New Britain, Connecticut

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New Britain, Connecticut
West Main Street, Downtown New Britain, Connecticut.jpg
West Main Street, Downtown New Britain
Municipal flag of New Britain, Connecticut.jpg
New Britski, Hard-Hittin’ New Britain, Hardware City
"Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey."
Hartford County Connecticut Incorporated and Unincorporated areas New Britain Highlighted.svg
Location within Hartford County and Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°40′30″N72°47′14″W / 41.67500°N 72.78722°W / 41.67500; -72.78722 Coordinates: 41°40′30″N72°47′14″W / 41.67500°N 72.78722°W / 41.67500; -72.78722
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
U.S. state Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut
County Hartford
Metropolitan area Hartford
Incorporated (town)1850
Incorporated (city)1871
  Type Mayor-council
   Mayor Erin E. Stewart (R)
  Total13.43 sq mi (34.78 km2)
  Land13.36 sq mi (34.59 km2)
  Water0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)
167 ft (51 m)
 (2010) [2]
(2019) [3]
  Density5,428.30/sq mi (2,095.89/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code
06050, 06051, 06052, 06053
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-50370
GNIS feature ID0209217
Major highways I-84.svg Connecticut Highway 9.svg Connecticut Highway 71.svg Connecticut Highway 72.svg
Rapid Transit CTfastrak symbol.svg

New Britain is a city in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. It is located approximately 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Hartford. According to 2010 Census, the population of the city is 73,206. [2]


Among the southernmost of the communities encompassed within the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor metropolitan region, New Britain is home to Central Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College. The city was noted for its industry during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and notable sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places include Walnut Hill Park developed by the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and Downtown New Britain.

The city's official nickname is the "Hardware City" because of its history as a manufacturing center and as the headquarters of Stanley Black & Decker. Because of its large Polish population, the city is often playfully referred to as "New Britski." [4]


New Britain was settled in 1687 and then was incorporated as a new parish under the name New Britain Society in 1754. The name is a transfer from Great Britain. [5] Chartered in 1850 as a township and in 1871 as a city, New Britain had separated from the nearby town of Farmington, Connecticut. A consolidation charter was adopted in 1905.

During the early part of the 20th century, New Britain was known as the "Hardware Capital of the World", as well as "Hardware City". Major manufacturers, such as The Stanley Works, the P&F Corbin Company (later Corbin Locks), Landers, Frary & Clark (LF&C) and North & Judd, were headquartered in the city.

Postcard: West Main Street, pre-1907. WestMainStNewBritainConn.jpg
Postcard: West Main Street, pre-1907.

In 1843 Frederick Trent Stanley established Stanley's Bolt Manufactory in New Britain to make door bolts and other wrought-iron hardware. In 1857 his cousin Henry Stanley founded The Stanley Rule and Level Company in the city. Planes invented by Leonard Bailey and manufactured by the Stanley Rule and Level Company, known as "Stanley/Bailey" planes, were prized by woodworkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and remain popular among wood craftsmen today. The two companies merged in 1920, and the Stanley Rule and Level Company became the Hand Tools Division of Stanley Works.

The wire coat hanger was invented in 1869 by O. A. North of New Britain. In 1895, the basketball technique of dribbling was developed at the New Britain YMCA. In 1938, New Britain High School competed in the high school football national championship game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 1954 saw the development of racquetball, also at the YMCA. [6]

Paul Manafort Sr., the father of Paul Manafort, was once the mayor of New Britain; the Manafort family had immigrated from Italy to New Britain prior to 1919. [7]

The heads of the fire and police departments and seven other municipal employees were arrested as part of a corruption scandal in the 1970s. [8]

City motto

New Britain's motto, Industria implet alveare et melle fruitur – translated from Latin – means "Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey." This phrase was coined by Elihu Burritt, a 19th-century New Britain resident, diplomat, philanthropist and social activist.

In 2007 it was reported that the Latin word for "honey" in the motto had been a typo for decades; it should be melle , but it had long been misspelled as mele. Former mayor William McNamara, who unsuccessfully tried to fix it during his term, suggested "to either fix the spelling immediately" or "switch to the English version of the motto." [9] [10] As controversy arose from the matter, the word was superseded with the correct spelling, melle.

Geography and topography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (34.7 km2), of which, 13.3 square miles (34.6 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2) of it (0.52%) is water.

