Waterbury, Connecticut facts for kids
Waterbury skyline from west, with Union Station clock tower at left
The Brass City,
Quid Aere Perennius ("What Is More Lasting Than Brass?")
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
|• Mayor||Neil O'Leary (D)|
|• Total||29.0 sq mi (75.0 km2)|
|• Land||28.5 sq mi (73.9 km2)|
|• Water||0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)|
|Elevation||270 ft (80 m)|
|Highest elevation||820 ft (250 m)|
|Lowest elevation||220 ft (70 m)|
|• Total||109,307 (US: 240th)|
|• Density||3,872.5/sq mi (1,495.2/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0211851|
Waterbury (nicknamed "The Brass City") (pronounced WƆ́-tər-bɛ̀ri) is a city in the U.S. state of Connecticut on the Naugatuck River, 33 miles (45 minutes) southwest of Hartford and 77 miles (90 minutes) northeast of New York City. Waterbury is in New Haven County, Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, Waterbury had a population of 110,366, making it the 10th largest city in the New York Metropolitan Area, 9th largest city in New England and the 5th largest city in Connecticut.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Waterbury had large industrial interests and was the leading center in the United States for the manufacture of brassware (including castings and finishings), as reflected in the nickname the "Brass City" and the city's motto Quid Aere Perennius? ("What Is More Lasting Than Brass?"). It was noted for the manufacture of watches and clocks.
The city is along Interstate 84 (Yankee Expressway) and Route 8 and has a Metro-North railroad station with connections to Grand Central Terminal. Waterbury is also home to Post University and the regional campuses of the University of Connecticut, University of Bridgeport, Western Connecticut State University as well as Naugatuck Valley Community College.
The land was originally inhabited by Native Americans and according to Samuel Orcutt's history, the colonial settlers of Waterbury "found it expedient to purchase the same lands from different tribes, without attempting to decide between their rival claims." The original settlement of Waterbury in 1674 was in the area now known as the Town Plot section. In 1675, the turbulence of King Philip's War caused the new settlement to be vacated until the resumption of peace in 1677, the following colony was west of the first settlement. The original Algonquin inhabitants called the area "Matetacoke" meaning "the interval lands." Thus, the settlement's name was Anglicised to "Mattatuck" in 1673. When the settlement was admitted as the 28th town in the Connecticut Colony in 1686, the name was changed to Waterbury in reference to the numerous streams that emptied into the Naugatuck River from the hills on either side of the valley. At that time, it included all or parts of what later became the towns of Watertown, Plymouth, Wolcott, Prospect, Naugatuck, Thomaston, and Middlebury.
Growth was slow during Waterbury's first hundred years, the lack of arable land due to the constant flooding of the Naugatuck River in particular, discouraged many potential settlers. Furthermore, the residents suffered through a great flood in 1691 and an outbreak of disease in 1712. After a century, Waterbury's population numbered just 5,000.
Waterbury emerged as an early American industrial power in the early 19th century when the city began to manufacture brass, harnessing the waters of the Mad River and the Naugatuck River to power the early factories. The new brass industry attracted many immigrant laborers from all over the world, leading to an influx of diverse nationalities. Waterbury was incorporated as a city in 1853 and, as the "Brass Capital of the World", it gained a reputation for the quality and durability of its goods. Brass and copper supplied by Waterbury was notably used in Nevada's Boulder Dam and found myriad applications across the United States, as well.
Another famous Waterbury product of the mid-19th century was Robert H. Ingersoll's one-dollar pocket watch, five million of which were sold. After this, the clock industry became as important as Waterbury's famed brass industry. Evidence of these two important industries can still be seen in Waterbury, as numerous clocktowers and old brass factories have become landmarks of the city.
In June 1920, labor unrest occurred in the town, with striking workers fighting with police on the street. Over 30 were arrested, mostly Lithuanians, Russians, Poles, and Italians. The strikers numbered some 15,000, with most being employed at Scovill, Chase Rolling Mill, and Chase Metal Works. One striker was shot to death by police.
