Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Bridgeport, Connecticut
City of Bridgeport
Bridgeport montage.jpg
Clockwise from top: Downtown, the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry, the United Congregational Church, St Patrick’s Church, and the PT Barnum Museum
Bridgeport flag.png
Flag
Seal of Bridgeport, Connecticut.png
Seal
Nicknames: 
The Park City
Fairfield County Connecticut incorporated and unincorporated areas Bridgeport highlighted.svg
Location within Fairfield County
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Bridgeport
Location within Connecticut
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Bridgeport
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 41°11′11″N73°11′44″W / 41.18639°N 73.19556°W / 41.18639; -73.19556 Coordinates: 41°11′11″N73°11′44″W / 41.18639°N 73.19556°W / 41.18639; -73.19556
Country Flag of the United States.svg  United States
U.S. state Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut
County Fairfield
Metropolitan area Bridgeport-Stamford
Incorporated (town)1821
Incorporated (city)1836
Government
  Type Mayor-council
   Mayor Joe Ganim (D)
Area
   City 19.4 sq mi (50.2 km2)
  Land16.0 sq mi (41.4 km2)
  Water3.4 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 
(2018) [2]
144,900
  RankUS: 172nd
  Density8,720.9/sq mi (3,354/km2)
   Urban
923,311 (US: 48th)
   Metro
939,904 (US: 57th)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
06601–06602, 06604–06608, 06610, 06650, 06673, 06699 [3]
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-08000
GNIS feature ID 205720
Airport Sikorsky Memorial Airport
Major highways I-95.svg Connecticut Highway 8.svg Connecticut Highway 25.svg Merritt Pkwy Shield.svg
Commuter Rail Amtrak logo 2.svg MTA NYC logo.svg SLE logo.svg
Website City of Bridgeport

Bridgeport is a historic seaport city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. It is in Fairfield County, at the mouth of the Pequonnock River on Long Island Sound, 60 miles (97 km) from Manhattan and 40 miles (64 km) from The Bronx. It is bordered by the towns of Trumbull to the north, Fairfield to the west, and Stratford to the east.

Contents

As of 2018, Bridgeport had an estimated population of 144,900, [2] which made it the largest city in Connecticut and the fifth-most populous in New England. The Greater Bridgeport area is the 48th-largest urban area in the United States.

The showman P. T. Barnum was a resident of the city and served as the town's mayor in the late 19th century. Barnum built four houses in Bridgeport and housed his circus in town during winter. The first Subway restaurant opened in Bridgeport's North End in 1965. [4] The Frisbie Pie Company was in Bridgeport, and Bridgeport is credited as the birthplace of the Frisbee. [5]

After World War II, industrial restructuring and suburbanization caused the loss of many jobs and affluent residents, leaving Bridgeport struggling with poverty and crime.

History

Bridgeport was inhabited by the Paugussett native American tribe at the time of its English colonization. The earliest European communal settlement was in the historical Stratfield district, [6] along US Route 1; known in colonial times as the King's Highway. Close by, Mount Grove Cemetery was laid out on what was a native village that extended past the 1650s. [7] It is also an ancient Paugusett burial ground.

The English farming community grew and became a center of trade, shipbuilding, and whaling. The town incorporated to subsidize the Housatonic Railroad and rapidly industrialized following the rail line's connection to the New York and New Haven railroad. The namesake of the town was the need for bridges over the Pequonnock River that provided a navigable port at the mouth of the river. Manufacturing was the mainstay of the local economy until the 1970s.

Colonial history

Colonial Stratfield, c. 1886 map Old Stratfield (Bridgeport) Map before 1886.jpg
Colonial Stratfield, c. 1886 map

The first documented English settlement within the present city limits of Bridgeport took place in 1644, centered at Black Rock Harbor and along North Avenue between Park and Briarwood Avenues. The place was called Pequonnock [8] (Quiripi for "Cleared Land"), after a band of the Paugussett, an Algonquian-speaking Native American people who occupied this area. One of their sacred sites was Golden Hill, which overlooked the harbor and was the location of natural springs and their planting fields. (It has since been blasted through for construction of an expressway.) [9] [10] The Golden Hill Indians were granted a reservation here by the Colony of Connecticut in 1639; it lasted until 1802. (One of the tribe acquired land for a small reservation in the late 19th century that was recognized by the state. It is retained in the Town of Trumbull.)

