Wednesday, January 1, 1908

  • The New Year arrives with ringing of bells and the blowing of factory whistles across the Valley. Many attend functions at the Ansonia Opera House and other social halls. A number of churches hold “watch services” in the hours leading up to the turn of the year at midnight.
  • Unseasonably warm weather is causing the early appearance of dandelions and pussy willows too. Some take advantage of the warm weather to play golf at Shelton’s Highland Golf Course on New Year’s Day. Last month was the warmest December since 1891.
  • The Valley’s daily newspaper Evening Sentinel sold a daily average of 5,273 newspapers in 1907. This is up from 5,143 in 1906.
  • ANSONIA – The Ansonia Skating Rink reopens on Mechanic Street in the old Columbia Bowling Alleys. Ladies admitted free, and the proprietor rules no swearing or smoking will be allowed. Skating lessons are given to novices, as well as skate rentals. People from all the Valley towns patronize the attraction the first week it is open.
  • SEYMOUR – The Town is plunged into darkness when the Seymour Electric Company, after the contract for $70 per carbon arc light expired. Although the 36 carbon arc lights are out, the 79 incandescent street lights are still on because there is no dispute over that contract. Nevertheless, the carbon arc lights are much brighter than the incandescents, and while the darkness is not total, it is very discernable.

January 2

  • ANSONIA – The east span of the Bridge Street Bridge, which is a covered trolley bridge, is in very bad shape and needs repairs.
  • SEYMOUR – The Seymour Electric Company turns the carbon arc lights back on, after reaching an agreement that they will remain on pending another Special Town Meeting to reconsider the vote. Four nights later, the SEC turns off both the carbon arc lights, and the incandesents for 20 minutes to remind residents of the tenuous arrangement.

January 3

  • ANSONIA – A controversy is brewing at the Synagogue Benai Israel on Colburn Street, A well known butcher, who is a member of the synagogue, refuses to donate a portion of his profits to support the synagogue. He is only kosher butcher in town, and as such enjoys a monopoly on the Jewish business in Ansonia. The synagogue is threatening to sponsor the opening of another butcher shop. The current butcher pays Rabbi Bernstein $1 for each cattle the Rabbi butchers in the Jewish rite, while the synagogue is asking for $10 per week. The butcher says he cannot pay this amount, and accuses the synagogue of threatening to run him out of business.

January 4

  • ANSONIA – A store in the Colburn building on Bank Street opens as a vaudeville and moving picture theater called “Dreamland”.

Monday, January 6

  • ANSONIA & DERBY – Rev. Vladimir Alexandroff, of Russian Greek Catholic Three Saints Church, gives Evening Sentinel reporters a tour of “foreign colonies” in Ansonia and Derby. Many of them are inhabited by “Russians”, which back then was a rather generic term which included Poles and some Slavs. Many of them do not speak English. Some of the apartments and boarding houses have 10-20 unemployed men living in them, living on soup and bread. Rev. Alexandroff is trying to emphasize that while the economic conditions caused by the Panic of 1907 is a hardship for many, it is creating dire circumstances for some of the Valley’s newest immigrants.
  • DERBY – Trolleys between Derby and Bridgeport have changed from visiting each stop each half hour to a each hour schedule. The trolleys between Derby and New Haven are overcrowded since last week’s switch from visiting each stop every 15 minutes to every thirty minutes. In both cases the Connecticut Railway and Lighting Company, the trolley operating arm of the New Haven Railroad, cites the bad economy as the reason, but admits the Derby-New Haven situation is bad enough that 15 minute service may be restored.

January 7

  • A heavy rainstorm causes the Naugatuck River to rise 2′, but it recedes rapidly early the next morning. The mild weather is bad news for ice dealers.
  • ANSONIA – An arson fire breaks out at 4 AM in the vacant Levy Building, which is across Bridge Street from the Boston Store at the corner of Main Street. It took an hour to put out the fire which caused $1,000.
  • DERBY – The City’s Grand List for 1908 is published. Despite the hard economic times, dwelling houses have increased the list by $70,000 over last year. The List has an overall increase of $152,836.
  • SEYMOUR – Women and small children can be seen every day in the freight yard picking up coal that falls off the trains. While this is helpful to keep them from freezing out of their homes, some worry that someone is going to get hit by a train.
  • SHELTON – Horse teams from Shelton and Derby coming down Leavenworth Hill from George Shelton’s funeral in Monroe have a very difficult time as it is a sheet of ice. 4 horse drawn vehicles slide, and crash into ditches on the hill, but there are no injuries.
  • SHELTON – Depressed over the economic conditions, the manager of the Shelton Public Market ends his life by sealing himself into his office and turning on the gas.

January 8

  • The downsizing of rail service in the Valley continues. Now the traditional railroad has been effected. The New Haven Railroad has eliminated four daily trains from the Naugatuck Line schedule. Many are upset. People have been seen sprinting to train stations to catch trains that aren’t there, and then walking out of the train stations feeling foolish.

January 9

  • ANSONIA – A fire breaks out in the McLarney building on Bridge Street, which was damaged in the Levy building fire next door two days before. The fire starts in a tailor shop, and causes $2,000 damage. It is believed to have started by a stove drying clothes that were wet from the previous fire.
  • SEYMOUR – A contentious Special Town Meeting is held over the Seymour Electric Company’s dissatisfaction with the previous Town Meeting allocating $10 less per carbon arc streetlight than they did in 1907, which resulted in the SEC cutting electric light service to Seymour for a short time. This meeting, held at the opera house, resulted in a vote of 165-90-5 to rescind previous motion. After some debate a motion to restore the amount paid per carbon arc streetlight back to $70 per light passes 193-32-2.

January 10

  • A cold snap finally allows ice skating.
  • ANSONIA – The Derby Gas Company is wiring the Ansonia Almshouse for 12 to 14 new electric lights, which will replace the kerosene lamps.
  • ANSONIA – Skaters on Biddy Lamb’s pond on North State Street steal firewood and destroy fences and chicken coops for bonfires. Complaints are made to the police, who warn that if this continues ice skating will stop there.
  • DERBY – There are many ice skaters on Picket’s Pond and and the artificial skating rink on Seymour Avenue.

January 11

  • Several days of cold weather renew hope for local ice dealers that ice harvesting may be possible soon.
  • ANSONIA – A trolley leaves the tracks at Main Street and Central Street, causing an employee to be thrown onto the street. He receives minor injuries.
  • DERBY – 2 Ansonia boys break through the ice on the Derby Reservoir while skating. One could not swim, but his head is kept up by the other. Other skaters, mostly local boys, form a human chain to successfully get them out.

January 12

  • Torrential rain which dumps an inch and a half in a few hours in the early morning causes the Naugatuck River to rise 3′, just below the tracks of the Ansonia railroad trestle. Some fear it will lead to a freshet, but this does not happen because there is no snow to the north. Most of the ice washes away, ruining skating.

Monday, January 13

January 14

  • Today was a terrible day for the trolleys. The Shelton electric power station is out of commission. This causes the other power station in Beacon Falls to become overloaded. The trolleys are way off schedule, and are running slow due to the low power in the wires. 
  • ANSONIA – As if the power troubles were not enough, a trolley breaks an axle and jumps the track on Clifton Avenue, completely blocking the rails on the belt linefor a few during the evening rush. A wrecker is later brought in, lifts the trolley off the rails and plops it onto the street, where it stays.
  • ANSONIA, DERBY, & SHELTON – Derby Savings Bank, the Home Trust Company, Shelton Savings Bank, and Ansonia Savings Bank all announce they are ending the 90 days notice required to withdraw savings their banks. This policy has been in effect since November 4, 1907, and was in response to a large number of people nationwide withdrawing their life savings in response to the Panic of 1907
  • SEYMOUR – 8-10 skaters on Wooster’s Pond off Elm Street fall through the ice. They all either crawl out or are rescued from the frigid water, which is as much as 10′ in places.

January 15

  • DERBY – Many unemployed and underemployed men can be seen browsing magazines in the reading room of Derby Public Library and other libraries in the Valley.
  • OXFORD – “The storm of Saturday night and Sunday morning was quite severe hereabouts, and being accompanied with mild temperature, left the traveling very disagreeable and soft. There does not seem to be much but surface frost in the ground, and so the water soon soaks up. The long continued mild weather is a condition not often vouch-safed to this locality at this season of the year”.
  • SHELTON – White Hills Baptist Church is receiving favorable comment for its new carpet, which was purchased from Derby’s Howard & Barber Department Store.

January 17

  • DERBY – Derby 1907 vital statistics – 298 births, 150 deaths, and 137 marriages. This compares with 1906 – 252 births, 186 deaths, and 157 marriages. The decrease in marriages is blamed on the hard economic times. 

January 18

  • DERBY – 5 break through ice on the Derby Reservoir. They all survive. A number also fall through the ice at Pickett’s Pond, but again, no casualties. The rink off Seymour Avenue is safe, and very popular today.

January 19

  • The ice is thicker due to drop of temperature. Skaters can be seen on all the ponds. 
  • ANSONIA – Ansonia City Hall is packed with 400 people to see Miss Fanny Crosby, a blind woman who as of that time had written 5,000 hymns.

Monday, January 20

  • SHELTON – An old horse trots away from a nearby stable, and walks to the new St. Joseph’s Church under construction on Coram Avenue. It is identified as belonging to the owner of the house that was demolished to make way for the church. It stands in the driveway for a full minute, taking in the scene, then walks back towards its stable, reportedly looking very sad.

January 21

  • It is 52 degrees at 2 P.M.

January 22

  • ANSONIA – After months of litigation, the differences between a landlord and store owner is settled by Rabbi J. Koppstein, of Synagogue Benai Israel
  • ANSONIA – The Ansonia & Derby Ice Company plans to erect one of the largest ice houses in this part of Connecticut. Costing $12,000, it will have the ability to store 6,000-7,000 tons of ice, below Quillinan’s Reservoir on Beaver Street. The old ice house there, and at Pickett’s Pond will be dismantled.
  • DERBY – The front doors of the trolley car barn on lower Main Street are being enlarged so that the new larger cars and the snowplows that service the region can use it.
  • OXFORD – The Town’s Grand List is completed. Total valuations is $555,622, an increase of $190,000 over last year.

January 23

  • The business depression has caused the price of food to go up.
  • The Ansonia & Derby Ice Company is looking for a pond in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, that can supply the Valley with ice if the temperatures are too warm to harvest it here.
  • The Evening Sentinel produces a 3/4 page series of articles under the heading “Why People Complain of Trolley Service”. Among the reasons cited are fewer cars, longer waits, the cars are too small, and the various Valley branches don’t coordinate their schedules.
  • A snowstorm starts at 7:30 PM, dumping 4-5″ of wet snow by sunrise the next morning, and accompanied by 35mph winds. Trolleys are crippled, the plows are working the line all night.  Sleighs are the only way of transportation on the streets, and the milkmen are late in their early morning deliveries.
  • ANSONIA – A fire at the clothing and dry good store of A.M. Caplan in the Sperry building on 278 Main Street causes $5000-6000 in damage.
  • DERBY – Half of the ten new double truck trolley cars have arrived in Derby. The cars are being fitted with illuminated signs that will be visible on all sides.

January 24

  • ANSONIA – The City Engineer is recommending a new Bridge Street Bridge, so the new 40 ton trolley cars can cross it. 
  • DERBY – For remainder of the season there will be vaudeville and moving pictures at the Sterling Opera House every night a first class performance is not given.
  • DERBY – The new concrete bridge carrying Main Street over the Naugatuck River cost $75,113.92 during its construction between 1904-1907.

January 25

  • SEYMOUR – The Seymour Ice Company is cutting 9″ ice from pond at Warrin’s farm. It already has 400 tons in its icehouse.
  • SHELTON – The trolley power station, which has been undergoing repairs all week, is finally done. Regular service is resumed on the Belt Line and Bridgeport lines.

January 26

  • Warm rain causes much of the snow to disappear.

Monday, January 27

  • ANSONIA – A 4 year old boy is killed instantly when the new stove in his kitchen explodes at 5 Clifton Avenue. His mother had collected coal that had fallen off railroad cars at the freight yard, a common practice among the poor at this time in history. It is thought she may accidentally have picked up a small piece of dynamite or, more likely, a railroad torpedo

January 28

  • ANSONIA – A School Street couple is told that the wife’s sister is dying in Derby. They quickly leave for the sister’s house. While gone, the house is entered, and $100 stolen.
  • ANSONIA – The bowling alleys that were just recently moved from the now closed Columbia Bowling alleys to Norwalk have been destroyed in a fire.
  • SHELTON – A sign that the local economy is recovering from the economic downturn caused by the Panic of 1907 is the fact that the International Silver Company on Bridge Street is hiring again. Since it deals with luxury items, it is usually one of the last factories to bounce back during hard times.

January 29

  • OXFORD – “Woodpeckers were heard at work on the hillsides, Tuesday morning. This is looked upon as an indication of a coming thaw”.

January 30

  • Temperatures are down to zero. 
  • ANSONIA – 7″ ice reported at Quillian’s Pond. Hill School closed due to cold. Ansonia High School closes at 10 AM when inside temperatures fall to 48 degrees.  2/1-2 Temps up, snow falls early AM till 9 AM, heavy rain, high winds, ice harvest
  • ANSONIA – Over 200 crowd into German Hall to witness the creation of the Lady MacDonald lodge No. 23, Daughters of Scotia, with 52 charter members.

January 31

Temperatures fall to -6.

  • ANSONIA – 2 die of pneumonia.
  • ANSONIA – A $2000 fire guts the attic of an old 2 story house at 91 Canal Street in the afternoon. Several firemen suffer frostbite to their fingers.
  • DERBY – A house at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Fifth Street, occupied by Dr. M. J. Sheehan, is badly damaged by a fire at 4 AM in subzero weather. The fire burns for 3 hours, then rekindles in the roof when they leave at 7 AM. Everything, including the interior, is covered with ice. Two firemen suffer minor injuries.
  • SHELTON – 8″ ice is being harvested from the Shelton Water Company reservoirs. 


Saturday, February 1, 1908

  • The temperatures are up. Snow starts falling in the early morning, turning to heavy rain and high winds lasting until 9 AM. The ice harvest, which was so promising yesterday, comes to a halt.
  • SEYMOUR – The town’s new fire alarm system is repeatedly tested, alarming nearby Woodbridge, who thinks the repeated blasting of the Tingue Co. mill whistle means that there was a big fire in Ansonia, or the Ansonia Water Company reservoir dam had burst.

February 2

  • SEYMOUR – The Albert Swan Memorial Hall, a parish house for the Seymour Congregational Church, is dedicated on the corner of Broad Street and Derby Avenue. The house is brick, 51’x30′, and has a basement gymnasium. The first floor is used for services and Sunday School, with an auditorium on the second floor.

Monday, February 3

  • ANSONIA – An Army recruiting station opens on the second floor of the Terry Block on Main Street.
  • ANSONIA – Ice harvesting at is occurring on Quillinan’s pond by Ansonia-Derby Ice Company. The cold snap which followed the February 1 storm, saved the crop.
  • SEYMOUR – The icehouse at Tyrrell’s pond is filled today.

February 4

  • SHELTON – It is -4 on White Hills at 10 AM. At the same time, it is 4 above on Howe Avenue.

February 5

  • Coldest morning of the winter so far this year, it is at -6 at 4 AM. Plumbers are busy with frozen pipes. Coal dealers are busy. 
  • ANSONIA – Complaints arise as the interior temperatures of the Ansonia High School go down to 48 degrees.
  • ANSONIA – The ice on Quillinan’s reservoir is 12″ thick. The ice harvesting workforce is increased. They are paid from $1.60 to $2 a day.
  • ANSONIA & DERBY – An Orange man asks for directions to Derby from two men on the Ansonia side of Division Street. They say they’ll show him a shortcut, then take him to railroad tracks, where they beat and rob him. He makes it to Derby side in half frozen condition. Had he lost consciousness he probably would have frozen to death overnight.
  • DERBY – A pig escapes a barn in East Derby, and runs into the Mansion House bar room. Patrons and the bar tender unable to catch the slippery pig as he runs all over the room for 15 minutes, making a mess. Finally he is caught by the bartender, and thrown outside, just as his owner arrives to ask the patrons if anyone has seen his missing pig.
  • SHELTON – The Ansonia-Derby Ice Company harvesting ice on the Shelton Water Company reservoirs. They expect the icehouses there filled in two days. The ice on the Housatonic River itself is 8″, the company will start harvesting there for the first time in years within a day or so. 

February 6

  • A snowstorm dumps between 4″ to 6″ of snow in the morning. Trolley and railroad schedules are disrupted. The temperatures rise during snowstorm, and ends with rain, increasing the weight of the snow on the ground and making clearing it difficult.

