August 14- December 31, 1930

August 14, 1930

  • ANSONIA – Ansonia High School expects over 160 seniors in the Class of 1931, the most ever. The Class of 1930 only had 90. Total enrollment for the 1930-1931 academic year is over 600.
  • DERBY – The Derby Civic Committee of the Woman’s Club has secured promises of all local landowners on the newly reconstructed River Road (today’s Roosevelt Drive), which opened for the first time earlier this month, that no billboards will be posted along the route. “Now that the new road has been finished, the traffic has increased, and the billboard monster has begun to rear its head – much to the distress of public spirited citizens who want to see the beauty of the place – the tree lined river on one hand, the rolling hillside on the other – without having to see, among lurid clashes of color and grotesque imagery – advice on what cigarettes to smoke, what gasoline to buy, or what brand of soda pop to patronize”.

August 15

  • SHELTON – City’s last blacksmith shop, on the northwest corner of Coram Avenue and Bridge Street, will be replaced by a gas station. “The only horses being used now are in the country, but they are few in number. The only business concern in the city that uses horse drawn vehicles is the bakery of B. H. Wetherby on Howe Avenue”.

August 16

  • ANSONIA – The Hollywood Inn on Wakelee Avenue near the Seymour line, which has been closed for a year, will reopen under new ownership.
  • ANSONIA – The Ansonia Manufacturing Company announces a 10% wage reduction for all employees due to business slowdowns associated with what we now call the Great Depression.

August 18

  • OXFORD – Town residents are complaining that roadside billboards are destroying the natural beauty of the landscape.
  • DERBY – The Harris Seybold Potter Company on Housatonic Avenue announces it will shut down in 2 weeks, a victim of the Great Depression.

Thursday, August 21, 1930

  • Editorial in the Sentinel called “Trolleys Still Useful”, stating that they are still the preferred transportation mode for many people and despite predictions to the contrary the Connecticut Company (the trolley operating company) seems to be doing better after making some changes earlier in the month. These changes included eliminating conductors on intercity routes, and reducing the number of trolleys on the belt line from 6 to 4. Eight employees were laid off. 

August 25

  • SHELTON – OK Tool Company lays off 1/3 of its employees and places the rest on a 3-day workweek. This tool-making firm was one of the few in the area that had been running at full capacity since the Great Depression started. Company officials state that the move was due to a “seasonal depression” rather than an economic depression, and expect that things will return to normal once the “dull season” is over.

August 26

  • ANSONIA – Mrs. Nelson Wentworth of Vose Street will be sailing for France within a week, along with over 240 other Gold Star mothers from New England. She will visit her son’s grave at the U.S. military cemetery at Oise-Aisne, for the first time since Sgt. Leslie Wentworth was killed in World War I on July 21, 1918. She will also visit the grave of Pvt. Michael Comcowich, for whom the Ansonia Veterans of Foreign War Post is named, and lay a wreath on their behalf. Pvt. Comcowich was killed three days before Sgt. Wentworth.
  • SEYMOUR – A new radio and electrical store will open in the Harris Block at 105 Main Street, called Seymour Electrical.
  • OXFORD – Elderberries and wild cherries are plentiful. Local tonic makers are looking forward to using the to make “very potent beverages that can be used for social or medicinal purposes”. 

August 27

  • ANSONIA – Fedory Hall, which 40 years ago was a leading meeting place for local German societies, with a hall in the back of the building and a saloon in front. The saloon closed when Prohibition started in 1919. The building at 7 High Street  has been purchased by Stanley Sidor, who completely renovated it. Now to be known as Sidor Hall, it is an ice cream parlor with a soda fountain, and a dancing floor. 

  Thursday August 28, 1930 (In the days of the Great Depression and Prohibition)

  • ANSONIA – A fire guts a 5-bay garage on Clifton Avenue just before midnight. Firefighters push several cars to safety. Unfortunately, Mayor Michael Cook’s Nash sedan was being repaired within the garage, and had its tires removed so it burned up inside the garage.

August 29

  • SEYMOUR – Enrollment at Seymour High School for the 1930-1931 academic year is expected to surpass 300 for the first time.
  • ANSONIA – A 9 PM police raid on a Liberty Street speakeasy results in one arrest.

August 30

  • ANSONIA – A follow-up police raid on another Liberty Street address at 3 AM nets 11 gallons of moonshine, 12 gallons of mash, and “a good sized still”. No one was present, so no arrests made. The North Main Street owner of the still is arrested September 3.
  • ANSONIA – The City’s population in the 1930 US Census is 19,860. This is down from the 1929 estimate of 20,364. The Great Depression is cited as the reason.

