Danbury, Connecticut

Danbury is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It has an estimated population as of July 1, 2005 of 78,736.

The city was named for the place of origin of many of the early settlers, Danbury, Essex in England. The city has been nicknamed Hat City, because it used to be a center of the hat industry, at one point producing 25% of America's hats.

Danbury is also the site of a low-security women's prison, the Danbury Federal Correctional Institute, formerly a men's prison. Notable ex-prisoners include cocaine dealer and trafficker of Blow fame George Jung, Unification Church leader the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, and hotel magnate Leona Helmsley. James Michael Curley, mayor of Boston from 1945-1949, spent five months of his mayoral term at Danbury Federal Prison, after he was convicted on federal charges of official misconduct. Media personality and homemaker Martha Stewart and female rap star Lil' Kim requested that their prison terms be served at Danbury Federal Correctional Institute due to its proximity to their New York City homes. However, due to the media attention their requests were denied.

Danbury is home to Danbury Hospital and Danbury High School.


Danbury was first settled by colonists in 1685, when eight families moved to the area from the area that is now Norwalk and Stamford. The area was then called Pahquioque by the Pahquioque Native Americans. One of the first settlers was Samuel Benedict who bought land from the Paquioque natives in 1685 along with his brother James, James Beebe, and Judah Gregory. The settlers originally chose the name Swampfield for their town, but in October 1687, the general court decreed the name Danbury.

During the American Revolution, Danbury was an important military supply depot for the Continental army. On April 26-27, 1777, the British under Major General William Tryon burned and looted the city. The central motto on the seal of the City of Danbury is Restituimus (Latin for "We have restored"), a reference to the destruction caused by the Loyalist army troops. The American General David Wooster was mortally wounded near the city of Ridgefield, Connecticut at the Battle of Ridgefield by these same British forces which had earlier attacked Danbury. He is buried in Danbury's Wooster Cemetery, and the private Wooster School in Danbury is named in his honor.

In 1780, the first hat factory in Danbury was established by Zadoc Benedict, employing three workers and producing 18 hats a week. Danbury was known as "The Hat City" or the "Hatting Capital of the World" during the early 20th Century.

In 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, a religious group, in which he used the expression "Separation of Church and State". It is the first known instance of the expression, which does not appear in the U.S. Constitution, contrary to popular belief. (This letter is on display at the Unitarian-Universalist Congregation of Danbury.)

The first Danbury Fair was held in 1821. By 1869, it became a yearly event and was held until 1981. After 1981, the fairgrounds were demolished to make room for the Danbury Fair Mall, which opened in the fall of 1986.

In 1835, the Connecticut Legislature granted a rail charter to the "Fairfield County Railroad," but after 15 years, no work had been completed and investment was slow. In 1850, the organization's vast plans were scaled back and it was renamed the "Danbury and Norwalk Railroad." Work moved quickly on the 23-mile (37 km) railroad line. In 1852, the first railroad line in Danbury opened, with two trains making the 75-minute trip to Norwalk.

The city of Danbury was incorporated April 19, 1889.

In 1902, the American Federation of Labor union called for a nationwide boycott of a non-union hat manufacturer, Dietrich Loewe, in Danbury. The manufacturer sued the union under the Sherman Antitrust Act for unlawfully restraining trade. The Supreme Court held that the union was liable for damages in 1908. This case is also known as the Danbury Hatters' case.

A 60-acre (24 hectares) tract near the Danbury Fairgrounds known as Tucker's Field was purchased by local pilots in 1928, and leased to the town. This became an airport, which is now Danbury Municipal Airport (ICAO airport code: KDXR).

Connecticut's largest lake, Candlewood Lake, was artificially created in 1929 where Wood Creek and the Rocky River meet near the Housatonic River. The lake is operated as a hydroelectric power facility by the Connecticut Light and Power Company, which sold the lake for $9 million in June 2006.

In the August 1988 issue of Money Magazine, Danbury topped the magazine's list of the best U.S. cities to live in, mostly due to low crime, good schools, and location.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Danbury, where I-84 enters Connecticut, was a popular place for out-of-staters to purchase Powerball tickets. Those who live west of the Hudson River now usually find Pennsylvania more convenient for Powerball.

Historic pictures


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 44.3 square miles (114.7 km²), of which, 42.1 square miles (109.1 km²) of it is land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km²) of it (4.94%) is water. Danbury is located at . Danbury also surrounds the southern parts of Candlewood Lake.


of Danbury
1756 1,527
1790 3,031
1820 3,873
1850 5,964
1880 11,666
1910 23,502
1940 27,921
1970 50,781
1980 60,470
1990 65,585
2000 74,848
2004 78,263
As of July 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city’s population at 78,736. This number does not include illegal aliens, which various anecdotal estimates place between 10,000 and 20,000 or some 12-25% of the total. In 2005, Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said the city actually numbers around near 90,000, due to recent immigration from Ecuador and Brazil. An unofficial estimate is that there are 5,000 Ecuadorians (mostly from the Andes province of Azuay) and 15,000 Brazilians (mostly from the southeastern state of Minas Gerais). Danbury has the one of the largest concentration of immigrants from Brazil for a city of its size.