At its peak during World War II, 10,000 people worked at the Scovill Manufacturing Co, later sold to Century Brass. The city's metal manufacturing mills (Scovill Manufacturing, Anaconda American Brass, and Chase Brass & Copper were the largest) occupied more than 2 million square feet (180,000 m2) and more than 90 buildings.
Notable historic events
- Waterbury's Fr. Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Connecticut, on February 2, 1882. Though the first councils were all in Connecticut, the Order spread throughout the United States in the following years.
- Established in 1894, St. Joseph's Church holds the distinction of being the first Lithuanian worshiping community in Connecticut.
- The first Unico Club was founded in Waterbury in 1922. It now has 8,000 members and 150 regional groups. The membership is composed of business and professional people of Italian lineage or those who are married to an Italian-American. The clubs sponsor educational, cultural and civic programs.
- Sacred Heart was the first Catholic high school in Connecticut, September 6, 1922.
- One of the first full-length sound motion pictures was made in the 1920s at the studios of the Bristol Co. at Platts Mills by Professor William Henry Bristol, who experimented for years with sound pictures.
- The Waterbury Clock Company produced the Mickey Mouse watch in 1933 under the Ingersoll brand. The watch was so popular that over 11,000 were sold the first day, and it saved the company from bankruptcy.
- W1XBS in Waterbury was one of only four radio stations in the country that began experimental high fidelity broadcasting in 1934. The station broadcast at 1530 kc, and joined the CBS Radio Network on December 1, 1938. They moved to 1590 kc and changed the call letters to WBRY in 1941, in accordance with the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement. The station's broadcasting license was cancelled in 1998 to allow New York's WWRL to be upgraded; at the time it had been known as WQQW.
- Victor Zembruski started his Polish Eagles show on Waterbury radio station WATR in 1934. It is now the oldest continuously broadcast show on American radio.
- The Chase Dispensary, a medical clinic for employees of the Chase Brass & Copper Co., opened one of the first birth control clinics in the country in 1938.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.0 square miles (75.0 km2), of which 28.5 square miles (73.9 km2) is land and 0.42 square miles (1.1 km2), or 1.46%, is water.
Waterbury lies in the humid continental climate zone, and normally sees cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers.
|Climate data for Waterbury, Connecticut|
|Average high °F (°C)||35
|Average low °F (°C)||15
|Precipitation inches (mm)||3.64
Waterbury's neighborhoods are shaped by the history and geography of the city.
Ethnic communities distinguish the city's 25 neighborhoods. Clusters of shops at the street corners created villages within the city. For many people, home, work and community life was contained within their neighborhood. Downtown, a short walk away, was "the city", offering live theater, fancy stores, parades and spectacles.
Commuting in the Greater Waterbury area consists of multiple public transportation options. CT Transit operates a significant amount of city buses running from the city center at Exchange Place to various neighborhoods in the city. Metro-North Railroad runs commuter trains multiple times a day between the Waterbury station and Bridgeport, with connections to Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Waterbury’s Union Station, built in 1909 for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, is now closed for use as a railway station and part of the building is now the headquarters of the Republican-American newspaper. Passengers traveling to and from Waterbury board and alight on a concrete platform adjacent to the old station. There are no ticket agents at Waterbury, which is currently the end of the line for the Waterbury Branch.
The two main highways that run through the heart of the city are I-84 (Yankee Expressway) and Route 8. In the downtown area, I-84 and Route 8 are located on the elevated William W. Deady Bridge, known locally as the "MixMaster" with eastbound traffic on the upper deck and westbound traffic on the lower deck. The interchange is ranked as one of the most heavily congested traffic areas in the New York/Connecticut region. Waterbury–Oxford Airport is the primary airport serving the city. The smaller Waterbury Airport is about four miles from the city's central business district.
- See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the census of 2010, there were 110,366 people, 42,761 households, and 26,996 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,866 people per square mile (1,449.7/km2). There were 42,761 housing units at an average density of 1,492.0 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 58.8% White, 20.1% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 14.2% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.2% of the population.
