Derby, Connecticut facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Annual fireworks display from the Derby-Shelton Bridge
"Connecticut's Smallest City"
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
|Metropolitan area||Greater New Haven|
|Founded by||John Wakeman|
|Named for||Derby, England|
|• Type||Mayor-Board of Aldermen|
|• City||5.41 sq mi (14.00 km2)|
|• Land||5.06 sq mi (13.09 km2)|
|• Water||0.35 sq mi (0.91 km2)|
|Highest elevation||469 ft (142 m)|
|Lowest elevation||3 ft (1 m)|
|• Rank||19th (CT)|
|• Density||2,435.8/sq mi (941.6/km2)|
|• Metro||861,113 (US: 60th)|
|• CSA||23,076,664 (US: 1st)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0206671|
Derby ('dər-bē) is a city in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, approximately 8 miles west-northwest of New Haven. It is located in southwest Connecticut at the confluence of the Housatonic and Naugatuck Rivers. It borders the cities of Ansonia to the north and Shelton to the southwest, and the towns of Orange to the south, Seymour to the northwest, and Woodbridge to the east. The population was 12,325 at the 2020 census. It is the smallest city in Connecticut by area, at 5.3 square miles.
Derby is home to the first electric trolley system in New England, only the second in the United States. It is also home to the first electric locomotive in U.S. history to be built and successfully used commercially for hauling freight. The locomotive, built in 1888, is still kept in running condition by the Shore Line Trolley Museum.
Derby was settled in 1642 as an Indian trading post under the name Paugasset. It was named after Derby, England, in 1675.
Derby was incorporated on May 13, 1775.
In the 19th century, both corsets and hoop skirts were manufactured in the city.
In 1872, the Derby Silver Company began production. In 1898, the company became a division of the International Silver Company headquartered in Meriden, CT, but continued making silver with its brand name until 1933.
Charlton Comics, a comic book publishing company that existed from 1944 to 1986, was based in town.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.4 square miles (8.7 km2), of which, 5.0 square miles (13 km2) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) of it (7.41%) is water. The city is home to the 1.4 square kilometres (350 acres) Osbornedale State Park. Derby is divided into two main sections by the Naugatuck River: East Derby and Derby Center (Birmingham). The center of Derby is approximately 66 miles (106 km) from New York City.
- See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 12,902 people, 5,388 households, and 3,241 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,563 people per square mile. There were 5,849 housing units at an average density of 1,169.8 per square mile. The racial makeup of the town was 82.08% White, 7.06% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.60% Asian, 0.00% Pacific Islander, 4.2% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 14.2% of the population.
There were 5,388 households, out of which 28.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.6% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.8% were non-families. 32.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 23% under the age of 19, 6.2% from 20 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years.
The median income for a household in the town was $32,438, and the median income for a family was $57,790. The per capita income for the town was $32,438. 12.7% of the population is below the poverty line.
Polish immigrants have left a large mark on the demographics of the town, with 18% of all residents claiming Polish as their ethnicity and 2% as having been born in Poland. Due to this large population, the town features several Polish shops, restaurants, and clubs. Saint Michael's the Archangel Parish, a Roman Catholic church, serves mass in Polish as well as English.
A high percentage of Derby residents trace their ancestry back to Italy. 27.3% of inhabitants claim Italian ancestry, ranking it 8th in the State of Connecticut. Derby is located in New Haven County, which has one of the highest percentages of Italian-Americans in the United States.
Arts and culture
Derby sites on the National Register of Historic Places
- The Kraus Corset Factory, now the Sterling Rowe Apartment House on the corner of Roosevelt Drive and Third Street.
- Osbornedale, a farm house built in the early nineteenth century.
- Howe House, built in 1845.
- Sterling Opera House was built in 1889 to seat 1250, and remained in use until 1945. City Hall and a police station occupied the two lower levels until 1965.
- Derby Public Library, built in 1902 with Ansonia marble, the library was founded as a free reading room in 1868. The land was provided by the Sarah Riggs Humphreys Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, on the condition that the building would always have a room the chapter could use. The chapter also donated $5,000 for books with the stipulation that people in the town raise an equal amount.
- Birmingham Green Historic District was designated on April 21, 2000, as Derby's sixth site on the National Register of Historic Places.
The city has resurrected its National Humane Alliance fountain – a century-old granite structure with lion-head spigots—as part of a gateway entrance plaza at the Division Street entrance to the Derby Greenway. The fountain was given to the City in 1906 by the National Humane Alliance and erected at the intersection of Seymour and Atwater Avenues. The water was first turned on on June 1, 1906. Years later it was moved to Founders Commons when traffic patterns made its original location a problem. It fell into disrepair and was not used as a fountain while on Founders Commons. When the Derby Greenway was built, the fountain was moved to its new location on June 22, 2006, fully restored with new plumbing and new lions heads and formally dedicated with the surrounding Derby Hall of Fame Plaza on September 1, 2007.