As of the census of 2000, there were 74,848 people, 27,183 households, and 17,886 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,777.4 people per square mile (686.3/km²). There were 28,519 housing units at an average density of 677.2/sq mi (261.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 76.0% White, 6.8% African American, 0.29% Native American, 5.5% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 7.6% from other races, and 4.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.8% of the population.

There were 27,183 households out of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.18.

The population was distributed as follows: 21.7% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 35.4% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $53,664, and the median income for a family was $61,899. Males had a median income of $39,016 versus $31,319 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,500. About 5.9% of families and 8.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.7% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage Democratic 9,084 778 9,862 29.11% Republican 6,404 594 6,998 20.66% Unaffiliated 15,124 1,643 16,767 49.49% Minor Parties 226 27 253 0.75%
Total 30,838 3,042 33,880 100%
The newest statistics for the State of Connecticut show that Danbury, Connecticut has the highest percentage of foreign born people at 34% of Danbury's residents are foreign born. In 2006, 13% of Connecticut residents were foreign born.


  • ATMI Inc. (ATMI) -- headquarters 7 Commerce Drive; makes materials and materials packaging for semiconductor and flat panel manufacturers worldwide; 700 employees company wide; $281.8 million in 2005 revenues; CEO Doug Neugold
  • Cartus (a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation) -- headquarters, 40 Apple Ridge Road; Relocation; 1,800 employees (2,700 worldwide); CEO Kevin Kelleher
  • Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (ETH) -- headquarters, Ethan Allen Drive; designs, manufactures and distributes furniture, rugs, lamps, draperies and other decorative home accessories sold by a network of more than 300 Ethan Allen interior design centers in the United States and abroad; 6,400 employees company wide, 618 in Connecticut; $949 million in 2005 revenues; CEO Farooq Kathwari
  • Praxair Inc. (PX) -- headquarters, 39 Old Ridgebury Road; the Fortune 500 company makes and sells industrial gases used worldwide in the electronics, metal fabrication, health care and food processing industries, also makes metallic and ceramic powders and coatings; 27,000 employees company wide, 550 in Connecticut; $8.3 billion in 2006 revenues; CEO Steve Angel
  • Scholastic Library Publishing Inc. (a division of Scholastic Corporation) -- headquarters, 90 Sherman Turnpike; Scholastic Library publishes educational, children's and reference books, including the Encyclopedia Americana (the first encyclopedia published in the US), as well as Nueva Enciclopedia Cumbre en Linea (the Spanish language encyclopedia) and Lands and Peoples. Imprints include Franklin Watts and Children's Press]. Its interactive unit produces games and interactive software, including Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia (the first encyclopedia in electronic form); Greg Worrell, division president


The chief executive officer of Danbury is the Mayor, who serves a two year term. The current mayor is Mark Boughton (R). The Mayor is the presiding officer of the Common Council, which consists of 21 members, two from each of the seven city wards, and seven at-large (Current councilmembers). The Common Council enacts ordinances and resolutions by a simple majority vote. If after five days the Mayor does not approve the ordinance (similar to a veto), the Common Council may re-vote on it. If it then passes with a two-thirds majority, it becomes effective without the Mayor's approval. The current Common Council consists of 14 Republicans and 7 Democrats. Danbury also has four state representatives, Rep. Jason Bartlett D-2nd, Rep. Joe Taborsak D-109, Deputy Speaker of the House Bob Godfrey D-110, and Rep. Jan Gieglier R-138. There is one state senator who is David Cappiello R-24. Danbury is represented in the United States Congress by U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy (D)

Danbury's 2003 to 2004 mill rate is 24.29.

Danbury is also home to an Army Reserve Special Operations unit, the 411th Civil Affairs Battalion.


Danbury is home to Western Connecticut State University.

Public Schools

  • 2 high schools: Danbury High School (9-12) and Henry Abbott Technical High School (9-12)
  • 2 middle schools: Broadview Middle School (6-8) and Rogers Park Middle School (6-8)
  • 14 elementary schools: Western Connecticut Academy for International Studies Magnet School (K-5), Great Plain (K-5), Hayestown (K-5), King Street Primary (K-2) and King Street Intermediate (3-5), Mill Ridge Primary (K-2) and Mill Ridge Intermediate (3-5), Morris Street (K-5), Park Avenue (K-5), Pembroke (K-5), Roberts Avenue (K-5), Shelter Rock (K-5), South Street (K-5) and Stadley Rough (K-5)

Parochial Schools

Roman Catholic parochial schools in Danbury reside within the administration of the Diocese of Brideport and include:

  • 1 high school: Immaculate High School (9-12)
  • 4 elementary schools: Sacred Heart School (K-8), St. Gregory the Great School (PK-8), St. Joseph School (K-8) and St. Peter School (PK-8)