Bridgeport's early years were marked by residents' reliance on fishing and farming. This was similar to the economy of the Paugusset, who had cultivated corn, beans, and squash; and fished and gathered shellfish from both the river and sound. A village called Newfield began to develop around the corner of State and Water streets in the 1760s. [11] The area officially became known as Stratfield in 1695 [8] or 1701, due to its location between the already existing towns of Stratford and Fairfield. [12] During the American Revolution, Newfield Harbor was a center of privateering. [8] [13]

19th century

By the time of the State of Connecticut's ratification of the Articles of Confederation in 1781, many of the local farmers held shares in vessels trading at Newfield Harbor or had begun trading in their own name. Newfield initially expanded around the coasting trade with Boston, New York, and Baltimore and the international trade with the West Indies. [11] [14] The commercial activity of the village was clustered around the wharves on the west bank of the Pequonnock, while the churches were erected inland on Broad Street. [15] In 1800, the village became the Borough of Bridgeport, [18] the first so incorporated in the state. [19] It was named for the Newfield or Lottery Bridge across the Pequonnock, connecting the wharves on its east and west banks. [17] Bridgeport Bank was established in 1806. [20] In 1821, the township of Bridgeport became independent of Stratford. [21]

The West India trade died down around 1840, [11] but by that time the Bridgeport Steamship Company (1824) [22] and Bridgeport Whaling Company (1833) had been incorporated [11] and the Housatonic Railroad chartered (1836). [23] [24] The HRRC ran upstate along the Housatonic Valley, connecting with Massachusetts's Berkshire Railroad at the state line. Bridgeport was chartered as Connecticut's fifth city in 1836 [21] [25] [28] in order to enable the town council to secure funding (ultimately $150,000) to provide to the HRRC and ensure that it would terminate in Bridgeport. [29] The Naugatuck Railroad—connecting Bridgeport to Waterbury and Winsted along the Naugatuck—was chartered in 1845 and began operation four years later. [30] [31] The same year, the New York and New Haven Railroad began operation, [32] connecting Bridgeport to New York and the other towns along the north shore of the Long Island Sound.

Now a major junction for western Connecticut, the city rapidly industrialized. Following the Civil War, it held several iron foundries and factories manufacturing firearms, metallic cartridges, horse harnesses, locks, and blinds. [21] Wheeler & Wilson's sewing machines were exported throughout the world. Bridgeport annexed the West End and the village of Black Rock and its busy harbor in 1870. [33] In 1875, P. T. Barnum was elected mayor of the town, which afterwards served as the winter headquarters of Barnum and Bailey's Circus and Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. [8]

1845 NY&NH.jpg
The route of the NY&NH, showing Bridgeport in 1845

20th century

1912 postcard showing Main Street in Bridgeport PostcardBridgeportCTMainSt1912.jpg
1912 postcard showing Main Street in Bridgeport
Sterling Block-Bishop Arcade, a Victorian-era shopping arcade BridgeportCT SterlingBlockBishopArcade Inside.jpg
Sterling Block-Bishop Arcade, a Victorian-era shopping arcade

From 1870 to 1910, Bridgeport became the major industrial center of Connecticut and its population rose from around 25,000 to over 100,000, including thousands of Irish, Slovaks, Hungarians, Germans, English, and Italian immigrants. [8]

Among the initiatives, the Singer factory joined Wheeler & Wilson in producing sewing machines [8] and the Locomobile Company of America was a prominent early automobile manufacturer, producing a prototype of the Stanley Steamer and various luxury cars. [34]

Further, the Holmes & Edwards Silver Co. was founded in 1882, with its wares sold nationally, and the company became part of the International Silver Company in 1898. [35] (The H&E brand, in fact, continued well into the 1950s and was advertised in national magazines such as LIFE and Ladies' Home Journal.) [36]