August 31

  • ANSONIA Box shop of S. G. Redshaw on Canal Street swept by fire, which is blamed on boys. Although the shop plans to rebuild, 15 are now out of work.


September 2

  • DERBY – The Hotchkiss Hose Company #1 forms a Ladies Auxiliary for its fire company.

September 3

  • ANSONIA – Greek-American Political Club organized at the Greek Orthodox Church on Hubbell Avenue. About 60 attend. “The club is a non partisan one, the purpose being to acquaint Greek-American citizens with the principals of the various political parties and the privileges and duties of citizens in the use of the ballot”.
  • SHELTON – Federal Agents raid two Bridge Street addresses, and make two arrests for storage of illegal liquor.

Friday, September 5, 1930

  • DERBY – The Board of Aldermen is studying a proposal to allow vaudeville shows at Sterling Opera House. They agree to do it on September 9, contracting with a former manager of Derby’s Commodore Hull Theater for $150 a week for three nights.

September 6

  • DERBY – The Harris Seybold Potter Company on Housatonic Avenue closes down – a victim of the Great Depression. The firm began business as a machine shop in old Birmingham in 1868. After obtaining a patent to make printing presses, it became the Whitlock Machine Company in 1887, moving to Shelton the following year. It returned to Derby in 1927, occupying the old Maxim munitions plant, and changing its name several times before ceasing operations.
  • SEYMOUR – It is noted that more boys are attending high school, due to the lack of factory jobs caused by the Great Depression.

September 9

  • SHELTON – There are 2,464 children attending school this year, a decrease of 34 from last year. This figure includes 298 at St. Joseph’s School and 420 in Shelton High.

September 10

  • ANSONIA – There are 231 students attending Pine Manual Training High School this year, leading to concerns of overcrowding. Last year only 183 attended. Meanwhile, the City’s School Nurse notes many elementary school children are in need of shoes and clothing, and appeals to the public for donations.

Thursday, September 11, 1930 

  • DERBY – Many in town are pleased that the Sterling Opera House will reopen for vaudeville shows three days a week.

September 12

  • SEYMOUR – Large attendance at the American Legion country fair, which is being held in a lot between Main Street and First Street.
  • ANSONIA – Attendance to Ansonia baseball games over the summer is termed “a flop”. Football coaches are worried of the phenomenon spreading into the fall.
  • ANSONIA – Police raid two houses on Liberty Streets. 3 illegal liquor stills are discovered. 2 arrested.
  • SHELTON – Shelton Rural Road Improvement Association founded at Huntington School, designed to improve dirt roads. This is part of a statewide network whose slogan is “Get Connecticut out of the mud”.

September 13

  • ANSONIA – A new mini-golf course will open on the Shay property on Maple Street. A building on the property that was recently removed had served as a livery for more than 50 years.

September 15

  • ANSONIA – The High School is abandoning double sessions in favor of a staggered schedule, due to overcrowding.
  • ANSONIA – Fire causes $2000 to a Liberty Street building.
  • DERBY – Bricklaying is  beginning on the new Derby Gas & Electric building on Elizabeth Street. The four-story structure has been dubbed “Derby’s Skyscraper” by the Evening Sentinel, at a time when the Empire State Building is under construction.

Thursday, September 18, 1930 (In the days of the Great Depression and Prohibition)

  • Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, is visible in the early night sky over the Valley. It is noted that they are more brilliant than usual this year.
  • DERBY – Postal Officials are searching for a site for the new Post Office. They appear interested in Pinney’s Lot, on the corner of Elizabeth Street and Fourth Street.

September 19

  • DERBY – Annual services honoring Derby’s pioneers held in the Colonial Cemetery.

September 20

  • DERBY – Sterling Opera House preparing for its grand reopening as a vaudeville theater one week from today.

September 22

  • ANSONIA – Acting on a tip, city police raid two houses related to the illegal liquor trade, one on White Place, and the other on North Main. They find a large, 50 gallon still, complete with connections to the city’s water and sewage systems, and 400 gallons of illegal alcohol. Two are arrested.

September 23

  • SEYMOUR – Federal Agents raid a deserted 4½ story building on 680 South Main Street. Find three 500-gallon vats, a 750-gallon still, and over 1000 gallons of alcohol. The raid is described as “huge”.
  • SHELTON – Stephen Honas, a disabled World War I veteran and member of the famous Lost Battalion, is the guest speaker of the Kiwanis Club at the Shelton Congregational Church.

