Brief History of Trumbull, Connecticut

Fairfield County, Connecticut


1639 -- town of Stratford established. Stratford contained Trumbull (once part of an area known as Pequonnocke or Cubheag), Monroe, Shelton, and part of Bridgeport.

1639-1789 -- Stratford retained its original bounds during this period.

c. 1670 -- land surveyed and laid out for the future Trumbull.

c. 1690 -- Abraham Nichols and his family built a house. The house remained in the Nichols family until 1974. 

1696 -- the "Farm Highway" (Nichols Avenue) laid out.

1702 and 1704 -- a grant for a sawmill given to James and Edmund Lewis and Ebenezer Curtis.  

John Williams and John Seeley were permitted the use of a gristmill on the Pequonnock River.  

1705  -- settlement of Trumbull Center.

1725 -- northwest Stratford became a village called Unity.  As a village the residents could have their own meetinghouse, minister and school.  

1730 -- a church established in Unity near the intersection of Unity and White Plains Roads.  

Society of Long Hill established by families from the Stratfield section of Fairfield.

1744 -- the villages of Long Hill and Unity merged into the Society of North Stratford.

1762 – the first recorded grist mill in Trumbull built. Known as Beer's Grist Mill, it was located in the Pequonnock River Valley and was partly owned by Reverend James Beebe, the first minister of the Church of Christ of North Stratford.

1765 – for his new bride, Eben Hawley built a colonial mansion, located on Daniels Farm Road, just east of the Pequonnock River.  

1767 – Eben Hawley died at age 30. Eliakim Beach took ownership of the mansion and established a tavern.

1775-1783  --  the American Revolutionary War.

1779 (July 8) – during the British siege, the pregnant Mary Silliman (whose husband was Brig. Gen. Gold Sellick Silliman) fled Fairfield and sought sanctuary at Beach's Tavern.

1779 (August 8) – at Beach’s Tavern, Mary Silliman gave birth to Benjamin Silliman (for whom Silliman College at Yale is named)

1789 -- territory was taken from Stratford for the town of Huntington (Shelton).  

1797 -- the town of Trumbull founded. Jabez H. Tomlinson served as moderator of the first town meeting. After the meeting, Eliakim Beach invited all attendees back to his tavern to celebrate.  Eliakim was elected Trumbull's first town clerk and held this position for 20 years.  Eliakim also was deacon of the Trumbull Congregational Church for 50 years and the first post master.

1797 (December 1) – after the death of Governor Oliver Wolcott, Jonathan Trumbull Jr., the second son of Revolutionary War Governor Jonathan Trumbull, became the Governor of Connecticut.

1802 – Benjamin Silliman founded Yale University's Departments of Chemistry and Natural History. He began the American Journal of Science and the American Journal of Science which is still published today.

1809 – Benjamin Silliman married Harriet Trumbull, daughter of Governor Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. of the family for which the town of Trumbull is named.

early 1800s – C. Toucey began the men's lightweight muslin underwear factory located on Broadway just north of the Long Hill green. Later a witch hazel factory occupied the site.

By 1820 -- the manufacture of combs was an established industry.

1831  --  Elliot Beardsley ran a tavern in Long Hill.

1857 – Daniel's Farm Schoolhouse established, one of Trumbull's earliest.

1861-1865  --  American Civil War. 

1862 – the Town of Trumbull purchased Beach's Tavern to be the Town Hall.

1862 – John Radcliffe began the Radcliffe Wool and Glove Lining Factory in Long Hill along the east side of the Pequonnock river just south of Whitney Avenue and near the Long Hill train station.

1865  --  a train wreck near the Pequonnock Mills killed eleven people. 

1873 – Hill's High School established.

1877 – the Housatonic RR Company wanted to promote local train travel. So they bought thirteen acres of land in northern Trumbull and developed a park reachable only by train. The place was known as Parlor Rock, named after a large boulder on the property.

1878 – Parlor Rock developed and promoted by the Housatonic Railroad first as a picnic ground and then into an amusement park

1883 – Beach’s Tavern sold when it was replaced by a new Town Hall (The Helen Plumb Building).

1888  -- great blizzard of 1888.

1890  -- town population was 1,453.

1893  --  the former Radcliffe Wool and Glove Lining Factory burned down. Several years later, it was rebuilt.