New Britain's terrain is mostly made up of soft, rolling hills and young Connecticut forest. The many parks are populated with trees, and in small, undeveloped areas, there is also brushy woods. New Britain's streets also have many trees lining the sides of the roads. Many front yards in the northern half of the city have at least one tree. One or two streams flow through New Britain, undisturbed by the development.


Largest ancestries (2010) [11] Percent
Puerto-Rican 29.9%
Polish 17.1%
Italian 9.6%
Irish 8%
German 4.1%
English 3.9%
French-Canadian 3.8%
Haitian 3.1%
Historical population
1880 11,800
1890 16,51940.0%
1900 25,99857.4%
1910 43,91668.9%
1920 59,31635.1%
1930 68,12814.9%
1940 68,6850.8%
1950 73,7267.3%
1960 82,20111.5%
1970 83,4411.5%
1980 73,840−11.5%
1990 75,4912.2%
2000 71,538−5.2%
2010 73,2062.3%
2019 (est.)72,495 [3] −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census [12]

As of the census [13] of 2010, there were 73,153 people. The racial makeup of the city was 47.7% Non-Hispanic White, 36.8% Hispanic or Latino(of any race), 10.9% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander and 1.9% from two or more races.

There were 29,888 households, out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.6% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 32.1% 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 2.50 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 24.2% under the age of 18, 12.5% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

In 2010 The median income for a household in the city was $35,357, and the median income for a family was $42,056. Males had a median income of $36,848 versus $28,873 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,404. 24.5% of the population below the poverty line (Poverty Rate is 19.2% for White Non-Hispanic residents, 36.8% for Hispanic or Latino residents).

Government & Politics

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of November, 2017 [14]
PartyActive VotersInactive VotersTotal VotersPercent Change Since 2015 [15] Percentage
Democratic 15,8331,20817,041-5%49%
Unaffiliated12,1461,28513,431+ <1%39%
Republican 3,3232293,552+5%11%
Total31,8072,76234,569- <1%100%
New Britain city vote
by party in presidential elections [16]
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2016 69.28%15,46827.12% 6,0553.61% 805
2012 76.32%16,05222.74% 4,7830.94% 197
2008 74.54%16,74224.23% 5,4421.23% 276
2004 67.01%14,12231.13% 6,5601.86% 392
2000 69.48%13,91325.26% 5,0595.26% 1,054
1996 66.44%14,32222.78% 4,91110.77% 2,322
1992 53.80%14,15926.75% 7,04019.45% 5,118
1988 61.63%15,84337.22% 9,5691.15% 295
1984 51.24%14,60848.14% 13,7230.62% 177
1980 53.21%15,64934.99% 10,29211.80% 3,470
1976 60.32%18,73738.96% 12,1010.72% 223
1972 52.31%18,14346.52% 16,1341.17% 405
1968 65.71%21,89028.97% 9,6515.32% 1,772
1964 80.47%29,97619.53% 7,2730.00% 0
1960 68.84%27,29331.16% 12,3520.00% 0
1956 46.86% 18,12553.14%20,5510.00% 0

Ethnic groups

In the 1960s various European ethnic groups had ethnic enclaves, including those from Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Ukraine. [7]

Polish community

New Britain has the largest Polish population of any city in Connecticut, and by 1930 a quarter of the city was ethnically Polish. [17] Also referred to as "Little Poland", the city's Broad Street neighborhood has been home to a considerable number of Polish businesses and families since 1890. On September 23, 2008, through the urging of the Polonia Business Association, the New Britain City Council unanimously passed a resolution officially designating New Britain's Broad Street area as "Little Poland." [18] In recent years, the Polish community has been credited with revitalizing the area both culturally and economically. Media is served by three Polish language newspapers and a television station, and many businesses and civil agencies are bilingual. The post office branch in Little Poland is the only one in the nation with the word "post" written in Polish to welcome visitors. Each year, a Little Poland festival is held on the last Sunday of April.