September 24

  • ANSONIA – A police car carrying a sergeant and two officers spots a burglary in progress at 3 Columbia Street. A wild car chase to Orange ensues. After ignoring warning shots, an officer shoots the spare tire on the getaway car, prompting the burglars to stop near the Racebrook Country Club. Three young men from New Haven arrested.
  • DERBY –  The city is doing its best to hire unemployed men for the street department. However, with so many out of work the extra employees are now down to only two days a week.
  • SHELTON – It is rumored that Newark Rivet Company, which occupies the Bassett Building on Bridge Street, will close October 1. On the positive side, the Sidney Blumenthal Company announces it will rehire most of its previously laid off night shift due to an upsurge in orders.

Thursday, September 25, 1930

  • DERBY – The Neponset, America’s first and as of this time only privately owned airship, lands in Derby at Villinger’s Field on Sentinel Hill for one day. The blimp arrives with much fanfare, and a great crowd witnesses its arrival. A portable tower to moor the new airship was set up prior to its arrival. The promise of a day of rides fell short, however, when one of the propellers flies off the blimp, landing harmlessly in the field. This forced the Neponset to depart early to New Bedford for repairs. Its crew remarked that Villinger Field is “one of the best in the State” for mooring airships.

September 26

  • The temperature reaches 92 degrees in the shade.
  • SEYMOUR – Last member of the Upson Post GAR, Noah Jay “Bernie” Weldon of Oxford Road, Seymour, dies. The GAR, or “Grand Army of the Republic”, was a fraternal group composed exclusively of Civil War veterans. Unlike the later American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars, the GAR never admitted members from other wars, and thus died out with its members.
  • DERBY – The new Derby Gas & Electric Company Building continues construction on Elizabeth Street. Those who are able to visit its top floors are impressed with the view. At 100’ tall, “Derby’s skyscraper” is the tallest building in the Valley.
  • SHELTON – The Shelton Theater on Howe Avenue is negotiating with Paramount to show first run motion pictures from the film company.
  • OXFORD – A new gasoline service station is opening on the corner of Great Hill and Oxford Roads.

September 27

  • The Commodore Hull Theater on Elizabeth Street, Derby, and the Capitol Theater on Main Street, Ansonia, are contracted to show Warner Brothers’ first run films. With a new Hollywood merger, they will now also be featuring first run Fox Film Corps movies.
  • DERBY – The Sterling Opera House reopens as a vaudeville theater. Its first main feature, running from this date to October 2, is Siamese twins Simpliclo and Lucio Godino, 22. Filipino by birth, they are on their first tour of America. Meanwhile, failure of Opera House management and the Stageworkers’ union to agree upon number of men employed during vaudeville shows leads to picketing in front of the theater.

September 28

  • SHELTON – The High School football team defeats the New Haven Commercial High School in the season opener 7-0.

September 29

  • OXFORD – The last member of the area’s Upson Post GAR, Mr. Noah Jay Weldon, is buried in Oxford.


Thursday, October 2, 1930

  • SEYMOUR – The Navy dirigible USS Los Angeles passes over Seymour at 9 PM. The Sentinel reports “The heavy drone of its motors and the beautiful colored lights, made a picture that to many who saw it was indescribable”. The telephone switchboard sees a spike in calls.

October 3

  • High School football – Ansonia ties Hillhouse in New Haven 6-6. Derby defeats Stratford 33-0.

October 4 

  • By this time a serious drought is plaguing the area.
  • SHELTON – The Huntington Fire Company saves a house from burning down on Huntington Street. 
  • SHELTON – The High School football team battles Lyman Hall of Wallingford to a scoreless tie.

October 5

  • SHELTON – The Huntington Fire Company responds to Monroe, to help stop a fire that destroyed 2 large barns.

October 6

  • DERBY – A roller skating rink, 60’x40′, opens in the basement of the Woolworth Building on Main Street.
  • SEYMOUR – A mini golf course opens in the Garden City section of town.

October 7

  • SHELTON – A large barn catches fire in White Hills. Although the tired firemen from the Huntington Fire Company arrive quickly, they pump the only well nearby dry of water in only 6 minutes, thanks to the drought. The barn burns to the ground.

October 8

  • OXFORD – Wells are running dry all over town, thanks to the drought.

Thursday, October 9, 1930

  • ANSONIA – The new Anderson Hardware Store opens its doors on 289 Main Street. It is a Sherwin-Williams supplier.
  • SEYMOUR – A new bowling alley opens in the Seymour Club. Bowling alleys now exist in Seymour, Ansonia, Derby, and Shelton.

October 11

  • High School football – Derby High School shuts out Seymour High School 26-0.

October 13

  • SEYMOUR – The Stand Theater has been equipped with new RCA equipment so it can show movies with sound.