1893 photo – shows Gabler’s Cigar Shop on Broadway. Peter Gabler’s cigar factory manufactured hand-crafted quality cigars, the popular Gabler's "Judge" and "36" brands.

1896 – the Housatonic Railroad merged with the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad lines.

early 1900's – the Pequonnock River waters were diverted by the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company in the development of the Easton Reservoir, thereby negatively effecting Parlor Rock.  

1904-1955 -- E. Kaatz and family operated the Kaatz Ice House.

1905 – the Chestnut Hill One-Room School House built.

1907-1908 – the facilities at Parlor Rock were dismantled.

1907 – Florence Nichols, descendant of the early Nichols settlers, married George Woods. After a few years in Bridgeport, the couple returned to the old Nicholls house.

1913 photo – shows Long Hill's Parlor Rock baseball team.

1916-1930 – Simon Lake owned three large parcels of land around the area at the top of Lake Avenue (which was named after him). Mr. Lake invented the commercially practical submarine that was manufactured at his plant on Seaview Avenue in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

1918 – many of Long Hill's industries still operated.

1920  --  Long Hill School built.

1926 – dedication of a new monument (that replaced an earlier wooden one) recognizing Trumbull's WWI veterans at the Southern end of Long Hill Green.

1931 – the train ceased running through Long Hill and Long Hill’s early industries disappeared.

1951 -- Gabler's cigar factory converted to a residence by Peter's son Arthur.

1957 – the Helen Plumb Town Hall building replaced by a new Town Hall.

1961 – Beach's Tavern disassembled and moved from Daniels Farm Road to Darien where it is a private home.

1964 – formation of the Trumbull Historical Society. Merrill Beach was important in starting the ball rolling.

1972 – George Woods died.

1973 – Mrs. Woods died. The old Nichols property was left to the Nichols Methodist Church.  This was the end of the Nichols family ownership of the old Nichols house.

1974 – since the Nichols Methodist Church did not need the Nichols land, the land was sold to the Town of Trumbull.

1978 – the Town leased the Nichols house to the Trumbull Historical Society.

1989 – Trumbull's National Little League Team became the first team from the United States to win the World Series since 1983.

1990 – town population was 32,016.

1992  -- death of Merrill Beach. 


John Lauria.  Eliakam Beach's Tavern.

John Lauria. WHERE'S THE LAKE? Lake Avenue and Submarine Inventor Simon Lake.

John Lauria. Trumbull, Connecticut, U.S.A. Early Industries.

Helen Plumb. History of the Town of Trumbull.

Wayne Sakal. The Parlor Rock Story.

Dorothy M. Seeley. The History of Our House (The Woods Estate).



I found Trumbull to be very unfriendly territory.  Park after park was blocked off from non-residents.  Most towns have a few town parks where non-residents are not allowed, but we found park after park in Trumbull not open to non-residents.  In fact, there is no really good place for a non-resident to walk in Trumbull except on trails that go across towns, therefore having to be open to non-residents. 

The only place we found of a nicer size where we could walk was Great Oak Park, but this is not an area friendly to hikers since there are no really good trails. 

There is a big natural area in Trumbull consisting of Beach Memorial Park and Twin Brooks.  I can see where towns would deny access to non-residents in the recreation areas (swimming pools, beaches, sports fields and courts), but they have even the trails walled off to non-residents. 

I could do very little botanizing in Trumbull because of the walled-off attitude of the town. 

If all the towns in America were like Trumbull, there would no use in traveling to see other parts of the United States.  I was wondering if this was partly racial.  The poor of Bridgeport, especially of color, are very close to Trumbull and  the "need" to keep the poor out of 'Trumbull may be the reason for the closing of American ground to other Americans, but I think the attitude stinks and it's a real tragedy that a town should be so closed to other Americans. 

The only other town in which I experienced such a feeling of being non-wanted was the Hamptons, Long Island.  Still after more than a decade, I remember the sneer I got when a Hamptoner dressed in spiffy white tennis attire sneered at my clothes with such disdain when all I wanted to do was to stop in their little stationary store.  In the Hamptons there were "private property," "private club," "private everything.   They may as well have been saying "Get Lost!"  "Go Away Scum!"  (The rich may be rich and powerful, but they're still just some of the biggest assholes in the country.)

Trumbull, have a more charitable and welcoming heart and open up some areas of your town land to non-residents!!

Dr. Patrick L. Cooney, 9/30/2005

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