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Shelton, Connecticut
Official seal of Shelton, Connecticut
"Vision To See, Faith To Believe, Courage To Do"
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
Country  United States
U.S. state  Connecticut
County Fairfield
Metropolitan area Bridgeport-Stamford
Incorporated (town) 1789
Incorporated (city) 1915
 • Type Mayor-board of aldermen
 • Total 31.90 sq mi (82.63 km2)
 • Land 30.63 sq mi (79.33 km2)
 • Water 1.27 sq mi (3.29 km2)
62 ft (19 m)
 • Total 40,869
 • Density 1,334/sq mi (515.2/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-68100
GNIS feature ID 0210800
Major highways Connecticut Highway 8.svg
Commuter Rail MTA NYC logo.svg

Shelton is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 40,869 at the 2020 United States Census.



Shelton was settled by the English as part of the town of Stratford, Connecticut, in 1639. On May 15, 1656, the Court of the Colony of Connecticut in Hartford affirmed that the town of Stratford included all of the territory 12 miles (19 km) inland from Long Island Sound, between the Housatonic River and the Fairfield town line. In 1662, Stratford selectmen Lt. Joseph Judson, Captain Joseph Hawley and John Minor had secured all the written deeds of transfer from the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation for this vast territory that comprises the present-day towns of Trumbull, Shelton and Monroe. Shelton was split off from Stratford in 1789, as Huntington (named for Samuel Huntington). The current name originated in a manufacturing village started in the 1860s named for the Shelton Company founded by Edward N. Shelton — also founder of Ousatonic Water Power Company. The rapidly growing borough of Shelton incorporated as a city in 1915 and was consolidated with the town of Huntington in 1919 establishing the present city of Shelton.

Decline of Shelton's industry

Shelton was the site of one of the largest arson fires in the United States history. It happened in 1975 when the Sponge Rubber Products plant (formerly owned by B.F. Goodrich) was set on fire. Charles Moeller, president of parent company Grand Sheet Metal Products, was acquitted on arson charges, but in a civil lawsuit, a jury in 1988 ruled the insurer did not have to pay claims on the fire because a preponderance of evidence showed the company's top officials arranged the fire to claim insurance money. Eight others were convicted or pleaded guilty.

The explosion that destroyed the Sponge Rubber Plant on Canal Street in 1975 marked the start of the decline of Shelton's industries. During the remainder of the 1970s and 1980s several firms that operated factories along the banks of the Housatonic River either went out of business or relocated to areas where labor and operating costs were cheaper. In 1995, Sikorsky Aircraft closed a plant off Bridgeport Avenue that manufactured electrical components for helicopters.

Rise of Shelton's office space

With the completion of Route 8, new office spaces and businesses were attracted to the town, due to its Fairfield County location coupled with low costs of doing business as opposed to places such as Stamford or Greenwich. Major firms such as Tetley Tea, TIE Communication, I.T.T., Black and Decker, Sikorsky Aircraft, Gama Aviation, Chesebrough-Pond's, Tetra-Pak, General Electric, and Bunker Ramo. Over 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of corporate office space spread across 12 buildings was constructed by the R.D. Scinto corporation alone.

Downtown revitalization

Plumb Library, about 1905

Efforts are underway to restore nineteenth-century industrial buildings in the downtown area; those that were beyond repair were demolished in the late 1990s and early 2000s and replaced with the Veteran's Memorial and a farmer's market. The 10-acre (40,000 m2) Riverwalk Park next to the Veterans Memorial was created on the site of the former Sponge Rubber Plant. Other buildings along Howe Avenue, one of the city's main thoroughfares, have been restored, while developers have renovated two 19th-century factory buildings on Bridge Street, converting them into luxury condominiums. Several downtown streets have been reconstructed as part of a streetscape improvement project: sidewalks were reconstructed with brick and cobblestone, trees were planted, and some power lines were rerouted underground to improve the appearance of Shelton's central business district. In March 2008, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell announced that after negotiations with State Senator Dan Debicella and State Representative Jason Perillo, state bond funds in the amount of $2 million would be directed toward additional infrastructure improvements leading to over $100 million in private investment in the city's downtown.

Other events

In November 2007, a tree growing on Soundview Avenue in Shelton was selected and felled to be the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

On May 30, 2008, producers and staff for the upcoming movie All Good Things shot one scene on Canal St. in downtown Shelton. The scene was underneath the train trestle and involved one of the characters dragging a body and dumping it into the Housatonic River.

On July 31, 2009, a line of heavy thunderstorms with weak rotation spawned an EF1 tornado, which touched down with wind speeds between 95 and 105 miles per hour. According to WTNH, the most concentrated damage was along the Oronoque Trail, where many trees were blown down. There were no injuries or fatalities.

In November 2013, a tree located on Kazo Drive was picked to be the second Rockefeller Center Christmas tree from Shelton.


Shelton ct historical town sign2
Town historical marker along Route 110

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.9 square miles (83 km2), of which 30.6 square miles (79 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2), or 4.26%, is water.


