Second Meeting House, Bethel

Second Meeting House, Bethel – Jerry Dougherty

Set in hilly terrain, the town of Bethel in Fairfield County lies near Connecticut’s border with New York. Settled as part of Danbury in 1685, the parish of Bethel, which took its name in 1759 for the Hebrew term meaning “House of God,” incorporated in 1855. Bethel, as part of Danbury, had boasted hat-making factories as early as the late-1700s. The trade remained vital to the town’s economy well into the early 1900s. Today, such firms as Duracell, Inc., and Eaton Corporation, a power management company, call Bethel home. The town is also known as the birthplace of celebrated showman and entrepreneur Phineas Taylor Barnum.

More on Bethel from the CT Digital Archive

Browse more interactive content on the CT Digital Archive website.

Read More


Art Young, Radical Cartoonist

One of the more controversial cartoonists of the early 20th century, Art Young lived much of his life in Bethel. Residents later founded the Art Young Gallery in his memory. …[more]

Learn More


“Bethel Historical Society,” 2011. Link.


Connecticut State Library Digital Collections. “Bethel - WPA Architectural Survey,” 2013. Link.
“Bethel Collection.” Connecticut Digital Archive, n.d. Link.
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries. “Finding Aid to the Cole and Ambler Hat Manufacturers Records,” 2005. Link.
McCarthy, D. “Map of the Boroughs of Danbury and Bethel, Fairfield County, Conn.” Philadelphia, PA: D. McCarthy, n.d. Connecticut Historical Society. Link.
Connecticut Historical Society. “Print - O. Benedict & Co. Fur Hat Manufacturers, Bethel. ca. 1860s,” 2013. Link.
“Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Bethel, Fairfield County, Connecticut.” Library of Congress. Bethel, CT: Sanborn Map Company, 1889. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. Link.


Goodsell, Lewis, and Goodsell, Laura, eds. A History of Bethel, 1759-1976: A Commemorative Book. Bethel,  CT: Bethel Historical Society and Bicentennial Commission, 1976.
Wild, Patrick. Bethel. Dover,  NH: Arcadia, 1996.
Wild, Patrick Tierney. Historic Tales of Bethel, Connecticut. Charleston, SC: History Press, 2011.
Cothren, William. History of Ancient Woodbury, Connecticut, from the First Indian Deed in 1659. Waterbury, CT: Bronson Brothers, 1854. Link.