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Industrial scene where several men are working at a manufactured gas plant

Early Connecticut Gas Light Companies

The first private gas light companies in Connecticut appeared just before 1850 in New Haven, Hartford, and Bridgeport.


Southern New England Telephone Company Operator School

Connecticut’s First Female Telephone Operator – Today in History: March 24

On March 24, 1879, Marjorie Gray became Connecticut’s first female telephone operator.


Image of an advertisement with a red train coming through a mountain and a boy in white clothing waving. There is a body of water next to the train with two boats. The tagline reads "Ives Toys Make Happy Boys." Catalog 1925

The Ives Manufacturing Company: Connecticut’s Foremost Toy Maker

The Ives Manufacturing Company—arguably Connecticut’s most famous toy company—became known for its variety of clockwork toys and trains.


Early letter penned by P.T. Barnum referencing his lottery

P. T. Barnum’s Lottery

Known for entertainment, this showman gained experience in engaging the public, and profiting from it, by running a lottery in Bethel.


Map shows the neighborhood where the murder took place

Murder on the Map: The Mysterious Death of Captain George M. Colvocoresses

August 26, 2022 • Bridgeport, Crime and Punishment

At first glance, this hand-drawn map appears unremarkable but it depicts the scene of a sensational crime in Bridgeport.


The Black Panther Party in Connecticut: Community Survival Programs

The Black Panthers had a significant presence in Connecticut in the 1960s and ’70s, particularly through community programs aimed to serve minorities living in the state’s more urban areas.


Edwin Land Inventor of the Polaroid Born – Today in History: May 7

On May 7, 1909, Edwin Herbert Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation, was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut.


Excelsior Cutlery

Connecticut Pocketknife Firms

Connecticut pocketknife production began around 1840. Over the next two decades, Connecticut became the earliest state to have a burgeoning craft.


America’s First Ordained Woman Minister: Olympia Brown and Bridgeport’s Universalist Church

March 5, 2022 • Bridgeport, Belief, Women

Long-time Bridgeport resident Olympia Brown was the first woman ordained as a minister in the United States and campaigned vigorously for women’s suffrage.


Inventor Charles F. Ritchel

Charles Ritchel and the Dirigible

An entrepreneur’s design for a lighter-than-air vehicle takes flight in the late 1800s and inspires a new state industry.


WPKN blocks on top of an on the air sign in the WPKN radio station

Bridgeport’s WPKN: Going Strong After Half a Century

Bridgeport’s community radio station, WPKN, is still going strong after half a century, offering unique and eclectic programming.


Mambo for Cats by Jim Flora

Jim Flora Captures 20th-Century Pop Culture

From jazz album covers to magazines and children’s books, Rowayton artist Jim Flora created works that helped document life in 20th-century America.


“Tom Thumb” Born – Today in History: January 4

Charles Stratton, born in Bridgeport on January 4, 1838, toured the world with P. T. Barnum under the name, General Tom Thumb.


Postcard of Beechmont Dairy in Bridgeport, CT

Beechmont Dairy: Bridgeport’s Ice Cream to Die For

Joseph Niedermeier Sr. founded the Beechmont Dairy in Bridgeport in 1906—a popular local business for over 60 years.


The “Red Scare” in Connecticut

The Palmer Raids, launched in Connecticut in 1919, were part of the “Red Scare” paranoia that resulted in numerous civil rights violations committed by law enforcement officials.


Section of the map "Connecticut, from actual survey" (1813)

Caleb Brewster: A Patriot Against Freedom

Caleb Brewster—Fairfield, Connecticut’s resident member of the Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War—was also an active participant in the African Slave Trade.


The Rise of the Black Panther Party in Connecticut

The Black Panther Party in Connecticut fought for an end to discriminatory legal and regulatory practices, often clashing with authorities to achieve their goals.


The Wheeler & Wilson Ruffler

Wheeler & Wilson: A Stitchy Situation in Watertown

The Watertown firm of Wheeler & Wilson Manufacturing produced one of the most successful products of the late 19th century.


A Pie Tin’s Soaring Sales

Tins used to hold pies at William Frisbie’s pie company in Bridgeport in the late 1800s reportedly provided the inspiration for Wham-O’s most popular toy, the Frisbee.


Hubbell’s Pull-Chain Electrical Light Socket – Today in History: August 11

On August 11, 1896, Bridgeport inventor and industrialist Harvey Hubbell patented a socket for incandescent lamps.


Entrance to Steeplechase Island, Bridgeport

A Unique Island Attraction in Bridgeport

When Bridgeport annexed the borough of West Stratford in 1889, the acquisition came with a a small 37-acre parcel of land on a barrier island at the mouth of Bridgeport Harbor.


Bridgeport’s Catastrophic 1911 Train Wreck

In the early morning hours of July 11, 1911, a train derailed in Bridgeport, killing fourteen people. Among the first responders were members of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team.