February 7

  • Many sleighs are observed on the streets.
  • Valentines are appearing in the stores. The old penny comic valentines, with crude drawings and humor, are gone, and replaced by more ornate post cards with lace and tinsel.

February 8

  • ANSONIA – The Valley’s famous wanderer, the now elderly Johnny o’ the Woods, is found half frozen lying on Maple Street. He is taken to the police station, and stays in the lockup where he is fed. Attempts to tap into the trust fund which was set up to his care are unsuccessful as of Monday morning, at which time the police chief lets him go, as he has no grounds to hold him.

Monday, February 10

  • Hundreds are out coasting this evening. The Housatonic River is frozen all the way down to the Washington Bridge (today’s Route 1 between Stratford and Milford), for the first time in 3 years.
  • ANSONIA – The Board of Aldermen pass an ordinance delineating a boundary encroachment line along the west bank of Naugatuck between the bridges. The ordinance says no walls, buildings, dirt, garbage, or other obstructions may cross the line. Offenders face a steep $100 fine. Encroachment of the river has lead to sewage, garbage, and flooding problems, caused mostly by people on the east side of Jersey Street trying to extend their backyards at the river’s expense.
  • SEYMOUR – The locally famous old wanderer Johnny o’ the Woods spends the night in the police lockup to escape the extreme cold. 

February 11

  • DERBY – Johnny o’ the Woods’ friend, Stephen Tracy, learns that he is in the Seymour lockup, picks him up, and takes him to his home off Olivia Street, Derby. As a condition of his being given a hot meal and spending the night by a fire in the workshop, Mr. Tracy insists that he bathe. Contrary to expectations, the old fellow seems happy to do so, and afterwards proudly struts around in the new clothing Mr. Tracy bought for him. Mr. Tracy states that many rumors about Johnny o’ the Woods – his reluctance to bathe or change cloths, or his course manner, are merely stories, and in fact he is very misunderstood.
  • SHELTON – The police have to stop children from coasting on Wooster Street hill, due to the heavy traffic there.

February 12

  • Valentines range from 1 cent to $6. Delivery of flowers is also becoming popular instead of sending valentines.
  • ANSONIA – Harvesting of ice at Quillinan’s reservoir has been completed by the Derby-Ansonia Ice Corporation. The icehouses are all full. The nearly 8000 tons of ice harvested in Ansonia should be enough to meet local demand this year.

February 13

  • DERBY & SHELTON – For the first time in years, the Derby – Ansonia Ice Company is harvesting ice on Lake Housatonic. By the end of the day, however, rain and fog descend upon the Valley, halting the harvesting.
  • SHELTON – A delinquent border shoots his landlady in the face on the top floor of the Adams Block. The wound was not serious. After the shooting, he calmly awaits for the police to arrest him in his room. He was 3 months delinquent in rent, and when asked why he was allowed to fall so far in arrears, the story comes out that he terrified the local Italian immigrant population, as they believed he could make potions which could “hex” them into being sick. The police recover the potions, stating they are simply make of harmless components.

February 14

  • It rains all day, with spring-like temperatures and high winds. The snow is melting fast, making sleighing impossible everywhere but in hill country. Mailmen strain with heavier than normal loads due to the large number of Valentines sent.

February 15 (Subdivided between Naugatuck and Housatonic Valleys today)


  • ANSONIA – The Naugatuck River is only 3 feet below the railroad trestle at 2:00 PM, due to all of the rain and melted snow coming down the rivers. There are fears of a freshet, and Main Street merchants are struggling to move their goods out of their basements as a precaution. The Naugatuck River overflows at 8:00 PM, flooding store basements, and covering the railroad tracks in 2′ of water. Bridge Street is impassible, though fears the bridge will go out are unfounded. Several light poles on the railroad trestle are torn away. Some say that this is the highest the river has risen here in 40 years. Fears the railroad tracks would wash away are unfounded. The floodwaters begin to recede at 10:00 PM. Much of the illegal fill that was debated about five days ago, off Jersey Street, is washed away.
  • DERBY – The water rises to 8-10″ over Derby Avenue near Franklin School, trolleys are still able to pass, however. The wisdom of making the new concrete bridge over the Naugatuck on Main Street a 3-span bridge instead of a 2-span one is apparent, as it weathers the flood very well, with the water reaching the shoulders of the piers. Derby Meadows are full of ice, and a railroad trestle on an East Derby siding is destroyed.
  • SEYMOUR – The Naugatuck River is 20′ above normal at 2:00 PM. The ice at Rimmon Pond breaks at 7:00 PM, with a clap “sounding like artillery”. The Seymour Electric Company cuts power as a precaution. Factories along the river are flooded.


  • At 3:30 PM, the water level on the Housatonic River suddenly rises two feet, indicated that there was an ice jam upriver that had broken. A second ice jam occurs near Otter Rock, Oxford, which breaks at 4:00 PM, causing a mass of water and ice entered Lake Housatonic. Some witnesses stated that as the water surged into the lake, the ice upon it was lifted in one giant sheet to a 45 degree angle, temporarily holding back an enormous quantity of ice and water before shattering. At 7:00 PM, the first huge chunks of ice began falling over the Oustonic Dam, and an hour later the river was so choked with broken ice it almost appeared that one could walk from one shore to the other. By the time it reached Huntington Bridge, the sheet of broken ice was several miles long. Many watch from the Huntington Bridge as the ice then jams a third time, beneath the eastern abutment of the Berkshire railroad bridge between Derby and Shelton. The bridge could only withstand the unrelenting power of the ice for about 20 minutes before the pilings supporting it snapped like twigs and floated down the river, causing 150’ of railroad track to dangle uselessly above the river.
  • DERBY – A railroad trestle on Derby Meadows is destroyed by the flood and ice. The water floods the stables of the Derby Trucking Company on Factory Street. The wet and frightened horses are led in a line to the safety of a barn in Shelton. Residents of Lower Caroline Street, Hallock Court, and River Place are evacuated in boats. The water rises to 50′ from lower Main Street. The United States Rapid Fire Gun and Power Company off Housatonic Avenue is flooded.
  • OXFORD – Two bridges over Eight Mile Brook are destroyed. 
  • SEYMOUR – The highway between Eight Mile Brook & Squantuck is flooded at 2:00 PM.
  • SHELTON – About two miles of railroad track near Indian Well went underwater, and when the water receded, the tracks were covered with several feet of ice. The Shelton Docks faced a similar experience, and Riverdale Avenue behind the docks was underwater for a time. Washouts occurred on Brook Street and John Street.

February 16

  • ANSONIA – Scores are out below Bridge Street, gathering the timber which washed ashore during the flood.

Monday, February 17

  • Many arrive in the Valley, lured by fantastic reports in out-of-town newspapers claiming millions of dollars in damages from yesterday’s flood. This causes the Sentinel to quip “If a man had all that was left of a million dollars after all losses by the flood in this vicinity had been paid, he might begin endowing libraries or giving away church organs”.

February 18

  • DERBY – Much driftwood is piled along the rivers. Some are able to scavenge a month’s supply. The wood includes remains of destroyed bridges from upriver.
  • DERBY & SHELTON – The south track of the Berkshire railroad trestle over the Housatoinc River is repaired, and the first train crosses over it. Work continues on the rest of the flood damaged trestle.

February 19

  • Snow starts in the morning, dumps 4″, then changes to rain. Sidewalks are icy.
  • ANSONIA – An city man has made $50 reselling driftwood he scavenged from the riverbanks after the flood.

February 21

  • ANSONIA – $500 fire strikes a 4-room, 1-story house in New Jerusalem. The house had a dozen boarders residing in it, and the fire is believed to have started by an overturned lamp.
  • SHELTON – The 1907 Grand List includes 985.5 houses, 86 mills, 472 horses, 1078 cattle, and 385 carriages.

February 22

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Education is considering restoring the bells outside of the public schools. These were removed in 1906 after much controversy.

February 23

  • SEYMOUR – The Rt. Rev. Chauncy B. Brewster, D.D. Episcopal Bishop of Connecticut, pays his annual visit to a packed Trinity Episcopal Church, where he confirms 5.
  • SHELTON – The new St. Joseph’s chapel is dedicated by Rt. Rev. Michael Tierney, DD, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hartford, in a ceremony attended by 800. The chapel is in the basement of the church, which is under construction off Coram Avenue. The choirs of St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s in Derby united for his visit.

Monday, February 24

  • ANSONIA – The City’s Board of Trade dissolves by a vote of 2/3 of its members, then reforms under the name “Manufacturer’s Club”, with 94 members. The new club will be more of a social organization than the old Board of Trade.
  • DERBY – Illegal slot machines are once again starting to appear in certain places.

February 26

  • Heavy rainstorm dumps several inches of rain throughout the area.
  • ANSONIA – Jersey Street furniture dealer Simon Specter goes to City Hall, and demands that a night’s lodging be given to him because his street’s storm water sewer is clogged and there is 3-4′ of water on the street. He is offered the lockup, where homeless men are sometimes given lodging, and he refuses and goes home. Cellars are flooded, and the stock of the Specter furniture warehouse is damaged by the flood.
  • DERBY – The brook that crosses Chapel Street overflows, cutting a 2 1/2′ x 60′ long gully in the road.

February 29 (1908 was a Leap Year)

  • DERBY – While repairing Dr. Sheehan’s home on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Fifth Street, which was badly damaged in a January 31 fire, a colony of bees is found behind a wall. A total of 100 pounds of honey is taken out, though it is all ruined by the smoke and heat from the fire, which also killed the bees.


Monday, March 2, 1908

  • OXFORD – The town lowers its tax rate from 22 to 16 mills, following a reassessment which raised its Grand List from $351,000 to about $544,000. 

March 3

  • New construction is at a near standstill due to the high price of lumber, paint, and other materials.
  • DERBY & SHELTON – Repairs continue on the ice damaged railroad trestle over the Housatonic River. Two pile drivers are at work.

March 6

  • The catastrophic Collinwood School fire in Ohio causes many focus on fire safety in schools, both in the Valley and across the country. 
  • ANSONIA – Two fire drills are held at Hill School today. Fire drills are held regularly in all City schools. However, it is discovered that the doors at Grove Street School and Elm Street School open inward, which is what caused so many to perish at Collinwood.
  • ANSONIA – There is a proposalto put unemployed men to work extending the city’s sewer system.
  • SEYMOUR – Fire drills are held once a week at Central School in Seymour, which holds 350 pupils. All doors open outward.

March 7

  • ANSONIA – A fire breaks out at 2-story frame house on Liberty Street, with a grocery and confectionary in front starts in the kitchen and works to the attic. More damage is caused by water then fire.
  • DERBY – The doors on the Bank Street side of Franklin School inward.

March 8

  • SEYMOUR – The doors at most Seymour churches open inward.

Monday, March 9

  • ANSONIA – A “Hindu Healer”, who claims to be able to cure people using electromagnetic powers from his hands, appears before a large crowd at the Ansonia Opera House, where he reportedly heals several people of their ailments, aches, and pains. He is staying at the City’s Hotel Dayton from tonight to March 20th for personal appointments. 
  • DERBY – Two men, both Italian immigrants, draw revolvers upon on each other on Housatonic Avenue after an argument. One fires, but the shot misses wide. The shot is heard all over Derby and Shelton, however, and rumors spread that someone had been killed. The shooter is arrested. The other man is wanted as a witness but he goes into hiding. This renews a controversy about the large numbers of “foreigners” carrying illegal concealed weapons.

March 10

  • ANSONIA – The “Hindu Healer” suddenly leaves the City, leaving big crowd waiting to see him in front of a darkened Ansonia Opera House. It is rumored that several people may have threatened to charge him for acting as a physician without a license.

March 11

  • SHELTON – The man wanted for the shooting in Derby two days ago is arrested and turned over to Derby Police.

March 12

  • SEYMOUR – The Town’s Grand List is $3,141,279, an increase of $56,968 over the previous year.
  • SEYMOUR – A trolley derails near the Ansonia city line, where it sinks in soft soil and blocks the tracks. The removal of the trolley ties up the line for 3 hours, causing many to be late for work this morning.
  • SHELTON – A young Italian immigrant employed by Sidney Blumenthal Company velvet mills is arrested for carrying a loaded revolver as a concealed weapon, after he threatens the life a foreman.

March 13

  • ANSONIA – An apparently insane “foreign” man is arrested on breach of peace. During periods when he is not rambling incoherently, he appears to have much knowledge of the American system of government. He warns that an anarchist group exists in Ansonia, and one of the reasons he is insane is they have been hounding him to join.
  • ANSONIA, DERBY, & SHELTON – Two men are arrested in Derby, and a third in Ansonia, for sending a threatening Black Hand style letter to a Derby Italian immigrant. A small arsenal is found in the Ansonia man’s Liberty Street home. Apparently, despite advise that the letter was not from true members of the Black Hand, the victim became very frightened and decided to pay the extortion money after dark at High Bridge in Shelton. A relative, however, did not believe it was true, and alerted the police. They followed the victim to High Bridge, where the three men, one of who was disguised as a woman, were arrested. Further investigation reveals that this group had previously extorted money from a second victim.
  • SHELTON – A Derby-Bridgeport trolley car plunges down an embankment near Peck’s Mill in Stratford, just over the Shelton line, and stops before entering a brook. No one hurt, but it brought back bad memories of the disaster of August 7, 1899, when 32 people were killed when a trolley plunged off the bridge here. It was (and still is today) the worst trolley disaster in Connecticut’s history.

March 14

  • DERBY & SHELTON – Many have been fishing just below the Ousatonic Dam the last few days, catching suckers, perch, and pickerel. The water over the dam is high due to melting snow.

March 15

  • ANSONIA – A series of five cockfights occurs in the City, between Waterbury and New Haven birds. Over 200 spectators from Ansonia, Seymour, New Haven, Waterbury, and Naugatuck, including some “rough characters”, and possibly Yale students. Over $2,000 is exchanged in side bets. The use of Ansonia as a midway point for contests between New Haven and Waterbury birds is becoming more common. The Sentinel calls it “a disgrace”

Monday, March 16

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Education appoints a special committee to inspect all schools and make recommendations for fire protection.
  • ANSONIA – St. Peter & St. Paul Greek Catholic Church on May Street is destroyed by fire. The roof is burned off, and the minaret and bell tower collapse into the basement. The fire department was hampered by low water pressure from the hydrants. The entire church was made of wood, and reportedly insured. The origin is unknown. Parishioners rush to the fire when word gets out, and a number of women weep at the sight of the burning church.
  • SHELTON – A trolley stalls near Pine Rock Park late in the evening, in pitch darkness. After awhile, the passengers get cold, get off the trolley, and build a bonfire. They are stranded for over an hour before the power is restored.

March 17

  • St. Patrick’s Day brings snow flurries. Many wear shamrock or green ribbons, and shop windows are decorated. A number of people take the train to New York City to see the parade.
  • DERBY – J. Newton Williams, a Derby native, has been working on a helicopter-type flying machine for 2 years. He has been in New York for the last 3 months building one. Dr. Alexander Graham Bell says his design is the most practical of all experimental aircraft currently on the drawing board.
  • SEYMOUR – A boxing match at the Seymour Opera House, held under the Seymour Athletic Club, is stopped by authorities after the main event only went 2 rounds, due to the unruliness of the crowd.

March 18

  • SHELTON – Shelton is now a railroad freight terminal. Every 8 PM a train comes from Hopewell Junction, empties its load of boxcars at the freight station, and takes back a train of empty cars, including those of other railroad lines.

March 20

  • ANSONIA – The old Eagle Hose Hook & Ladder Co. No. 6’s ladder truck is sold to the Ansonia Flour & Grain Company. The ancient fire truck was put in service April 1, 1879, just before the firehouse moved from Main and Liberty Streets to its present location.
  • SEYMOUR – Many residents are upset that someone painted “Gen. Humphrey” on the side of the town’s new watering cart. It is felt that if the town can’t name itself or erect a statue after its founder, it should not be put on something as ignominious as a water cart. It is unclear, however if it was intended as a tribute to Gen. Humphreys or mocking the townspeople who still wish to revert to Seymour’s old name “Humphreysville”, but in any event whoever wrote “Gen. Humphrey” on the cart spelled the name wrong.
  • SEYMOUR – After a Quaker Farms house owned by a very poor African-American family is completely destroyed by fire, the neighbors take up a collection to help them. They are able to raise enough money for clothing, necessities, and to find them a new place to live.

Monday, March 23

  • ANSONIA – Sts. Peter & Paul Greek Catholic Church is debating whether to repair old church, which was swept by fire last week, or build a new one.
  • SHELTON – The land and property of the Shelton Trap Rock Company is sold at auction. Only one bid was received, for $5, from a Mr. Barnet, who acting for the mortgager who holds a $20,000 note on the plant. Mr. Barnet says the mortgager intends to restart operations.

