Naugatuck, Connecticut

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Naugatuck, Connecticut
Borough
Official seal of Naugatuck, Connecticut
Seal
Nickname(s): "Naugy"
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°29′23″N 73°03′05″W / 41.48972°N 73.05139°W / 41.48972; -73.05139Coordinates: 41°29′23″N 73°03′05″W / 41.48972°N 73.05139°W / 41.48972; -73.05139
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Waterbury
Region Central Naugatuck Valley
Incorporated 1844
Consolidated 1895
Government
 • Type Mayor-burgesses
 • Mayor Bob Mezzo (D)
Area
 • Total 16.5 sq mi (42.7 km2)
 • Land 16.4 sq mi (42.4 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 207 ft (63 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 31,876
 • Density 1,900/sq mi (750/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06770
Area code(s) 203, 475
FIPS code 09-49880
GNIS feature ID 0209191
Website www.naugatuck-ct.gov

Naugatuck is a consolidated borough and town in New Haven, County, Connecticut, United States. The town spans both sides of the Naugatuck River just south of Waterbury, and includes the communities of Union City on the east side of the river, which has its own post office, Straitsville on the southeast (along Route 63), and Millville on the west (along Rubber Avenue). As of the 2010 census, Naugatuck had a population of 31,862.[1]

History[edit]

Naugatuck was settled in 1701 as a farming community in rural western Connecticut. As the Industrial Revolution commenced, Naugatuck was transformed into a hardscrabble mill town like its neighbors in the Naugatuck Valley.

Goodyear Metallic Rubber Shoe Company & Downtown Naugatuck (c. 1890)

Rubber was the chief manufactured product. The United States Rubber Company (renamed Uniroyal Inc. in 1961) was founded in Naugatuck in 1892 as a consolidation of nine rubber companies, and maintained their corporate headquarters there until the 1980s. Their Footwear Division manufactured Keds sneakers in Naugatuck from 1917 until the 1980s. U.S. Rubber also produced Naugahyde in a Naugatuck factory, but it is no longer produced there.

Due to an increase in the price of sulfuric acid, which was needed for the process then used for reclaiming old rubber, the United States Rubber Co. formed the Naugatuck Chemical Company on June 1, 1904, and the company soon was in the forefront of the chemical industry in the United States. Naugatuck Chemical remained a subsidiary of the U.S. Rubber Co. until, under Uniroyal, it gained independence as Uniroyal Chemical Co. They moved their operations to Middlebury, Connecticut, in the 1970s.

The Risdon Manufacturing Company, established in Naugatuck around 1910, began by producing safety pins. Local housewives and children were often hired to attach the pins to cardboard for easy sale. Risdon became the manufacturer of total packaging for cosmetics, personal, household and other consumer products and home sewing notions such as common pins, needles, snaps and other accessories. It is now the Crown Risdon Co., headquartered in Watertown, Connecticut.

In the 1960 Harold Barber founded H. Barber and Sons in the community. The company builds beach rakes for picking up debris and grooming beaches and claims to be the largest such business in the world.[2]

Naugatuck was the home to Peter Paul, the Hershey Foods division that produces Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars, until the Hershey Co. closed the Peter Paul factory in November 2007.

The normally peaceful Naugatuck River that flows through Naugatuck overflowed its banks on August 19, 1955.[3] Fed by over 10 inches (250 mm) of rain from Hurricane Diane, the river cut a path of destruction that forever changed the face of Naugatuck.

Town history sign found on the Naugatuck Green

As American manufacturing declined in the late 20th century, the mills closed and the town fell on largely hard times. With the expansion of suburbs, especially in New Haven and Fairfield County, the town is now largely a bedroom community for the middle class. With this, many of Naugatuck's neighbors are fairly wealthy. Middlebury and Oxford are affluent towns that have higher performing school districts, but the price to live in these suburbs is high. Currently, many new more expensive homes are being built as people from Fairfield County and other areas are looking for more affordable housing and convenient access to major highways.

Naugatuck High School (c. 1910). A McKim, Mead, and White design, the building is now Hillside Intermediate School, following erection of a new high school on Rubber Avenue in the late 1950s.

The local high school, Naugatuck High School, has a storied football rivalry with the high school in Ansonia that is one of the longest in America. Like the other rival high schools in the Naugatuck Valley, the two teams meet the morning of Thanksgiving Day. The first meeting was in 1900. Ansonia is the long-term winner in the series. Naugatuck High School's mascot is the greyhound, and its colors are garnet and grey.

The town of Naugatuck is affectionately referred to as "Naugy" by its residents. The town common features 11 commissions by the renowned New York architecture firm of McKim, Mead & White.

Naugatuck is also no stranger when it comes to being in popular media. In 2008, an episode of Food Paradise (Sandwich Paradise) on the Travel Channel highlighted the Nardelli's Grinder Shoppe, its specialty(s) Italian grinder sandwiches ("Meat Combo"). The town has also been used as a filming location for works such as Engine Trouble, released in 2002, and War of the Worlds, filmed at the former Uniroyal plant and released in 2005. (The plant was demolished on February 28, 2008.)

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 16.5 square miles (42.6 km²), of which 16.4 square miles (42.4 km²) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²), or 0.36%, is water.