The town was also the center of America's corset production, responsible for almost 20% of the national total, [8] and became the headquarters of Remington Arms following its 1912 merger with the Union Metallic Cartridge Co. Around the time of the First World War, Bridgeport was also producing steam-fitting and heating apparatuses, brass goods, phonographs, typewriters, [8] milling machines, brassieres, and saddles. [37]

In the summer of 1915, a series of strikes imposed the eight-hour day on the town's factories; rather than moving business elsewhere, the success spread the eight-hour day throughout the Northeast. [38] The First World War continued the city's expansion so that, on the eve of the Great Depression, there were more than 500 factories in Bridgeport, including Columbia Records' primary pressing plant. The build-up to World War II helped its recovery in the late 1930s. [39]

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. [40] 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. [41] 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. [42] Bridgeport made numerous efforts at revitalization. In one proposal, Las Vegas developer Steve Wynn was to build a large casino, but that project failed. In 1991, the city filed for bankruptcy protection but was declared solvent by a federal court. [43]

21st century

A street scene in Bridgeport Bridgeport 101 0153small.jpg
A street scene in Bridgeport

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 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. [44] 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. [45] 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. [46] Recently, MGM announced plans to build a waterfront casino and shopping center in the city, awaiting approval by the state government. If built, the development will create 2,000 permanent jobs and about 5,779 temporary jobs. [47]

Notable speeches

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 pm train that night back to Manhattan. [48] [49] 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. [50] President Barack Obama also spoke at the Harbor Yard arena in 2010 to gain support for the campaign of Democratic Governor Dan Malloy. [51]

Geography

Bridgeport lies along Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Pequonnock River.

Parks

Bridgeport is renowned for its public park system, which has led to its official nickname, "the Park City". The city's first public park was the westerly portion of McLevy Green, first set aside as a public square in 1806; [52] 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). [53] In 1878, over 100 acres (400,000 m2) of land bordering the Pequonnock River was added as Beardsley Park. [54] Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for creating New York City's Central Park, designed both Seaside and Beardsley Parks. [55] 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. Went Field on the West End, between Wordin Avenue and Norman Street, used to be the winter headquarters of Barnum's circus.

Neighborhoods

Bridgeport has many distinct neighborhoods, [56] divided into five geographic areas: Downtown, the East Side, the North End, the South End, and the West Side. [57]

Climate

Under the Köppen climate classification, Bridgeport has a Temperate climate (Cfa), it is part of USDA hardiness zone 7a. [58] Like the rest of coastal Connecticut, Bridgeport lies in the broad transition zone between the continental climates of New England and the humid subtropical climates to the south. The 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. [59] Temperatures reaching 0 °F (−18 °C) or 100 °F (38 °C) are uncommon, and were last seen respectively on January 7, 2018 and July 22, 2011. [59] 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. [59]

