions 'reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance.'"

Attractions

In addition to the Mum Festival, Bristol holds an annual street festival with a car show and a family farms weekend at Minors Farm, Shepherd Meadows and Roberts Orchard, similar to that of Southington's apple festival, all of which are held around September.

Mum Festival and Parade

The first Bristol Mum Festival began on July 7, 1962, and included a parade. The members of the Chamber of Commerce and City of Bristol officials met and completed a list of activities to take place over six days. They wanted to focus on the positive things that were occurring in Bristol. When the festival opened it was originally known as the "Fall Festival". In 1963 the chrysanthemum ("Mum") was also added to the festival's name. Prior to 1986 the nurseries in Bristol would produce over 80,000 mum plants. In 2014, city leaders elected to adopt a new "brand" for the city. "All Heart" became the new logo on letterheads and T-shirts and even the "Mum Festival" leaders were "encouraged" to adopt the new image at the festival and parade.

Other attractions

Bristol has many parks: Peck, Page, Rockwell, Bracket, Barnes Nature Center, Indian Rock, Forestville Memorial and many more. The city is also home to Lake Compounce, the oldest continuously operated amusement park in North America, and to the New England Carousel Museum, the American Clock & Watch Museum, the Imagine Nation Children's Museum, Bristol Military Memorial Museum, Bristol Historical Society Museum and the Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum. The Harry Barnes Memorial Nature Center comprises 70 acres (280,000 m2) of forest and fields, with nature trails and an interpretive center.

Sister cities

Gallery

Economy

Notable companies

The companies below are some of the most notable in Bristol. These, in addition to Bristol Hospital, are the largest private employers in the area.

Associated Spring

Founded in 1857 and headquartered in Bristol, Barnes Group is a diversified international manufacturer of precision metal components and assemblies and a distributor of industrial supplies, serving a wide range of markets and customers. Barnes Group consists of three businesses with 2005 sales of $1.1 billion.

ESPN

ESPN houses its broadcast studios in Bristol on Middle Street. ESPN is the largest taxpayer to the City of Bristol.

ESPN's former parent, Capital Cities Communications, once owned the local ABC affiliate WTNH, but sold it after acquiring ABC (which owned ESPN), and later merged with The Walt Disney Company.

Otis Elevator company

Though its beginnings were in Yonkers, New York, Otis Elevator Company possesses the tallest elevator test tower in the United States in Bristol. Located near ESPN and Lake Compounce, the 383-foot (117 m)-high tower is easily visible from the surrounding roads.

Top employers

According to Bristol's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 ESPN 4,200
2 City of Bristol & Board of Education 1,601
3 Bristol Health 1,160
4 Faneuil, Inc 350
5 Amazon 350
6 Sheriden Woods Health Care Center 200
7 IDEX Health & Science LLC 175
8 Stop & Shop 150
9 Quality Coils 125
10 The Pines at Bristol 115

Education

Education in Bristol is conducted using seven elementary schools (grades kindergarten through five), two middle schools (grades six, seven and eight), and two high schools. In addition to these public schools, there are three private Catholic Schools, and one Lutheran School available. These add an additional three pre-kindergarten through grade 8 schools and one additional high school.

A recent press release shows good scores on the Connecticut Academic Performance Test, a standardized test which students take statewide in tenth grade. The report states that more than 87% of Bristol students scored at or above the proficient level in each of the content areas assessed.

Schools in Bristol
Elementary schools Middle schools K-through-8 schools High schools
Bingham School
(closed June 2010)
Chippens Hill Middle School Saint Anthony School
(Closed June 2016)
Bristol Central High School
Edgewood School Memorial Boulevard Middle School
(Closed June 2012)
Saint Matthew School [1] Bristol Eastern High School
Greene-Hills School Northeast Middle School Saint Joseph School [2] St. Paul Catholic High School[3]
Hubbell School Immanuel Lutheran School [4]
Ivy Drive School
Jennings School
(closed June 2012)
Mountain View School
O'Connell School
(closed June 2012)
South Side School
Stafford School

Recently, it has been proposed that the educational system of the city be redesigned. Because some of the schools are in historic buildings, new schools are being sought by the city. In addition, it has been proposed that the entire education system of the city be redesigned, eliminating the middle school category. In other words, all schools would be kindergarten through eighth grade or high school. The Bristol Board of Education's appeals for support for this project have been met with mixed emotions.