Plans for the future
The Howe House "will become home of the Lower Naugatuck Valley Industrial Heritage Center; where the Derby Historical Society's extensive collection of Industrial Era artifacts will be properly displayed. Future educational programs will include student hands-on programs that will introduce the Industrial Revolution and the Valley's active role in this period."
In 2017, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the city's bond rating from AA to AA-, citing "weak budgetary performance" in 2016.
2016 – $1,028,072,826.82
2010 – $1,091,576,401.00
- Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 – 39.37
- Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 – 26.40
- Aqua Vim (future) – aquarium manufacturer undergoing move from Queens, New York to Derby
- BADSONS Beer Company (2017–present) – brewery in Derby
- Charlton Comics (1944–1986) – comic book company based in Derby
- Curved Glass Distributors (1970–present) – glass manufacturer based in Derby
- Derby Silver Company (1872–1933) – international silver company based in Derby
- Dew Drop Inn (2008–present) – voted Connecticut Magazine's best wings in Connecticut 2017–18
- Griffin Hospital (1909–present) – community hospital, largest employer in Derby, with 1,357 employees (2010)
- THC – The Hops Company (2015–present) – voted Connecticut Magazine's best Beer Garden in Connecticut 2017 and Best Beer Bar in Connecticut 2017–18
Factory Street Square
In 2018, a development group working with the owners of the Baretta Landscaping property submitted a conceptual design to the planning and zoning commission for a four-phase 400-unit high density residential and commercial development on Factory Street in downtown Derby. The project, called Factory Street Square, was to be built in four phases over the next four to six years on unused light industrial property. The proposed buildings would sit on five acres of near-vacant land, and would be four stories high with first floor retail shops and restaurants, with residential space above. The project, tailored toward attracting Millennials and empty nesters to the area, will offer amenities not seen in other residential complexes in the city, including a health club; indoor golf simulator; rooftop garden; dog-sitting, walking, and grooming service; and an in-complex library. The site is located one block from rail and bus lines that meet at the Derby-Shelton Railroad Station, making the project a transit-oriented development. The project was expected to begin in late 2019 to early 2020.
South side of Main Street
Since 2003, the city and state have been demolishing buildings on the south side of Main Street (Connecticut Route 34) in order to widen the roadway from two to four lanes divided by a median. Multiple development projects have been proposed, from high density mixed use to big-box retail plazas, but none have been successful. In 2019, the last four buildings on the south side of Main Street were demolished; following delays, the widening project had a tentative construction start date of early 2020. The Factory Street Square project is the most recent proposal. Rather than attempting to redevelop the entire 23-acre parcel, the proposal only encompasses five acres.
Pershing Square Shopping Center
In 2014, Valley Bowl, a popular local bowling alley, was razed to erect a modern shopping plaza and realign an offset intersection. New retailers were an Aldi Supermarket, Panera Bread, PetValu, AT&T, and Popeyes. The realignment of the entrance was a joint venture between the Pershing Square developers and the developers of the adjacent property, Red Raider Plaza. Shortly after the completion of the plaza, it was purchased by Greenwich-based Urstadlt Biddle Properties Inc. for $9 million.
Red Raider Plaza
In 2011, Walgreen Company, a national retail pharmacy chain, purchased Red Raider Plaza for $7.15 million with plans to remodel one of the buildings and demolish the other to make room for a Walgreens Pharmacy. Following the announcement that Walgreens would acquire Rite Aid in 2015, Walgreens froze the construction of all new stores, including the Derby store. Walgreens maintains building ownership, and continued the redevelopment with some changes. The plaza received a significant renovation, parking lot improvements, and realignment of one of the entrances. New retailers that joined the plaza were Crown Fried Chicken, Leslie's Pool Supply, Planet Fitness, Wayback Burgers, Jersey Mike's Subs, Sprint, and Verizon. In 2018, plans were approved for Starbucks to build a drive-through cafe in the Planet Fitness parking lot, the city's second location; in 2019, plans were approved for a Moe's Southwest Grill.