Waterbury has a heavy Italian-American population with 21.46% of its residents claiming Italian heritage. The Italian influence is especially strong in the Town Plot, Brooklyn, and North End neighborhoods. Additionally, the city is home to thriving Albanian, Cape Verdean, Dominican, Brazilian, Jamaican, Portuguese, and Puerto Rican communities. Waterbury has strong Irish roots as well, especially in the Washington Hill section which is home to the city's annual St. Patrick Day's Parade, which, oddly enough, is rarely held on St. Patrick's Day itself. At the beginning of the 21st century, Waterbury had a growing Orthodox Jewish population.
There were 42,622 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.7% were married couples living together, 28.4% had a single householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the city, the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.2 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.
According to the 2014 5-year American Community Survey (conducted 2010–2014, data released December 3, 2015), the median income for a household in the city was $41,136, compared to $69,899 statewide. In Waterbury, 24.2% of the population, or 26,122 residents of the city, lived below the poverty line, compared to 10.5% statewide. In Waterbury, 36.8% of the child population age 0–17, or 9,984 children in the city, lived below the poverty line, compared to 14% statewide.
Waterbury had a significant Jewish population beginning in the late 1800s, initially as a result of German immigration.The first synagogue in Waterbury opened in 1872 In the early 20th century, almost 9,000 Jews immigrated from Eastern Europe, with many fleeing persecution. The Orthodox Jewish community has experienced a renaissance since 2000 due to efforts by educators and developers to create an affordable alternative to the high cost of living in established Orthodox communities in New York and New Jersey. This renaissance began with the founding of the Yeshiva K'tana of Waterbury in 2000; as of 2014, this full-service elementary and middle school has nearly 400 students. Other educational institutions are the Yeshiva Gedolah of Waterbury, which includes a mesivta high school and beit medrash (undergraduate) program for approximately 230 students, a Bais Yaakov school for girls, and a kolel. As of the end of 2014, the Waterbury Orthodox community numbers 180 families and includes a mikveh, eruv, and community services such as Hatzalah and Chaverim.
Waterbury is home to Connecticut's Consulate General of Portugal, which has its office downtown on East Main Street.
- Pontelandolfo, Benevento, Italy
- Struga, Macedonia
- Constructed by the architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White of New York for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company, the Union Station on Meadow Street was modeled after the Torre del Mangia at the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena, Italy. It cost $332,000 to build in 1909. The clocktower is 240 feet (73 m) high and has 318 steps. The clock was made by Seth Thomas Co. with a dial 16 feet (4.9 m) in diameter with 5-foot (1.5 m) tall Roman numerals. The eight she-wolf gargoyles are a reminder of the myth of Romulus and Remus. The tower opened July 12, 1909. Union Station is now the home of the Waterbury Republican-American newspaper, and the city's Metro-North railroad station is on a platform next to the building. In 2016, the Union Station Clocktower began structural renovations to fix damages, resulting from years of cold temperatures.
- Municipal Stadium was built in 1930 originally as a dog track which explains its unique, if not odd, layout. It holds 6,000 people. It is somewhat unusual in that it only has permanent stands along the first-base line, while bleachers lie along the third-base side. It was home to minor league baseball for the majority of its existence, beginning in 1947 with the Colonial League and from 1966 to 1986 with the AA Eastern League as an affiliate of the Dodgers, Reds, Giants, Indians, Pirates, A's, and Angels. In 1997 the stadium became home to the Waterbury Spirit which spent four seasons in the Independent League. Several future major leaguers played at the stadium, including Bobby Bonds, Paul O'Neill, Wally Joyner, Cory Snyder, and Danny Tartabull. It is now used for sporting events, primarily football and baseball, for most of the city's high schools and Little Leagues. The stadium has also been home to a few historic events. Woman's softball pitcher Joan Joyce struck out Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky in order in the stadium, and in 1947 several members of the New York Yankees including Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, and Spec Shea, played an exhibition game against the Waterbury Timers in the stadium.
