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 manufacturing 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 American 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.
The Hanging Hills' Hubbard Park 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 for the location of one of the first FM radio broadcasts in 1939. His original tall 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.
Meriden is known as the home of the first steamed cheeseburger, which remains a popular local favorite to this day.
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) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km²) of it (1.66%) is water.
Meriden is a showcase for a number of prominent peaks of the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous traprock 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.
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/sq mi (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||Democratic||9,225||524||9,749||30.15%||Republican||4,275||213||4,488||13.88%||Unaffiliated||16,927||1,147||18,074||55.90%||Minor Parties||19||2||21||0.06%|
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,Shoreline 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 of the original MW&CR Railroad right of way has been converted into a recreational linear trail as the Meriden Linear Trail. Open to the public in December 2006, the formal dedication occurred on November 3, 2007.
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.
Meriden's Ted's Steamed Cheeseburger Restaurant was featured in the documentary Hamburger America.
The 2006 movie The Quiet was based here.