There are five public schools and one private school in Derby. As of the 2017–2018 school year there were 1,386 students enrolled in public schools and 159 enrolled in private school. The total number of students enrolled in public and private schools is 1,545.
|St. Mary-St. Michael School||Pre-K – 8||14 Seymour Avenue||Private Catholic||West Derby (Downtown)|
|Little Raiders University||Pre-K||75 Chatfield Street||Public||West Derby (Downtown)|
|Bradley Elementary School||K-5||155 David Humphrey Road||Public||East Derby|
|Irving School||K-5||9 Garden Place||Public||West Derby (Downtown)|
|Derby Middle School||6–8||73 Chatfield Street||Public||West Derby (Downtown)|
|Derby High School||9–12||75 Chatfield Street||Public||West Derby (Downtown)|
On January 12, 2018, a former Extended Care Health facility was sold to Apex International Education Partners, to be converted into dormitories for international high school students attending private schools in the area. The dormitory was opened on September 19, 2018, and at full capacity it can accommodate 110 students and 10–12 employees.
The city has a Metro-North railroad station called Derby – Shelton. The station is located at 1 Main Street and serves the residents of Derby and Shelton. Derby-Shelton is the last regular stop on the Waterbury Branch before it joins the Northeast Corridor. The station is 69.5 miles from Grand Central Terminal, with travel time being an average of one hour, 54 minutes, depending on transfer time at Bridgeport. Travel time to New Haven is an average of one hour, two minutes, depending on transfer time.
All bus routes meet at the Derby–Shelton station. The Valley Transit facility is next to the train station on adjoining property.
- Connecticut Transit – Route F6
- Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority – Routes 15 & 23
- Valley Transit – Regional public bus service by reservation only, serving the residents of Ansonia, Derby, Shelton, and Seymour
- Waterbury–Oxford Airport (13 mi)
- Sikorsky Memorial Airport (14 mi)
- Tweed New Haven Airport (15 mi)
- Westchester County Airport (41 mi)
- Bradley International Airport (58 mi
- LaGuardia Airport (66 mi)
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (73 mi)
- Samuel George Andrews, (1796–1863), born in Derby, United States congressman from New York
- Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett (1833–1908), first black American diplomat (appointed in 1869 to Haiti)
- Charles T. Beardsley, Jr. (1861–1937), born in Derby, noted Bridgeport architect
- David Raymond Curtiss (1878–1953), mathematician, President of the Mathematical Association of America, born in Derby
- Brian Dennehy, film actor, lived in Derby during his early life and was a Boy Scout in Troop 3, based in Derby
- Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man comics hero
- William Frederick Durand (1859–1958), the first civilian chair of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
- Danielle Ferland (1971–), Broadway and film actor, born in Derby
- Philip M. Halpern (1956–), nominee to become United States federal judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, born in Derby
- Josiah Holbrook (1788–1854), founder of the lyceum movement, born in Derby
- Isaac Hull (1773–1843), commodore in the U.S. Navy; commanded USS Constitution among other ships, and nephew of William Hull
- William Hull (1753–1825), general in the American Revolutionary War, governor of Michigan Territory, and uncle of Isaac Hull
- David Humphreys, American Revolutionary War soldier, public official and entrepreneur
- Orson Hyde (1805–1878), leader in the Latter-day Saint (Mormon) movement
- Frances Osborne Kellogg (1876–1956), industrialist whose estate forms Osborne Homestead Museum and Osbornedale State Park
- Themis Klarides (1965–), Connecticut General Assembly Minority Leader, elected in 1998
- Ben Kopec (1981–), musician, songwriter, and composer, born in Derby
- Andy Natowich (1918–2014), NFL running back for the Washington Redskins
- Patrick B. O'Sullivan (1887–1978), CT state senator, US congressman, Superior Court judge, and Chief Justice of the CT Supreme Court
- Nick Pietrosante, NFL fullback for the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Notre Dame Fighting Irish; born in Derby
- Michele Ragussis (1969–), chef, TV appearances on Food Network Star, Chopped, and 24 Hour Restaurant Battle
- Alan Schlesinger, former Derby mayor and unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2006
- Bob Skoronski, NFL player for the Green Bay Packers; member of 1961, 1962, and 1965 NFL champion teams, as well as Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II championship teams
- Sheldon Thompson, former mayor of Buffalo, New York
- Joseph "Fighting Joe" Wheeler, Confederate general, Spanish-American War leader and Alabama politician
- Elizabeth Ann Whitney (1800–1882), early Latter-day Saint (Mormon) leader; born in town
- Stephen Whitney (1776–1860), merchant, one of New York's first multi-millionaires
- Kathleen M. Williams (1956–) United States Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, born in Derby
- Frank P. Witek (1921–1944), recipient of the Medal of Honor; born in Derby
- Edward Wooster (1622–1689), "the first permanent settler in Derby"
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