Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Bridgeport
City
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Clockwise from top: Downtown Bridgeport, the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, the United Congregational Church, St. Patrick's Church, and the P.T. Barnum Museum
Clockwise from top: Downtown Bridgeport, the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, the United Congregational Church, St. Patrick's Church, and the P.T. Barnum Museum
Flag of Bridgeport
Flag
Official seal of Bridgeport
Seal
Nickname(s): The Park City, The Port, B-Port, BPT, "Philly & Boston's Midpoint"
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°11′11″N 73°11′44″W / 41.18639°N 73.19556°W / 41.18639; -73.19556Coordinates: 41°11′11″N 73°11′44″W / 41.18639°N 73.19556°W / 41.18639; -73.19556
Country United States
State Connecticut
County Fairfield
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region Greater Bridgeport
Incorporated (town) 1821
Incorporated (city) 1836
Government
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Bill Finch
Area
 • City 19.4 sq mi (50.2 km2)
 • Land 16.0 sq mi (41.4 km2)
 • Water 3.4 sq mi (8.8 km2)
 • Urban 9,014.3 sq mi (3,843.8 km2)
Elevation 3 ft (1 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • City 144,229
 • Estimate (2013)[2] 147,216
 • Rank US: 172nd
 • Density 8,720.9/sq mi (3,354/km2)
 • Urban 923,311 (US: 48th)
 • Metro 939,904 (US: 57th)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06601, 06602, 06604, 06605, 06606, 06607, 06608, 06610, 06650, 06673, 06699[3]
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-08000
GNIS feature ID 0205720
Website City of Bridgeport

Bridgeport is the most populous city in the state of Connecticut. Located in Fairfield County on the Pequonnock River and Long Island Sound, the city had a population of 144,229 in the 2010 United States Census[4] and is the core of the Greater Bridgeport area.

The city is part of the Greater New York City Combined Statistical Area. It is the fifth-largest city in New England (behind Boston, Worcester, Providence and Springfield). Bridgeport is the center of the 48th-largest urban area in the United States, just behind Hartford (47th). Much of Bridgeport was originally a part of the township of Stratford.

English colonists began settling the city in the 1640s, obtaining land from the Paugussett Indian tribe. The settlement became a center of trade, shipbuilding, and whaling. In the 19th century, the city rapidly industrialized, attracting immigrants to the growing number of factory jobs. Manufacturing was the mainstay of the local economy until the 1970s. Industrial restructuring and suburbanization caused the loss of many jobs and affluent residents, leaving Bridgeport struggling with problems of poverty. In the 21st century, conversion of office and factory buildings to residential use and other redevelopment is attracting new residents.

The circus-promoter and former mayor, P.T. Barnum, was a famous resident of the city. Barnum built three houses there, and housed his circus in town during winters. The first Subway restaurant opened in the North End section of the city in 1965.[5] The Frisbie Pie Company was located here, and Bridgeport is credited as the birthplace of the Frisbee.[6]

History[edit]

The first documented English settlement within the city limits took place in 1644, centered at Black Rock Harbor and along North Avenue between Park and Briarwood Avenues. The place was called Pequonnock ('Cleared Land' in the Quripi language), after the name of the Native American people, a band of the Paugussett, who had historically occupied this area. One of their sacred sites was Golden Hill, site of powerful springs and planting fields, now blasted through for an expressway.[7][8] The Golden Hill Indians were granted a reservation here by the Colony of Connecticut in 1639 that survived until 1802 (it exists today in adjoining Trumbull). A village called Newfield began to coalesce around the corner of State and Water Streets in the 1760s.[9]

The area officially became known as Stratfield in 1701 due to its location between the already existing towns of Stratford and Fairfield.[10] During the American Revolution, Bridgeport and its harbor were a center of privateering.[8] In 1800, Newfield village was incorporated as the Borough of Bridgeport (the first such incorporation in the state), and in 1821 the township of Bridgeport became independent of Stratford. Bridgeport was chartered as Connecticut's fifth city in 1836.[11]

Bridgeport's early years were marked by residents' reliance on fishing and farming, not altogether different from the economy of the Native American Paugussett. They had cultivated corn, beans and squash, and fished and gathered shellfish from both the river and sound. The city's location on the sheltered Newfield Harbor fostered a boom in shipbuilding and whaling in the early-19th century, especially prior to the opening of a railroad from the city up the Housatonic Valley in 1840.[12][13] A railroad connection to New York City and New Haven was added in 1848. The city rapidly industrialized in the mid-19th century, when it became a major center. It produced such goods as the famous Bridgeport milling machine, brass fittings, carriages, sewing machines, brassieres, saddles, and ammunition.[14] Bridgeport annexed the West End and the village of Black Rock and its busy harbor in 1870.[15]

Eastern View of Bridgeport, Con. by John Warner Barber (1836)

Industrialization was underway by the mid-19th century. Famous factories included Wheeler & Wilson, which produced sewing machines and exported them throughout the world, and the Locomobile Company of America, builder of one of the premier automobiles in the early years of the century.[16] In the summer of 1915, amid increased labor demand as men were drafted for World War I, workers in Bridgeport called a series of strikes demanding the eight-hour day. They were so successful that the strikes and the eight-hour day spread throughout the Northeast.[17] By 1930, Bridgeport was a thriving industrial center with more than 500 factories. Since the late 19th century, its industrial jobs had attracted the most recent immigrants: Irish, Italians and Eastern Europeans. The build-up to World War II further helped its industries.[18] Additionally, Columbia Records' primary pressing plant was located in Bridgeport. It manufactured the Columbia OKeh (after 1926), as well as their dime-store labels (Harmony, Velvet Tone, Diva and Clarion).

Restructuring of heavy industry starting after the mid-20th century caused the loss of thousands of jobs and residents. Like other urban centers in Connecticut, Bridgeport suffered during the deindustrialization of the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.[19] Continued development of new suburban housing attracted middle and upper-class residents, leaving the city with a higher proportion of poor. The city suffered from overall mismanagement, for which several city officials were convicted, contributing to the economic and social decline.[20]

In September 1978, Bridgeport teachers went on a 19-day strike due to deadlocked contract negotiations. A court order, as well as a state law that made strikes by public workers illegal in Connecticut, resulted in 274 teachers being arrested and jailed.[21]

A portion of the harbor in Bridgeport. Facilities shown are part of the United Illuminating coal-fired power plant

Like other northeastern cities suffering from the effects of post-World War II industrial decline, Bridgeport made numerous efforts at revitalization. In one proposal Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn was to build a large casino, but that project failed to be implemented. In 1991, the city filed for bankruptcy protection but was declared solvent by a federal court.[22] However, in the early 21st century, Bridgeport has taken steps toward redevelopment of its downtown and other neighborhoods. In 2004, artists' lofts were developed in the former Read's Department Store on Broad Street. Several other rental conversions have been completed, including the 117-unit Citytrust bank building on Main Street. The recession has halted, at least temporarily, two major mixed-use projects including a $1 billion waterfront development at Steel Point, but other redevelopment projects have proceeded, such as the condominium conversion project in Bijou Square.[23] In 2009, the City Council approved a new master plan for development, designed both to promote redevelopment in selected areas and to protect existing residential neighborhoods.[24] In 2010, the Bridgeport Housing Authority and a local health center announced plans to build a $20 million medical and housing complex at Albion Street, making use of federal stimulus funds and designed to replace some of the housing lost with the demolition of Father Panik Village.[25]

Notable speeches[edit]

On March 10, 1860, Abraham Lincoln spoke in the city's Washington Hall, an auditorium at the old Bridgeport City Hall (now McLevy Hall), at the corner of State and Broad streets. The largest room in the city was packed, and a crowd formed outside as well. Lincoln received a standing ovation before taking the 9:07 p.m. train that night back to Manhattan.[26][27] A plaque marks the site where Lincoln spoke; later that year, he was elected president.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke three times at the Klein Auditorium during the 1960s. Additionally, President George W. Bush spoke before a small group of Connecticut business people and officials at the Playhouse on the Green in 2006.[28] President Barack Obama also spoke at the Harbor Yard arena in 2010 to gain support for the campaign of Democratic Governor Dan Malloy.[29]

Emergency services[edit]

Emergency Medical Services[edit]

EMS is provide by American Medical Response of Connecticut, Inc - Fairfield County Operations Division. Paramedic and EMT level ambulance service transport service are provided in conjunction with the Bridgeport Fire Department.