Private Schools

In addition, Danbury is home to:

  • Anderson Montessori School
  • Colonial Hills Christian Academy
  • Hudson Country Montessori School
  • New England Country Day School
  • New Hope Christian Academy
  • Maimonides Academy
  • Wooster School


  • The News-Times of Danbury, a daily newspaper owned by Media News Group.
  • Tribuna Newspaper a biweekly, bilingual(Portuguese/English) publication.
  • WLAD-AM 800; 1,000 watts (daytime); 287 watts (nighttime)
  • WDAQ-FM 98.3; 3,000 watts; owned by the Berkshire Broadcasting Corporation
  • WXCI-FM 91.7; 3,000 watts; College radio station owned by Western Connecticut State University and operated by past and present students. It receives funding from the Western Connecticut State University Student Government Association.

Sites of interest

Hiking trails

  • Bear Mountain Reservation
  • The Old Quarry Nature Center has two short educational trails on 39 acres (15 hectares) off Mountainville Avenue.
  • Tarrywile Mansion and Park is one of Danbury's most popular parks. There are of trails as well as several ponds located on the 800 acre (264 hectare) park. The historic Victorian mansion and gardens are a common location for weddings.
  • Other trails in the area can be found at


  • Danbury Candlewood Park overlooks Candlewood Lake. Swimming, picnicking, and a boat launch are available in the 11.1 acre (45,000 m²) park.
  • Elmwood Park
  • Hatters Community Park
  • Kenosia Park
  • Richter Park
  • Rogers Park
  • Tarrywile Park



On the National Register of Historic Places

  • Ball and Roller Bearing Company - 20-22 Maple Ave. (added September 25, 1989)
  • Charles Ives House - 7 Mountainville Ave. (added May 26, 1976)
  • Hearthstone - 18 Brushy Hill Rd. (added 1987)
  • John Rider House - 43 Main St. (added December 23, 1977)
  • Locust Avenue School - Locust Ave. (added June 30, 1985)
  • Main Street Historic District - Boughton, Elm, Ives, Keeler, Main, West and White Sts. (added December 29, 1983)
  • Meeker's Hardware - 86-90 White St. (added July 9, 1983)
  • Octagon House - 21 Spring St. (added June 7, 1973)
  • P. Robinson Fur Cutting Company - Oil Mill Rd. (added December 30, 1982)
  • Tarrywile - Southern Blvd. & Mountain Rd. (added February 6, 1988)
  • Union Station - White St. and Patriot Dr. (added October 25, 1986)


The Danbury Westerners are a member of the New England Collegiate Baseball League they play there home games at rogers park The Danbury MadHatters the founding member of the Eastern Professional Hockey League (2008) they play there home games at the Danbury Ice Arena

The United Hockey League (UHL) expanded to Danbury in 2004. The Danbury Trashers played their first season at the Danbury Ice Arena in October 2004. Among those on the roster included Brent Gretzky (brother of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky) and Scott Stirling (son of former New York Islanders coach Steve Stirling). Scott's older brother, Todd, coached the Trashers in the 2004-2005 season.

On June 9, 2006 the owner of the Trashers, James Galante, was arrested as part of a federal investigation into illegal practices in the Connecticut garbage industry. Team executives were also charged with fraud as it was alleged the owner illegally subsidized players and violated the league salary cap. The club folded due to the ongoing investigation and lack of teams within close proximity to them.

As of 2006 a new team was created to occupy the ice arena, the New England Stars were formed to represent Danbury in the defunct North Eastern Hockey League.

On March 25, 2008, Danbury was named the first city to officially have a new team in the newly formed Eastern Professional Hockey League. The team is called the Danbury Mad Hatters.

Danbury High School carries a strong athletic tradition. They are perennial powers in: wrestling, boys and girls track and field, boys cross country, baseball, basketball, and football. The wrestling, cross country, and track teams have all numerous state titles and New England championships. All three programs are considered to be nationally ranked annually.


Danbury is the terminus of the Danbury branch line of the MTA Metro-North Railroad which begins in Norwalk. The line was first built by the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad which was later bought by the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad Company. Danbury was an important junction between the Danbury Branch and the Maybrook Line. The Maybrook line was the New Haven's main freight line which terminated in Maybrook, New York, where the New Haven exchanged traffic with other railroads. After the ill-fated Penn Central took over the New Haven, the Maybrook line was shut down when a fire on the New Haven bridge over the Hudson River made the line unusable. Many believe the fire was set by Penn Central to reroute that freight traffic over their Boston & Albany route to the north. Today, the historic station is part of the Danbury Railroad Museum. The Providence and Worcester Railroad, along with the Housatonic Railroad provide local rail freight service in Danbury.

Local bus service is provided by Housatonic Area Regional Transit (HART).

The city is also the location of Danbury Municipal Airport (DXR).

Notable people

Twin cities


See also

External links

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