Aerial view, about 1914
|Nickname(s): The Silver City|
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
|Region||South Central Region|
|• Council Leaders||Michael Rohde, to be succeeded by Manny Santos, Mayor
Matthew C. Dominello, Deputy Mayor
Keith Gordon, Majority Leader
George McGoldrick, Deputy Majority Leader
Trevor Thorpe, Deputy Majority Leader
Walter Shamock, Minority Leader
|• City Manager||Lawrence J. Kendzior|
|• Total||24.1 sq mi (62.5 km2)|
|• Land||23.8 sq mi (61.5 km2)|
|• Water||0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)|
|Elevation||177 ft (54 m)|
|• Density||2,500/sq mi (970/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|ZIP code||06450, 06451|
|GNIS feature ID||0208834|
Meriden was originally part of Wallingford. It was granted a separate meetinghouse in 1727, became a town in 1806, and incorporated as a city in 1867. It was named for the town of Meriden, West Midlands, England. Popular myth also states that it is named after the Merry Den tavern that may have been located near present-day Route 5.
The oldest house in town still standing, built by Solomon Goffe in 1711, is now a museum, the Solomon Goffe House.
In the 1800s, Meriden earned the nickname "Silver City", due to the large number of cutlery and related products which were manufactured here by companies such as International Silver and Meriden Cutlery.
Charles Parker and his younger brother opened their first factory in Meriden in 1832, with a capital outlay of $70.00. Over the years they manufactured a wide variety of products‚ from steam engines, train wheels and printing presses to piano stools. During the Civil War, Parker's Meriden Machine Company was under Union contract to produce 10,000 repeating rifles and 15,000 Springfield rifles. Parker began producing his own shotgun, referred to as "The Gun of 1866". In 1868, Charles and his sons, Wilbur, Charles and Dexter, started the Parker Brothers Gun Company, which continued as an independent company until 1934 when it was purchased by the Remington Arms Company.
Hubbard Park in the Hanging Hills was financed by Walter Hubbard, local entrepreneur and president of the Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company. Hubbard elicited the assistance of notable landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in drawing up the design.
Edwin Howard Armstrong, a network radio pioneer who invented FM radio, used West Peak in 1939 for the location of one of the first FM radio broadcasts. His original 70-foot-tall (21 m) radio mast still stands on the peak. Currently West Peak is home to six FM broadcast stations, including WPKT, WWYZ, WKSS, WDRC-FM, WPHH and WHCN.
In 1900, Castle Craig was dedicated in Hubbard Park.
The Curtis Memorial Library opened in 1903.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.1 square miles (62.5 km²), of which 23.8 square miles (61.5 km²) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km²), or 1.66%, is water.
Meriden is a showcase for a number of prominent peaks of the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous trap rock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border. Notable peaks in Meriden include the Hanging Hills (West Peak, East Peak, South Mountain, and Cathole Mountain); Lamentation Mountain, Chauncey Peak, and Besek Mountain. Castle Craig, a city landmark for over a century, was constructed among the Hanging Hills in Hubbard Park.
The Quinnipiac River cuts through the southwest quadrant of the city, which is known to area residents as "South Meriden". Here, the river cuts through two hills for almost a mile, resulting in a gorge full of exposed sandstone and brownstone cliffs. Harbor Brook (originally named Pilgrim Harbor Brook) cuts through the town from the northeast to the southwest (passing underneath downtown Meriden in a culvert) before emptying into Hanover Pond (part of the Quinnipiac River) in South Meriden.
- Meriden Center
- South Meriden
As of the census of 2000, there were 58,244 people, 22,951 households, and 14,964 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,452.8 people per square mile (946.9/km²). There were 24,631 housing units at an average density of 1,037.3 per square mile (400.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.2% White, 6.4% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 8.6% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 32.4% of the population.
There were 22,951 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $43,237, and the median income for a family was $52,788. Males had a median income of $39,633 versus $10,268 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,597. About 17.5% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.3% of those under age 18 and 23.8% of those age 65 or over.
|Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 25, 2005|
|Party||Active voters||Inactive voters||Total voters||Percentage|
Population Total Population 60,868 Housing Status ( in housing units unless noted ) Total 25,892 Occupied 23,977 Owner-occupied 14,594 Population in owner-occupied ( number of individuals ) 37,167 Renter-occupied 9,383 Population in renter-occupied ( number of individuals ) 22,746 Households with individuals under 18 6,942 Vacant 1,915 Vacant: for rent 688 Vacant: for sale 249 Vacant: for seasonal/recreational/occasional use 78 Population by Sex/Age Male 29,446 Female 31,422 Under 18 14,553 18 & over 46,315 20–24 3,695 25–34 8,581 35–49 12,855 50–64 11,887 65 & over 7,834 Population by Ethnicity Hispanic or Latino 17,590 Non Hispanic or Latino 43,278 Population by Race White 44,727 African American 5,876 Asian 1,277 American Indian and Alaska Native 302 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander 34 Other 6,506 Identified by two or more 2,146
The city of Meriden is connected to the cities of New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield, Massachusetts, by regional rail service provided by Amtrak, which runs north-to-south through the center of the city. This rail line opened in 1839, and operated for many years under the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The city was also served by the Middletown, Meriden and Waterbury Railroad, which provided both freight and passenger service to Waterbury and Middletown from 1888 until its abandonment in 1924.