Government[edit]

Naugatuck is unique in Connecticut government for being the only consolidated town and borough. Every other borough in Connecticut is a special services district located within another town, the unit of Connecticut local government. Naugatuck has both a town clerk and a borough clerk managing official records, the same as Connecticut cities having two clerks: a town clerk and a city clerk.

As with most other Connecticut towns and cities, Naugatuck elect their officials in November of odd-numbered years.

Mayor[edit]

  • Bob Mezzo (D)

Burgess[edit]

  • Tamath K. Rossi (R) - Deputy Mayor
  • Robert J. Burns (D)
  • Michael Bronko (R) - former Mayor (2007-2009)
  • Catherine Ernsky (R)
  • Laurie Jackson (D)
  • Robert A. Neth (R)
  • Alexander Olbrys (R)
  • Patrick J. Scully (D)
  • Rocky Vitale (D)

Superintendent[edit]

Sharon Locke[4]

Board of Education[edit]

  • David Heller (R) - Chair
  • Dorothy Neth-Kunin (R) - Vice Chair
  • James Scully (D)
  • Diana Malone (R)
  • Glenn Connan (R)
  • Debra Brackett (D)
  • James Jordan (D)
  • Scott Slauson (R)

Economic Development Commission[edit]

  • Chester Cornacchia - Chair
  • William Hass - Vice Chair
  • Charles Marenghi
  • Ray Kryskowsi
  • Alipio Da Silva
  • Robert Hill
  • Kathy McGrath
  • John Kenworthy
  • Ralph Roper
  • Doug Brinckerhoff

Zoning Commission[edit]

  • Joseph Savarese (D) - Chairman
  • Thomas Mariano (D)
  • Rick Cool (R)
  • Neil Mascola (D)
  • Diana Raczkowski (D)

Transportation[edit]

Naugatuck is served by buses of the Waterbury Division of Connecticut Transit. Route N1 connects the borough center to the Millville section of town, and Route N2 connects the borough center to the Straitsville section of town. The town also has a Metro-North Railroad station (Naugatuck) along the Waterbury Branch of the New Haven Line. The principal highways through the town are Connecticut Route 63 (connecting to New Haven), Route 68 (leading to Durham), and the Route 8 expressway (for Waterbury, Derby, Torrington, and Bridgeport).

Demographics[edit]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 30,989 people, 11,829 households, and 8,292 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,890.9 people per square mile (730.0/km²). There were 12,341 housing units at an average density of 753.0 per square mile (290.7/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 91.76% White, 2.85% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.68% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.58% from other races, and 1.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.47% of the population.

Of the 11,829 households, 36.3% of them had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% were non-families. 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the borough the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 33.1% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $51,247, and the median income for a family was $59,286. Males had a median income of $42,103 versus $29,971 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $22,757. About 0.9% of families and 1.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.4% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 25, 2005[6]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
  Democratic 5,497 172 5,669 32.29%
  Republican 3,222 123 3,345 19.05%
  Unaffiliated 8,011 369 8,380 47.73%
  Minor Parties 154 9 163 0.93%
Total 16,884 673 17,557 100%

On the National Register of Historic Places[edit]

Salem School, from a 1905 postcard
  • Bronson B. Tuttle House — 380 Church St., now headquarters of the Board of Education (added December 29, 1990)
  • Naugatuck Center Historic District — Roughly bounded by Fairview Avenue, Hillside Avenue, Terrace Avenue, Water Street and Pleasant View Street (added August 30, 1999)
  • Salem School — 124 Meadow St. (added December 3, 1983). Before construction of the first Naugatuck High School (now Hillside Intermediate School), high-school classes were held on the top floor of this building.
  • US Post Office-Naugatuck Main — Church and Cedar streets (added February 21, 1986)

Notable residents[edit]

  • Adrian, noted Hollywood costume designer, born and raised in Naugatuck. Designed costumes for films such as The Wizard of Oz. Won a Tony Award for his costume designs for the Broadway play, Camelot.[7]
  • Billy Burke, golfer, winner of the 1931 U.S. Open
  • Charles Goodyear, the first American to vulcanize rubber, lived in Naugatuck as a young man. His brother, Henry Goodyear, founded the Goodyear Metallic Rubber Shoe Company in Naugatuck that became part of the U.S. Rubber Company in 1892.[8][9]
  • Michael Bergin, former Calvin Klein model, Baywatch actor. Played J.D. on the hit TV Series Baywatch and Baywatch Hawaii. Calvin Klein model with Kate Moss. Attended Naugatuck High School where he played baseball and basketball.
  • Shirley Grey, stage and movie actress during the 1920s and 1930s[10]
  • Frank "Spec" Shea, professional baseball player, nicknamed "The Naugatuck Nugget"[11]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Naugatuck town, New Haven County, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved September 27, 2012. 
  2. ^ Barber Company History[dead link]
  3. ^ "1955 Flood". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  4. ^ http://www.naugy.net/?DivisionID=5695&ToggleSideNav=ShowAll
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "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. 
  7. ^ IBDB
  8. ^ C. Slack, Noble Obsession, (Hyperion, 2003)
  9. ^ Federal Writers' Project, Connecticut: a guide to its roads, lore, and people, (US History Publishers, 1938)
  10. ^ Shirley Grey IMDB
  11. ^ "The Ballplayers - Spec Shea". Baseball Library. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 

External links[edit]