Sports

Bristol has a summer collegiate baseball team called the Bristol Blues who play home games at Muzzy Field.

Muzzy Field is one of the oldest ballparks in the United States. In 2012 and 2013, the City of Bristol approved funding for a significant renovation project of the historic ballpark.

Bristol hosts the Little League New England and Mid-Atlantic Regional playoffs every August at the A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Center.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Bus

Bristol has a bus service that connects urban centers and hospitals with the rest of the city. It is part of the CTtransit system, which serves the Greater Hartford area.

Public safety

EMS

Bristol's emergency medical services program has been provided by Bristol Hospital since 1977. It was designed to assume the responsibility previously carried by the Bristol Police Department. The Bristol Hospital's EMS are carried out using 6 emergency ambulances (including spares), 2 paramedic intercept vehicles and 4 wheelchair vans.

Fire department

The Bristol, Connecticut Fire Department is a full-service fire department with five engine companies (or stations) and one tower ladder company. The Bristol Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five members appointed by the Mayor who establish the primary policies of the fire department.

Police department

The Bristol Police Department is a full-service police department with approximately 125 sworn officers. The Bristol Board of Police Commissioners consists of five members appointed by the Mayor who establish the primary policies of the police department. In addition to a vehicular patrol division, downtown Bristol is also policed by a bicycle division. During any shift, there may be as many as 12 officers on duty, not including detectives and officers from other divisions.

Notable people

  • Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888), father of Louisa May Alcott, taught school in Bristol on two different occasions: in 1823 and, after teaching in Cheshire for a time, again in Bristol from 1827-1828. Alcott later moved to Concord, Massachusetts where she became acquainted with many prominent Transcendentalists and literary figures.
  • John R. Broderick (1957–), President of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, was born in Bristol.
  • Gary Burghoff (1943–), actor who played the character Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly in both the film and television series M*A*S*H, was born in Bristol.
  • Bob Crane (1928–1978), actor who played the title role in the television series Hogan's Heroes, worked for WBIS radio station in Bristol early in his career.
  • Chris Denorfia, former Major League Baseball outfielder, was born in Bristol.
  • Frank Filipetti, music producer, was born in Bristol.
  • Michelle Guerette (1980–), Olympic athlete, graduated from Bristol Central High School
  • Aaron Hernandez, (1989–2017), NFL former tight end for the New England Patriots
  • Gordon J. Humphrey (1940–), U.S. Senator from New Hampshire (1979–1991) was born in Bristol.
  • Cliff Johnson, author of The Fool's Errand, was born in Bristol.
  • Karen Josephson (1964–) and Sarah Josephson (1964–), twin sisters who won the silver medal in synchronized swimming at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea and the gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, were born in Bristol.
  • Fred Lynn debuted in his professional baseball career playing for the Bristol Red Sox at Muzzy Field, an early twentieth-century ballpark in Bristol. Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Rice, who debuted with Williamsport in the New York-Penn League and then played for Winter Haven of the Florida State League, also played part of his minor league career for the Bristol Red Sox.
  • Scott Perkins (1980–), American composer, was raised in Bristol and graduated from Bristol Central High School.
  • Steve Pikiell (1967–), head basketball coach at Rutgers University; formerly coach at Stony Brook University.
  • Mike Reiss (1959–), longtime writer for The Simpsons, is a Bristol native.
  • Albert Rockwell (1862-1925) inventor, manufacturer, industrialist, and philanthropist who moved to Bristol in the 1880s. He designed and manufactured doorbells and other kinds of bells (hence the name Bell City), bicycle brakes, ball bearings, and automobiles.
  • Adrian Wojnarowski, New York Times best-selling author and NBA Columnist for Yahoo! Sports, Fox Sports One, and now ESPN was raised in Bristol and attended Bristol Central High School.

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