Fire department[edit]

The Bridgeport Fire Department provides fire protection and first responder emergency medical services to the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States.[30] The Bridgeport Fire Department serves nearly 147,000 people living in approximately 16 square miles of land.

Tracing its roots to 1796, the Bridgeport Fire Department protects Connecticut's largest city. Bridgeport's first step toward independence occurred when the Corporation of Newfield was formed in 1797 for the express purpose of forming a fire company. Through the years, the firefighters have continued to play a significant role in Bridgeport's history. The history of the paid Bridgeport Fire Department began in 1871, when the department began shedding its "paid-on-call" firemen and replacing them with full-time paid members, a process which was completed by 1911.

Law enforcement[edit]

Five law enforcement agencies serve Bridgeport: two at the city level, one at the county level, and two at the state level.

Medical care[edit]

The community has two hospitals, Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent's Medical Center. The former Park City Hospital closed in 1993 and was reopened in 2010 as elderly and homeless housing units.[31] Emergency medical services are provided by American Medical Response at the paramedic level.

Animal control[edit]

Located for many years at 525 Asylum Street, in 2008 Bridgeport Animal Control moved to 236 Evergreen Street. This location was the previous housing quarters for the Shoreline Star Greyhounds and once housed over 800 dogs. The animal control facility is the largest in the state of Connecticut, handling more than 1500 to 2000 animals yearly. The new facilities consist of three buildings: one for administration and two for animal holding. One serves for quarantine for the seven-day holding period, and the second is the adoption building. The new shelter can house up to 80 dogs and 25 cats. The largest breed of dog the shelter deals with is the pit bull. The BAC does not pick up cats or wildlife unless they are sick or injured.[32]

Geography and climate[edit]

Climate[edit]

Bridgeport is located along Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Pequonnock River, named for the Native American tribe who historically lived along it.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.4 square miles (50 km2), of which 16.0 square miles (41 km2) is land and 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2), or 17.53%, is water.

Under the Köppen climate classification, Bridgeport straddles the humid subtropical (Cfa) and a humid continental (Dfa), with some maritime influence; it is part of USDA hardiness zone 7a.[33] The normal average monthly temperature ranges from 30.1 °F (−1.1 °C) in January to 74.3 °F (23.5 °C) in July; on average, there are 20 days where the temperature remains at or below freezing and 7.6 days with a high at or above 90 °F (32 °C) annually; the last year to not reach the latter mark was 2004.[34] Temperatures reaching 0 °F (−18 °C) or 100 °F (38 °C) are rare, and were last seen respectively on February 24, 2015 and July 22, 2011.[34] The record low is −7 °F (−22 °C), set on January 22, 1984, while the record high is 103 °F (39 °C), set on July 22 in 1957 and 2011.[34]

Precipitation averages 42.7 inches (1,080 mm) annually, and is somewhat evenly distributed throughout the year, though March and April are the wettest months in terms of total precipitation. Snowfall averages 27.6 inches (70 cm) per winter, falling almost entirely from December to March. As is typical of coastal Conneticut, snow cover does not usually remain for long, with an average of 29 days per winter with snow cover of at least 1 inch (2.5 cm).

Climate data for Bridgeport, Connecticut (Sikorsky Airport), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1948–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
(20)
67
(19)
84
(29)
91
(33)
97
(36)
97
(36)
103
(39)
100
(38)
99
(37)
89
(32)
78
(26)
76
(24)
103
(39)
Average high °F (°C) 37.1
(2.8)
39.7
(4.3)
47.2
(8.4)
57.7
(14.3)
67.6
(19.8)
77.0
(25)
82.2
(27.9)
80.9
(27.2)
74.0
(23.3)
63.3
(17.4)
53.1
(11.7)
42.3
(5.7)
60.2
(15.7)
Average low °F (°C) 23.0
(−5)
25.2
(−3.8)
31.4
(−0.3)
41.0
(5)
50.6
(10.3)
60.4
(15.8)
66.4
(19.1)
65.8
(18.8)
58.3
(14.6)
46.5
(8.1)
38.0
(3.3)
28.4
(−2)
44.6
(7)
Record low °F (°C) −7
(−22)
−5
(−21)
4
(−16)
18
(−8)
31
(−1)
41
(5)
49
(9)
44
(7)
36
(2)
26
(−3)
16
(−9)
−4
(−20)
−7
(−22)
Precipitation inches (mm) 3.10
(78.7)
2.79
(70.9)
4.05
(102.9)
4.13
(104.9)
3.80
(96.5)
3.61
(91.7)
3.46
(87.9)
3.96
(100.6)
3.48
(88.4)
3.64
(92.5)
3.39
(86.1)
3.33
(84.6)
42.74
(1,085.7)
Snowfall inches (cm) 7.7
(19.6)
8.1
(20.6)
5.1
(13)
0.9
(2.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.7
(1.8)
5.1
(13)
27.6
(70.3)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch) 10.9 9.7 11.3 11.0 11.8 11.1 8.9 8.9 8.2 8.8 10.0 11.1 121.7
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch) 4.8 3.5 2.4 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.5 3.1 14.6
Source: NOAA[34][35]

Neighborhoods[edit]

1912 postcard showing Main Street in Bridgeport
Historical postcard showing Bridgeport Harbor
1941 postcard showing Fairfield County Courthouse in Bridgeport

Bridgeport comprises eight major subdivisions, most of which are divided into smaller neighborhoods:

  • Downtown Bridgeport is the site of the original seaport village of "Newfield" that began to develop in the 1760s and became an important regional center of commerce in the post-Revolutionary period (‘Newfield' was renamed ‘Bridgeport' in the year 1800). Downtown is bounded on the east by the Pequonnock River and Bridgeport Harbor; on the north and west by the Route 25-8 Expressway (Col. Henry Mucci Highway); and on the south by Interstate 95 (Connecticut Turnpike).
  • The East Side, known in the 19th century as East Bridgeport, is the area between Yellow Mill Pond/Old Mill Brook and the Pequonnock River. In the pre-Revolutionary times the portion south of the railroad tracks was Newpasture Point (like Newfield, one of the common fields of the town of Stratford), and the area north of the tracks up to Boston Avenue (developed by P.T. Barnum and William H. Noble beginning in 1850) was Pembroke City, ‘Pembroke' being a corruption of ‘Pann Brook,' after the Pann family of Indians (also dating back to 17th-century deeds). "Pann" in the Quripi language refers to the waterfall located where Boston Avenue crosses Old Mill Brook. From Boston Avenue north to Beardsley Park and the intersection of Huntington Turnpike and East Main Street was laid out in the first years of the 20th century as Beardsley Park Slope, a calculated reference to the Park Slope section of Brooklyn, at that time the most exclusive residential precinct in America. The territory from the Huntington/East Main intersection north to the Trumbull line was known for generations as Briarwood, after the 325-acre farm of the Thompson family that fronted on Huntington Turnpike. In recent decades the name Treeland (after the garden center that was one of the neighborhood's first businesses) has come into common use. Collectively, these last two neighborhoods comprise the Upper East Side.
  • The East End is that part of the city to the east of Yellow Mill Pond and Old Mill Creek, the territory annexed from Stratford in 1889. It is subdivided into Newfield (south of Stratford Avenue and west of Blackman's Creek [an arm of Johnson's Creek that adjoins Central Avenue]); East End Proper (north of Stratford Avenue and east of Blackman's Creek up to the New Haven railroad tracks); Old Mill Hill (north of the railroad tracks to Granfield Avenue/Stewart Street); and Success (north of Granfield/Stewart and including much of the present Remington Woods), which is a Native American name in use since the 17th century.
  • The South End is that section of the city south of State Street and east of Went Field that abuts Downtown. Since the filling in of a salt marsh and tidal flats to the west of Barnum Dyke after 1919, Fayerweather Island was more-or-less annexed to the South End from Black Rock, with which it was historically associated. The exclusive residential district south of Atlantic Street (now the University of Bridgeport campus) was long known as Marina Park (named for P.T. Barnum's palatial residence) to distinguish itself from the working-class blocks to the north. The blocks around the intersection of Main and Whiting Streets once comprised a village of free people of color called in its early days (1821–47) "Ethiope," and, later (1847-late 1800s) "Liberia." Today this historic community is widely known as Little Liberia.
  • The area now known collectively as The Hollow is an amalgamation of several historic communities. Golden Hill was the well-to-do neighborhood (largely obliterated by highway construction and commercial development) that occupied the hill to the west of Pequonnock and Congress Streets. Sterling Hill was an early-19th-century Irish settlement on the north and east slopes (named not for the less-expensive metal but for its progenitor, Daniel H. Sterling). The area north of Harral Avenue to North Avenue, the Hollow Proper of the present day, was known in the 19th century by the bucolic name of Golden Valley. From Madison Avenue west to the Pequonnock River is a section still known as Bull's Head, after a tavern of that name that stood at the corner of Main and Frank Streets that was a favorite stop of cattle drovers from Monroe and Newtown in the 1790s. Island Brook is an area located to the south of North Avenue between the Pequonnock River and Housatonic Avenue. Beginning in 1786 it was the site of a village built around a grist mill that was known prior to the 1850s as "Berkshire."
  • Like the East End, the West End was annexed from a neighboring town, in this case Fairfield, in 1870. It occupies that entire portion of the city between Park Avenue and the Rooster River, except for Black Rock and the upper part of the South End. Traditionally, the area to the east of Clinton Avenue was known as the West Side, while to the west of it was the West End Proper. The neighborhood bounded by North, Laurel, Capitol, and Park Avenues (and up to the present Central High School) was laid out as another elite development beginning in 1914 and was called Beach's Woods, site of the Beach family's farm that dated back to the Revolutionary War era. The part to the south of the railroad tracks and turnpike, reclaimed from salt marsh in the 1880s and '90s and demolished in the 1960s, was called Hunktown by virtue of its homogenous Hungarian-American population. Brooklawn was, historically, entirely within the bounds of Fairfield (laid out as an expensive estate district surrounding Brooklawn Country Club in 1892). That portion of Stratfield Road that extended into Bridgeport was renamed Brooklawn Avenue as part of the development scheme. The name has come into common use in recent years to designate that section north of North Avenue and east of Park Avenue that was known in the 19th century as "Goosetown."
  • Black Rock is a peninsula that extends southwesterly from the West End between Black Rock Harbor and Ash Creek. Its boundaries made it even more insular prior to the 1940s, when the filled land that now contains the P.T. Barnum housing project was a saltwater inlet known as Burr Creek. Black Rock was a part of the Town of Fairfield until 1870, and before the Civil War was one of the state's most important seaports and shipbuilding centers (the historic village became the city's first historic district). The elite enclave at the tip of the peninsula was generally known as Grover's Hill until 1926, when the Black Rock Land & Improvement Company felt that St. Mary's by-the-Sea had a better ring to it.
  • The North End is bounded by Park and North Avenues, the Trumbull town line, and the Pequonnock River. Starting on the east, the hill that is bisected by Sylvan Avenue was known to previous generations as Rocky Hill. Real estate developers of the 1940s and '50s promoted it as Sylvan Crest. To the west, the next hill over, bisected by Reservoir Avenue and westerly to Island Brook, was known from the late-18th century as Chopsey Hill (after ‘John Pork Chop,' an Indian who occupied a Paugussett Indian reservation where the Trumbull Gardens housing complex is now located). During Prohibition it was still quite rural, and building lots could be procured for as little as $75. After a number of raids on illicit distillery operations the Bridgeport Herald dubbed it "Whiskey Hill." The hill to the west, extending from Island Brook to the vicinity of Wayne Street (with Summit Street appropriately at its summit), has no name in common parlance today. In the 18th and 19th century it was known as Cow Hill, an appropriate mate to Ox Hill located along Main Street above Anton Street. To the south of Cow Hill, from Salem Street down to North Avenue and west to Beachwood Park, is an area commonly known as the Old North End. Two more hills define the North End, Toilsome Hill (approximately bounded by Wayne Street, Park and Capitol Avenues and Rooster River Boulevard; and Chestnut Hill (north of Toilsome Hill to the Trumbull line). And completing the circle is Lake Forest (a late-1930s suburban development of the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company's outmoded Island Brook Reservoir, which dates back to 1866), and Charcoal Pond (where the city's drinking water was once filtered).

Geography[edit]

Bridgeport Harbor is bordered by Long Island Sound and is formed by the estuary of the Pequonnock River and Yellow Mill and Johnson's Creeks, both tidal inlets. Between the estuary and the Yellow Mill Pond is a peninsula, East Bridgeport, also known as the East Side, which was once the site of some of the largest manufacturing establishments in Connecticut, most of which no longer exist. On the other side of the Yellow Mill Pond inlet is the East End of Bridgeport, which is the far eastern point of the city, next to Pleasure Beach. Above the East End is the Mill Hill neighborhood and the border with Stratford, Connecticut. West of the Harbor and the Pequonnock River is the main portion of the city, with Downtown Bridgeport lining the river, the South End fronting on the harbor and Long Island Sound, the West Side between Fairfield, Connecticut and Downtown, and North Bridgeport extending from Downtown and the West Side to the border with Trumbull, Connecticut. Numerous factories, some of which are no longer in operation, line western sections the Metro North/New Haven Railroad line from the Bridgeport Station in Downtown, under Interstate 95 in the South End, and through the West Side and into Fairfield. The city is surrounded by hills up to 300 feet in height in North Bridgeport/North End, the Upper East Side, and Mill Hill.

There are two major parks in Bridgeport, the "Park City." Beardsley is in the northeasterly part of the city and also contains Connecticut's only zoo, the Beardsley Zoo. It also borders Bunnell's Pond, a 33-acre lake. Seaside is west of the harbor entrance and along the Sound in the South End. It has statues in honor of Elias Howe, who is credited with the invention of the sewing machine and who built a factory to manufacture his invention in the city 1863; and of P.T. Barnum, the showman, who lived in Bridgeport after 1846. He contributed much to the city, including the development of the East Side, Mountain Grove Cemetery, and Seaside Park. Seaside Park also has a soldiers' and sailors' monument. In the vicinity were located many upscale residences, now mostly demolished or converted to institutional use.

Aside from the Pequonnock River and the Yellow Mill Pond, there is Cedar Creek, a canal-like tidal creek that lies between Black Rock and Seaside Park. Black Rock Harbor lies at the mouth of the creek.

The principal municipal buildings in Bridgeport are the city's two hospitals (St. Vincent's Medical Center and Bridgeport Hospital), the Barnum Museum, the Klein Memorial Auditorium, City Hall, the Fairfield County Courthouse, and the Main Post Office.