March 24

  • ANSONIA – Complaints are rising again about vagrants hanging around the corner of High Street and Maple Street, in front of the West Side market, covering the sidewalk with tobacco juice and filling the air with vile language.
  • SHELTON – The Black Hand trial starts at a packed town court, filled with spectators and the press. The accused are defended by 4 attorneys, including Atty. Torrance of Derby and Atty. Dillon of Shelton. For the next few days, the testimony is graphically covered in the Evening Sentinel.

March 25

  • ANSONIA – The Ansonia Water Company will expand its pipes up North Main Street, as well as along North Cliff Street, and North State Street, as far as First Street. A 12″ main will be extended to Liberty Street.
  • DERBY – Many in Derby are fixing up or rebuilding their automobiles for the upcoming season.
  • OXFORD – “Only one more week of March. So far the month has not been as bad as prophesized, and now the wonder is if April will give us March weather”.

March 26

  • DERBY – After a series of amateur performances finish at the Sterling Opera House, while a movie reel is being shown, a 5’x3′ strip of plaster falls from the underside of the gallery to the floor of the orchestra circle. Most of the plaster falls into an aisle. One man is struck in the head, though not hurt. The event causes a bit of excitement, however, and the house lights turn on. When it is clear it is not a major emergency, the lights turn off again and the movie reel continues.
  • DERBY – In a modern sign of Spring, the open summer trolley cars have arrived at the Derby car barn, and the snowplows have been taken to New Haven, where there is more room to store them.

March 27

  • The Northern Lights are visible over the Valley for about 20 minutes around 8 PM.

March 28

  • ANSONIA – Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Catholic Church decides to accept an insurance settlement for $2,533 for the March 16 fire. This is significantly less than the $6,100 insurance policy the church carried on the building. A new church will be constructed on land recently purchased on Clifton Avenue.
  • SHELTON – The Black Hand trial ends. All four defendants are bound to await trial in Superior Court, with $1,000 bonds.
  • SHELTON – The Shelton Cricket Club organizes, and it already has a full slate of games scheduled.

March 29

  • ANSONIA – An African-American woman is shot in her side, at the old Ford place on Benz Street. The wound is considered serious. It is a mystery because people in the house insist the gunshot was self-inflicted, but the location does not agree with that. Doctors at Grace-New Haven hospital later agree that the wound was not self inflicted. This is the same woman who arose the concern of neighbors, who called the police when they saw her husband “trying to kill her”. The police investigated at the time and saw no cause for action.

Monday, March 30

  • The “Merry Widow” hats are very popular with women this Spring, and the brims are huge this year, requiring no need for sunshade, but presenting problems for both the wearers and other pedestrians over the width of sidewalks. The hats are also causing problems in cramped spaces, such as trolleys.

March 31

  • ANSONIA – Kankwood Hill residents are complaining that the water tank used by their horses has been out of commission for two months, due to the pipe leading to the spring being broken.


Wednesday, April 1

  • ANSONIA – The fire damaged Sts. Peter and Paul Greek Catholic Church on May Street will be repaired with a new roof, but no bell tower. Services will be held there until the new church is completed on Clifton Avenue. Then old church will be converted into a school.
  • OXFORD – “The old oak tree, which stands on the upper green in front of the Congregational parsonage having become much decayed with age, and looked upon as dangerous, is to be cut down next week. The tree is one of the old landmarks of the village, and from its great size must have been planted in the early days of the settlement of the village. From time to time of late years, the decayed limbs of the tree have been shorteneed, or entirely removed, until now comparitively little remains but the large trunk”.
  • SHELTON – The Anatomick Shoe Company begins operations in the old National Folding Box & Paper factory.

April 3

  • ANSONIA – The City is replacing the stone retaining wall at St. Mary’s Cemetery on Grove Street with a concrete one.
  • ANSONIA – Four men are discovered carrying a safe out of a Jersey Street at 3 AM by Mrs. Simon Spector. She yells for the police, and the men drop the safe and flee. The rise of burglaries is editorialized in the Evening Sentinel.

April 4

  • Temperature is down to 24 degrees in the morning.  
  • The new common battery telephone system will be installed by Southern New England Telephone Company shortly.
  • ANSONIA – Many rumors of burglaries are sweeping the City. 
  • ANSONIA – Main Street is filled with clouds of dust, and there were no watering carts to be found to sprinkle the streets. Merchants are kept busy all day sweeping out their stores.
  • SEYMOUR – Slight snow squall in the morning.

April 5

  • ANSONIA – Burglars break into a Mott Street home, but nothing is taken.
  • SHELTON – Two Center Street saloons raided by deputy sheriffs on this Sunday. Two bartenders and a score of customers are arrested.

Tuesday, April 7

  • ANSONIA – It is revealed that the woman who was shot on March 29 has died at Grace-New Haven Hospital. After insisting all along that she shot herself accidentally, she makes a deathbed confession that her husband in fact shot her. The husband, Charles Miller, is arrested in Pleasantville, NY, and is arraigned to New Haven. has been arrested.
  • SEYMOUR – Father M. Rigney, Pastor of St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church, receives a Black Hand letter, which threatens his life if he doesn’t pay a ransom. He is not worried, nor does he intend to pay. The postal authorities are investigating.

April 8

  • ANSONIA – There is a gravestone at Elm Street Cemetery, marking the resting place of Mrs. Hannah Clark, who died in September 1801. The gravestone lists the number of children, grand children, and great grandchildren at the time of her death, which total 333 lineal descendants.

April 9

  • SEYMOUR – Miss Grace Whitlock, the bookkeeper of Coleman Bros.’ Market in Seymour, gets a threatening Black Hand letter.

April 10

  • ANSONIA – The county coroner finishes his investigation, which concludes that Mr. Miller murdered his wife. He is formally charged the following day.

April 11

  • DERBY – Five Derby men are caught in a sailboat below Derby Docks when a storm comes in. The boat tried tacking up the river, until a sudden gust of wind caused it to capsize, spilling all 5 into the cold water. The men cling to boat which floats down river, trying to decide whether to hold on and hope that it washes ashore, or risk swimming ashore in the choppy water. They are spotted by a man, who was looking for a baseball near the riverbank. He gets a boat, and rows them all ashore.
  • DERBY – The remains of the ice house at Picket’s Pond in Derby, owned by the Ansonia-Derby Ice Company, blows over in high winds. Picket’s pond was never a very good place for ice, which is why it is no longer harvested. The pond is used mostly for skating by 1908.
  • DERBY – The F. Hallock company has an automobile on display in their showroom, which was made entirely of material found in the hardware and mill supply store.
  • SEYMOUR – The Citizens’ Engine Co. No. 2 tests out their newly repaired steam powered fire engine, which was fitted with a new boiler. They are unable to draw water from the canal.

April 12

  • DERBY – Derby saloons are all conspicuously dry on this Sunday. The reason is someone tipped off the saloon keepers that raids were planned against those engaged in “Sunday selling” of alcohol.
  • DERBY – The ruins of the icehouse at Picket’s Pond are set on fire, apparently by boys.

Monday, April 13

  • ANSONIA – The Sentinel headlines “$75,000 Fire in City Hall Basement”. The ‘fire’, was actually the burning of a 3.5% bond issue dating to April 2, 1889, when the new Town of Ansonia (later City) absorbed the debt of the Borough of Ansonia, which was formed in 1864 in the Town of Derby and existed until Derby was divided in 1889 (for more information click here).  The bond matured on April 1, 1908, and over the years a total of $52,500 in interest had been paid.
  • ANSONIA – Trolley company starts to repair the covered east side of the Bridge Street Bridge. The company told the City the bridge was in bad shape. But the City denied it and refused to devote funds to repair it, so the trolley company is fixing it themselves.
  • SHELTON – Ground is broken for a model four-family flat on the corner of Maltby Street and Division Avenue. It will be 38’x56′, 2 stories, with 5 rooms per apartment. More of the same design will be built later.

April 15

  • DERBY & SHELTON – The New York, New Haven, & Hartford Railroad is still repairing the trestle across the Housatonic that was damaged in the February freshet.
  • OXFORD – “The grass is taking on the green hue of spring, and the buds of trees are swelling, but the nights are still too cold for vegetation to make very rapid progress, but better so, then to swift and then a serious setback”.
  • SEYMOUR – The old blacksmith shop at the corner of Maple Street and Pearl Street is being demolished to build a new house. One of oldest buildings in Seymour, the shop dates before 1798. The Woodbury – New Haven stagecoach used to stop there for repairs, and a tavern was nearby.

April 16

  • SHELTON – Railroad detectives investigating a rash of thefts of coal from the local freight yard accuse 4 young boys, though it is believed they may have been encouraged by their parents. The boys would climb on stopped cars near the Maple Street crossing, and throw coal as much coal as they could to the ground, and scoop it up later. Despite residents’ denials, further investigation found a huge amount of coal being hidden in the nearby Paper Mill Block basement. 3 of the accuses boys live in the block, the fourth is from Derby.

April 17 – Good Friday

  • 5,000 dozen hot cross buns baked in Ansonia bakeries, 2,000 at Webster Bros. bakeries in Shelton, and many more in other Valley towns. Most of the buns sold out before 10 AM. Florists report a record demand for flowers.

April 19 – Easter Sunday

  • There is a slight chill in the air today. Clear skies gave way to threatening weather later in the morning, but the day improved as it went on. The churches are packed. Most are dressed in Easter finery. This year’s Easter bonnets are not as odd in shape as they had been in previous years, but they are larger.
  • ANSONIA – Fire breaks out in the Kornblut store and adjoining wood building near Maple and High Streets at 11:30 PM. The store is wrecked. Rumors that firemen looted tobacco and expensive cigarettes from the store are being investigated by the fire department. Following the fire, Judge Tucker gives permission for an auxiliary hose cart to be stored in his nearby barn for better fire protection in the neighborhood.

Monday, April 20

  • DERBY – Removal of the old organ at St. James Church begins. The organ was the first one installed there, dating to 1854. A new one will be installed by May 1.
  • SEYMOUR – 68 employees of the Tingue Manufacturing Company have been laid off, possibly for only a few days. Orders have slackened recently.
  • SEYMOUR – A Smith Street home is destroyed by fire. Neighbors were alerted when the wife began screaming and throwing bed clothing out the window. She and her two children had to climb down a neighbor’s ladder in nightclothes. The house was one of the oldest in Seymour, built before 1832.
  • SHELTON – 3 Italian immigrants, 2 from Shelton one from Derby, are arrested for picking up coal from the railroad tracks between the freight station and passenger station. They were caught by railroad detectives as part of the ongoing investigation of theft of coal in the area.

April 21

  • ANSONIA – The special Board of Education committee on fire prevention, formed after the Collinwood disaster, reports that $4,000 is needed to make Ansonia schools safe from a similar disaster.
  • ANSONIA, DERBY & SHELTON – Ansonia, Derby, and Shelton residents meet at Ansonia City Hall, and form an Associated Civic Society. The cities will have separate societies, but they will work together as a federation.

April 23

  • Summer-like temperatures today.
  • ANSONIA – An auxiliary hose house is being built for the Webster Hose Co. No. 3 on James McKeon’s property on Central Street. Mr. McKeon is doing much of the work himself. He has converted an olive green hose wagon with white stripes and electric bell from a delivery wagon, drawn by two of his own black horses, carrying 500′ of hose. The firehouse will be outfitted with stables and harnesses, and will go down in history as one of the few horse drawn firehouses in the Valley. Note: this is the very same fire engine that was on the cover of the Derby Historical Society’s 1999 book Images of America – Ansoniastill available in our gift shop.
  • DERBY – Part of the Commodore Hull house on Commerce Street is being torn down, though the original portion will remain intact and will be fixed up.
  • DERBY – The Berkshire Trestle, east of the steel railroad bridge over the Housatonic River, is now completely repaired from the ice damage it sustained in February. The repairs have made it stronger.

April 24

  • The Naugatuck River is the lowest it has been since last summer
  • SEYMOUR – A large chicken coop burns on Gilyard Street, very close to houses. The woman who owns the coop rises from her sickbed and tries putting it out and is overcome by smoke. She is rescued by a neighbor, but not before she’s burned. 200 finely bred chickens are lost. This is the second fire in the area this week, raising suspicions that an arsonist may be on the loose.

April 25

  • SHELTON – Horace S. Plumb of Bridgeport dies. He was the brother of David W. Plumb, who served as warden for both the boroughs of Ansonia and Shelton over the course of his lifetime. Mr. D. W. Plumb was very generous in his will to Shelton, and Horace Plumb made sure his brothers wishes were kept, spending over $50,000 in bettering Shelton, including donating to build the Plumb Memorial Library and Riverview Park.

April 26

  • ANSONIA – Two chicken thieves enter a coop with an alarm system. The alarm rings a bill next to the owner’s bed, who gets his gun and shoots one of them with buckshot. Both thieves escape, however. The owner got the alarm system after he had 26 chickens stolen in January.
  • DERBY & SEYMOUR – A 150 acre brush fire in Squantuc lights up the night sky in Derby.
  • SEYMOUR – A bronze fountain, donated by the WCTU, is dedicated at the corner of Main and South Main Streets.

Monday, April 27

  • ANSONIA – US. Secretary of War William Howard Taft spends the night in Ansonia, in the home of Republican National Committeeman Charles F Brooker on State Street. He left for Bpt following AM, many gathered at RR station to see him, but were disappointed to learn he went by automobile. Note: William H. Taft will win the national election later this year and become the 27th President of the United States.
  • ANSONIA – The well known, elderly homeless wanderer, Johnny o’ the Woods, spends night in a vacant lot off Clifton Avenue, despite having $200 in an account donated for his well being. He does not seem inclined to use the funds.

April 28

  • ANSONIA – Word has spread that Secretary of War William Howard Taft is in town, and that he is leaving for Bridgeport this morning. Many gather to see him off at the railroad station, but are disappointed when they learn that he was discretely whisked out of the city in an automobile.
  • ANSONIA – The Ansonia Civic Association organizes at City Hall, with Alton Farrel as President.
  • DERBY – A number of local Italians have been cultivating a large vegetable garden on Shelton Island. Note: While it is unclear what was considered “Shelton Island” in 1908, it was likely the tidal flats below the Housatonic trestle, or today’s O’Sullivan Island.
  • SHELTON – The Shelton Civic Association organizes with David S. Brinsmade as president.
  • SHELTON – A ten year old Howe Avenue boy is killed when he finds and drops a railroad torpedo near the railroad track. The borough is horrified. This is the second child killed by a railroad torpedo in the Valley this year, the first was on January 27 in Ansonia.

April 29

  • DERBY – A smokehouse is discovered in the ell portion of the Commodore Hull birthplace on Commerce Street. The ell is being torn down, though the main portion of the house will stay (for now). Rooms for smoking meats were once common in the 19th century, but there are few left alive in 1908 that can remember their widespread use.

April 30

  • ANSONIA, DERBY, AND SHELTON – The three cities hold a joint “Clean Up Day”. Schoolchildren participate, while many others donate labor and material to give the cities a through cleaning. Cellars are cleaned out, streets swept, yards and vacant lots cleared.


Friday, May 1

  • ANSONIA – The trolley company considers the wooden covered portion of the Bridge Street Bridge in such bad condition it has condemned it and refuses to run trolleys over it. Repairs to the iron portion of the bridge are almost completed, and trolleys are running to the end of it. In the middle of the bridge, passengers have to disembark and walk across the covered wooden portion to transfer to trolleys on the west side. Naturally not many are happy with this arrangement.

May 2

  • ANSONIA – The man on trial in New Haven superior court for murdering his wife in Ansonia on March 27 breaks down and admits he shot her, though he says it was an accident.

Monday, May 4

  • ANSONIA – The City will repair the wooden covered portion of the Bridge Street Bridge.
  • ANSONIA – The Webster Hose Company No. 3 accepts the auxiliary hose house and hose wagon on Central Street, donated by James McKeon. One of the Valley’s only horse drawn fire engines in it history will carry 1000′ of hose and 2 chemical extinguishers.
  • SHELTON – The fire-ruined Silver Plate Cutlery Company on Canal Street will be torn down to make room for a new 4 story 36×135′ addition to the Adams Manufacturing Company, also known as the “Derby Cotton Mills”. The addition will be used mostly for storage and finishing machines.

May 5

  • ANSONIA – A horse becomes frightened by an automobile on Main Street, and jumps in front of it. Trying to avoid the horse, the automobile drives though the front window of the Ansonia Trading Company on the corner with Water Street.
  • ANSONIA – Charles F. Brooker’s former butler is sentenced to 7-12 years for stealing over $7000 in jewels on September 25, 1907. The theft occurred after the butler was discharged on suspicion of stealing. He reentered the home later that day while the family was at dinner and looted the place.
  • ANSONIA – The man on trial for murdering his wife on March 29 is found guilty of 2nd degree murder, and sentenced to life in prison.
  • ANSONIA – The Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church on Howard Avenue is roused by the ongoing destruction of church property by hoodlums. Many church, stable, and rectory windows have been smashed, iron and wood fences damaged or stolen, and trees or shrubs damaged. The police say they are investigating.