- The Apothecary Building, the focal point of Exchange Place in the center of Waterbury at the intersection of South Main and Bank streets, was built in 1893 and housed the Apothecaries Hall Pharmacy for over 70 years. In August 2010, PM Architecture in New York City announced plans to convert the Apothecary, into 12 luxury apartments. The project was completed in Fall of 2013.
- The 2,500-pound (1,100 kg) statue on the Carrie Welton Fountain on the east end of the Green is in memory of Caroline Josephine Welton's black stallion, Knight, and her love of animals. The fountain was dedicated November 10, 1888.
- Sculpted by former Waterbury resident George Edwin Bissell as a tribute to the whole Civil War experience, the 48-foot-high (15 m) bronze Soldiers' Monument on the west end of the Green was cast in Paris and cost $25,000. It was dedicated October 23, 1884. Other Bissell works include the Memorial to Scottish American soldiers of the Civil War located in Edinburgh, Scotland, and many statues in Riverside Cemetery, including one of Waterbury Civil War hero, Col. John L. Chatfield. The poem on the Soldiers Monument, by Dr. Joseph Anderson of Waterbury history fame, was included in the Library of American Literature:
- Designed by Luis Fucito for the City of Waterbury for about $55,000, it was intended in honor of all those who have served in the wars of the United States. The 15-foot (4.6 m) star was dedicated on May 30, 1958, and is located on the west end of the Green.
- Built in 1905, the Elton Hotel on the Waterbury Green was a grand hotel which served as the starting point for the "Ideal Tour". Created by the Elton's first manager, Almon Judd, this tour created a convoy of early automobiles which journeyed to New England resorts. The Elton was considered one of New England's most elegant hotels until the 1960s, when it became the Roger Smith Hotel. It is now an assisted living facility. President John F. Kennedy made a campaign speech from the balcony of the hotel on Sunday, November 6, 1960. Forty thousand people waited until 3 am on the Green to greet then Senator John F. Kennedy who spoke to them from the balcony of the hotel. A plaque was later added to the building to commemorate the occasion. Also on the building is a plaque commemorating the establishment of Unico National in the city in 1922.
- The Cass Gilbert National Register District came about after nationally renowned architect Cass Gilbert won a competition to design Waterbury's City Hall building on Grand Street, which was completed in 1915. Gilbert was then hired to design the Chase Headquarters Building (facing City Hall and now a municipal building housing the mayor's office); a bank building next to City Hall; the Lincoln House and the Chase Dispensary buildings on Field Street; and the Waterbury Club on West Main Street (demolished in the 1960s); and coordinated the landscaping of Library Park with the Olmsted Brothers in the 1920s.
- A Christopher Columbus statue was completed by sculptor Frank Gaylord of Barre, Vermont, for the Christopher Columbus Committee and the Waterbury Unico National Club at a total cost of $45,000, $25,000 for the statue and $20,000 for the base. The 12-foot (3.7 m) Christopher Columbus statue is made of granite and weighs 12,000 pounds (5,400 kg). Standing in front of City Hall, this statue was dedicated October 12, 1984. The Christopher Columbus Time Capsule, closed October 12, 1992 to be opened October 12, 2092, is behind the monument. The base of the sculpture reads: Cristoforo Columbo 1451–1506 Discover of America October 12, 1492
- The Ben Franklin statue seated in front of the Silas Bronson Library on Grand Street was designed by renowned sculptor Paul Wayland Bartlett, a one-time Waterbury resident. The 1,700-pound (770 kg) statue was made possible by a $15,000 donation from Elisha Leavenworth. After completion, it made a 22-city tour, with celebrations in each city, from Baltimore to Boston and then to Waterbury where it was dedicated June 3, 1921.
- The Waterbury Courthouse on the corner of Grand and Meadow streets, with its graceful curved facade and brass-bedecked entranceway, was the headquarters of the Anaconda American Brass Company for over 50 years. A large addition was put on the building in 1998.