Bays and creeks[edit]

  • Bridgeport Harbor is one of three (with New Haven and New London) major ports in Connecticut. It is formed by the confluence of Johnson's Creek, Yellow Mill Pond, and the Pequonnock River, and is the main outlet for the Great Meadows salt marsh in Stratford. In Colonial times it was known as "Newfield Harbor." Its large size--relative to the volume of the three small streams that empty into it--is attributable to the fact that, prior to the Wisconsin glaciation, it formed the mouth of the Housatonic River.
  • Lewis Gut is a tidal strait that separates the Great Meadows marsh from Long Beach/Pleasure Beach. It takes its name from Benjamin Lewis, who cultivated oysters in its waters in the 19th century.
  • Johnson's Creek is the estuary of Bruce Brook, at the easterly edge of the city and the westerly limit of the Great Meadows. It is named for the Johnson family, who assembled two large farms on either bank from the small holdings of the "New Field" in the early 19th century. A tide mill was built here shortly after the settlement of Stratford in 1639 (the mill pond backed up waters all the way to Stratford Avenue). In Colonial times it was known as Nessumpaws Creek, Neesingpaws Creek, or even Knees-and-Paws Creek.
  • Walker's Creek (aka Power House Channel) was a tidal outlet from a salt marsh that was filled in to form Newfield and Jessup Parks. It survives today in truncated form as the outlet of the East End Sewage Treatment Plant.
  • Yellow Mill Pond forms the estuary of Old Mill Brook. In 1792 its waters were dammed for the construction of a major tide mill, four stories in height, that was painted yellow. It burned in 1884 (the foundation can still be seen on the southwest side of the Stratford Avenue Bridge) and the dam was deconstructed shortly afterwards.
  • Berkshire Mill Pond was the site of another tide mill at the confluence of the Pequonnock River and Island Brook. The milldam was constructed in 1786 just to the south of the Berkshire Avenue Bridge. The pond was largely filled in the 1940s and '50s for the construction of a shopping center, two drive-in movie theaters, and a collection of automobile junk yards. A small remnant remains.
  • Black Rock Harbor is the located in the westerly portion of the city between Seaside Park and Black Rock. Its upper reaches penetrate the West End. In Colonial times this was considered the deepest and best port in Connecticut west of New London. It was able to accommodate ships of up to 1000 tons right up to the main wharves at the foot of the present Brewster Street. The harbor was protected on its south and east flanks by a Fayerweather Island that then included what is now the west end of Seaside Park. To the west and south was another landmass known as Lewis Island, which washed away during the course of the 18th century leaving only the treacherous shoal known as Penfield Reef. After the bar across the mouth of Bridgeport Harbor was dredged in the mid-19th century, Black Rock Harbor slipped into secondary importance.
  • Cedar Creek is a navigable waterway through the city's West End that connects with Black Rock Harbor. In its natural state it was very similar to Lewis Gut in the East End and separated a salt marsh from a barrier beach (the present Seaside Park). Beginning in 1878, dikes were constructed and the marshlands drained and filled and the waterway turned into a virtual canal to create a second harbor for a new factory district, under the auspices of P.T. Barnum.
  • Burr Creek was an easterly arm of Cedar Creek that extended north to Fairfield Avenue. In the 1940s the portion north of Yacht Street was filled, and the P.T. Barnum and Evergreen apartment complexes were constructed on the new land. The creek took its name from a 17th-century settler; Burr Road (which formerly included the present Dewey Street and Briarwood Avenue) ran down to its headwaters. A westerly embayment that abuts Ellsworth Field is known as "Brewster's Cove" after Captain Caleb Brewster, whose homestead it adjoined.
  • Ash Creek forms the western limit of the Black Rock neighborhood and separates it from Fairfield. In Colonial times it was known as the "Uncoway River" and formed the main harbor of Fairfield, until the construction of a causeway across it permitted access to the deeper harbor at Black Rock in the 1760s. Although numerous theories have been advanced by historians as to the origins of the name, it is likely that it comes from the red ash trees (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) that are common to this day along its banks.
  • Bridgeport Bight is the collective name for that portion of Long Island Sound offshore from the city between Stratford Point in Stratford and Penfield Reef off Fairfield. In former times these waters were known to have the largest natural-growth oyster beds on the East Coast north of the Chesapeake, source of a major industry in Bridgeport in the 19th and early-20th century.

Islands[edit]

  • Fayerweather Island is a 7 1/2-acre wooded island in Long Island Sound connected to Seaside Park by a seawall and forming a natural adjunct to it. The island is the site of the Black Rock Harbor Light.
  • Pleasure Beach (formerly known as Steeplechase Island), is a 71-acre (sometimes) island located in Long Island Sound, to the south of city's East End, and is connected by the Long Beach sandspit to Stratford, Connecticut.
  • Great Marsh Island is a 14-acre island located near the mouth of Ash Creek in the Black Rock neighborhood.
  • South Island (aka 'Lovers Island')is a half-acre island in Bunnell's Pond created by dredging in the 19th century, connected to the mainland by the stone Henry Setzer Memorial Bridge. A corresponding "North Island" became a peninsula with additional dredging in the early 20th century.

Bodies of water[edit]

  • Lake Forest (aka Island Brook Reservoir, elevation 165 feet) was created for municipal water supply in 1866 by damming Island Brook. In 1937, after the creation of Easton, Aspetuck, and Hemlock Reservoirs, the 71.4-acre lake had become surplus property, and the watershed lands surrounding it were laid out as a suburban housing development.
  • Charcoal Pond (aka Island Brook Lagoon, elevation 154 feet) lies just below Lake Forest and was created at the same time for purposes of filtering the city's drinking water. Its surface area covers 4.5 acres.
  • Bunnell's Pond (elevation 34 feet) was created in 1828 by damming the Pequonnock River to supply water power to a woolen mill that manufactured carpeting. To the south and west was a mill village that was named Thatchersville, after its progenitor, Daniel Thatcher (the Bunnell family succeeded him). It became the first source of municipal drinking water in 1854. The dam gave way in a flood in 1905 and was replaced by the current structure. It covers 33.4 acres.
  • Lake Success (elevation 47 feet) came into being in 1906 as part of "Powder Park," a 422-acre forested area (known today as 'Remington Woods') that was used to store gunpowder and munitions of the Remington Arms Company a safe distance away from the city's residential areas. The 25-acre lake impounds the water of Old Mill Brook.
  • Stillman's Pond (elevation 21 feet) was made by damming Old Mill Brook in 1812 to power a mill operated by Wyllis Stillman that manufactured shirts for the New York City market. The dam and seven-acre pond were reconfigured when the Remington Arms Company Russian Rifle Plant was erected adjoining it in 1915. The water power at this location powered a grist mill beginning in 1652, the "old mill" commemorated in the names of Old Mill Green and Old Mill Hill.
  • Pembroke Lake (elevation 8 feet) was created by P.T. Barnum in 1862 as part of his real estate development in East Bridgeport. He erected a dam across the upper reaches of the tidal, salt-water Yellow Mill Pond, causing it to fill with fresh water as a pleasant adjunct to "Lake Village," a suburban community that was laid out along Seaview Avenue between Huron Street and Ogden Street Extension. Much of this lake has been filled in for industrial development.
  • Bruce Pond (elevation 16 feet) was created by damming Bruce Brook (aka Stony Brook) at the Bridgeport-Stratford line in 1889. Its main purpose was as a source of ice, cut during the winter months to cool the city's iceboxes. It formerly extended north as far as Barnum Avenue.
  • Asylum Pond (elevation 26 feet) was dug out of a swampy area in the late 1860s to water cattle on what was the Town Poor Farm.
  • Lily Pond (elevation 16 feet) was one of two ponds dug out of marshy ground to provide drainage with the creation of Mountain Grove Cemetery in 1849.
  • Mirror Lake (aka Mummy or Mummichaug Pond—elevation sea level) was created with the first expansion of Seaside Park in 1872. It provides essential drainage to a below-sea-level portion of the park, diked and drained in the manner of a Dutch polder. Originally it was surrounded by a trotting park or racetrack for horses. The colloquial name comes from a type of minnow that could be gathered here in abundance and used for bait.
  • Horse Tavern Reservoir, aka Frenchtown Reservoir, survives as an intact earthen dam and dry lake bed in Elton Rogers Park, off Kaechele Place. A similar dry lake bed (constructed by the WPA in 1933) survives in Ninety Acres Park.