May 6

  • OXFORD – “The cold wave which followed so closely on the few summer-like days of last week, caused much uneasiness to people having fruit trees in bloom, particularly plum and peach trees which were showing indications of a heavy fruitage”.
  • SEYMOUR – A French woodchopper’s right foot is horribly injured when he slips under the wheels of a boxcar he was trying to illegally jump onto near the Seymour train station.

May 7

  • The heaviest rain thus far of the season, over 2″ falls, accompanied by 22mph winds. A total of 3.38″ falls in 24 hours.
  • ANSONIA –Jersey Street is covered with several inches of water again, and cellars are flooded, residents there very upset.
  • ANSONIA – A Black Hand letter is sent to real estate developer and landlord Phillip Cohen, asking for $2000 to be left in a bag at the Bridge Street Bridge. He ignores it.
  • DERBY – The Derby Choral Club holds a 10th anniversary concert at the Sterling Opera House. Mme. Louise Homer was the prima donna, from New York City’s Metropolitan Opera House. The opera house was crowded despite the bad rainstorm outside.

May 8

  • ANSONIA – The George May & Son Grocery Store is gutted by fire at 12:20 AM, near Maple and High Streets.

May 9

  • SHELTON – A 4-story brick building, 38’x30′ will be erected on the corner of Coram Avenue and Kneen Street. It will have one five-room flat each floor. This building still stands today across from Good Shepherd Church.

Monday, May 11

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Aldermen is considering suing the trolley company for the manner it repaired the Bridge Street Bridge. The planking on the trolley side is higher than that on the city-owned side, thereby diverting most of the traffic to the city side.
  • ANSONIA – Local real estate developer and landlord Phillip Cohen receives a second Black Hand letter, chiding him for not paying $2,000 extortion demanded in the last letter. The new letter now says he needs to pay $4,000 tonight, at the gas tank near the railroad tracks on lower Main Street. Like the last letter, he ignores it.
  • DERBY – Johnny o’ the Woods is spotted sleeping in a gutter at the corner of Olivia Street and Fourth Street. The aging wanderer who refuses to settle down, even though he has a locally raised trust fund for his care, is taken to the police lockup for night.

May 12

  • ANSONIA – Alderman John C. Meade has planted two flower beds in front of City Hall, giving it an attractive appearance.
  • DERBY – About 600 witness a hypnotist put a man to sleep in the Hubbell Bros. shoe store window. He’s performing over weekend at the Sterling Opera House.
  • DERBY – Hundreds of automobiles pass through the City yesterday and today. These are the first good days of the year for that.

May 13

  • The first open car of the season appears on the Waterbury-New Haven line. Many like the new semi-convertible closed cars, which have breezes go through them through windows near the roof of the car. This allows the cool breeze without getting splashed by mud and rain during bad weather. The only major problem is traditionally the last 3 seats in the open cars were used by smokers, so as not to bother the rest of the car. With the semi-convertibles the smoke does not exit as easily, and the cars do not allow smokers.
  • ANSONIA – City horse owners are upset that the supply of water in watering troughs has been cut down. Today there is a line of horses at the tank at the foot ofFoundry Hill, and in front of the Boston Store, but little water is coming out. The Ansonia Water Company is being criticized for causing the problem by putting meters on the tanks.
  • OXFORD – The chancel of St. Peter’s Church was recently enlarged for putting in choir stalls. The church plans on starting a vested choir.
  • OXFORD – “The rain of the past week put the ground in fine condition for the reception of seeds, and farmers are now rushing their work as fast as possible”.

May 14

  • ANSONIA – City watering troughs are back to running at full capacity.

May 15

  • ANSONIA – The City receives a telegram from Washington DC, stating that Ansonia has been appropriated $90,000 from Congress to build a new Post Office. This is more than any other city in Connecticut will receive for this purpose this year. The new Post Office will probably be on Main Street, near the Sentinel building.
  • DERBY – A Caroline Street man saves a young Polish child who fell off the pontoon bridge between Water Street and the Sterling Piano Company over theBirmingham Canal.
  • SHELTON – The Borough of Shelton Grand List for 1908 totals $4,046,237, including 579 houses, 76 stores or mills, 141 horses, 3 cattle, 147 carriages, and 795 watches.

May 16

  • ANSONIA & SHELTON – Ansonia School Superintendent Edwin C. Andrews resigns to become the Superintendent of the Huntington and Stratford school systems.
  • DERBY & SHELTON – An 18 year old man is arrested for trying to force his way into a dance at Gould Armory. He is taken to the Derby police station, which was on the lower floors of the Sterling Opera House, where he was locked in a corridor. He sets fire to the corridor to escape, dashing past the police officer who investigated the smoke. He is chased into Shelton, and the police chief there joins the investigation. It is learned that he was sleeping at the Wilkinson Paper Mill at the top of Canal Street, and is found there and arrested. Two others who tried to warn him are also arrested. The fire in the police station was not serious, just scorching the walls and door.

May 17

  • ANSONIA – A 2-story Beaver Street home which was being used as a workshop is destroyed by fire.
  • ANSONIA – The basement of the Dwyer Building on Railroad Avenue is raided by the police. Three are arrested for keeping or patronizing an after hours saloon, though many others escaped through the back door.

Monday, May 18

  • Poor residents are finding much driftwood along the Naugatuck River, despite the fact the water isn’t abnormally high.

May 19

  • ANSONIA – Hundreds of pounds of eelpickerel, and bullhead are being caught at Pickett’s Pond. There seems to be an “inexhaustible” supply of good sized bullheads, and since they are best caught at night, many are there at the pond after dark.
  • ANSONIA & DERBY – Many complaints about reckless automobilists this spring, in particular along Wakelee Avenue, the corner of Elizabeth and Main Streets, and Derby Avenue.
  • SEYMOUR – The wooden bridge over Bladen’s brook, near the Beach farmhouse in Skocorat, gives way under a team of 4 horses pulling the town road scraper, plunging them 10′ into 5′ deep water. Other workmen saved the scraper’s driver, who was entangled in the reins. The 4 horses are OK.
  • SHELTON – A Socialist rally occurs on Bridge Street, just off Howe Avenue.

May 20

  • DERBY – The John H. Brewster Company is incorporated. Mr. Brewster’s business is the second oldest business downtown, selling dry goods since 1866. He was burned out in Great Fire of 1879, but went to same site when the building rebuilt.
  • OXFORD “It really seems as if summer weather has come now to stay, and it is most welcome. There is need, however, of rain to start planted crops growing rapidly”.
  • SEYMOUR – Bell School on Great Hill is now up to 25 students, due to some new families moving to the area. More desks had to be added to the schoolhouse.
  • SEYMOUR – “The handsome new iron fence around Trinity Cemetery in Seymour has been painted with black enamel”.

May 21

  • ANSONIA – Repairs to the covered west end of the Bridge Street Bridge are almost completed. It should be able to hold almost any load now.
  • ANSONIA – The Brewster Corset Company will shut down indefinitely. It employs 70 hands, mostly women and girls.

May 22

  • ANSONIA – Upcoming Ansonia High School graduates are upset they are only being issued 10 tickets each to the graduation exercises at Ansonia Opera House.
  • DERBY – The dog basins on the bottom of the memorial fountain on Atwater Avenue and Seymour Avenue are stopped up. Dog owners want it fixed.


  • ANSONIA – Big crowd at the Ansonia Opera House for Memorial Day, including many veterans. The event includes patriotic speeches, along with the Ansonia High School student choir which sang patriotic songs.
  • DERBY – Big crowd at Sterling Opera House for an evening observance of Memorial Day. The patriotic songs are sung by the Methodist Episcopal Church choir. 
  • OXFORD – A small ceremony marking Memorial Day occurs on Oxford Green.
  • SEYMOUR – The town celebrates Memorial Day “the old fashioned way”, with small ceremonies by veterans. There was a bit of controversy this year as the Town’s Memorial Day Committee never effectively organized.
  • SHELTON – Memorial services at Huntington Congregational Church.

Monday, May 25

  • ANSONIA – City florists report an unprecedented demand for flowers in advance of Memorial Day.
  • ANSONIA – Despite the City’s repairs, the trolley company still refuses to run trolleys over the Bridge Street Bridge, citing concerns about its stability. An engineer came to town to inspect the bridge, supposedly at Mayor Charters’ request, but the mayor says he knew nothing about it. Passengers who have to transfer from one trolley to another by crossing the old covered bridge on foot are not happy about the situation.
  • DERBY – A house is being moved from Minerva Street to Hawthorne Avenue, very slowly. It is expected the entire trip will take a month. The house passed through the intersection of Elizabeth Street and Fourth Street today. The house will soon block the Bassett Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1 firehouse on Fourth Street in the Sterling Opera House. When that happens the ladder truck will be parked on Elizabeth Street until the house passes.

May 28

  • DERBY – City officials warn that if they continue to see children running around outside after 10 PM and making mischief, they will impose a curfew law for 9 PM.

May 29

  • DERBY – The last house let standing on railroad property near Derby Junction is being torn down. The house may date from before the Revolution, and was occupied by Captain George Curtiss and Gabriel Dziadik over the years. It was part of the ancient Derby Narrows neighborhood, at a place then called Cockle Island, near where the Huntington Ferry used to come in.
  • SHELTON – The Pine Rock Park signs have been painted over on all the trolleys. At the park itself, no trespassing signs have been erected. The pavilions, bridges, and platforms are decaying and being dismantled, and it is expected the land will be sold. The park has not been profitable for the last few years – it was hard to access, on top of a steep hill, and other attractions can be reached by trolley like Savin Rock in West Haven and Steeplechase Island in Bridgeport.

 May 30 MEMORIAL DAY Skies are threatening during the parades, but the rain held off.

  • ANSONIA – Big parade between St. Mary’s cemeteries and Pine Grove Cemetery, as well as downtown. 7,000 people are in the cemeteries alone.
  • DERBY & SHELTON – Many attend the Memorial Day Parade that starts in Shelton and ends with a brief ceremony at the Civil War monument on Derby Green. The cemeteries in both towns are decorated.


Tuesday, June 2

  • Much bass has been observed in Lake Housatonic. Derby’s Captain George Van Deusen is renting boats for fishing.
  • SHELTON – The new Knights of Columbus council forming at St. Joseph’s Church will be named Bernardo.

June 3

  • DERBY – Burglars steal $400 in clothing and cloth from the K. Goldberg Store, located in the Shelton block on Lower Main Street
  • OXFORD – “The greens have been mowed over with a hand mower, this past week, and are looking very lovely. The village never appeared more attractive than it does at the present time”.

June 4

  • Over 60 motorboats are above and below the Ousatonic Dam this year, as well as 60 canoes.

June 5

  • The number of licensed automobiles in the Valley cities and towns are as follows: Derby (37), Shelton (36), Ansonia (26), and Seymour (12). In all there are 111, and a few have more than one.
  • SEYMOUR – Seymour High School holds its graduation exercises at the Seymour Methodist Church. In all there are 4 seniors, all female. Helen Thompson Warner is the valedictorian.

Monday, June 8

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Aldermen meets until nearly midnight, mostly talking about ongoing issue between the trolley company and the Bridge Street Bridge. The City insists the bridge in good repair, and many are upset how the public has been inconvenienced by having to walk across the covered portion of the bridge due to the trolley company’s refusal to cross it. It is felt that the trolley company is trying to strong-arm the City to building a new bridge. Members of the Board threaten to take the trolley company’s franchise away if trolleys don’t start running over the bridge again.
  • ANSONIA – Naming the Town Farm is once again under discussion. “Hillside” seems to be the most favored name.

June 10

  • ANSONIA – Deacon Benjamin Root of Ansonia is ordained a priest at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in New Britain.
  • ANSONIA – Fire at a house at 4 Smith Street causes $750 in damage. Boys from a local academy man the fire department’s reserve jumper (hose cart) and had fire under control before regular fire apparatus arrived.
  • OXFORD – “Edward Tyler has been trying his luck hatching chickens with an incubator. For a first experiment he had very good success, getting 70 chicks from 100 eggs”.

June 11

  • ANSONIA – A traveling, self-professed healer who claims to be Schlatter, actually Presbyterian minister Charles McLean, says he can heal anyone through divine intervention. Mayor Charters initially said he could use City Hall, until he realized he isn’t sponsored by any of the local churches. He then refused to allow him to use City Hall. Nevertheless, he preaches on Main Street, making quite an impression on some, and bounding about with the energy of a man half his age.

June 12

  • ANSONIA – Ansonia High School graduates the largest class in its history up to that time. 34 graduates receive their diplomas at exercises at Ansonia Opera House. When the class started 4 years ago, there were 103 members. Miss Helen Bartholomew is salutatorian – she was never tardy or absent for the entire 4 years. Miss Marian Freethy is the valedictorian.
  • ANSONIA – The new dog pound will be south of Central Street. Dogs that need to be put down will now be chloroformed, instead of shot as they were perviously.
  • DERBY – Derby High School graduates 11 seniors at Sterling Opera House. Miss Marian Emilie Deings is the valedictorian. John Francis Ryan is the salutatorian, however he cannot attend the commencement because he has been in the hospital for some time. He completed his final coursework from his hospital bed, and though he can’t be present at the commencement he’s very much in everyone’s thoughts.
  • SHELTON – A house at corner of Perry Avenue and Beard Street is broken into in broad daylight. The family was only away for 2 hours, and only jewelry was stolen. Much of house can be seen on the corner, yet the thief entered through cellar window. The newspaper headlines it “Boldest Robbery Known in Shelton”.

 June 14 – FLAG DAY

  • ANSONIA & DERBY – The Sons of the American Revolution, David Humphreys Branch No. 1, decorates 53 Revolutionary War graves in the Colonial Cemetery and Elm Street Cemetery.
  • SHELTON – Another bold robbery takes place, this time in a Wheeler Street house. A pocketbook is stolen while the family was at church.

Monday, June 15

  • A fine rain in the evening finally breaks the drought. Farmers rejoice. Temperatures drop.
  • ANSONIA – 6 cases of diphtheria have appeared in the city in the past two days. Five are on west side, and the other on North State Street.

June 16

  • ANSONIA – City schools and the public library are closed due to the diphtheria outbreak. Seven new cases have been reported since noon yesterday, making for a total of 13. The grammar school graduation exercises scheduled for June 18th has been cancelled. 
  • DERBY & SHELTON – John H. Barlow, who spent much of his early life in Derby but now lives in Shelton, is found dead in bed at his temporary home in Hartford. He was Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut masons. Born in Ridgefield in 1832, he moved to Birmingham at age 17. Four years later he was hired by the Shelton Company, and became superintendent of its tack and bolt works. He retired in 1891, moved to Shelton, and began selling real estate and insurance. He joined King Hiram Lodge No. 12 of Derby in 1853, and rose through the ranks to become the Grand Secretary of all Connecticut masons.

June 17

  • ANSONIA – Eight more diphtheria cases reported in the past 24 hours, making for a total of 21. 
  • DERBY – John H. Barlow is buried with the Masonic rituals at Oak Cliff Cemetery. The cemetery is packed.
  • SHELTON – Shelton High School holds its 22nd commencement at the Sterling Opera House in Derby. 15 graduate. The Valedictorian is Miss Elizabeth Sarah Shelton, while the Salutatorian is Kenneth Fletcher Lees. This was presumably the same Elizabeth Shelton who retired as a teacher from the Shelton school system in 1958, and for whom Elizabeth Shelton School is named.

June 18

  • ANSONIA – A Special Meeting of the Board of Aldermen is held regarding the trolley company’s refusal to use Bridge Street Bridge. The meeting is short, but an unanimous resolution is passed declaring that the bridge is safe, and the City will spend no more money on it though the trolley company can if they want to. There is still talk of removing the trolley company’s franchise if they continue to refuse running their cars over the covered portion of the bridge. The resolution is signed by Mayor Charters.

June 19

  • ANSONIA – Between yesterday and today, 10 more diphtheria cases have been reported, raising the total to 31.
  • ANSONIA – Mayor Charters announces he has changed his mind regarding the Board of Aldermen resolution passed yesterday, and vetoes it despite the fact he signed it yesterday.  He says he is afraid the wording would enable the trolley company to successfully demand a new bridge before state railroad commissioner.
  • SHELTON – The Derby Christian Endeavor Union holds its 91st pubic meeting at the White Hills Baptist Church.

June 20

  • ANSONIA – Four new cases brings the total affected by the diphtheria epidemic to 35.
  • DERBY – The work on the grading grounds and driveway of the new hospital on the corner of Seymour Avenue and Division Street is progressing. The iron work on the building is nearly completed.