  • Downtown
  • Corum Gardens (Rhode Island Section)
  • White Hills (Leavenworth Road)
  • Soundview Avenue
  • South End
  • Booth Hill Road
  • Bridgeport Avenue
  • Huntington
  • Pine Rock Park


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 2,742
1800 2,792 1.8%
1810 2,770 −0.8%
1820 2,805 1.3%
1830 1,371 −51.1%
1840 1,326 −3.3%
1850 1,301 −1.9%
1860 1,477 13.5%
1870 1,527 3.4%
1880 2,499 63.7%
1890 4,006 60.3%
1900 5,572 39.1%
1910 6,545 17.5%
1920 9,475 44.8%
1930 10,113 6.7%
1940 10,971 8.5%
1950 12,694 15.7%
1960 18,190 43.3%
1970 27,165 49.3%
1980 31,314 15.3%
1990 35,418 13.1%
2000 38,101 7.6%
2010 39,559 3.8%
2020 40,869 3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 38,101 people, 14,190 households, and 10,543 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,246.4 people per square mile (481.2/km2). There were 14,707 housing units at an average density of 481.1 per square mile (185.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.44% White, 1.12% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.08% Asian, 0.89% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.48% of the population.

There were 14,190 households, out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.9% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.7% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.5% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $67,292, and the median income for a family was $75,523 (these figures had risen to $80,694 and $94,485 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $50,210 versus $36,815 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,893. About 2.5% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.

Landscape, geology, and natural environment

The City of Shelton's goal is to preserve at least 15% of the land as permanently protected, locally controlled open space in the following three forms: City of Shelton Public Open Space properties, Privately owned farmland protected by the purchase of development rights, and properties held by the non-profit Shelton Land Conservation Trust. As of 2009, these forms of open space amount to 13% of the City and more than 2,700 acres (11 km2). The City of Shelton owns close to 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of Public Open Space, Protected Farmland is 411 acres (1.66 km2), and the Shelton Land Trust organization has preserved 364 acres (1.47 km2).

There are over 15 miles (24 km) of hiking trails in Shelton, including a portion of the Paugussett "Blue Blazed" trail, part of a 800-mile (1,300 km) network of hiking trails throughout the state. There is opportunity for fishing, boating, geocaching and letterboxing, hiking, walking and biking. Dogs are welcomed when on leash. There is no hunting on city-owned open space, by ordinance.

The City of Shelton's conservation efforts are served by a city agency in form of the Conservation Commission. The current Chairman is Thomas Harbinson. Further information is maintained at the Commission's official City of Shelton webpages:[1]


There are two private golf courses in town. Highland Golf Club of Shelton is located in the downtown Shelton area where it was founded in 1900, only 6 years after the USGA was organized. It is a 9-hole course (with 10 greens to allow alternating #2 and #11 where the tee shot goes over Perry Hill Road) in which an unknown original designer created difficult greens. The clubhouse's 1920s era structure still remains as the core to the current structure. Brownson Country Club is an 18-hole venue located in the Huntington section of Shelton. There is an annual competition between the clubs for the "Mayor's Trophy", alternating the venue each year. The 2009 Champion and holder of the Trophy is Highland.

Prominent companies

  • Perkin-Elmer houses their Life and Analytical sciences division on Bridgeport Avenue. Perkin-Elmer is best known for building the optical components of the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Shelton is home to Wiffle Ball, Inc., manufacturers of the original Wiffle Ball
  • Prudential Annuities headquarters
  • TranSwitch Corp. headquarters, 3 Enterprise Drive
  • Pitney Bowes employs 1,460 in the city
  • Computershare (formerly Transcentive, Inc.), 2 Enterprise Drive
  • NEC Unified Solutions (formerly Nitsuko America), manufacturer of business telephone systems, 4 Forest Parkway
  • Panolam is headquartered in Shelton
  • Cartier SA has an office in Shelton
  • Tetley USA is headquartered in Shelton
  • BIC Corporation conducts U.S. operations from Shelton
  • Baldwin Technology is headquartered in Shelton
  • Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation has an Overhaul and Repair (O&R) facility in Shelton
  • Digatron Firing Circuits, Inc. is a manufacturer of battery test and formation equipment in Shelton
  • Precision Resource in headquartered in Shelton, 25 Forest Parkway
  • Hubbell Inc. is headquartered in Shelton, 40 Waterview Drive

On the National Register of Historic Places

Indian well at sunset
Indian Well State Park boat launch at Sunset
  • Commodore Hull School — 130 Oak Ave. (added July 30, 1983)
  • Huntington Center Historic District — Roughly along Church and Huntington Sts., from Ripton Rd. to the Farmill River (added April, 2000)
  • Plumb Memorial Library — 47 Wooster St. (added December 7, 1978)


Shelton Public Schools include Shelton High School for grades 9 through 12, Shelton Intermediate School for grades 7 and 8. Perry Hill School for grades 5 and 6, and five primary schools for pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, including Elizabeth Shelton Elementary, Mohegan Elementary School, Long Hill Elementary School, Booth Hill Elementary School, and Sunnyside Elementary School.

Notable people

Birthplace of Isaac Hull
  • Helen Barnes (1895–1925) Ziegfeld Follies Girl
  • Dan Debicella (1974–), the only State Senator (2006–2010) from Shelton since World War II
  • Peter Leo Gerety (1912–2016), Roman Catholic bishop
  • Doug Henry (1969–), Motocross Hall of Famer
  • Isaac Hull (1773–1843), Commodore in the U.S. Navy; commanded USS Constitution among other ships
  • Dan Orlovsky (1983–), Former NFL Quarterback, grew up in Shelton

See also

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