Towns – Waterbury

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New Haven Connecticut Region MapThe original settlement of Waterbury was in 1674 as a Town Plot section. The French and Indian War caused it to be vacated but the land was returned to in 1677, this time west of the first settlement. Both sites are now marked. The Algonquian name for the area was “Matetacoke” meaning “place without trees.” Thus the settlement was named as “Mattatock” in 1673. The name changed to Waterbury on May 15, 1686, when the settlement was admitted as the 28th town in the Connecticut colony. It then included all parts all or parts of the later towns of Watertown, Plymouth, Wolcott, Prospect, Naugatuck, Thomaston, and Middlebury.

The name Waterbury was chosen because of all the streams flowing into the Naugatuck River. Growth was slow during Waterbury’s first century. The lack of arable land discouraged new settlers and the residents suffered through the great flood of 1691 and the great sickness of 1712. After a century, Waterbury’s population numbered just 5,000. Waterbury hit its stride as an industrial power in the early 1800s when it began to make brass, using a technology taken from the British. Not content with exploiting the know-how, these Yankee entrepreneurs lured talented craftsmen from across the sea to set up shop in Waterbury.

The Waterbury landscape was dominated by factory buildings and smokestacks from the mid-1800s to the 1970sAs the “Brass Capital of the World,” the city gained a reputation for the quality and durability of its goods. Waterbury was incorporated as a city in 1853. Waterbury supplied brass and copper used in Boulder Dam in Colorado. Waterbury brass was used for many other things in the United States such as minting disks for nickels, but the brass also went into South American coins. While the brass business boomed, thousands of immigrants poured into the city seeking factory jobs, including the Italians, Irish, French-Canadians, Lithuanians, Jewish, and Slavs.

Another famous Waterbury product of the mid-19th century was Robert H. Ingersoll’s one-dollar pocket watch, five million of which were sold. After this, the clock industry became as important as Waterbury’s famed brass industry. Evidence of these two important industries can still be seen in Waterbury, as numerous clock towers and old brass factories have become landmarks of the city.

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Waterbury, Connecticut

Map
Incorporated: 1853
County: Litchfield
Waterbury, CT Population:
2010: 110,366
GPS Coordinates:
Latitude: 41.3330
Longitude: -73.0213

Waterbury, CT Local Information
Waterbury Police Dispatch: 203-574-6922
Waterbury Fire Department: 203-597-3425
Ambulance Service: 911
Town Hall Telephone: 203-574-6806

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