Waterways[edit]

  • The Pequonnock River, the most significant of Bridgeport's watercourses, is a 16.7 mile waterway that has its headwaters in the town of Monroe and, like all the city's waterways, flows downslope and south toward Long Island Sound. It is dammed above Boston/North Avenues to form Bunnell's Pond Below the Berkshire Avenue bridge it becomes a tidal salt-water estuary. South of Stillman Street it is a navigable waterway with a dredged channel.
  • The Rooster River is a stream in the western part of the city that forms part of the border between Bridgeport and Fairfield. Technically, the "Rooster River" is formed by the confluence of London Brook and Horse Tavern Brook at the rear of the Unquowa School property in Fairfield. Horse Tavern Brook, the larger of the two streams, has its source to the north of Canoe Brook Lake in Trumbull (which is formed by its waters). After flowing beneath the Trumbull Shopping Park, Horse Tavern Brook becomes known for a short stretch in the vicinity of Ox Hill in Bridgeport as "Ox Brook." Above Interstate 95, the Rooster River enters a salt marsh, becomes tidal, and becomes known as Ash Creek. In Colonial times the entire watercourse was known as the "Uncoway River."
  • Island Brook is a stream that flows through the North End of Bridgeport that originates in Island Brook Park in Trumbull. It is dammed to impound both Lake Forest and Charcoal Pond. It flows into the Pequonnock River between Island Brook Avenue and River Street. The name is a corruption of "Ireland's Brook," so named from an early settler who resided along its banks on North Avenue.
  • Old Mill Brook is formed by the confluence of two streams that flow down from the Nichols section of Trumbull. It is dammed into Success Lake, Stillman's Pond and Pembroke Lake. In its original state, it formed a tidal estuary from Boston Avenue south. It flows into Yellow Mill Pond. It takes its name from a water-powered gristmill erected on the north side of Boston Avenue in 1652.
  • Bruce Brook has its source in the North End of Stratford, and forms a portion of Bridgeport's border with the Town of Stratford. It is dammed into Bruce Pond just above the New Haven Railroad tracks. It flows into Johnson's Creek immediately to the south of Lordship Boulevard. The stream takes its name from a Scottish settler who resided on the site of St. Michael's Cemetery in the early 19th century; prior to that time the stream was known as "Stony Brook."

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 1,089
1820 1,500 37.7%
1830 2,800 86.7%
1840 3,294 17.6%
1850 6,080 84.6%
1860 12,106 99.1%
1870 18,969 56.7%
1880 27,643 45.7%
1890 48,866 76.8%
1900 70,996 45.3%
1910 102,054 43.7%
1920 143,555 40.7%
1930 146,716 2.2%
1940 147,121 0.3%
1950 158,709 7.9%
1960 156,748 −1.2%
1970 156,542 −0.1%
1980 142,546 −8.9%
1990 141,686 −0.6%
2000 139,529 −1.5%
2010 144,229 3.4%
Est. 2013 147,216 2.1%
Population 1840–1970[36]
U.S. Decennial Census[37]
2013 Estimate[2]

As of the census of 2000, there were 139,529 people, 50,307 households, and 32,749 families residing in the city. The population density was 8,720.9 people per square mile (3,367.0/km²). There were 54,367 housing units at an average density of 3,398.1 per square mile (1,312.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 45.0% White, 30.8% African American, 0.5% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 14.8% from other races, and 5.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.8% of the population. Other ancestry groups include: Italian (8.6%), Irish (5.1%), Portuguese (2.9%), Polish (2.8%), and German (2.4%).[38]

As of the 2010 census, there were 144,229 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city residents was 39.6% White; 34.6% Black or African American; 3.4% Asian; and 4.3% from two or more races. A total of 38.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[39] Non-Hispanic Whites were 22.7% of the population in 2010,[39] compared to 74.6% in 1970.[40]

A typical street scene in Bridgeport

There were 50,307 households out of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% were married couples living together, 24.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,658, and the median income for a family was $39,571. Males had a median income of $32,430 versus $26,966 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,306. About 16.2% of families and 18.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.8% of those under age 18 and 13.2% of those age 65 or over. Since 1849, FSWINC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has provided care for individuals living in difficult socioeconomic situations in both Bridgeport and Fairfield.[41][42]

According to 2010 census data, the Bridgeport MSA, containing all of Fairfield County, is the most unequal region in America.[43][44]

Economy[edit]

Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[45] the top employers in the city are:

Employer # of Employees
St. Vincent's Medical Center 3,000
Bridgeport Hospital 2,622
People's United Bank 1,179
University of Bridgeport 875
Bridgeport Health Care Center 500
Housatonic Community College 482
Prime Line 310
Derecktor Shipyards 300
Lacey Manufacturing 275
Watermark Retirement Communities 165

Education[edit]

Higher education[edit]

Bridgeport is home to Housatonic Community College, St. Vincent's College, University of Bridgeport and the Yeshiva Gedola of Bridgeport. The Yeshiva Gedola is currently the home of the Bridgeport Community Kollel, a rabbinic fellowship program.[46]

Public education[edit]

The city's public school system has 30 elementary schools, three comprehensive high schools, two alternative programs and an interdistrict vocational aquaculture school. The system has about 20,800 students, making the Bridgeport Public Schools the second largest school system in Connecticut after Hartford. It is ranked #158 out of the 164 Connecticut school districts.[47] The school system employs a professional staff of more than 1,700.

The city has started a large school renovation and construction program, with plans for new schools and modernization of existing buildings.

Public high schools

Private education[edit]

Bridgeport is also home to private schools, including Bridgeport Hope School (K-8), Bridgeport International Academy (grades 9-12), Catholic Academies of Bridgeport (St. Augustine School (PK-8) and St. Raphael School (PK-8)), Kolbe Cathedral High School (9-12), St. Andrew School (PK-8), St. Ann Academy (PK-8), and Zion Lutheran School (PK-8).

Government and politics[edit]

The city is governed by the mayor council system. There are twenty members of the city council elected from districts. Each district elects two members. The mayor is elected by the entire city.

Bridgeport is notable for having had a Socialist mayor for 24 years; Jasper McLevy served as mayor from 1933 to 1957. A more recent mayor, Joseph Ganim, was involved in a corruption scandal, as has been the case with some other mayors in Connecticut.[48] In June 2006, Mayor John M. Fabrizi admitted that he had used cocaine while in office.[49]

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 25, 2005[50]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
  Republican 5,069 468 5,537
  Democratic 33,374 2,855 36,229
  Unaffiliated 18,538 1,887 20,425
  Minor parties 27 3 30
Total 57,008 5,213 62,221 100%

Taxes[edit]

In 2005, the mill rate for Bridgeport was 42.28[51] and is reportedly 41.855 for fiscal year 2013-2014.[52]

Culture[edit]

Performing arts[edit]

Theater and music[edit]

Bridgeport has a number of venues for live theater and music events, ranging from intimate performing spaces to a stadium hosting rock concerts.[53]

Music festivals and concert series[edit]

Bridgeport has been the annual home to Gathering of the Vibes, a weekend long arts, music and camping festival featuring some of the best names in festival talent. In 1999, 2000, and 2007 through 2010, thousands of people have come from all over the world to camp in Seaside Park and enjoy such talent as Buddy Guy, Bob Weir and Ratdog, Deep Banana Blackout, Les Claypool, Assembly of Dust, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Los Lobos and Bridgeport's own The Alternate Routes.

Since 1945, the Greater Bridgeport Symphony has been a cultural and musical gem for the City of Bridgeport and its surrounding towns, performing at the 1,400 seat Klein Memorial Auditorium. The orchestra has a rich and vibrant history. Under the direction of Gustav Meier for the past 41 years, the prestigious orchestra has welcomed international soloists Beverly Sills, Midori, Benny Goodman, Itzhak Perlman with other links to legends like Leonard Bernstein, Jose Iturbi. Through its annual Carlson-Horn Competition for Young Instrumentalist created many new bright professional soloists including Andrew Armstrong, Alexander Markov, Anita Chen, to name just a few.

Bridgeport is also the home of the Black Rock Art Center, a multi-cultural center that presents performing artists from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Americas both at the Art Center and also in a Summer Sounds of the World concert series. The series has featured such artists as blues musician James Cotton, Grammy-award winner Eddie Palmieri, the Cambodian Angkor Dance Company, salsa master Larry Harlow, and folk artists Richie Havens and Odetta. The Art Center features a world music series, a cabaret series, the Black Rock Blues Festival, in addition to cinema, gallery, and educational programs.