The Barnum & Bailey Greatest Show on Earth. Miss Rose Meers, the Greatest living lady rider

P. T. Barnum: An Entertaining Life

Once declared “the most widely known American that ever lived,” this showman’s life story is as colorful as the entertainments he provided in the mid-1800s.


The Collapse of the L’Ambiance Plaza

On April 23, 1987, twenty-eight workers lost their lives during a collapse at the L’Ambiance Plaza construction site in Bridgeport.


The Influence of Woman, Harper's Weekly, 1862

Bridgeport Women Answer the Call – Today in History: April 15

On April 15, 1861, the women of Bridgeport created the nation’s first soldiers’ aid society during the American Civil War.


Advertising card of the Dr. Warner’s Caroline Corset

From Bombs to Bras: World War I Conservation Measures Transform the Lives of Women

A shortage of metal during World War I encouraged women’s clothing manufacturers (such as Bridgeport’s Warner Brothers Corset Company) to switch from producing corsets to brassieres.


Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stratton

Charles Stratton and Lavinia Warren Wed – Today in History: February 10

He was rich, handsome and famous, she was considered a great beauty and their wedding was front page news around the nation.


Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses, Bridgeport, photograph ca. 1998

Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses

The Mary and Eliza Freeman houses are the only remnants of “Little Liberia,” a settlement of free African Americans in Bridgeport that began in 1831.


Bryant Electric Items from the 1930s

The Rise and Fall of Manufacturing in Bridgeport: The Case of Bryant Electric

For one hundred years Bryant Electric was a staple of Bridgeport industry, adapting to the challenges of the changing industrial landscape in America.


Monumental Bronze Company

The Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport was the only producer of a unique type of grave marker in the United States between 1874 and 1914.


Fayerweather Island Lighthouse, Bridgeport, Connecticut

Kate Moore: Lighthouse Keeper and Coast Guard Heroine

In the 1800s, Kate Moore was pioneering lighthouse keeper in Bridgeport, assuming her responsibilities at age twelve.


Separable Attachment Plug

First US Detachable Electric Plug – Today in History: November 8

On November 8, 1904, Harvey Hubbell II patented the first detachable electric plug in the United States.


Honiss Oyster House, Hartford

Oystering in Connecticut, from Colonial Times to the 21st Century

Why tasty Crassostrea virginica deserves its honored title as state shellfish.


Caleb Brewster and the Culper Spy Ring

Caleb Brewster used his knowledge of Long Island Sound to serve as a member of the Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War.


Hartford Jai Alai players, 1976

“The Basque Game in Town”: The Heyday of Jai Alai in Connecticut

Organized jai alai came to Connecticut in the 1970s, but charges of corruption soon brought the sport to an end in the Nutmeg State.


Daniel J. Hoffman, St. Louis Browns

A Real Connecticut Yankee’s Baseball Career Cut Short

An up-and-coming baseball star discovered playing on the lots of Collinsville, Danny Hoffman played in the majors before joining the New York Yankees.


Bridgeport’s Walt Kelly, Creator of Pogo

April 11, 2020 • Bridgeport, Darien, Arts, Popular Culture

Bridgeport resident Walt Kelly was the creator of Pogo, a wildly popular comic strip during the middle of the 20th century.


Bridgeport: The First Borough

February 26, 2020 • Bridgeport, Politics and Government

Bridgeport, by a special act of the state’s General Assembly in October 1800, became the first borough created in Connecticut.


Mr. and Mrs. Charles Stratton

Charles Stratton and Lavinia Warren Wed – Today in History: February 10

He was rich, handsome and famous, she was considered a great beauty and their wedding was front page news around the nation.


A 1947 Movie Details the Unsolved Murder of a Bridgeport Priest

An unusual murder of a Bridgeport, Connecticut, priest in 1924 inspired the movie, Boomerang!, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 1947.


P. T. Barnum Dies – Today in History: April 7

On April 7, 1891, the showman and entertainer, P. T. (Phineas Taylor) Barnum died in Bridgeport.


USS Bexar tour, bazooka demonstration

The Bazooka Changes War – Today in History: June 14

On June 14, 1942, the General Electric Company in Bridgeport finished production on the “Launcher, Rocket AT, M-1,” better known as the bazooka.


Perry Memorial Arch, Entrance to Seaside Park, Bridgeport

The Park City – Who Knew?

Bridgeport’s nickname is the “Park City” due to its public parks.


Bridgeport, Conn., 1882

A Bird’s-eye View of Bridgeport

The lower perspective of this 1882 example is somewhat atypical of most of the bird’s-eye views of the era, but its emphasis on industrial accomplishment is a hallmark of the genre.


Over Time: Bridgeport’s Historical Population

June 12, 2014 • Hide Featured Image, Bridgeport

Census data, from colonial times on up to the present, is a key resource for those who study the ways in which communities change with the passage of time.


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