June 21

  • ANSONIA – A fire on the second floor of a junk shop on Main Street, between Tremont Street and Colburn Street is quickly extinguished, causing $200 damage. A horse in an attached stable is saved.
  • ANSONIA – Sunday School classes are cancelled due to the diphtheria outbreak.
  • DERBY – Fire guts Jack’s Lunch Room, next to the Home Trust Company’s building on Main Street.

Monday, June 22

  • ANSONIA – Three new diphtheria cases have been diagnosed since Saturday, bringing a total of 38 cases in a total of 30 families in the City since the outbreak started.

June 23

  • Heavy rain falls at noon. The temperatures drop 30 degrees.
  • ANSONIA – Only one new diphtheria case has been diagnosed in the last 24 hours, though it has been reported that some who live in houses under quarantine are not adhering to it.
  • ANSONIA – Roads in the City are covered with several inches of dust. The dust has spread inside of houses on heavily traveled roads, and it is so thick that people can’t sit on their verandas. Those opposed to street sprinkling are rethinking their position.
  • SEYMOUR – Construction has begun on the new state road between Seymour and Beacon Falls.

June 24

  • ANSONIA – The man who demonstrated his new fire saving device by jumping off the YMCA and Terry buildings in February of 1907, Fred G. Engel, is killed in a fall from a 6-story building in Springfield, MA, while demonstrating it.
  • DERBY – St. Mary’s High School graduates 14 seniors at St. Mary’s Hall. Miss Alice M. Moffatt is the valedictorian, while Miss Genevieve L. Johnson is the salutatorian.
  • DERBY – The Police Commissioner fires a regular officer appointed last January, on charges that he lied about his age. The officer said he was 34 when he was 37, which is past the maximum starting age.
  • OXFORD – “Haying has begun in earnest, farmers making the most of the hot, sun-shiny days. A good crop of hay seems general”.

June 25

  • DERBY – The police officer fired yesterday announces he plans to appeal his termination on the grounds of age discrimination.
  • SEYMOUR – The locally famous, now elderly wanderer, Johnny o’ the Woods, is seen in Town wearing a queer ensemble of an overcoat and a straw hat.

June 26

  • ANSONIA – One new diphtheria case in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 40. Nevertheless, it appears that the worst part of the epidemic is past.
  • ANSONIA – Complaint of 12-15 panhandlers who hang out day and night on the Bridge Street Bridge. They insult those who don’t pay them money, and the amount they beg for seems suspiciously close to the price of beer is at the nearby saloons.
  • DERBY – The Howe Manufacturing Company is in negotiations to be bought by Plume & Atwood Manufacturing Company of Waterbury. A notice was posted yesterday that the shop will shut down for an indefinite period. In 1832 Dr. John I. Howe of New York patented a machine which could mass produce pins. This was one of the very first examples of mass production in America. The Howe Manufacturing Company was incorporated in December of 1835 in New York City, though it moved to the Birmingham Canal in April 1838. Dr. Howe took residence on Caroline Street, and served as the sole manager of the pin company until 1863, and engaged in many civic improvements and philanthropic pursuits until his death in 1876. The company continued to be run by his son-in-law and his family until today’s announcement. The passing of one of Derby’s pioneer industries was greeted by many with sadness.

June 27

  • ANSONIA – Sunday schools, closed last week due to the diphtheria outbreak, reopen today.

Monday, June 29

  • ANSONIA – The wood and iron steps of the Cliffwalk will be replaced by concrete steps.


Wednesday, July 1

  • ANSONIA – With the diphtheria outbreak waning, the Health Officer allows the Ansonia Public Library to reopen.
  • OXFORD – “There is no lack of peddlers here. There are three fish peddlers and three grocery peddlers and a baker”. “The showers of the past week were very acceptable, laying the dust and freshening vegetation, though they made extra work for haymakers who had much grass to cut”.
  • SHELTON – While returning from a baseball game at Sunnyside Field between the Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Co. No. 1 and the Whitlock Machine Company, the fire alarm rings. Both baseball teams, in their uniforms, man the hand-drawn jumpers from the Howe Avenue firehouse to the Adams Cotton Mills on Canal Street. The fire was in a detached building, and it took over an hour to put out. Two firemen were injured.

July 3

  • ANSONIA – Derby residents are becoming increasingly tired of having to walk across the covered portion of the Bridge Street Bridge in order to enter downtown Ansonia. The impasse with the trolley company refusing to cross the bridge until the City repairs or replaces it continues.
  • DERBY – Quite a number of new houses are currently being erected.


  • ANSONIA – The holiday is relatively quiet, with only occasional fireworks.
  • DERBY – A considerable number of fireworks are set off, and more revolvers can be seen on the street.
  • SEYMOUR – On the eve of the Fourth, St. Augustine’s Roman Catholic Church is broken into and the bell rung, following an old custom that local officials are trying to stamp out. The rector is taunted by the crowd.
  • SHELTON – A considerable number of fireworks are set off, some of which ignite the roof of a house on Long Hill Avenue, but it is quickly extinguished.

Monday, July 6

  • The temperature rises to 98 degrees at noon. It is 104 degrees in the Evening Sentinel composing room at same time. Many are sleeping outdoors at night, on porches, roofs, and yards. Houses are unbearably uncomfortable. 
  • For the entire week, Valley residents are battling to save their Elm Trees from a plague of Elm Tree beetles, which are rapidly eating their leaves.

July 7

  • The heat wave continues. The shore along Lake Housatonic is packed.
  • ANSONIA – Downtown looks deserted as everyone looks for way to beat the unbearable heat. 
  • DERBY – The Storm Engine Company sprinkles Derby Green to keep the grass alive.

July 8

  • DERBY – The Sherwood farm, birthplace of local author and historian Albert Sherwood, composed of 60 acres of land, a 14 room farmhouse, and several barns, is sold by Edward McEnerney to Fredercik B. Van Wert. The farm was located above the intersection of today’s Sentinel Hill Road and David Humphreys Road.
  • OXFORD – “The hot wave under which this locality sweltered the past week was extreme both in intensity and duration, even the occasional showers of the past week gave hardly passing relief, leaving the air so full of humidity that the heat seemed greater then before they came”.

July 9

  • Temperatures drop 39 degrees in 24 hours, down to 59 in the early morning hours. People sleep soundly indoors for the first time in days.
  • DERBY – 50 “no spitting signs have been erected around the City.
  • SEYMOUR – A house and contents on Washington Avenue is destroyed by fire in the late evening hours. The Tingue Company night watchman ended his shift, and being a volunteer fireman walked to the Citizen Engine Company firehouse. There he was suddenly assaulted by an unknown man. A man is detained for the crime, but the night watchman states the police caught the wrong man, and he is let go.
  • SEYMOUR – The New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad notifies tenants of “The Plains”, which is railroad-owned property at the north end of Franklin Street, they must move in 30 days. The railroad plans to build a new freight house there. The Seymour Lumber & Hardware Company will also have to move.
  • SHELTON – A band of gypsies pass through, but it is made clear they are not welcome as they are blamed for a smallpox outbreak last year. A few of the women tell fortunes for the superstitious residents willing to pay them, and they attract much attention in their brightly colored clothes, but they pass through without incident.

July 11

  • ANSONIA – New athletic fields laid out off Rockwood Avenue, called Woodside Park, open for the first time today.
  • DERBY – The Sterling Opera House has its final performance of the season before it closes for the summer. It was one of the longest, and poorest, seasons ever. The performances were mostly vaudeville and moving pictures after March. It is felt that economic conditions brought about by the Panic of 1907 had a lot to do with the lackluster ticket sales and fewer traveling theater troupes. Some seats and ceilings in the theater need to be replaced. The heating needs improvement, the stage floor is in bad condition, and the fire escape facing Fourth Street side is in very poor condition.
  • SHELTON – Most of the meadowland along the railroad tracks has been cut to stubble, and with the dry weather much of this has burned up from brush fires caused by sparks from steam locomotives.

July 12

  • The ongoing drought is getting very serious. Farmers are in a state of despair, as their crops dry up in the fields. Many prayers for rain are said at church today. Crops drying up in fields. Today brings 90 degrees and high humidity, but no rain.

Monday, July 13

  • ANSONIA – The City’s Corporate Counsel and Board of Aldermen rule that Mayor Charters’ controversial veto of their recent trolley resolution was out of order, and therefore void.
  • DERBY – Fire breaks out in a one and a half story tenement house adjacent to the Peterson & Hendee mills on Caroline Street and River Place. The fire gained considerable headway because the occupants focused on throwing their belongings out the windows instead of pulling the fire alarm. The building, as well as the Peterson & Hendee storehouse next door, is badly damaged. A large crowd gathers in front of the burning building, getting in the firemen’s way.
  • SEYMOUR – The Town’s drinking water is yellow and has a bad odor. Reports are circulating of dead fish coming out of fire hydrants. The Chinese laundry is forced to close for the week because the clothes are all being dyed yellow. The Seymour Water Company is trying to pinpoint the cause of the problem.

July 14

  • The long drought is finally interrupted by a violent thunderstorm that goes through the northeast portion of the Valley, though the rain is not enough to save the withering crops, yet. Telephone and electric wires are down everywhere, and train and trolley service is interrupted. 
  • ANSONIA – Lightning strikes a house on the corner of Grove Street and Meadow Street, hurling 3 people through the air and causing $200 damage. Another lightning strike damages a Rufus Street home. A Wakelee Street man is injured by a nearby lighting strike.
  • DERBY – 0.5″ of rain falls
  • DERBY & SEYMOUR – Baseball is not as popular as it once was in Derby, though it is very popular among the summer residents at Squantuck.
  • SEYMOUR – 3.5″ of rain falls.
  • SHELTON – Lightning strikes a barn on the top of White Hills, killing a farmhand and a horse, while injuring the nearby farmer and another horse. The roof catches fire, but the farmer’s son puts it out before it got serious.

July 15

  • St. Swithin’s Day – Only a few drops of rain fall in Ansonia, but none in Seymour or Derby. 
  • The crops are dried up, even though temperatures fall to 50 overnight. One farmer says the says the drought compares to the bad ones in 1886 and 1890. Only half of the normal rainfall amount fell in June.
  • OXFORD – “”Sunday was a record breaker for this valley, thermometers going up to 96 in the shade, and 112 in the sun. There was little relief to be found, either outdoors or in. About 4 PM, black clouds in the north gave promise of a shower, but as has been the case several times of late the clouds went around Oxford, not a drop of rain falling here. Evidently there was a shower to the north, for a breeze sprang up and there was a slight but welcome drop in the temperature. The ground was like ashes, and the dust rose in clouds with every passing team. The soaking rain last night was beneficial in every way, and was a welcome stranger”.

July 16

  • DERBY & SEYMOUR – Gypsies visit both locales today, telling a few fortunes and attracting attention. They are not wanted due to being blamed for a smallpox outbreak last year.

July 17

  • A light shower in the evening brings 35mph winds. The storm was worse in terms of wind and rain in Seymour.
  • OXFORD – 4 cows and 2 heifers belonging to Harry Davis of Great Hill were killed in a lightning storm on July 3, after they took shelter under a large tree near a wire fence. It was a big loss for him, and his neighbors will give a dance in “Quaker Farms town hall” to benefit him today. The location was probably GOOD TEMPLAR HALL.

July 18

  • SEYMOUR – Woodchucks are plentiful, so now woodchuck hunting is popular.

July 19

  • Temperatures are in the 90s all day, with excessive humidity. Places like Ansonia’s Main Street are deserted, with many taking the trolleys to the shore to try to beat the heat.
  • ANSONIA – Ansonia is suddenly covered with white moths overnight, which blanket buildings and utility poles like snow. When the sun came out they disappeared. Older residents recall that the last time anything like this happened was 1868, just before a big storm. Many blame the drought. Birds that normally eat moths won’t touch these. Superstitious residents fear that this may be a presage of evil about to come.
  • SHELTON – A farmhand drowns in the Housatonic near Murphy’s Corner. He and another swum across the river from Milford. On the way back, he developed cramps and went under. He is still missing.

Monday, July 20

  • Big drop in temperature.
  • ANSONIA – The Board of Education votes 3 times on a new superintendent – each of the two contenders are tied at 4 votes because the 9th member continues to abstain. Finally, the board member withdraws from voting, allowing Mayor Charters to cast the deciding vote in favor of Francis M. Buckley. He is an Ansonia native, a 1901 Ansonia High School graduate.

July 21

  • 2″ of rain falls in late evening thunderstorms, causing washouts in places. The drought is now said to be broken.
  • ANSONIA – Rainwater washes down Lester Street hill, submerging half Jersey Street under 3 feet of water due to rubbish blocking storm drains. many are upset.
  • ANSONIA – The white moths which invaded Ansonia last week are said to be a new kind of pest which may come back this spring in the form of worms. They reportedly like to eat all leaves, especially maple and elm trees. English Sparrows, themselves not native to the area but are in abundance, reportedly will eat them, however.
  • OXFORD – A Special Town Meeting is held to appropriate funds to build a new Red Oak District schoolhouse on the upper end of Chestnut Tree Hill. The present building has been condemned as unfit for further use.
  • SEYMOUR – At least one house is struck by lightning.

July 22

  • More rain falls, totaling 3′ in the past 48 hours. Dried up streams are now running again, and vegetation is greening again.
  • DERBY – The Grimes house is being moved from Water Street to the rear of Main Street, over the tail race, near Hallock Court. The move is difficult work, as the house needs to be turned around to fit. Because its being placed over the Birmingham Canal tail race, workmen can only work on it on 2 sides.
  • OXFORD – “The protracted drought was at last broken by the liberal supply of rain which came during the showers of Saturday evening and night and Sunday morning, early, though none too much water has come as the ground was dry and so great a depth and there are many patches of potatoes which are said to be beyond help from rain”.

July 24

  • ANSONIA – A small fire in a grocery store is discovered on the corner of Jackson Street and Howard Avenue by a milkman early in the morning at a grocery store. The neighbors organize a bucket brigade and extinguish it before Fountain Hose Co. No. 1 arrives. The building is owned by fire chief George May.
  • ANSONIA – The Dreamland nickelodeon in the Colburn Building on Bank Street has been closed for several months, but should be reopened by September 1.
  • SHELTON – The CR&L trolley company announces Pine Rock Park will be dismantled.

July 25

  • More rain.
  • Blueberries are plentiful.
  • More freight observed on the railroads indicate that the economic outlook is finally improving.

July 26

  • The day is sunny and clear. Mosquitoes are making a comeback now that rain has returned. Local farming is much improved. Trolleys are crowded with people flooding the shoreline resorts.

Monday, July 27

  • ANSONIA – A large metal shed on lower Main Street collapses, and tumbles into Beaver Brook. The shed was built over the bank, the side facing the brook supported by wooden stilts, and it was the stilts that gave way, apparently due to the weight of the many barrels inside. The barrels contain hundreds of tons of brass, copper, and other metal, much of which also tumbles into the brook. The remaining part of the shed still standing, on the bank itself, is leaning on a crazy angle toward the brook. The 10 PM collapse sounded like an earthquake to the residents of nearby New Jerusalem, frightening many. Guards have been posted around the wreckage and brook to prevent scavenging, and salvage operations have begun.
  • SEYMOUR – By vote of 31-2, the Seymour Congregational Church calls Rev. George Abel to succeed outgoing minister Rev. Dr. J. F. Johnston.
  • SEYMOUR – Peach harvesting begins at the Hale & Coleman orchards.
  • SHELTON – Well attended outdoor Socialist rally downtown.

July 28

  • ANSONIA – Fruit and vegetable peddlers can be seen on just about every street in Ansonia nowadays, and in some cases 4-5 wagons are parked on one block. Regular storekeepers are getting upset because the peddlers don’t pay taxes but cut into their business.
  • DERBY – Complaints are prevalent of hoodlums hanging around on Derby Green in the evenings, overturning benches and upsetting many. 

July 29

  • DERBY – The Birmingham Iron Foundry and Sterling Piano Company buy a strip of land on Derby Meadows east of their plants, from the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. This is where the pioneer New Haven & Derby Railroad once ran along the Birmingham Canal tail race. Birmingham Iron Foundry also secures the old New Haven & Derby depot site by Main Street.
  • DERBY – Few know that the little cottage being moved from lower Water Street to Hallock’s Court was once the home of Marcus Daly, copper king, who was the richest man who ever made Birmingham his home. He worked for the old Birmingham Iron & Steel Company. Some older residents still remember him.

July 30

  • ANSONIA – 5,000 people from all over the Valley enjoy an open air concert by the American Brass Company band at Wallace’s Grove, in the area of Franklin Street and Wakelee Avenue.. Special trolleys are commissioned to take people there. Neighbors get into the spirit by putting out Chinese lanterns and selling drinks and refreshments from their front lawns.
  • ANSONIA – The Cliffway reopens today. People generally like the new concrete steps.