Precipitation averages 42.7 inches (1,080 mm) annually, and is somewhat evenly distributed throughout the year, with March and April the wettest months. Annual snowfall averages 27.6 inches (70 cm), falling almost entirely from December to March. As is typical of coastal Connecticut, snow cover does not usually last 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
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)69
(21)
67
(19)
84
(29)
91
(33)
97
(36)
97
(36)
103
(39)
100
(38)
99
(37)
89
(32)
78
(26)
76
(24)
103
(39)
Mean maximum °F (°C)55.2
(12.9)
55.4
(13.0)
65.8
(18.8)
76.4
(24.7)
83.7
(28.7)
89.9
(32.2)
92.9
(33.8)
91.4
(33.0)
85.1
(29.5)
76.6
(24.8)
67.4
(19.7)
58.6
(14.8)
94.6
(34.8)
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
(25.0)
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)
Daily mean °F (°C)30.1
(−1.1)
32.4
(0.2)
39.3
(4.1)
49.3
(9.6)
59.1
(15.1)
68.7
(20.4)
74.3
(23.5)
73.3
(22.9)
66.2
(19.0)
54.9
(12.7)
45.5
(7.5)
35.4
(1.9)
52.4
(11.3)
Average low °F (°C)23.0
(−5.0)
25.2
(−3.8)
31.4
(−0.3)
41.0
(5.0)
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
(−2.0)
44.6
(7.0)
Mean minimum °F (°C)5.3
(−14.8)
9.8
(−12.3)
16.3
(−8.7)
30.0
(−1.1)
39.7
(4.3)
49.5
(9.7)
57.0
(13.9)
54.9
(12.7)
44.6
(7.0)
33.4
(0.8)
23.8
(−4.6)
12.9
(−10.6)
3.5
(−15.8)
Record low °F (°C)−7
(−22)
−6
(−21)
4
(−16)
18
(−8)
31
(−1)
41
(5)
49
(9)
44
(7)
36
(2)
26
(−3)
13
(−11)
−4
(−20)
−7
(−22)
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.10
(79)
2.79
(71)
4.05
(103)
4.13
(105)
3.80
(97)
3.61
(92)
3.46
(88)
3.96
(101)
3.48
(88)
3.64
(92)
3.39
(86)
3.33
(85)
42.74
(1,087)
Average snowfall inches (cm)7.7
(20)
8.1
(21)
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
(71.1)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch)10.99.711.311.011.811.18.98.98.28.810.011.1121.7
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 inch)4.83.52.40.30000000.53.114.6
Source: NOAA [59] [60]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1810 1,089
1820 1,50037.7%
1830 2,80086.7%
1840 3,29417.6%
1850 7,560129.5%
1860 13,29975.9%
1870 18,96942.6%
1880 27,64345.7%
1890 48,86676.8%
1900 70,99645.3%
1910 102,05443.7%
1920 143,55540.7%
1930 146,7162.2%
1940 147,1210.3%
1950 158,7097.9%
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 144,2293.4%
Est. 2018144,900 [2] 0.5%
Population 1840–1970 [61]
U.S. Decennial Census [62]
2018 Estimate [63]

As of the census of 2000, there were 139,529 people, 50,307 households, and 32,749 families living 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. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 20.3% of the population. Other ancestry groups include: Italian (8.6%), Irish (5.1%), Portuguese (2.9%), Polish (2.8%), and German (2.4%). [64]

As of the 2010 census, there were 144,229 people living 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.

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. [65] [66]

According to 2010 census data, the Bridgeport MSA, containing all of Fairfield County, is the most economically unequal region in America, with 57% of the wealth going to the top income quintile. [67] [68]

Economy

Since the decline of its industrial sector beginning in the middle of the 20th century, Bridgeport has gradually adjusted to a service-based economy. Though a level of industrial activity continues, healthcare, finance, and education have become the centerpieces of Bridgeport's economy.

The two largest employers in the city are Bridgeport's primary hospitals, Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincent's Medical Center. Park City Hospital closed in 1993 and was reopened in 2010 as elderly and homeless housing units. [69] Emergency medical services are provided by American Medical Response at the paramedic level.

Top employers

According to its 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [70] the city's top employers are:

Bridgeport Hospital, an affiliate of the Yale School of Medicine BridgeportHospitalEntrance.jpg
Bridgeport Hospital, an affiliate of the Yale School of Medicine
A portion of the harbor in Bridgeport: Facilities shown are part of the United Illuminating coal-fired power plant Bridgeportindustry.JPG
A portion of the harbor in Bridgeport: Facilities shown are part of the United Illuminating coal-fired power plant
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 Center500
Housatonic Community College 482
Prime Line310
Derecktor Shipyards300
Lacey Manufacturing275
Watermark Retirement Communities165

Non-Profit

WeCare Community Center, Inc. WCCC, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1997. WCCC, Inc is committed to the belief and understanding that everyone is socially responsible for the environment/community. WCCC, Inc hopes to inspire action in the community with programs and workshops. Through grants, fundraising initiatives, and the help of the community, WeCare can make a difference. WeCare wants to help members in our communities live their best lives, today. WCCC, Inc currently manages the Trumbull Gardens Multi-purpose Center in the North End of Bridgeport offering great programs and workshops for the children and families in Bridgeport and beyond. [71]


Education

Higher education

Bridgeport is home to the University of Bridgeport, Housatonic Community College, St. Vincent's College, and the Yeshiva Gedola of Bridgeport. The Yeshiva Gedola is the home of the Bridgeport Community Kollel, a rabbinic fellowship program. [72]

The University of Bridgeport's Ernest C. Trefz School of Business offers undergraduate and graduate programs.

