Brief History of Bridgeport

Fairfield County, Connecticut

1775-1783 the American Revolutionary War.

1800 the town was incorporated as a borough and named Bridgeport for the first drawbridge over the river.

1807 the federal government purchased 9 1/2 acres on Fayerweather Island from David Fayerweather.

1808 the first Fayerweather Island Lighthouse built on the south end of the island.

1821 the town of Bridgeport incorporated.

1836 the city of Bridgeport incorporated.

1840 the railroad arrived. Bridgeport produced carriages, brass and cast-iron fittings, sewing machines, tools, saddlery, and ammunition.

1842  --  P. T. Barnum discovers his Tom Thumb in Bridgeport. He later had a home in Bridgeport called Iranistan.

1851-1853   --  P. T. Barnum spent most of his time in Bridgeport, with frequent visits to New York City

1851  --  Barnum tried to found a new city across from Bridgeport known as East Bridgeport.

1857  --  Iranistan burned to the ground.

1859  --  Barnum returned from abroad to Bridgeport.

1860  --  Barnum built a house in Bridgeport, next to that of his daughter Caroline and not far from the ruins of his previous house Iranistan.

1861-1865 the American Civil War.

1867 the Remington Corporation's global headquarters was created when the Union Metallic Cartridge Company was incorporated.

1875  --  P. T. Barnum, Republican mayor of Bridgeport.  He made Bridgeport into a major manufacturing center and he improved the steamboat industry in the city.

1876 (April)  --  Barnum's mayoral term ended.

1883 Barnum went to England and purchased the huge elephant called "Jumbo" for his circus. But the star attraction was Charles S. Stratton, "General Tom Thumb" (who was born in Bridgeport).

1896 Harvey Hubbell patented the first electric light socket with a pull chain.

1912 creation of the Remington Union Metallic Cartridge Company. (Remington is now known for its electric razors)

1927 the University of Bridgeport founded.

By the 1930s the town had almost 500 manufacturing firms.

1933 socialist Jasper McLevy was elected mayor. He served for 24 years. He brought into the town Elias Howe and his Singer sewing machines and the Barnum Museum.

1941-1945 American participation in World War II.

1966 Housatonic Community-Technical College founded.

NIKE bases (dismantled in the early 90s) were built to protect the city.

late 20th century Bridgeport remained a manufacturing center, producing electrical and transportation equipment, plastics, and machine tools.

Today the Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Steamboat Company provides daily ferry service between Bridgeport and Port Jefferson, Long Island.

Bridgeport has been hurt by the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs. In addition to unemployment, Bridgeport has problems with pollution, drugs, and crime in its inner-city neighborhoods.


The City of Bridgeport.

Joel Benton. Life of Hon. Phineas T. Barnum. Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library.


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