July 31

  • DERBY – A chain breaks on an automobile parked near Elizabeth Street and Fourth Street. The brake would not hold so the machine was turned to the curb. The auto jumps the curb, goes over the sidewalk and smashes into the veranda of the Bassett House, damaging both.
  • DERBY – Complaints are surfacing of young people, including dating couples out past midnight, talking loudly and singing in the area of Hawkins Street and East Ninth Street.
  • SEYMOUR – The State Board of Health will investigate the ongoing problem of discolored, vile smelling public drinking water.


Sunday, August 2

  • DERBY – Charles Atwater, secretary and treasurer of the Howe Manufacturing Company, dies at his New Haven home of diabetes.
  • SEYMOUR – A young Austro-Hungarian woman who lived on Main Street dies of wounds she sustained 4 days ago when her husband attacked her. Her husband fled town when he learned warrant out for his arrest, and he will now be charged with murder if caught.

Monday, August 3

  • DERBY – A body found is found floating in Lake Housatonic. His identity is initially a mystery, though he is later linked to a hat found on the riverbank on August 2. On August 4 he is identified as a Boston man who was selling wire arrangements for cleaning windows here.
  • SEYMOUR – There is a movement in Town to purchase a lot on the corner Franklin Street and Bank Street, next to Central School. It was recently bought by Max Olderman and Oscar Cohen of Ansonia, who plan on moving 7 tenement houses from the soon to be cleared railroad property there. Townspeople think it would be better as a playground.

August 4

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Aldermen is upset over additions to the Levy Building on Bridge Street. Because the additions are wood, they are putting up a wooden building in the heart of downtown. The building needs to be covered in fireproof material to meet the fire limit standards.
  • ANSONIA – The Board of Charities officially changes the name of the Almshouse to Hillside Home. Other names considered were Riverview, Riverside, and Fairview. The almshouse is also known as the Town Farm or Poorhouse.
  • OXFORD – “The continued dry weather is being more severely felt now, than at any other time through this remarkably dry season. Many wells have entirely dried out and pasture fields are as brown as if killed by frosts. Hardly a drop of rain has fallen since the storm of two weeks ago last Saturday. The dust has become suffocating, and the prospects for farmer are not encouraging”.

August 5

  • Heavy thunderstorms over the area. Prior to that it was 92 and very humid.
  • ANSONIA – The thunderstorm is considered the worst in years. A barn and house on New Haven Avenue are struck by lightning, and a horse is killed there. The tragedy could have been much worse as 3 children took shelter in the barn, and were called inside the house by one of their mothers just before it was hit. Houses on Garden Street and Hull Street are also struck, with a small fire breaking out in the later one. Many trees and wires are down, trolley tracks washed over by sand or stopped by power failures. Corn stalks are blown down. The old, unused Ansonia-Derby Ice Company icehouse is blown down on Beaver Street.
  • DERBY – Catch basins overflow, causing 1′ of water to pool at Olivia Street and Main Street, and a whirlpool to form at Elizabeth Street and Main Street. Trolley service, telephone service, and trees are down.
  • SEYMOUR – A house under construction on North Main Street is struck by lightning. Trolleys are stalled.

August 6

  • More rain showers. The drought is history.
  • SEYMOUR – One day after the big storm, the old croquet shop on Oxford Road collapses. The ancient building was used as a cider mill before.

August 7

  • Third day in a row of rain. The river levels were low due to the drought, but now it is finally rising.
  • DERBY – The Board of Aldermen receive a petition from Birmingham Iron Foundry and Sterling Piano Company to abandon Foundry Street so they can use it as a railroad siding. The street was laid out 1881.
  • DERBY – The former Housatonic Park pavilion grounds, north of Derby on Houatonic Avenue, is being used by tramps. They are reportedly often drunk and loud at night, and annoying the neighbors. The problem is becoming worse and has been in the forefront since the news since the Boston salesman was found drowned near there.

August 8

  • ANSONIA – Very sad incident along the river. A 12year old Maple Street boy drowns at a swimming hole on the west bank of the Naugatuck River. Other children who witnessed the event say that those who rescued him made no attempt to revive him when he was found, and he was left just off the riverbank until the arrival of the Health Officer, despite the fact he had only been under for 45 minutes and some say he was gasping. The rescues say they were under the impression they had to leave the scene intact before the Health Officer’s arrival. The Health Officer, while not ruling if the children’s account was accurate or not, later states that attempts at resuscitation should always take priority over preserving evidence if there is any chance of revival.
  • SEYMOUR – An injunction filed against Max Olderman and Philip Cohen of Ansonia by Seymour Manufacturing Company, restraining them from moving 7 homes from the north end of Franklin Street to its south end, on land purchased from the Rimmon Water Company. The company claims the houses will interfere with their operations and deliveries.
  • SHELTON – The now closed Pine Rock Park is being leased from the trolley company, as a summer camp for young boys from New York City’s crowded East Side, who are ages 12 or older. No one seems to mind, it is noted that they are not bothering the neighbors.

Monday, August 10

  • Farms doing better from last week’s rain. The Housatonic River has risen, which is very good news because many factories were at reduced capacity due to lack of water power.
  • ANSONIA – The trolley company offers the Board of Aldermen a new proposal. It wants the City to extend the company’s time limit for double tracking to November 1, 1909. In return, the company will pay $4,000 due on the trolley agreement and strengthen the covered portion of the Bridge Street Bridge at own expense. The Aldermen table the issue to give them time to consider it.
  • DERBY – An explosion causes a small fire and burns an employee at the Sterling Pin Company on Housatonic Avenue.

August 11

  • Over half an inch of rain falls in the afternoon.
  • ANSONIA – Jersey Street is underwater again. As usual, the neighborhood boys wade into the filthy floodwaters to clear the plugged up gutters, and that eventually drains it. Residents are becoming impatient with the situation.

August 12

  • ANSONIA – An approximately 55 year old man is instantly killed when he is hit by a train near the railroad bridge south of Bridge Street.
  • DERBY – A 20’x15’x15’ office structure is moved from Water Street to J.J. Flynn’s property on the corner of Caroline Street and Fifth Street. The building is placed on skids, each of which has 2 large wheeled trucks. These in turn are pulled by 6 horses rather easily to the location.
  • OXFORD – The town’s one-room schoolhouses are Red Oak, Riggs Street, Center School, Christian Street, Bowers Hill, Scrub Oak, Riverside, Bell School (Great Hill), and Quaker Farms. All have one teacher each.
  • OXFORD – “The storms of the past week gave the ground a thorough soaking, and effectively settled the dust. The roads on the hillsides show some washing as a result of the downpour during the heavy shower of last Wednesday afternoon, and the small stones are in strong evidence in many places”.
  • SEYMOUR – Great Hill – “The water company has built a small dam this summer in the vicinity where it is expected a large one will some time be constructed. This one is supposed to dam the fish pond, but at high water might cause trouble at the Rockhouse Hill Bridge”.

August 13

  • ANSONIA – About 7,000 attend another American Brass Company band concert at Wallace’s Grove off Wakelee Avenue and Franklin Street. All 200 benches, which can sit 7-8 people, are occupied. Others watch from the grass, paths, and sidewalks.
  • ANSONIA – Kankwood Hill area residents are upset over a horse cemetery in the neighborhood. They say the horses are not being properly buried, causing problems.
  • SHELTON – A 21 year old Derby man bathing in the Shelton Canal drowns near the dam. His body could not be located until much of the water was drained to a level where it could be located.

August 15

  • DERBY – Repairs and renovations to Sterling Opera House are complete, and it will be ready for the theater season which starts in two days. Highlights are a new steel ceiling over the balcony, and new side lights.
  • DERBY – The Street Department has used up its entire yearly appropriation, and is shut down indefinitely. Some say the Department was given too small an amount in an effort to aid the City’s poor. Many of the poor were hired by the Department in order to give them work, which also drained its funds.
  • SEYMOUR – An abandoned icehouse on Woodside Avenue is destroyed in a huge arson fire. The James Swan Co. fire brigade is first on the scene. The Citizens Engine Co. No. 2 stops it from spreading to the Swan Company and neighboring houses. Hundreds watch the inferno.
  • SEYMOUR – There are currently 5 town constables. They do not receive a regular salary, but are paid for patrol work and any arrests they make. Frequently, people from out of town and immigrants don’t realize they are the Town’s police force, and there is debate over whether to require them to wear uniforms, and if so, who will pay for them.

August 16

  • SHELTON – A fire breaks out in a detached building at the R.N. Bassett plant on Bridge Street, when chemical tank explodes. The flames were blue due to because sulfur was burning, and the noxious fumes kept firemen from entering the structure. The Fire Warden tries to break down a door on the river side to let fumes escape, but bounces off the landing and falls 20’ into the Housatonic River. Fortunately it was high tide, and the water cushioned his fall.

Monday, August 17

  • DERBY – The Knickerbocker Stock Company opens the Sterling Opera House theater season with comedy drama “Why Women Sin”. The house sold out early in the day, and the play was standing room only.
  • SEYMOUR – The State Health inspector says the water from the Seymour Water Company reservoir at Pinebridge is safe for drinking, but not for washing because it contains too much iron.

August 18

  • ANSONIA – There are about a dozen typhoid cases right now, raising concerns there may be an epidemic.
  • ANSONIA – Most of the Board of Aldermen and public are opposed to last week’s trolley company proposition concerning the repair of the Bridge Street Bridge anddouble-tracking the City’s system. However, many prominent businessmen are for double-tracking, and think the City is taking a risk in turning it down.
  • DERBY – An intruder wakes up the stage manager and musical director of the Knickerbocker Stock Company when he breaks into their room at the Olivia House hotel on Olivia Street, and is scared away. It is possible that he mistook their room for the treasurer’s, and was trying to get the previous night’s receipts.

August 19

  • ANSONIA – County health officials believe they have traced the typhoid outbreak to a North End well.
  • ANSONIA – Reports are sketchy, but there appears to be a schism in Synagogue Benai Israel. A faction may be petitioning for the use of the nearby Factory StreetSchool for services. Others claim there are major disagreements which include a change in rabbis, the sale of kosher meat, and prayers. The following day it is revealed that a new synagogue is being formed, to be called Zemach Zedeck, with Benai Israel’s Assistant Rabbi Samuel Bernstein as head. Some try to downplay the apparent trouble, saying that it is a simple disagreement, and one group moved nearby because the current synagogue building is too small to accommodate all of them at once.
  • DERBY – Fire is discovered in a Minerva Street duplex, the old Barlow home. The occupants were visiting next door, and rescued 2 sleeping children before the arrival of the firemen. The smoke was suffocating, though the fire department confines the fire itself to a closet area.
  • OXFORD – There is much talk in Oxford over a proposed Seymour-Woodbury trolley passing through. There is currently no easy way in or out of town. Many feel a trolley line will stimulate development and attract people from the cities.
  • OXFORD – Thieves are active in Quaker Farms. One woman has lost 20 chickens, another man some potatoes.
  • SEYMOUR – A Special Town Meeting in Seymour reveals a surprising amount of opposition to purchasing the corner of Franklin Street and Bank Street to prevent development and create an open area. The owners want $10,000 for the tract. The proposal to purchase the property is voted down 180-42.

August 20

  • ANSONIA – Crowds once again pack Wallace’s Grove to hear the third American Brass Company band concert this summer.

August 21

  • More camps and cottages are lining Lake Housatonic than ever before.
  • DERBY – There is very little objection to the proposed closing of Foundry Street.

August 22

  • 2.75″ of rain falls unexpectedly. The total in August so far is 7.34″ The trolleys are caught with their open cars in the storm. Many are drenched, and some try to avoid getting wet by standing in the aisles, or sitting on the backs of seats.
  • SHELTON – Many Eastern European families are buying farms in White Hills.

Monday, August 24

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Aldermen meet on trolley matter. They vote along party lines to accept the trolley company’s proposal to fund the repairs to the Bridge Street Bridge in return for extending its deadline for double tracking by a vote of 8-6. All Democrats vote against it, all Republicans support it. The public was for the most part against it, while prominent businessmen and the Evening Sentinel were for it. Many are upset with the Republicans for voting for the proposal, and later it is revealed that some Republicans may have been strong-armed into voting for the proposal.  Democrats feel they can use the vote to their advantage in the next election. The Sentinel rather derisively expects Mayor Samuel Charters (a Democrat who was a union organizer) to veto it.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Health is told by the State that tests on wells on Huntington Avenue found them unsafe due to high mineral matter. Also, the well at the Huntington Piano Company, and another on Kneen Street, has colon bacilli, which causes typhoid.
  • SHELTON – Louis Tapper has renovated an old Booth’s Hill farmhouse into a 20 room summer boarding house. The place is mostly patronized by New York City Jews, who seem to like it and Huntington as a vacation retreat very much.

August 26

  • OXFORD – “The village green has been newly mowed and presents a very attractive appearance”.

August 27

  • ANSONIA – As expected, Mayor Charters vetoes the trolley agreement the Board of Aldermen agreed to three days earlier. It is unclear where things will go from here.
  • ANSONIA – A singer accompanies two songs of the American Brass Company’s fourth concert this summer at Wallace’s Grove, singing “Stop Making Faces at Me”, and “Childhood”, by Kerry Mills. The bandstand and seats have been painted green. 7,000 attend the concert, a record up to that time.
  • DERBY – 150 people, members of both political parties, form an East Derby Citizens’ Club to promote the interests and welfare of that neighborhood.
  • DERBY – Former Mayor Benjamin Hubbell dies of diabetic complications at his 330 Caroline Street home. He was born in Wilton, CT, November 20, 1841, and came to Derby around 1872. After an initial start in the grocery business he began running a livery around 1873, which he continued for the rest of his life. He represented Derby in the State Legislature, served on the Board of Alderman, and as Mayor from 1905 to 1906. He was also widely liked, and at the time of his death his livery is the largest in Derby’s history. He is survived by his widow, Alice Marvin, and two sons.

August 29

  • The temperature dips to 47 degrees in the early morning hours.
  • ANSONIA – While returning to its Seymour terminal at the end of the day, and empty trolley leaves the tracks at North Main Street. It slides 60 feet, crossing the road and crashing  through a fence before coming to rest in a meadow.

August 30

  • DERBY – Former Mayor Benjamin Hubbell’s funeral is held at his 330 Caroline Street home.  Many had to stand outside on front lawn because could not get in the house. His burial is in Wilton, CT, his birthplace.


Tuesday, September 1

  •  ANSONIA – City Public Schools are the first to open in the Valley this school year, though for the first time in years the superintendent was not present due to illness. Some overcrowding is reported, the most extreme example being the 65 students who showed up for first grade at Elm Street School. 

September 2

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Education refuses the right of a dissenting group from Synagogue Benai Israel to hold services at the Factory Street School, as Synagogue Zemach Zedeck. The Board say it has no authority to rent schools to anyone. 
  • OXFORD – A local farmer has planted a quarter of an acre with coffee beans as an experiment. They are doing well, the sprouts are filed with bean clusters.
  • OXFORD – “Now that the warmer wave is with us people breathe a little easier. The cool wave which preceded it and which lasted about a week or 10 days was quite extreme, coming perilously near to a freezing temperature, thermometers on more than one morning recording 36 and 2 or 3 times there was a slight white frost visible on the grass in the meadows of the Centre. However, no harm to vegetation seems to have been done, gardens looking as fresh as ever”.
  • SEYMOUR – Townspeople are talking of a trolley from Woodbury through Oxford. The communities of Woodbury and Waterbury have just connected by trolley.

September 3

  • ANSONIA – The temperatures fall to 40 at night, which cuts into attendance of tonight’s American Brass Company concert at Wallace’s Grove.

September 4

  • ANSONIA – The Elm Street School first grade is split, and running on half sessions due to its overwhelming number.
  • ANSONIA – Dissenting Synagogue Zemach Zedeck will hold services at Germania Hall on High Street.
  • DERBY – The Secor Typewriter Company on Housatonic Avenue is upset that the Board of Education bought Underwood typewriters for its Derby High School commercial course instead of patronizing the local firm, igniting a war of words which lasts several days in the newspaper between the Board and the Company.

September 5

  • ANSONIA – Work has been completed on an improved Jersey Street drain, which will hopefully end the neighborhood flooding problems.

Monday, September 7

  • ANSONIA – Labor Day passes quietly. About 900 go to the Orange Fair.

September 8

  • ANSONIA – The last American Brass Company Band concert of the season, at Wallace’s Grove, boasts about the same attendance as last week’s concert due to the cold weather. Many had to move about to keep warm.
  • DERBY – City schools open. There are no reports of overcrowding, though the enrollment at Derby High School is higher.
  • SHELTON – City schools open, including the Commodore Hull School on Oak Avenue for the first time. Some overcrowding is reported.