Public education

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. [73] 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

Public magnet schools

Private education

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

Government and politics

Bridgeport City Hall BridgeportCityHall.jpg
Bridgeport City Hall

The city is governed by the mayor-council system. Twenty members of the city council are elected from districts. Each district elects two members. The mayor is elected at-large by the entire city

Bridgeport is notable for having had a socialist mayor for 24 years, Jasper McLevy, who served from 1933 to 1957.

Mayor Joseph P. Ganim was involved in a corruption scandal, as was Mayor Eddie Perez of Hartford in 2010. [74] In June 2006, Mayor John M. Fabrizi admitted that he had used cocaine while in office. [75]

Bridgeport is recognized for its polarizing political culture. The city's current mayor, Joseph P. Ganim, has served the city seven terms since first taking office in 1991. After being indicted on charges of corruption in 2003, Ganim served nine years in federal prison. [76] After his release in 2015, Ganim announced his mayoral campaign to serve a sixth term in office. His campaign ran on a theme of providing him with a "second-chance," as he was renowned for his work of escaping the city from bankruptcy and build its economy from a post-industrial standpoint. [77]

In a divisive primary election between him, the city's mayor at the time, Bill Finch, and University of Bridgeport professor and real estate developer, Mary-Jane Foster, Ganim was able to receive the endorsement of the politically volatile democratic town committee, paving the way to his victory for being reelected mayor at the end of year. [77]

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 29, 2019 [78]
PartyActive votersInactive votersTotal votersPercentage
Republican 4,5052054,7106.06%
Democratic 48,1172,15450,27164.73%
Unaffiliated 20,9921,13622,05828.40%
Minor parties589326210.80%
Total74,1333,52777,660100%

Like most urban areas and big cities, Bridgeport is heavily Democratic at the presidential level. In 1972 Richard M. Nixon was the last Republican to win the city; since then Democrats have prevailed, often by comfortable margins, the lone exception being 1984 when Walter Mondale carried the city by just 76 votes (0.16 percent) over Ronald Reagan.

Bridgeport's Democratic Town Committee is the staple entity with significant influence over the city's politics. With the ability to nominate and endorse Democratic candidates running for local office, they have the resources to outperform challenger slates that may compete with them. There have been numerous calls for better transparency and reform of the committee altogether. The chairman is former state representative and local restauranteur, Mario Testa. [79]

Bridgeport city vote
by party in presidential elections [80]
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2016 80.98%32,03516.67% 6,5962.35% 929
2012 85.75%32,13513.79% 5,1680.46% 173
2008 83.52%33,97615.99% 6,5074.89% 199
2004 70.66%26,28027.76% 10,3261.57% 585
2000 72.68%24,30322.15% 7,4065.18% 1,731
1996 69.16%22,88320.51% 6,78510.33% 3,419
1992 53.20%22,32131.34% 13,14915.46% 6,486
1988 57.50%23,83141.22% 17,0841.27% 527
1984 49.75%24,33249.59% 24,2560.66% 321
1980 51.24%23,50541.82% 19,1856.94% 3,185
1976 55.37%26,33043.79% 20,8240.83% 397
1972 43.67% 24,57254.09%30,4362.25% 1,265
1968 53.27%30,06537.23% 21,0149.50% 5,363
1964 69.90%43,71030.10% 18,8180.00% 0
1960 61.14%41,95038.86% 26,6670.00% 0
1956 38.57% 26,56061.43%42,3080.00% 0