- The Waterbury Clock Company buildings on Cherry Avenue were constructed in 1857. By the end of the 19th century, the company employed 3,000 workers and turned out 20,000 clocks and watches a day. The Great Depression sent the Waterbury Clock Co. into receivership, and the company was eventually purchased by Thomas Olsen (owner and operator of Fred. Olsen Shipping Co.) and Joakim Lehmkuhl of Norway during World War II to aid in the war effort, becoming the largest producer of fuse timers for precision defense products in the United States. The company was renamed the United States Time Corporation in 1944 following its wartime success. Manufacturing operations here ceased when production was moved to a new factory in Middlebury, Connecticut, in 1942, and the buildings now house several small businesses. The company still operates today as Timex Group USA, maintaining its headquarters in Middlebury.
- The 175 ton, 60-foot-long (18 m) Harrub Pilgrim Memorial was carved out of French granite by Hermon Atkins MacNeil of New York. Charles Harrub, an engineer for the American Brass Company, donated the $100,000 needed for the project to honor his wife and the Pilgrims. Dedicated October 11, 1930, at its original location at the entrance to Chase Park across from the Freight Street bridge, it was moved for the construction of the Interstate Route 84 / Route 8 interchange and is now located at the corner of Highland Avenue and Chase Parkway.
- Chief Two Moon Meridas Laboratory is on East Main Street. He built it in 1925 and manufactured his world-famous herbal medications there until his death in 1933. The Indian Heads and two moons engraved on the front exterior walls have recently been removed.
- Holy Land USA was an 18-acre (73,000 m2) park in Waterbury, representing a miniature Jerusalem and Bethlehem. It was one of Connecticut's biggest tourist attractions in the 1960s and 1970s, with 50,000 visitors per year. Holy Land USA was built in the 1950s by local attorney John Baptist Greco. The 50-foot (15 m) cross was designed and built by Frank Veto Lyman. This steel cross was once lit up purple for Lent and red for the Christmas season. Holy Land USA closed in 1984. Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart spoofed Holy Land in a November 2002 segment with correspondent Stephen Colbert satirically comparing the park to Israel. The cross was one of Waterbury's most beloved and prominent landmarks. Illuminated at night, it was a beacon seen from many homes and thousands of motorists passing daily on highways below. Pilots even used it for orientation. The original cross was 32 feet (9.8 m) tall and was erected in 1956. The cross was dedicated to world peace in a ceremony attended by 1,200 people in November of that year. It was the beginning of Holy Land. That original cross was replaced in 1968, by a cross of steel girders and plastic that housed fluorescent lights that reached 56 feet (17 m) into the sky. That cross was dedicated to peace and also to the slain John and Robert Kennedy. In April 2008, workmen took down the former, damaged cross, and in June 2008, a new 50-foot (15 m) cross was blessed and rededicated by Archbishop Henry J. Mansell. In October 2013, the smaller, un-illuminated steel cross was removed to make way for a new 52 feet (16 m) internally lit steel cross, dedicated on December 22, 2013.
- The Mattatuck Museum Arts and History Center is the only museum in Connecticut dedicated to collecting and exhibiting Connecticut artists and sculptors. Previously housed in the historic Kendrick House on the other side of the Green, the museum moved to the former Masonic Temple in 1986. The renovation and construction was designed by noted Argentine-born architect Cesar Pelli. Exhibits in the ground floor galleries reveal the history of Waterbury and surrounding towns. New additions to the history exhibit include an interactive display about the region's slavery history. Recent additions to the art collections include a gallery display about Alexander Calder and a "Giant Critter" designed by Calder in the museum's courtyard.
- Another educational landmark of Waterbury is the Timexpo Museum. The museum, which is in what were formerly factory buildings of the Scovill Manufacturing Company, opened to the public in May 2001. There are three floors of exhibits that explore the heritage of the world-famous Timex Group, tracing back to its early days as the Waterbury Clock Company. Visitors can witness the birth and growth of Timex, enjoying demonstrations of the inner workings of clock and watches. Within the museum there are a variety of hands on exhibits with craft activities, and computer interactions.