Museums, zoos and parks[edit]

Theater and music[edit]

Bridgeport has a number of museums, ranging from the science-oriented to fine arts and historical, as well as the state's largest zoo.[53]

Parks[edit]

Bridgeport's first public park was the westerly portion of McLevy Green, first set aside as a public square 1806,[54] although the Clinton Park Militia Grounds (1666) and Old Mill Green (1717) were set aside earlier as public commons by the towns of Fairfield and Stratford, respectively. As the city rapidly grew in population, residents recognized the need for more public parks and by 1864, Barnum and other residents had donated approximately 44 acres (180,000 m2) to create Seaside Park, now increased by acquisition and landfill to 375 acres (1.52 km2).[55] In 1878, over 100 acres (400,000 m2) of land bordering the Pequonnock River was added as Beardsley Park.[56] Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for creating New York City's Central Park, designed both Seaside and Beardsley Parks.[57] Over time, more parks were added including 35-acre (140,000 m2) Beechwood Park and Pleasure Beach, home to a popular amusement park for many years.

The "Park City" now has these parks:

  • Alice Street Lot, located on Alice Street
  • Baldwin Plaza, on Broad Street
  • Beardsley Park, located between East Main Street, Noble Avenue, and the Pequonnock River, an idealized rural landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted
  • Beechwood Park, Madison Avenue, incorporating Kennedy Stadium and Central High School
  • Clinton Park Militia Grounds, North and Brooklawn Avenues—Located at the center of what was the village of Stratfield, this one-acre site was deeded to the Town of Fairfield in 1666
  • Ellsworth Field, on Ellsworth and Brewster Streets
  • Fairchild Memorial Park, an old-growth forest left in its natural state, located on Trumbull Road
  • Glenwood Park, features tennis courts, the Wonderland of Ice, and Pequonnock River frontage
  • Goosetown Park (aka Goosetown Green), Wood Avenue at Wade Street
  • James Brown Park (Waterview Park), located on Waterview Avenue and Yellow Mill Pond
  • Johnson Oak Park on Logan Street (now occupied by the Tisdale Elementary School)
  • Lafayette Park (aka Nanny Goat Park), located on Oak Street
  • Longfellow Park, on St. Stephens Road
  • McLevy Green, Main, State, Broad, and Bank Streets, the city's earliest "urban" park and focal point of the business district
  • Newfield/Jessup Park located on Newfield Avenue has a playground
  • Old Mill Green (aka Pembroke Park), Boston Avenue between East Main and Hallett Streets
  • Pleasure Beach, natural barrier beach accessible by ferry from the foot of Seaview Avenue, summer months only
  • Puglio Park on Madison Avenue contains the North Branch Library
  • Elton Rogers Park, nature preserve on Frenchtown and Old Town Roads
  • Seaside Park, 'First waterfront rural park in America,' designed by Olmsted, Vaux, and Viele, creators of New York's Central Park; with baseball/softball/soccer fields, fishing areas, picnic areas, playgrounds, mile-long groomed beach and swimming, and boat launch, stretching from Bridgeport Harbor to Black Rock Harbor
  • Saint Mary's-By-the-Sea, waterfront promenade located on Grovers Avenue
  • Success Park on Granfield Avenue
  • Svihra Park on Ezra Street
  • Upchurch Park on Hallett Street
  • Wood Park on Wood Avenue
  • Veteran's Memorial Park, formerly, 90 Acres Park, runs between Park and Madison Avenues in the North End, woodland nature preserve
  • Washington Park, 1851 formal residential square with historic bandstand, located on East Washington, Noble, Barnum Avenues and Kossuth Street
  • Waterfront Park, constructed on wooden piers, located on Water Street
  • Went Field Park on Wordin Avenue (play area, Baseball/softball) was the site of Barnum's Circus winter quarters until 1927
  • West Side 2 Park located on Bostwick Avenue

In popular culture[edit]

Movies[edit]

A list of films shot or partially filmed in the city:[58]

Television[edit]

  • Kitchen Nightmares (Season 4, Episode 7, "Tavolini Restaurant", 2011)
  • Family Guy: Road to the North Pole (2010). After mistaking a tall gloomy factory for Santa's workshop, Stewie said, "This can't be it... This can't be Santa's workshop, This looks like Bridgeport, Connecticut!" To which Brian replied, "Oh boy, here come the letters." The screen then portrays an enraged fan from the city with a thick New England Accent, writing a hate letter out loud as follows. "Dear 'Family Guy' Bastards, Who the hell do you think you are? I'll have you know that Bridgeport is among the world leaders in abandoned buildings, shattered glass, boarded up windows, wild dogs and gas stations without pumps..."[59][60] The series' creator Seth MacFarlane is a Connecticut native from Kent.
  • Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular (2010) (TV)
  • Ghost Adventures:"Remington Arms Factory" (Episode 21, November 2009)
  • WWE Raw (Nov. 18, 2002; Mar. 8, 2004; Dec. 26, 2005; August 21, 2006; April 9, 2007; April 27, 2009; June 21, 2010, April 11, 2011 and Sep 17, 2012)
  • WWE Smackdown, ECW, and WWE NXT (May 7, 2002; March 4, 2003; August 2, 2005; Dec. 9, 2008; Nov. 24, 2009; Nov. 2, 2010; and Nov. 15, 2011)
  • Oprah Winfrey Presents: Mitch Albom's For One More Day (2007)
  • WWE Raw's 15th Anniversary Special (2007)
  • Flip This House: "Burning Down the House" (2005)
  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2003 & 2007)
  • Made in America (2003)
  • U.S. Bounty Hunter (2003)
  • Muggsy (1976)
  • The character Robert E. Hogan in Bernard Fein's television show Hogan's Heroes (1965–71) was from Bridgeport.
  • The Twentieth Century (1957, The Class of '58 episode)
  • Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye (TV Movie, 1977), bar scene of JFK campaigning with local workers filmed in the Ideal Bar on Barnum Avenue across from the former Singer Building
  • Bringing Up Baby (1938), alluded to.

Others[edit]

Novels

Plays

Songs

Other allusions

  • The city and P.T. Barnum formed the portmanteau name of the ursine character, P.T. Bridgeport, from Walt Kelly's comic strip Pogo.
  • Comedian Fred Allen once said, "Everywhere outside New York City is Bridgeport, Connecticut."[65]
  • Bridgeport is an address listed on a piece of evidence in the 2011 detective video game L.A. Noire.
  • Bridgeport is a city in the Sims 3 Late Night expansion pack.

Sports[edit]

Club League Venue Established Championships
Bridgeport Bluefish ALPB, Baseball The Ballpark at Harbor Yard 1998 1
Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL, Ice hockey Arena at Harbor Yard 2001 0

The recently built Arena at Harbor Yard serves as the city's sports and hospitality center. Seating 10,000, the Arena serves as the home rink of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL hockey team, as well as the home court of the Fairfield University's basketball team.

The Ballpark at Harbor Yard serves as a minor-league baseball stadium, and was built in 1998 to serve as the homefield of the Bridgeport Bluefish. It is located downtown on a former brownfield site. It is visually prominent to commuters on I-95 or on passing trains.

Kennedy Stadium serves as a community sports facility. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, it was the home of an Atlantic Coast Football League minor league football team, the Bridgeport Jets, a New York Jets farm team also known locally as the Hi-Ho Jets due to their sponsorship by the (Hi-Ho) D'Addario construction company.

Fairfield University is located in the neighboring town of Fairfield, and many of the athletic teams play on campus. Only the men's and women's basketball teams play in Bridgeport.

Nutmeg Curling Club, one of two curling clubs in Connecticut, is located in Bridgeport. It is the home club of the 2013 USA Mixed National Champions,[66] led by club members Derek Surka and Charissa Lin. The club is a member of the Grand National Curling Club Region.