Taxes

Bridgeport has one of the highest property tax rates in Connecticut. [81] A 2017 Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and Minnesota Center of Fiscal Excellence study determined that Bridgeport had the second-highest property tax burden of any U.S. city (after Detroit), and the fourth-highest for commercial properties valued at more than $1 million (after Detroit, New York City, and Chicago). [82]

In 2016, Bridgeport enacted a 29% increase in the property tax rate, among the highest one-year property tax rate increases in recent U.S. history, in an effort to reduce the municipal deficit. [83] A citywide reassessment in 2015 determined that the value of taxable property in the city was $6 billion, a decline of $1 billion; the property tax increases, combined with property value decreases, have been a consistent political issue in the city. [83]

Culture

Barnum Museum. Barnum Museum.JPG
Barnum Museum.

Performing arts

Theater and music

Bridgeport has a number of venues for live theater and music events, ranging from intimate performing spaces to a stadium hosting rock concerts. [84]

  • Downtown Cabaret Theatre – cabaret, children's theater, concerts
  • The Stress Factory – (300 seats) comedy club with national and local acts
  • Klein Memorial Auditorium – (1,400 seats) home to the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, touring shows and concerts
  • Webster Bank Arena – Sporting events venue, but also hosts large concerts

Music festivals and concert series

Bridgeport was the annual home to Gathering of the Vibes, a weekend-long arts, music and camping festival, until it ended in 2015.

The Greater Bridgeport Symphony, established in 1945, performs at Bridgeport's 1,400-seat Klein Memorial Auditorium. Gustav Meier directed the orchestra from 1972 to 2013.

Museums, zoos and parks

Bridgeport has a number of museums, ranging from the science-oriented to fine arts and historical, as well as the state's largest zoo. [84]

Movies

A list of films shot or partially filmed in the city: [85]

Television

Novels

  • Bridgeport is the setting of Maureen Howard's novel Natural History, which includes scenes from the city's history and depicts historical figures such as P. T. Barnum.

Sports

ClubLeagueVenueEstablishedChampionshipsLogo
Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL, Ice hockey Webster Bank Arena 20010

Webster Bank Arena 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 and the Sacred Heart University's men's hockey team and as the home court of Fairfield University's basketball team.

The Ballpark at Harbor Yard served as a minor-league baseball stadium from 1998 to 2017. It was built in 1998 to serve as the homefield of the Bridgeport Bluefish. From 2001 to 2003 it was the homefield for the Bridgeport Barrage, a Major League Lacrosse team. It is downtown on a former brownfield site. It is visually prominent to commuters on I-95 or on passing trains. On August 8, 2017, Mayor  Joe Ganim  announced that the Bluefish would be ending their 20-year stint at the ballpark at the end of the 2017 season. The ballpark is expected to be converted to an  amphitheatre. The Bluefish played their final home game at the park on September 17, 2017, losing by a score of 9–2 to the  Somerset Patriots. [86]

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 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 in Bridgeport. It is the home club of the 2013 USA Mixed National Champions, [87] led by club members Derek Surka and Charissa Lin. The club is a member of the Grand National Curling Club Region.

Bridgeport has a storied history in professional sports. Bridgeport native Jim O'Rourke was the first baseball player to earn a hit in National League history in 1876. The founder and original owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Charles Ebbets, married his second wife in Bridgeport in 1922, five years before his death.

Media

Radio

Due to Bridgeport's close proximity to Long Island Sound, many radio stations from New York and Long Island are received clearly in the market. These include WMCA, WFAN, WOR, WABC, WNYC, WCBS, WEPN, WQEW, WBLI, and WALK. [90]

Newspapers

Television

Bridgeport was NBC's pioneer UHF TV test site from December 29, 1949 to August 23, 1952; [91] 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:

Transportation

Airports

Sikorsky Memorial Airport in neighboring Stratford was previously owned by the City of Bridgeport before closing a deal in 2016 that sold the land to Stratford. It once provided regional flights to major cities, but commercial operations at the airport were terminated in November 1999.