- Before the Brass Mill Center Mall was built, the Naugatuck Valley Shopping Mall was the main shopping center of the area. It was located on Wolcott Street and built in August 1969. The Naugatuck Valley Mall first opened with an interior movie theater and two well-known anchors in the Connecticut area: Sears and G. Fox.
- The Brass Mill Center & Commons is a shopping venue built on the site of old Scovill Manufacturing Co. factory buildings near the center of Waterbury. It houses many stores and restaurants including Old Navy, American Eagle, Hollister Co., Barnes & Noble, Chili's, IHOP, Bertucci's, Macy's, JCPenney, Sears, Burlington Coat Factory.
- Originally opened in 1922, the Palace Theatre was home to films and vaudeville shows. It operated for nearly seventy years before being closed in 1987. Thanks to the financial backing of the State of Connecticut and the support of then-Governor Rowland, the theatre reopened on November 12, 2004.
- The Chase Collegiate School is a private day school formerly known as Saint Margaret's-McTernan established in 1865 by Chase Brass and Copper Company.
- Minicucci's Men's Clothing Store, the oldest store in downtown Waterbury, closed in late 2009. Minicucci's was owned by Arnold Minicucci who inherited the store from his father, Erasamo Minicucci. The store was founded in the early 20th century and was located on Bank Street.
On the National Register of Historic Places
- George S. Abbott Building
- Bank Street Historic District
- Benedict-Miller House
- Beth El Synagogue
- Bishop School
- Downtown Waterbury Historic District
- Elton Hotel
- Enoch Hibbard House and George Grannis House
- Hamilton Park
- Lewis Fulton Memorial Park
In popular culture
- Waterbury radio station WWCO and disk jockey Les Davis were featured in an article in the April 25, 1955 issue of Life Magazine.
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the most famous of James Thurber's short stories, is set in Waterbury in the 1930s.
- Waterbury-born John Fusco, noted screenwriter and novelist, wrote Paradise Salvage (Simon & Schuster 2001), a novel set in Waterbury. The Italian-American coming-of-age story was inspired by several incidents of civic corruption in the Brass City.
- Gladys Taber's romance novel, Give Me the Stars (1945), was set in Waterbury and in the Chase Brass & Copper Company's factory, giving vivid depictions of factory life during World War II.
- The Today Show on NBC was broadcast from the Hotel Elton on August 18, 1955, to cover the festivities for the world premiere of Waterbury native Rosalind Russell's movie The Girl Rush at the State Theater that evening. A major flood on August 19, 1955, caused over 50 million dollars in property damage and the deaths of 29 Waterbury residents; The Today Show provided live coverage of the flood to the country.
- Waterbury appeared in Ken Burns' documentary miniseries The War as one of four American towns whose history and residents' experiences during World War II were examined in depth.
- In the canonical 1949 Arthur Miller play, Death of a Salesman, the main character Willy Loman mentions Waterbury as one of his recent stops on a business trip.
- The musical Mad Bomber, written by Waterbury native Charles Monagan with music by Waterburian Richard DeRosa, premiered June 2011 at Waterbury's Seven Angels Theatre. The story, set in New York City and Waterbury, depicts the life and crimes (and capture) of Waterbury's notorious Mad Bomber, George Metesky.
- The name "Waterbury" appears in the cargo hold on the ship when traveling across the ocean in the 2012 game Assassin's Creed III.
- Waterbury is a main gathering point for rebels in "Requiem," the third book in Lauren Oliver's Delirium Series.
- Waterbury shares a name with the setting of the movie Happy Gilmore, although it never mentions what state the city in located in. Sandler has stated the movie was based on his childhood growing up in Manchester, New Hampshire. Contrary to the movie, there is no golf tournament named The Waterbury Open.
Waterbury, Connecticut Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.