Media[edit]

Radio[edit]

  • WCUM AM 1450; 1,000 watts (formerly WJBX-AM, and before that, WNAB-AM) Spanish Format station better known as Radio Cumbre.
  • WDJZ AM 1530; 5,000 watts (daytime only) Gospel Radio that serves the African American and Caribbean communities in the Bridgeport Metro area.
  • WICC-AM 600; 1,000 watts (daytime), 500 watts (nighttime) – WICC began broadcasting on November 21, 1926, when a previous radio station, WCWS, was given a new name, WICC. The last three letters standing for Industrial Capitol of Connecticut. The Bridgeport Broadcasting Company Inc. was the new station's owner. Back then, the station was powered at 500 watts. From 1951 to 1956 one of the station's radio hosts was Bob Crane, who later went on to play Col. Robert Hogan on the Hogan's Heroes television comedy series.[67] WICC's transmitter is located on Pleasure Beach, an island located between downtown Bridgeport and Long Island Sound.
  • WEBE-FM 107.9; 50,000 watts. WEBE108 is "Connecticut's Best Music Variety!" owned and operated by Cumulus Media. Licensed to Westport, CT, with studios and transmitter in Bridgeport.
  • WEZN-FM 99.9; 27,500 watts (formerly WJZZ-FM). Star 99.9 is "Today's Best Mix!" The station owned by Connoisseur Media. Lincensed to Bridgeport, CT, with studios in Milford and transmitter in Trumbull.
  • WPKN-FM 89.5; 10,000 watts; From the station's website: 89.5 FM WPKN is somewhat inscrutable. We break all of the rules, and we observe few, if any, of the conventions. We have no format whatsoever, we permit our programmers to do whatever they will, and we don't accept funding from the sources which might restrict our freedoms. We are totally accountable to our listeners in that we publish our budget to everyone on our mailing list, and we also invite you to our monthly staff meetings and, in particular, the June meeting at which we discuss the budget. (...) WPKN's programming can be heard on two frequencies: 89.5 FM from our transmitter at Trumbull, CT and 88.7 FM (formally known as WPKM) at Montauk on Long Island. If you're driving eastward and you start to lose the 89.5 signal, you can tune over to 88.7 and continue to hear us until about Exit 6 on I-95 in Rhode Island."[68]

Due to Bridgeport's close proximity to Long Island Sound, many radio stations from New York are received clearly day and night in the market. These include WMCA, WFAN, WOR, WABC, WNYC, WCBS, WEPN, and WQEW.[69]

Newspapers[edit]

  • Elsolnews.com, a community Spanish Language Weekly Newspaper covering news and events.
  • Connecticut Post - Formerly the Bridgeport Post and Bridgeport Telegram. The areas main newspaper covering Bridgeport and the surrounding area. <http://www.ctpost.com>The newspaper is printed daily by The Post Publishing Company 2 blocks west of the Main Office at 410 State Street Bridgeport.

Television[edit]

Bridgeport was NBC's pioneer UHF TV test site from December 29, 1949 to August 23, 1952;[70] the equipment from the "Operation Bridgeport" tests was later deployed commercially at KPTV in Portland, Oregon (1952-1957). While Bridgeport is primarily served by New York City stations, some local UHF broadcasters operate today:

  • WEDW channel 49; one of the Connecticut Public Television stations, broadcasts from Bridgeport and can be seen in Hartford.
  • In 2011, WTNH-TV opened a satellite studio in the offices of the Connecticut Post downtown on State Street.
  • WZME channel 43 now mostly broadcasts older classic TV shows. Licensed to Bridgeport with transmitter in Trumbull.

Transportation[edit]

Airports[edit]

Nearby Sikorsky Memorial Airport once provided regional flights to major hub cities such as Logan International Airport in Boston and Baltimore-Washington International Airport; however, service to the airport declined in the 1990s, and US Airways Express became the last airline to suspend operations at the airport in November 1999. Tweed New Haven Regional Airport is another nearby facility that provides scheduled air service. The closest international airports are Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy in New York City and Newark in Newark, New Jersey.

The four International Airports mentioned above (Kennedy, LaGuardia, Bradley and Newark) are within a 60-70 minute drive from Downtown Bridgeport. These international air connections are enhanced by Amtrak and Metro-North rail travel and Interstate Bus travel to NYC, Boston and Providence that make Bridgeport conveniently and quickly accessible to New York City, Hartford, CT, Stamford, CT, New Haven, CT, Providence R.I. and some of the wealthiest communities in the United States. Bridgeport is a merely a 5 1/2 hour drive to Washington D.C (to the South) and Montreal Canada (to the North) through some of the most scenic country side in the world.

Roads[edit]

Surface thoroughfares[edit]

The main portion of the city is divided by major north/south roads that approximately parallel each other:

  • Main Street, the city's principal artery, extending from the Trumbull town line down through the North End, under Routes 8/25, and into downtown, with its southern terminus at Seaside Park. The portion North of State Street was laid out as the "Newtown Turnpike" in 1795. Porter Street, Beechmont Avenue, and Kaechele Place are former curves in this highway that were lopped of as the road was straightened in the 19th century.
  • Park Avenue is a main highway that is on the borderline with the town of Fairfield (North of its intersection with Brooklawn Avenue) and extends from the Trumbull, Connecticut border in the North End to the South End at Seaside Park. It was known as "Division Street" until 1867. It is the easternmost of the "11 o'clock" roadways laid out in 17th-century Fairfield (their north-northwesterly direction points them like a clock's hands at that hour, exactly perpendicular to the shoreline of Long Island Sound, that facilitated land distribution).
  • Clinton/Brooklawn Avenues are a central artery through the West End, extending North from Railroad Avenue to the Fairfield line at the Rooster River. The portion to the North of Fairfield Avenue was laid out in the 17th century at the center of the agricultural village of Stratfield. It was known as "Stratfield Road" prior to 1870.
  • Brewster Street extends from Black Rock Harbor North to the Fairfield line at Ash Creek, and is the major north-south artery through the Black Rock neighborhood. This was the southernmost portion of the "Black Rock Turnpike," a toll road of the late-18th century that extended North as far as Danbury.
  • Madison Avenue is situated between Main Street and Park Avenue, that extends from the Trumbull town line in the North End and continues through the West Side. It was formerly known as "Chestnut Hill Road," and follows the route of an Indian path.
  • Reservoir Avenue was part of a turnpike that was laid out in 1817 in an almost arrow-straight line from Bridgeport north to the Monroe Green (it followed Daniels Farm Road in Trumbull and Moose Hill Road in Monroe). The "Reservoir" was a stone structure at the intersection of Sylvan Avenue, to which water was pumped from nearby Bunnell's Pond, and from which water was supplied to the entire city by gravity. Prior to construction of the Route 25-8 Expressway, this street extended South to North Avenue.
  • Noble Avenue extends from the corner of Congress Street just South of Washington Park to the intersection of East Main Street and Huntington Turnpike. The portion below Boston Avenue was laid out in 1850 as "Noble Street;" the part to the north was added to connect with the entrance to the new Beardsley Park in 1878.
  • East Main Street is the major North/South road through East Bridgeport, extending from the Trumbull/Stratford line though the East Side, ending at Bridgeport Harbor. The portion South of Boston Avenue/Old Mill Green was laid out in 1800.
  • Huntington Road/Huntington Turnpike is the major roadway through the Upper East Side, extending Northeasterly from the Berkshire Bridge to the Trumbull town line (a small portion today becomes part of East Main Street). It was one of a number of turnpikes laid out in the immediate post-Revolutionary period to funnel rural commerce to the fledgling city's seaport, and formerly extended to the city center by way of North Washington Avenue.
  • Seaview Avenue runs the length of the East End neighborhood on the East shore of Pembroke Lake, Yellow Mill Pond, and Bridgeport Harbor. It extends Northwesterly from Central to Stratford Avenues, then due North from Stratford to Boston Avenues. It was laid out at the time of the Civil War in three sections that were later connected: "Sea View Avenue" South of Stratford Avenue: "West Avenue" at Deacon's Point, from Sixth Street North to the railroad tracks; and "Lake Avenue," from Barnum Avenue North to Boston Avenue.
  • Central/Palisade Avenues were laid out as farm highways through the westerly portions of what was the town of Stratford in the early 19th century. They form a North-South axis through the center of today's East End. The portion of Central Avenue to the north of Barnum Avenue was known as "Prospect Street" from the 1860s through 1889 due to the vistas from its hillside location.