September 9

  • OXFORD – “Townspeople are greatly pleased at the agitation of the trolley project. Particularly they are pleased to have the people of Seymour arrayed in the line of progress that this subject represents. Seymour needs to work hard for it and give it the financial backing it deserves for it means much for the material welfare of the mercantile business of the town. As it will give facilities for the people of the country lying in the Oxford and Southford valley of reaching Seymour for trading and give to Seymour much trade that is now done through the mail and cities”.
  • SEYMOUR – As of this time 3 houses have been moved to the controversial location at the corner of Franklin Street and Bank Street. Four more have yet to be moved, including the former home of W.H. Wooster. Moving operations are at a standstill at this time due to the injunction.
  • SEYMOUR – Carloads of peaches are being shipped out of Hale Orchards of Great Hill on a daily basis.

September 10

  • DERBY – A City man is badly injured after being struck by a freight train while returning home to East Derby from the Huntington Piano Company in Shelton. The accident occurred on the Derby side of the Housatonic trestle. Many from East Derby use the trestle to get to Shelton to work, and they know the train schedules.

September 11

  • ANSONIA & SHELTON – The Hose Supporter department at the R.N. Bassett Company, located on Bridge Street in Shelton, has grown 50%. Much of the stringing for the hosiery factory is done in various homes in Shelton and Derby, but now more are needed and a branch office is opening in Ansonia at Lester and Crescent Streets to handle it.
  • DERBY – The locally famous, aged homeless wanderer Johnny o’ the Woods was in town, wearing 2 overcoats and a straw hat. Taunting children followed him around, making him upset.
  • SEYMOUR – The injunction on moving the remaining houses to the corner of Franklin Street and Bank Street is now dissolved, clearing the way for the completion of the controversial project.
  • SEYMOUR – Most of the peaches at Hale Orchards on Great Hill have been harvested.
  • SHELTON – Many are pleased to learn that Shelton will soon have a postal delivery system.

September 12

  • DERBY – I.S. Coan is renting the stables at Olivia Street and Fourth Street as a livery. These were once used by I.E. Alling and more recently for sales by the Derby Carriage Company.

Monday, September 14

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Aldermen fails to override Mayor Charters’ August 27 veto of the trolley resolution. Although a majority, 8-5, voted to override the veto a 2/3 majority was needed.
  • DERBY – A 34 year old woman attending her toddler is shot in her yard off Housatonic Avenue by a 55 year old man who once boarded with the family. She drops the baby (who was slightly injured) and tries to run away. In all she is shot five or six times, and she dies of her wounds the following morning. The neighborhood was predominantly Italian, as were the victim and murderer. The murderer first runs, then walks when he gets tired, all the way to Seymour Avenue. He is pursued by an angry mob of neighbors, who keep a safe distance because they believe he still has his gun (in fact he threw it away near the scene). Officer Urbano, the only Italian-American on the Derby Police Department back then, is on Seymour Avenue, and is alerted of the murderer’s approach. Standing in the murderer’s path on Seymour Avenue, as he reaches to grab him the murderer, he quickly consumes a bottle of carbolic acid. He is loaded in a wagon, but dies 15 minutes after reaching the lockup. In the days ahead a number of theories circulate about the murder-suicide. It is known that the victim and her husband successfully sued the murderer not long ago for slander, as he continued to circulate rumors of an affair between the two. It was also possible that the victim’s husband was part of a group that may have been harassing the victim for money he owed them and some Bridgeport parties, and was living in fear. In any event, the truth was not immediately clear, and the crime was one of the era’s most heinous crimes.  
  • SEYMOUR – Residents awaken to a slight frost. 

September 16

  • 37 degrees in the early morning hours, with a slight frost. Enclosed trolley cars appear for the first time today.
  • ANSONIA – The first case of diphtheria since June reported on a Rockwood Avenue child.
  • OXFORD – “The ground is now very dry, in fact, seems more parched than previously in some time. The brooks are running very low. This is a time when great care should be used to avoid fires, particularly should no one attempt to burn bonfires or brush, until conditions are more moist”.
  • SEYMOUR – Seymour school population – Center 429 (overcrowded), Annex 182 (overcrowded), Castle Rock (grade 1) 40, Bell (grades 1 & 2) 37, Cedar Ridge 45, Great Hill 20, Seymour High School 42.

September 17

  • A brilliant meteor passes overhead at 7:17 PM, lighting up the sky, leaving a trail, and exploding a number of times. Some say they heard it hiss. This is the second such occurrence in three weeks, and some fear it foretells evil.

September 18

  • SHELTON – The Citizens’ League holds a rally at town hall in favor of making Shelton a “dry” town, drawing many.

September 19

  • ANSONIA – A large audience gathers at Ansonia Methodist Church to hear Oliver Stewart of Chicago discuss the merits of Prohibition.

September 20

  • ANSONIA – A switcher engine, going backwards, hits a wagon delivering the New York American newspaper at the Bridge Street railroad crossing. Two young Derby men are injured, but miraculously survive. The two horses pulling the wagon, which is smashed, are so badly hurt they had to be put down.
  • SHELTON – A 23 year old brakeman walking on top of an empty freight train has his lantern go out. He then, in the darkness, misjudges the distance to the gap between boxcars, falls between them, and is run over. He later dies at Bridgeport Hospital the next morning.

Monday, September 21

  • ANSONIA – Miss Clara Barton, 88, founder of the American Red Cross, is a guest of the Drew family on New Street. The visit was kept quiet until now, though she’ll receive the GAR there tonight. The event was photographed by the Drews’ daughter and Miss Barton’s namesake, Clara Barton Drew. The photos are in the collection of the Derby Historical Society.

September 22

  • SHELTON – Iowa Governor Albert B. Cummins and his wife spend the night in Shelton as guests of Walter E. Andrews. The next day leaves for Iowa, to tour with Republican presidential candidate William H. Taft.

September 25

  • SHELTON – The Shelton Poultry Association has been organized, with a charter from the American Poultry Association

September 26

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Derby ties Danbury High 6-6 at Derby Meadows.

Monday, September 28

  • The first heavy rain since September 6 falls. Despite the rain, the Naugatuck River is still low. With the rain come high winds, blowing down many leaves. The trolley company runs the old snowplow, which is the old 1889 freight locomotive, on the tracks to remove the wet leaves from the tracks, attracting much attention.

September 29

  • Brilliant northern lights are visible. Many in this time in history believe that foretells the coming of frost. 

September 30

  • The trolley line between Derby and Ansonia is 21 years old today.
  • Many are collecting the large amount of chestnuts that were blown to the ground two days ago. 
  • OXFORD – “The hillsides are beginning to show the varied tints of foliage which comes with the season and scenery is becoming one of great beauty. Nuts are ripening early and beginning to fall plentiously. The crop is large and it looks as if there was an abundance for all who care to gather them”.


Saturday, October 3

  • Northern lights are visible again overnight. Residents awake to the coldest morning of the year so far, 38 degrees, and the first big frost of the season.
  • ANSONIA – Rev. Dr. Bonvorti, of Staten Island, has been assigned to Ansonia to help found a new Italian Roman Catholic Church. There are 200 Italian families in Ansonia, and they are elated by this development.

October 4

  • ANSONIA – The fledgling Italian Roman Catholic parish holds its first mass in the old Assumption Church on lower Main Street. Over 100 attend, and as word gets out across the Valley it is certain that more will be attending. This parish is the beginning of today’s Holy Rosary Church.

Monday, October 5

  • Today is Election Day in most Connecticut towns (not cities).
  • ANSONIA – The Ansonia Water Company is buying the Benz farm in David’s Meadow (an ancient name for the area around Benz Street and the Ansonia Nature Center). This includes a house, barn, and 18 acres, for a new reservoir. The Water Company already owns much of land in area.
  • OXFORD – Democrat John Pope is elected First Selectman. 
  • OXFORD – A notice is issued to the Diamond Match factory, that pollution of Eight-Mile Brook must cease after October 12.
  • SEYMOUR – Residents approve a 12 mill tax rate at the Annual Meeting, as well as a resolution appointing a committee to petition the State General Assembly to make the Town of Seymour a Borough. Republican George Devine is elected First Selectman. The “no license” vote fails 333-242 – had this passed the sale of alcohol would have been illegal in town.
  • SHELTON – Huntington Town elections – the “no license” question brings out largest turnout ever – 1084 out of 1200 voters. The vote to deny licenses to sell alcohol in town fails 558-509. Republican Nicholas Wakelee is elected First Selectman.

October 7

  • ANSONIA – A one story, 17×25′ addition, is added to the Walsh Building on Main Street, which houses the Vonetees’ Palace of Sweets.

October 10

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Derby is defeated by Manor School of Stamford 11-5 in an away game.

Monday, October 12

  • The first killing frost of the year occurred this morning. More of this season’s abundant chestnuts fall to the ground, residents scurry to gather them. The foliage is beautiful. 

October 13

  • Residents awake for the second morning in a row to a killing frost.
  • ANSONIA – A fair-sized audience watches De Castri perform band at Ansonia City Hall. Their manager reportedly abandoned them in New London, and they are trying to raise enough money to return to home Europe by playing across the area.

October 14

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia beats Shelton at the Woodlot 12-0.
  • DERBY – Thomas Scott Baldwin, pioneer aviator and balloonist, is a guest of J. Newton Williams, of Caroline Street.
  • OXFORD – “The summer-like weather Sunday was followed by an intense cold wave on Monday and Monday night the first nipping frost of the season came. It was severe enough to kill vegetation which had survived previous low temperatures, and ice an eight of an inch thick formed on water left standing outside. This is a most forcible reminder that we can not much longer enjoy the delightful weather which has prevailed throughout the fall. It will have the effect of causing the trees to shed their foliage more rapidly and soon the view will be one of barrenness. At the present time the hillsides are a mass of brilliant color, and the country is looking very attractive”.

October 15

  • SEYMOUR – A horse pulling a carriage becomes frightened when a football from a street game passes under it. The animal goes on a mad dash down Washington Avenue, then suddenly makes a sharp turn onto Humphrey Street. The carriage overturns, throwing 3 females, including an elderly woman and a young girl, into the street. The elderly woman suffers a broken leg.

October 16

  • SEYMOUR – Captain Wilbur Watson Smith, the Town’s Postmaster, dies at his Day Street home at 80. A Civil War veteran, he was captured at Chancellorsville on May 3, 1863, and held at Libby Prison, before he was exchanged in a prisoner swap. He was Seymour’s First Selectman in 1895-99.

October 17

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Shelton ties Newtown at Sunnyside Field.

Monday, October 19

  • There is much smoke in the air due to nearby forest fires and the normal pollution. Visibility is low – Derby & Shelton are barely visible to each other across the river. Many residents are having breathing problems.

October 20

  • SEYMOUR – The last of the 7 controversial tenement houses have been moved by Olderman and Cohen on the corner of Franklin Street and Bank Street, next to Center School.

October 21

  • OXFORD – “The cold wave of the last week was accompanied by a killing frost and nature now shows its blighting breath. Flowers that had withstood the previous drops in temperature, were all killed. It has also had the effect of causing leaves to fall very rapidly and the hillsides are beginning to present a very bare look. Hunters are welcoming this condition, however, as it makes the roaming of the woods for game much more enjoyable”.

October 22

  • ANSONIA – Hillside Home, also known as the Town Farm or “Poor House”, has raised over $1,000 in farm products this year, including potatoes, turnips, parsnips, onions, carrots, beets, corn, rye, hay, straw, bedding, cabbage, and celery.
  • ANSONIA – A milk wagon owned by D. N. Sharp of White Hills is wrecked after being struck by a trolley on Jackson Street. Mr. Sharp was injured, and needed stitches to his forehead. The milk on the wagon was lost.
  • SHELTON – The R.N. Bassett Company has outgrown its newly enlarged Bridge Street plant, and will occupy part of D. M. Bassett Bolt Company building around the corner on Canal Street.

October 23

  • ANSONIA – 65 local men and women have skin removed today, donating it for grafts for a young Russian girl who was badly burned on October 3 near her Mill Streethome. Many of the donors are work in the City’s factories.

October 24

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia defeats Danbury 6-0 in away game. Derby defeats Shelton 29-0 at Derby Meadows.
  • SHELTON – At a Special Town Meeting, the Lower White Hills School is ordered reopened. Also Cribbins Avenue, Foley Avenue, William Street, Riverview Avenue, and Wheeler Street are accepted. Wheeler Street is only 40′ wide at this time.

Monday, October 26

  • DERBY – The Derby Corset Company is incorporated, with a capital of $25,000. The firm will succeed the Brewster Corset Company, having purchased all the latter’s equipment and leasing its old building on Caroline Street.

October 27

  • DERBY – A new 2-story brick stable of a sanitary design has been built for Armour & Co. in East Derby, containing 4 stalls and wagon sheds.

October 28

  • OXFORD – “The intense heat of the sun, Saturday, can be appreciated when its record is old. Hanging in front of Sanford’s store is a large thermometer, with a limit registration of 120 degrees. In the afternoon, the sun’s rays shine directly upon it. On the date mentioned, Mr. Sanford looked at it and found it was up to the limit 120. Later he found the bulb had burst as it would not go up any higher. And this was October weather”.
  • SEYMOUR – Many are growing concerned about the number of small boys who are using the freight yard as a playground after school. The boys are frequently driven off, but soon come back.
  • SHELTON – White Hills – “Owing to warm weather, apples are not keeping well. This, with a short crop, is disappointing to say the least”.

October 30

  • SEYMOUR – A fire in the historic Dayton Tavern (then called the Dayton-Hull house) attic is discovered by a conductor on a passing trolley. The trolley stopped to alert the houses residents. The fire was in a trunk, and spread part of the roof and floor, but was quickly put out by the fire department.
  • SHELTON – Huntington – “It is reported that the Centre is to have another grocery store. That a gentleman named Griffin who has been conducting a similar establishment in Nichols is to start one there. It is stated that the store will be located in a building owned by W. H. Main which is being prepared for that purpose. The Centre must be growing fast if it can support another grocery store besides that conducted by E.J. Buckingham”.

October 31 HALLOWE’EN (as it was spelled in the Evening Sentinel)

  • The cold night apparently detracts from Hallowe’en mischief. No report in Seymour or Oxford. Extra police are on duty.
  • ANSONIA – The City is mostly quiet, other than the fire alarm ringing, and scattered neighborhood bonfires. A wagon set on fire in New Jerusalem. Some gates disappeared, nothing serious.
  • DERBY – The City is very quiet, only a few doorbells are rung.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Greenwich defeats Shelton 11-5 in a home game.
  • SHELTON – Many young children are out and about, but most of them are merrily having fun – no damage or disturbances.


Sunday, November 1

  • SHELTON – The body of a man is discovered in Shelton Canal when the water drained to make repairs. It is later identified as a New Haven Civil War veteran last seen in Derby three days earlier.

Monday, November 2

  • ANSONIA – Boys secure an old carriage in the lower end of downtown, set in on fire and race through streets pulling it, upsetting many. Later, either they or other boys start a bonfire in the intersection at Main Street and Central Street. No arrests are made.


  • NATIONAL ELECTIONS – Republican William Howard Taft is elected President. Republican George Lilley is elected Connecticut’s Governor, and Frank Weeks the State’s Lt. Governor.
  • ANSONIA – Republicans wins all 3 Board of Aldermen seats in each of the 1st, 2nd, and 5th wards, Democrats win all 3 seats in each of the 3rd and 4th wards. In the presidential election, Republican Howard William Taft is selected over Democrat William Jennings Bryan for President 1353-1029. Ansonia narrowly choses Democrat Robertson over Lilley for Governor 1149-1142, yet chose Republican Frank Weeks over Democrat Tyler for Lt. Governor by a vote 1424-1095. Democrat Stephen Charters is narrowly reelected Mayor over Robert Munger by a vote of 1268-1239
  • DERBY – Taft wins Derby by 134 votes, but City voters chose Democrats Robertson for Governor 863-652 and Tyler for Lt. Governor 863-695. In an major upset, Republican James B. Atwater is elected Mayor over Democrat P. J. Sweeney 850-706. Two Republicans and one Democrat are elected to the Board of Aldermen. The “no license” question, which sought to deny licenses to operate saloons, fails by a vote of 1060-398. Democrats are reportedly “in shock” over the mayoral election.
  • OXFORD – The Town votes Republican, choosing Taft for President 149-79, Lilley for Governor 127-100, and Weeks for Lt. Governor 149-82.
  • SEYMOUR – The Town votes Republican, choosing Taft for President 581-167, Lilley for Governor 428-306, and Weeks for Lt. Governor 573-177.
  • SHELTON – A total of residents 1188 voted, and Taft won by 518 votes, the largest majority for a Presidential election in the Town of Huntington’s history. The Town and Borough also vote for Lilley as Governor 660-412, and Weeks for Lt. Governor 809-301. It is noted that of the smaller political parties, the Socialists got less votes then the last elections, but the Prohibitionists got more.