Roads

Surface thoroughfares

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, extends 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 off as the road was straightened in the 19th century.
  • Park Avenue lies on the border 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, which 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 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 until 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 late-18th century toll road that extended as far north as Danbury.
  • Madison Avenue is between Main Street and Park Avenue and extends from the Trumbull town line in the North End 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 laid out in 1817 in an almost 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 city by gravity. Until 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 northeast from the Berkshire Bridge to the Trumbull town line (a small portion today is 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 northwest 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 western 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 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, which 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 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 line. Its route through the West End parallels what had been the northern edge of an extensive salt marsh, and existed 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 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 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 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 north of the tracks, and the eastbound side south of them. It terminates at Fairfield Avenue in the West End.

Highways

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 Avenue, Stratford Avenue, Fairfield Avenue and Water Street), and the Huntington Turnpike.

Railroad and ferries

A New Haven Line train approaches the intermodal transit hub at Bridgeport Station New Haven Line train approaches Bridgeport, CT station eastbound, December 2012.jpg
A New Haven Line train approaches the intermodal transit hub at Bridgeport Station

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

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

Historic districts

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

See also

Notes

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The Pequonnock River is a 16.7-mile-long (26.9 km) waterway in eastern Fairfield County, Connecticut. Its watershed is located in five communities, with the majority of it located within Monroe, Trumbull, and Bridgeport. The river has a penchant for flooding, particularly in spring since the removal of a retention dam in Trumbull in the 1950s. There seems to be a sharp difference of opinion among historians as to just what the Indian word Pequonnock signifies. Some insist it meant cleared field or open ground; others are sure it meant broken ground; while a third group is certain it meant place of slaughter or place of destruction.

Unity Burial Ground

The Unity Burial Ground is a small graveyard located on the southeast end of White Plain in the Nichols section of Trumbull, Connecticut. It is located a few rods north of the site of the first meeting house that was built in the parish of Unity, off of White Plains Road. The cemetery was laid out in 1730 and the first burial was that of 7 year old Samuel Bennitt on June 21, 1731. There are over 110 gravestones, 90 unmarked field stones and 241 known grave sites, and most of the original stones face east. This is unusual, as it runs contrary to the common practice of placing stones so that they face the road. The latest known burial was for Charles E Booth Jr. on August 17, 1935.

Long Hill, Trumbull, Connecticut human settlement in United States of America

Long Hill is a village/neighborhood of Trumbull in Fairfield County, Connecticut in New England. It is located west of the Pequonnock River. The main thoroughfare is Connecticut Route 111, present-day Main Street.

Zachariah Curtiss House building in Connecticut, United States

The Zachariah Curtiss House is located at 2950 Nichols Avenue on the Farm Highway or Route 108 on the south side of Mischa Hill, and is one of the oldest houses in the village of Nichols in Trumbull, Connecticut in New England. The house was built by Zachariah II between 1721 and 1746 in the Georgian architectural style. The Colonial American wooden post-and-beam timber frame farm house has an ell added around 1800, that is twenty-two feet wide by eighteen feet deep with a central fireplace. There were two rooms on the first floor; a parlor and dining room. The second floor was a loft. The house has the distinction of being located in four different townships in its history, but has never been moved; Stratford (1686–1725), Unity (1725–1744), North Stratford (1744–1797) and Trumbull (1797-present).

James Beebe (1717–1785), Reverend, presided over the Unity Parish at North Stratford, now Trumbull, Connecticut, between 1747 and 1785. He was an Army Preacher in the French and Indian War and a patriot.

Geography of Bridgeport, Connecticut

Bridgeport, Connecticut is a major city of Connecticut located on Long Island Sound at the mouth of the Pequonnock River.

Barnum station railway station in Connecticut, United States

The Barnum station is a planned regional rail station to be located on the Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line in East Bridgeport, Connecticut. The station will be named after the circus showman and one-time Bridgeport mayor P. T. Barnum, and will be located on the south side of Barnum Avenue between Seaview Avenue and Pembroke Street. A feasibility study was released in July 2013, followed by preliminary planning funding in July 2014 and an application for planning funding in June 2015. By January 2017, the station was planned to open in 2021. However, the project was indefinitely postponed in January 2019.

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