The major East/West roads in the city include Barnum Avenue, Boston Avenue, Fairfield Avenue/Stratford Avenue, North Avenue, Capitol Avenue, State Street, and Railroad Avenue:

  • Barnum Avenue extends from the Stratford line, below Old Mill Hill, and ends at the Pequonnock River. The portion through the East Side was laid out as "Barnum Street" in 1850. From Pembroke Lake to Mill Hill Avenue was added in 1863. The road from Mill Hill Avenue to the Washington Bridge between Stratford and Milford was laid out as the "Air Line Highway" in 1870.
  • Boston Avenue breaks off from Barnum Avenue near the Bridgeport line in Stratford and travels east-west over Old Mill Hill to the Upper East Side toward the North End. It follows the route of an Indian path, crossing Old Mill Brook and the Pequonnock River and the southernmost points where they were fordable, that became the Post Road in the 1670s.
  • Stratford Avenue starts in the South End of the town of Stratford and travels Southwest through the East End. It then travels East through East Bridgeport directly into the center of Downtown Bridgeport, where it turns into Fairfield Avenue at Water Street. It was laid out in 1795 as a more direct route for the "Post Road," and the bridge built that year over the Pequonnock was the origin of the name "Bridgeport." Connecticut Avenue, which parallels it one block to the North through the East End, is a one-way street heading West, while Stratford Avenue is one-way heading East.
  • Fairfield Avenue extends West and then Southwest through the West End and into Black Rock, where it turns into the Boston Post Road, or simply, the Post Road, at the Fairfield, Connecticut line. Its route through the West End parallels what had been the northerly edge of an extensive salt marsh, and had been in existence in the 18th century. The portion through Black Rock was added in the 1870s.
  • North Avenue begins at Boston Avenue where the East Side abuts the Island Brook neighborhood at the Pequonnock River and extends Southwest diagonally through the city as US 1. It then turns into Kings Highway in Fairfield. As with Boston Avenue, it was follows an Indian trail, and was formalized as a part of the New York-to-Boston Post Road in the 1670s.
  • Capitol Avenue begins by breaking off from North Avenue at Island Brook Avenue Extension. It travels West across the Old North End and Brooklawn neighborhoods and ends at the Fairfield line.
  • State Street begins in Downtown and cuts across the West End, where it terminates (as 'State Street Extension') at the Fairfield line. The portion from Park Avenue to Bridgeport Harbor was in existence by the 1760s; the part to the West of Park Avenue was extended across what was then marshy terrain in 1867.
  • Atlantic Street bisects the South End neighborhood, historically separating the well-to-do residential district that adjoined the old portion of Seaside Park from the working-class blocks to the north. Today it forms the north border of the University of Bridgeport campus.
  • Railroad Avenue extends from Broad Street just below Downtown Bridgeport and runs parallel with the Metro North/New Haven Railroad lines. The Westbound side is to the north of the tracks, and the Eastbound side to the south of them. It terminates at Fairfield Avenue in the West End.

Highways[edit]

Bridgeport has several major roadways. Interstate 95 and the Route 8/Route 25 Connector meet in downtown Bridgeport. I-95 runs east-west near the coast heading towards New York City to the southwest and Providence to the northeast. Routes 8 and 25 run north-south across the city, with the two routes splitting just north of the city. Route 8 continues towards Waterbury and Torrington and Route 25 continues towards the Danbury area. Both Routes 8 and 25 connect to the Merritt Parkway in the adjacent town of Trumbull.

Other major surface arteries are U.S. 1 (the Boston Post Road), which runs east-west north of downtown, and Main Street, which runs north-south towards Trumbull center. The city also has several secondary state highways, namely, Route 127 (East Main Street), Route 130 (Connecticut Ave, Stratford Ave, Fairfield Ave and Water Street), and the Huntington Turnpike.

Railroad and ferries[edit]

The Bridgeport Station is part of an intermodal transit hub

The Bridgeport Traction Company provided streetcar service in the region until 1937. The Housatonic Railroad carried passengers North through the Pequonnock and Housatonic Valleys prior to 1933.

The city is connected to nearby New York City by both Amtrak and Metro-North commuter trains, which serve Bridgeport's Metro-North station. Many residents commute to New York jobs on these trains, and the city to some extent is developing as an outpost of New York–based workers seeking cheaper rents and larger living spaces. Connecting service is also available to Waterbury via Metro-North, and New Haven via Amtrak and Metro-North. Shoreline East service links Old Saybrook and New London with New Haven, which extends to Bridgeport and Stamford during weekday rush hours only.

The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry service runs from Bridgeport across Long Island Sound to Port Jefferson, New York; the three vessels "Grand Republic", "P.T. Barnum" and "Park City" transport both automobiles and passengers.

Buses[edit]

The Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority (GBTA) provides bus service to Bridgeport and its immediate suburbs. Route 2 the Coastal Link goes west to Norwalk and east to Westfield's Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, from where Connecticut Transit can bring passengers to the New Haven Green. Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines both offer intercity bus service to points throughout the Northeast and points beyond.

Historic sites[edit]

Historic districts[edit]

Bridgeport has five local historic districts, where exterior changes to structures are under the control of two Historic District Commissions:

  • Black Rock Harbor Historic District, 88 buildings along Ellsworth, Brewster, and Beacon Streets, includes the village center of a historic seaport, with buildings that date back to the 17th century
  • Pembroke City Historic District, 266 buildings in a general two-block radius of Washington Park, a planned residential development constructed 1850-1900 that contains the city's most important concentration of Victorian architecture
  • Stratfield Historic District, 300 buildings along Clinton, Brooklawn, and Laurel Avenues that made up an elite residential district of the Edwardian era
  • Barnum-Palliser Development Historic District, 33 buildings on Austin, Gregory, and Atlantic Streets and Myrtle Avenue that was a planned working-class development of the 1880s designed by the architectural firm of Palliser, Palliser, and Company
  • Marina Park Historic District, 14 buildings along South Park Avenue and Marina Park, contains some of the city's most opulent late 19th-early 20th century mansions overlooking Seaside Park

National Register of Historic Places listings[edit]

In addition, Bridgeport has a number of sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places:

For places on the register elsewhere in Fairfield County, see List of Registered Historic Places in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Notable people[edit]

Obverse of the Bridgeport Half Dollar

One of Bridgeport's most famous residents from the past is P. T. Barnum, a circus promoter who also served as mayor of the city. His portrait was used on the obverse of the coin commemorating the city's centennial in 1936. Other Bridgeporters who achieved fame far outside the city include:

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

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  6. ^ "History Of Frisbies". Retrieved November 28, 2007. 
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  8. ^ a b "Bridgeport, Conn.". The Encyclopedia Americana: a library of universal knowledge 4. New York: Encyclopedia Americana Corp. 1918. p. 527. Retrieved July 29, 2010. 
  9. ^ Orcutt, v1 1886, p. 609.
  10. ^ Orcutt, v1 1886, pp. 470—474.
  11. ^ Waldo, v1 1917, pp. 37—38.
  12. ^ Orcutt, v1 1886, pp. 608—609.
  13. ^ Waldo, v1 1917, pp. 222—225.
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  15. ^ "National Historic Places Nomination" (PDF). Black Rock. 1978. p. 11. Retrieved July 28, 2010. 
  16. ^ Kimes, Beverly Rae (editor) and Clark, Henry Austin, jr., The Standard Catalogue of American Cars 1805–1942, 2nd edition, Krause Publications (1989), ISBN 0-87341-111-0
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  32. ^ Source: Bridgeport Animal Control
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  36. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed January 23, 2008.
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  61. ^ . JSTOR 2711156.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  62. ^ Stephen King (1978). Night shift. Doubleday. pp. 255–256. ISBN 978-0-385-12991-6. 'P.S. 119, Bridgeport, Connecticut' .... 'Ed Hamner, Sr., was a compulsive gambler. He worked for a top-line advertising agency in New York and then moved to Bridgeport sort of on the run.' 
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  64. ^ REO SPEEDWAGON - 157 RIVERSIDE AVENUE LYRICS. Songlyrics.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
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References[edit]

External links[edit]