Currently, Amtrak runs 16 trains through the Meriden station on most weekdays, but these are not widely used for commuting. However, the success of the state's subsidized commuter rail line, Shore Line East, has spurred the state to open a New Haven – Hartford – Springfield commuter rail line in 2011. Funds from the state will pay for a new station in Meriden, and city officials are hoping to capitalize on the commuters that will use the station and create a transit village in the city. They hope this will spur revitalization of the downtown area.
In the Quinnipiac River Gorge in South Meriden, 1.3 miles (2.1 km) of the original MW&CR Railroad right of way has been converted into a recreational rail trail as the Meriden Linear Trail. Open to the public in December 2006, the formal dedication occurred on November 3, 2007.
Beginning in 1784, Meriden had a stop on the New Haven-Hartford Stage Coach on Route 5 near the intersection of East Main Street. Years later, the same stop served as the bus stop for Greyhound and Peter Pan buses. Meriden had four daily departures to/from Hartford/Boston, and four daily departures to/from New Haven/New York daily from the 1970s through 2007, when intercity bus service ceased serving Meriden.
Meriden is linked to the Connecticut Transit System, Connecticut's extensive public transit bus network. Three bus lines loop throughout the city of Meriden once per hour. The "B" bus route departs the Meriden railroad station for the southern terminus of Kohls Plaza, connecting for New Haven; the "A" bus route departs the rail station for the northern terminus of Meriden Square with connections to New Britain and Hartford; and the east/west "C" bus travels along East Main and West Main streets, with a handful of departures to Middletown and Waterbury.
The city of Meriden is located on Interstate 91, which provides access to Hartford, Springfield, and New Haven. Interstate 691 provides access to Interstate 84 and points west such as Waterbury. The Wilbur Cross Parkway, which provides access to points south such as Wallingford, New Haven, and New York City, becomes the Berlin Turnpike on the northern end of Meriden. U.S. Route 5 passes through the city as North and South Broad Street.
The Meriden Board of Education operates public schools.
- Public elementary (K–5):
- John Barry
- Benjamin Franklin
- Nathan Hale
- Thomas Hooker
- Casimir Pulaski
- Israel Putnam
- Roger Sherman
- Public middle (6–8):
- Public high (9–12):
- Francis T. Maloney
- Orville H. Platt
- Magnet Middle
- Thomas A. Edison, run by ACES of North Haven
- State Technical High
- Horace C. Wilcox
- Private schools:
- St. Stanislaus School (K–8)
- St. Joseph School (K–8)
- Our Lady of Mount Carmel (K–8)
Points of interest
- Castle Craig
- Curtis Memorial Library
- Giuffrida Park offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation, with a variety of hiking trails and a lake.
- Hanging Hills
- Hubbard Park
- Hunter Golf Course
- Meriden Linear Trail
- Moses Andrew Homestead
- Old Traffic Tower
- Red Bridge
- Solomon Goffe House
- Ted's Restaurant
- Westfield Meriden Mall
Meriden in popular culture
Meriden was the location chosen for the filming of the 1989 Robert De Niro film Jacknife. Many Meriden landmarks can be seen in the film, and many Meriden residents boast of encountering De Niro during the filming.
Dan Petriw's investigative special for Channel 8 News about the "tail pipe golf ball" craze of the 1990s was filmed at Fantozzi's Oldsmobile dealership on Broad Street. Several commuters and car dealers in Meriden had reported that tail pipes on their new and used vehicles were randomly being stuffed with golf balls, thereby causing major damage to their exhaust systems. Petriw assisted the Meriden Police Department in the capture of the suspects by placing hidden cameras in the Meriden City commuter parking lot as well in several locations at Fantozzi's Oldsmobile dealership. The juveniles were tried and sentenced by the Hon. Judge Jared Steinberg at the Meriden Superior Court.
The 2006 movie The Quiet was based here.
- Tomie dePaola, author and illustrator
- John Jenkins, New Orleans Saints defensive tackle
- Conrad Henry Moehlman, professor of church history and author
- Al Niemiec, Major League Baseball player
- Rosa Ponselle, opera singer
- James Surowiecki, staff writer at The New Yorker
- Gary Waslewski, Major League Baseball player
At one time The Meriden Daily Journal served as the community newspaper. Currently the Meriden Record Journal serves the communities of Meriden, Wallingford, Cheshire, and Southington and is located in downtown Meriden.
- Bill Ryan, What's in a Name? Old Industrial Fame, The New York Times, January 21, 1996
- "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Meriden city, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 26, 2012.
- Copy of "The Parker Gun" by Ron Kirby from The City of Meriden Message Board
- City of Meriden. Cited Dec. 13, 2007
- This Week in Amateur Radio. Cited Dec. 13, 2007
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2006-10-02.
- "2010 Demographic Profile". Census.gov. 2012-03-13. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
- "Chauncey Peak Trail | Meriden Connecticut Hikes". Trails.com. Retrieved 2011-02-28.
- "MyRecordJournal.com". MyRecordJournal.com. Retrieved 2012-09-12.
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