November 4

  • ANSONIA – Fire destroys a duplex on Hill Street. The house is outside fire limits, and hoses can’t reach from the nearest hydrant a quarter-mile away. A nearby barn is saved by a neighborhood bucket brigade with the help of ladders from the Webster Hose Company hose wagon, and much of furniture in the doomed house is saved before it burns down.
  • OXFORD – “The cold wave, which struck this vicinity over Sunday was very extreme, thermometers registering as low as 18 above 0. It was a practical verification of the vagaries of this climate. Only two weeks before the heat of the sun was so great that it burst the bulb of a thermometer hanging in front of Sanford’s store. Take cheer, however, winter is not with us for keeps yet awhile”.

November 5

  • ANSONIA – There is speculation that City resident Charles Brooker may be President-elect Taft’s Secretary of the Interior.
  • ANSONIA – Coal in the cellar of the house that was destroyed by fire yesterday is still burning, having been ignited when the house caved into the basement. Plans are being drawn to try to salvage some of it. Meanwhile, neighbors are clamoring for better fire protection and fire hydrants in the area.

November 6

  • ANSONIA – The City is heartbroken upon learning that Lubov Hodio, 8, dies of burns she sustained on October 3 at her Mill Street home. 65 volunteers from Ansonia, Derby, and Seymour went through the painful process donating skin for the little girl for skin grafts.
  • SHELTON – A devastating fire strikes the Rocky Rest neighborhood, when a kitchen fire ignites an acetylene gas tank under the front porch of the Dr. Glover Ewell house, spreading fire across the neighborhood. In all three houses are destroyed, and a fourth is damaged. Neighbors are helpless to stop the flames due to the total lack of a water supply, and can only watch as the houses burn down.

November 7

  • ANSONIA – The Connecticut Assembly of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew has its annual meeting at Christ Church today and Sunday. The national president is also present.
  • DERBY – The A.H. & C.B. Alling mills, operated under the will by the administers of the estate of Charles B. Alling, is taken over by a corporation by the same name. Charles B. Brewster, manager of the large hosiery since Mr. Alling’s death, is the president.
  • SHELTON – A large forest fire burns north of the Borough of Shelton, taking many hours to control.

Tuesday, November 10

  • SEYMOUR – A large electric sign, made of copper, has been placed on the Humphreys building, bearing the words “Masonic Hall, A.F. and A.M”, along with the Masonic symbol, and smaller letters “R.A.M.”, and “O.E.S.”

November 11

  • ANSONIA – Steel sheeting is being installed on the north side of the Curtiss stables, which adjoin City Hall, giving it a nicer appearance.
  • DERBY – Dr. Loomis has a new, odd-looking “doctor’s cab” carriage. It is an ordinary box carriage with a cab top, featuring a high dashboard, with reins that run through a slit below it. The carriage has glass in front and the side, with curtains that can be drawn, giving the doctor protection from cold and water.
  • SEYMOUR – People are upset when it gets dark early due to a storm, but the Seymour Electric Company’s lights do not turn on. It is dark in stores and offices around 5 PM, and some have difficulty getting out. The electric company’s main motor burned out in late October, and it will be awhile before it is fixed. People are talking about getting gas service into town.

November 12

  • ANSONIA – A young man jumps into the Naugatuck River from the Maple Street Bridge, a 30 to 40′ plunge, onto a soft sandbank below. He does this to retrieve a dollar bill that a woman lost, and abandoned, in the water. He gets it the dollar, and wades back to shore in cold water up to his chin.

November 13

  • DERBY – There appears to be some discrepancies in the recent election in the Third Ward. Although they favor the Democrats, none of them appear to change the outcome of the election.

November 14

  • DERBY – The Birmingham Water Company will begin pumping water out of the Housatonic River to supply the city, because its reservoir is so low, starting Monday. The Company suggests boiling the water before using it.
  • DERBY – A wagon carrying an Oxford man and a young woman is struck by a trolley on Housatonic Avenue. The wagon is smashed, the occupants bruised, and the horse had a few scratches.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Derby defeats Shelton 16-6 at Derby Meadows. Derby was supposed to play Ansonia but they were sidelined due to injuries.

November 15

  • The first real snowstorm of year hits overnight, leaving the ground covered. Most of the snow melts when the sun goes up this morning, but the sidewalks are slippery for people going to church.

Tuesday, November 17

  • ANSONIA – An old man who lives on the Seymour Road and is about to be sent to prison for 30 days for public intoxication, successfully pleas with the judge to avoid incarceration. Instead, he is charged $7 and costs, on the grounds his chickens will starve to death if he is jailed.
  • SHELTON – There are 32 school aged children now living in the Walnut Tree Hill area. The old district schoolhouse may have to reopen.

November 18

  • OXFORD – The Oxford Congregational Church buys the Barnes homestead in Oxford Center, which will be used as parsonage.
  • OXFORD – “The light snow which fell Saturday night shows a tendency to remain on the ground in the open, the air being too cold to melt it rapidly. There is considerable anxiety here in common with other localities for fear that winter will set in without copious rains falling to fill the springs and wells, many of which are entirely dry, necessitating the carrying some distance of all the water used for household purposes and watering of stock”.

November 19

  • DERBY – Fire in a 3-story wood furniture store owned by Herman Blankfeld causes damages of $1500 to the building, and $5000 to stock. The fire took 90 minutes to extinguish. A fire sale starts within days.

November 20

  • DERBY – A 50 year old man on a cart drawn by a Shetland pony is killed when he is hit by a trolley on New Haven Avenue. The pony was slightly hurt. The trolley motorman was so upset he required medical treatment as well – because of the low profile of the pony and cart he couldn’t see him until it was too late.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Derby defeats Ansonia 6-2 at Athletic Field in Ansonia, in a highly anticipated meet. About 450 people watch. This is the first time the Derby team ever won against Ansonia. Derby High School boys parade through Derby that evening with red fire, blowing horns, and cheering, before settling down around a big bonfire at Fifth Street and Minerva Street. Many others join them.

November 21

  • ANSONIA – Famed wanderer Johnny o’ the Woods asks for, and receives, shelter in the police lockup overnight due to the cold. Meanwhile, postcards are circulating of Johnny o’ the Woods, raising the question of what if any royalties he’s receiving from them.

Tuesday, November 24

  • ANSONIA – The “turkey train” fails to arrive on time, becoming fogbound after it left New York. The train bears turkeys raised out West, in cold storage, and generally sells for 27-28 cents/lb in local grocery stores. “Native” birds, those raised in New England or New York, are scarce. Fruit and vegetables are abundant this year, and cranberries are about 15 cents per quart.
  • ANSONIA – The roller skating rink reopens for the season on Mechanic Street. The building has been extended 40′, and the now enlarged rink sports a new floor. More skates have been purchased for rentals.

November 25

  • DERBY – Most grocers expect to run out of turkeys by noon today.


  • The first half of the day brings heavy fog, which turned into a drizzle in the morning. Afternoon was cloudy but the weather was better, with a high of 57 degrees.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Shelton High School Alumni and Shelton High School battle to a scoreless tie at Derby Meadows. After that game, Derby High School Alumni beats Derby High School at Derby Meadows 28-0.
  • SHELTON – Three boys are arrested trying to steal 25 lbs. of blasting powder from D.N. Clark’s powder house. Donations from public school children allow for 52 poor families to be fed today.

November 27

  • SEYMOUR – Letsome Terrell Wooster dies at his Pearl Street House, at age 78. He was the founder of Seymour Manufacturing Company, and served as director and superintendent up to the time of his death. He was well known throughout the brass industry.
  • SHELTON – Shelton Woman’s Club hosts cartoonist Homer Davenport at Clark’s Hall.

November 28

  • ANSONIA – School enumeration shows 3,935 of school age, a rise of 76 over last year. The number attending school is 108 more than last year. The number attending private school is slightly down, from 235 last year to 220 this year. The number of children aged 14 to 16 not attending school has dropped from 305 to 227.
  • DERBY – F. Will Hallock’s launch has been raised from the Housatonic River and hauled to dry land. Many of its ribs were broken when it was crushed by a tugboat. The engine has been shipped to the factory to repairs.

Monday, November 30

  • SEYMOUR – A man is hit by a trolley on the outskirts of Town. Unidentified, he is taken to a doctor in Ansonia by the trolley, and from there transferred to Grace-New Haven Hospital, where he dies. In another, unrelated incident in Seymour this day, another unidentified man falls off the rear platform of a trolley. He is placed back on the car, but is dropped off on the trolley stop on Main Street and Bank Street in a semi-conscious state, near doctors’ offices. The trolley then leaves. The event is witnessed by some, who are upset at the treatment.


Wednesday, December 2

  • DERBY – The late former mayor Hubbell’s livery has been sold to I. M. Thompson of New York, who states he wants to keep a high class stable there. He has already shifted some of his New York horses to Derby, and plans to sell carriages, too. Mr. Thompson would later sell automobiles as well.
  • OXFORD – “A crew of men in the employ of the Western Union telegraph co. have been going over the line through here, which was put up about 27 years ago. They report that the line will be rebuilt next season in a very much heavier manner, and built to carry a number of wires”.
  • OXFORD – A passing locomotive sparks a fire on the Lee Armstrong farm on Christian Street. The fire spread toward Jack’s Hill Burying Ground. While it was prevented from entering valuable timberland, a large peach orchard on the farm is destroyed.

December 3

  • DERBY – A vacant 2 story house behind the Colonial Cemetery, reached from the foot of Division Street hill near the railroad tracks, is destroyed by fire.
  • SEYMOUR – The first shipment of big submarine cable, made by Kerite for the Panama Canal, which is under construction, leaves. The cable is 32 miles long, weighs 250 tons, and took 10 days to load. Upon reaching New York, it will be sent to Panama by boat.

December 4

  • ANSONIA – A 3-story structure on Star Street is badly damaged by fire that gutted the top floors and flooded the lower one. The Coe Brass fire brigade assists the fire department.
  • ANSONIA – A spring on the American Brass Company property on Beaver Street has been closed over, and is now emptying into a catch basin on Central Avenue. The surrounding neighborhood is disappointed, as they used it for drinking even though it is on private property. ABC eliminated the spring because the surrounding area was also being used as an illegal dump by the neighbors.

December 5

  • SHELTON – The first day of free mail delivery in Shelton did not go smoothly for postal workers. Only one postman has a full uniform as of yet. Sorting the mail was confusing, and took awhile to deliver. Many do not have mailboxes yet, even though several stores sell them for $0.50 to $1.25.

Monday, December 7

  • A storm begins a few minutes after midnight, bringing with it hail and sleet, which soon turns to rain and high winds. The ground is frozen, and the Naugatuck River rises rapidly. The rain is very much needed.

December 8

  • ANSONIA – The house that burned on Hill Street last month is being rebuilt by James McDonald of Seymour. He has a carpenter’s workshop, which he hauls around on wheels to job sites. The shop is heated, and is equipped with power, planners, a steam engine, and beds for 3 people.
  • SEYMOUR – A bill is read in Congress, calling for the erection of a new post office in Seymour.

December 9

  • DERBY – The new hospital is nearing completion. A Valley-wide committee has been organized, and is actively trying to raise money to equip it.

December 10

  • Ice on ponds is 2” to 3″ thick in places. Skating is possible on small ponds.
  • Christmas trees range from 35-50 cents for small ones to 75 cents to $2 for big ones.

Tuesday, December 15

  • SHELTON – There are rumors that Shelton is seeking a City Charter, which would end the Town/Borough arrangement. Many are opposed to such a move.

December 16

  • ANSONIA – An early morning fire breaks out at a 2 story building at 42 Liberty Street. The first floor is a Greek confectionary, while the second floor serves as a lodging house. A total of 15 are forced to flee, some of them jumping from the rear second floor windows. The fire, which started in the cellar, guts the building. It is the second fire at that address this year.
  • ANSONIA – There are rumors that the New York, New Haven, & Hartford Railroad may soon build a new passenger station in Ansonia.
  • OXFORD – “The snowstorms of Friday and Sunday have amounted to just enough to make mud and very unpleasant traveling”.
  • SEYMOUR – Great Hill School is closed after an attending family’s children are all diagnosed with diphtheria.

December 17

  • ANSONIA – Work begins on re-planking the covered portion of the Bridge Street Bridge. The gas lamps and arc light are also replaced – they were broken by vandals’ stones, and the bridge was in total darkness at night.

December 18

  • A morning snowstorm blankets the area.
  • Today is the last day of school before Christmas. Most hold Christmas programs.
  • SEYMOUR & SHELTON – Seymour is nearly snowbound because the trolley power station in Shelton broke down. The large trolleys which service Seymour don’t have enough power to reach it. 

December 19

  • Sleighs have begun to appear in the Valley since the snowstorm, some of which are rented from liverymen. The snow is wet, and packs well, making for ideal sleighing on the roads. Sleds can be seen everywhere coasting on the hills. 
  • SEYMOUR – The Town may soon have its own telephone exchange.
  • SEYMOUR & SHELTON – The Shelton trolley power station has been temporarily fixed, restoring Seymour’s links with the outside world.
  • SHELTON – The R.N. Bassett plant on Bridge Street has practically doubled its efficiency and will soon be running 24 hours a day.

December 20

  • Coasting on the hills is still a popular sport among young and old alike.
  • ANSONIA – A small fire which breaks out at 33 Fourth Street, on the corner of Main Street, causes little damage but the Santa Claus suit that upper Ansonia used is destroyed.

Monday, December 21

  • SHELTON – 90 school boys have been formed into a military-style company, called Co. B of the Boys’ Escort Guards.
  • SHELTON – The first coasting accident of the season occurs on Elm Street when two double-rippers collide. A Howe Avenue girl suffers a deep cut on her right leg below the knee, but is otherwise alright.

December 22

  • DERBY – An Orchard Street home has been quarantined, after three children there are diagnosed with diphtheria.
  • SEYMOUR – Residents overwhelmingly turn down the proposal to form Seymour into a Borough at a Special Town Meeting by a vote of 161-9.
  • SEYMOUR – Farmers from Bungay and other places are making a fair profit in the sale of Christmas trees and greens.
  • SHELTON – Three young men have been decorating the Tenderloin on its own for Christmas.

December 23

  • ANSONIA – A large 100′ long storage barn used for a trucking and livery business on Central Street burns in spectacular fire. Much valuable property is destroyed, including 5 pianos, 2 sprinkling carts, mowing machines, wagons, other vehicles and stable supplies.
  • OXFORD – “Very many took advantage of the light sleighing on Sunday. A few more inches of snow is needed on the icy foundation to make fine slipping. It does not look now as if we are to get a green Christmas”.

December 24

  • ANSONIA – The Sunshine Club hosts a Christmas party at the Ansonia Opera House, for 700 needy Ansonia, Derby, and Shelton children. Santa Claus visits and hands out gifts.

 December 25

  • Christmas – merchants reported a good season, a signal that the hard times are over. More Christmas trees were reported sold this year than ever before, which is partly attributed to the rising number of German, Polish, and Russian immigrants who brought the tradition from their home countries. Many graves were decorated with flowers. Most spent the day at home or visiting, the saloons were quiet.

Monday, December 28

  • ANSONIA – A large crack is discovered in the stone abutment which joins the iron and wood portions of Bridge Street Bridge. The crack was discovered by Mayor Charters and Building Inspector Dwyer, both of whom were assisting in the repairs of the bridge. There are fears that it may be serious.
  • DERBY – A fire breaks out in the dry goods and clothing store of Abraham Cohen on 176 Main Street. Much of the stock is destroyed. The fire started when a store employee lit a gas light, which ignited crepe paper that was being used for Christmas decorations throughout the store. The fire ran like powder among the paper, dropping flaming material throughout the store and causing forcing customers to flee.

December 29

  • ANSONIA – Five cases of scarlet fever and 3 cases of diphtheria have broken out in Upper Ansonia this month. An 11 year old Star Street girl dies of scarlet fever at the end of the week.
  • ANSONIA – A new Ansonia Derby Ice Company ice house is nearing completion on Beaver Street. One of the largest in the state, it will hold enough ice to supply the City for months.

December 30

  • ANSONIA – Ansonia’s Grand List has passed the $10 million mark for the first time.
  • OXFORD – “The weather conditions are simply marvelous for this season of the year, not warm enough to be oppressive, there is an enticing brightness about the air and sunshine that tempts one to outdoor life and the enjoyment of the season’s pleasures”.
  • SHELTON – The auditorium of the Methodist Episcopal Church has been wired for 6 electric lights.

December 31

  • Many churches hold watch night services, while others attend parties and dances. The cities turn noisy at midnight.
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