Notable visitors to the Polish district have included Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan on July 8, 1987. [19] In 1969, as then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II gave a mass at Sacred Heart Church. [20] A statue was erected in his honor in 2007. [21] Dubbed the city's "Polish heart" by The Boston Globe , Little Poland caught the attention of Polish Ambassador to the US Ryszard Schnepf, who toured the area with US Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, US Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, as well as several members of the Polish Sejm.[ citation needed ] An honorary Polish consulate was established in March 2017. The first of its kind in Connecticut, it was established by Polish diplomat to the United States Piotr Wilczek. [22]

In September 2019, Polish President Andrzej Duda became the first head of state to visit New Britain when he addressed thousands in Walnut Hill Park prior to traveling to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly. Duda was joined by a variety of Connecticut politicians, including Governor Ned Lamont, U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes and Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal. [23]


Natives of New Britain have a fairly unmarked Connecticut accent, though there is some local perception of a distinct accent, popularly attributed to the Polish-American community, such as the use of a glottal stop in place of /t/ before syllabic /l/: in other words, in words like cattle and bottle. [24] The short "a" vowel /æ/ as in TRAP may be raised to [ɛə] for some speakers in Connecticut, including New Britain, though this feature appears to be declining among younger residents. [25]


New Britain is home to the global headquarters of the Fortune 500 manufacturing conglomerate Stanley Black & Decker. Other notable companies headquartered in New Britain include Gaffney, Bennett, and Associates, Tomasso Group, Creed Monarch, Guida's Dairy, and Polamer Precision.

Top employers

According to the City's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [26] the top employers in the city are:

#Employer# of employees
1City of New Britain2,239
2Hospital of Central Connecticut1,536
3 Central Connecticut State University 1,450
4Hospital for Special Care1,182
5 Stanley Black & Decker 600
6 Webster Bank 599
7Tilcon Connecticut553
8Creed Monarch300
9Polamer Precision249
10 Rich Foods 220

Sites of interest

Cultural institutions

New Britain is the home of the New Britain Symphony Orchestra, which was formed in 1948 by several faculty members at the former Teacher's College of Connecticut, now Central Connecticut State University. The orchestra performed its first concert under the direction of Dr. Etzel Willhoit, Chairman of the Music Department. The orchestra was official organized as the New Britain Symphony Society, Inc. in 1952 by Helen Kilduff, who was at the time the supervisor of music in New Britain's public schools. [30] Maestro Ertan Seyyar Sener is the current conductor and musical director of the New Britain Symphony Orchestra, a role he assumed during the 2014–2015 concert season.

New Britain is also home to the historic Repertory Theatre. The theatre was originally the Norden Street Lodge. In 1955, a theater group known as the Repertory Theatre of New Britain acquired the Norden Street Lodge. The lodge became known as The Repertory Theatre, as it is to this day. Members of the Repertory Theatre of New Britain sold bonds to theatre members and friends in order to acquire the property. Each year, bondholders received interest on their investment, sometimes reaching as much as 65 cents! Since 1955, at least four theatrical productions have been produced each year in the space. Since 1999, the theatre has also been home to numerous cultural events, children's theatre, and playwriting competitions. There have been notable names to grace the stage, such as Meryl Streep, who was active in children's theatre at the Repertory Theatre during her time as a student at Yale University.



Colleges and universities

The city is home to Central Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College, a public liberal arts college.

Primary and secondary schools

New Britain Public Schools operates public schools. The local high school is New Britain High School. New Britain is also home to the Mountain Laurel Sudbury School.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford is responsible for the operation of Catholic schools. A Catholic elementary school, Sacred Heart School, is in New Britain. [32] St. Thomas Aquinas High School closed in 1999. [33]

The Holy Cross Catholic School was established in 1954. The Holy Cross, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Joseph Catholic schools merged into Saint John Paul II School in 2006; the Holy Cross parish sponsored the consolidated school. The archdiocese closed the SJP School in 2015. [34] At the time of its closing, SJP school had debts of over $300,000. [35]


Connecticut Route 9 is the city's main expressway connecting traffic between Hartford (via I-84 and I-91) and Old Saybrook and Middletown. I-84 itself clips the northwestern corner of the city. Public transportation is provided by Connecticut Transit.

Downtown New Britain serves as the southern terminus of CTfastrak, a bus rapid transit line. Operated by Connecticut Transit, the project officially broke ground in May 2012, and became operational in March 2015. [36] [37] The route's northern terminus is Union Station in Hartford. There are also CTfastrak stations on East Main Street and East Street, the latter near Central Connecticut State University. New Britain is served by Connecticut Transit New Britain.

New Britain has a nearby Amtrak station in adjacent Berlin. The Vermonter (once daily) and Shuttle (multiple daily arrivals/departures) provide service to destinations throughout the northeastern United States. There are also plans underway for a Springfield–Hartford–New Haven commuter rail, which would have Berlin as one of its stations.

Notable people

Sister cities

New Britain has five sister cities , as designated by Sister Cities International :

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Further reading