October 14

  • The ongoing drought is getting worse, with no end in sight. The State asks residents to stay out of woodlands due to the fire danger. 
  • ANSONIA – Many brush fires. Despite the drought, the Ansonia Water Company reports that their reservoirs are not in danger of running dry anytime soon.
  • DERBY – A spectacular fire destroys a barn on Caroline Street. Many are attracted by the blaze, though it does not spread to nearby houses.
  • SHELTON – Many brush fires in Huntington.

October 15

  • The heaviest rain since August falls, though it does little to alleviate the drought.
  • SHELTON – The Shelton Theater will show first-run Paramount movies.

Thursday, October 16, 1930

  • SEYMOUR – There are a growing number of complaints about children congregating around Center School at night, being loud and causing trouble.

October 17

  • DERBY – The Derby High School football team defeats South Norwalk High School 27-0.
  • SHELTON – A new 2-story, 2 ward infirmary building is completed at the State Tuberculosis Sanatorium, later known as Laurel Heights Hospital. Like the rest of Laurel Heights, this building has long since been torn down.

October 18

  • The Ansonia High School football team defeats Shelton High School 12-0.
  • SEYMOUR – A new 18-hole mini-golf course opens on South Main Street.

October 20

  • DERBY – Dennis H. Kelley, Derby’s oldest plumber and contractor, dies at the age of 75 at his Atwater Avenue home.

October 22

  • SHELTON – State police confiscate a still and 15 gallons of illegal alcohol at a raid at a Montgomery Street home. The homeowner is arrested.

Friday, October 24, 1930

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia defeats Commercial High School of New Haven 12-0. Derby battles Milford to a scoreless tie. Shelton defeats Stratford 27-0.

October 29

  • DERBY – A substitute mail carrier is arrested after being accused of rifling through first class mail.

Thursday, October 30, 1930

  • DERBY – A large number of citizens and schoolchildren dedicate a plaque on Derby Green, donated by Derby-Shelton Rotary. The plaque denotes a Charter Oak tree, a descendant of the historic one which stood in Hartford. Derby’s tree was originally planted on the Green in 1902.

October 31

  • HALLOWEEN – Overall things are quieter than they were in years past. There are still dances, and children running about in costume and even some “hooliganism”,, but not nearly as bad as it was 25 years ago. While there is some vandalism, generally residents don’t have to hold all night vigils to guard their property as they did 25 years before. The Sentinel goes as far as saying “Residents and police are beginning to believe that the younger generation is not nearly as bad as painted. In fact, they are ready to believe that they themselves as children were much worse than the “kiddies” of today.
  • DERBY – The Postal Telegraph Company closes its office at 182 Main Street, Derby, though its office on 16 Main Street, Ansonia, will remain open – due to the Great Depression. This leaves Western Union the only telegraph office in Derby.


November 1

  • SEYMOUR – 65 gallons of illegal moonshine poured into a cesspool near Seymour Town Hall. It was seized in a June raid.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia defeats Torrington 32-6, avenging a humiliating defeat Torrington inflicted upon Ansonia last fall. Shelton shuts out 
    Seymour 39-0.

November 3

  • SHELTON – There are some healthy chestnut tree spouts in White Hills, which are seen as a hopeful sign since most Connecticut chestnuts have been destroyed in a blight. 

Election Day, November 4

  • ANSONIA – Democrat Mayor Cook wins reelection over Republican challenger Peter Hart 3,343 – 3,213. Democrats also capture all city elected positions except for treasurer, and have a majority 9 Aldermen. The majority of the City also votes for Wilbur Cross, a Democrat, for Governor.
  • SEYMOUR – Perhaps because there were no elections of local interest, many do not vote. The majority of the town endorse Republican Earnest Rogers for Governor, who was defeated by Wilbur Cross.
  • DERBY – Democrats sweep every elected position. Mayor William Riordan wins reelection against Republican Archibald Duffield. The majority also endorse Wilbur Cross for Governor.
  • OXFORD – There are no local elected positions. Republicans win all state positions.
  • SHELTON – Mayor Dr. Francis I. Nettleton is defeated by his Democratic challenger, Frank V. Crofut, by a vote of 1805-1292. The Democrats also win 4 out of 6 Aldermanic seats, and Wilbur Cross wins the majority of votes for Governor. One of the only successful Republicans is the dynamic Mrs. Alice Russ, who wins two elections – one for 3rd Ward (Huntington) Alderman, and the other for State Representative.

Thursday, November 6, 1930

  • SHELTON – White Hills native Mrs. Cornelia L. Shelton dies at age 99 in Monroe. She was the daughter of Lucius V. Hubbell, a stone mason who built many landmarks in the Valley.

November 9

  • OXFORD – The town dedicates its World War honor roll on the green, with ceremonies, in front of about 500 people. Everyone who served in World War I is named, including the two residents that were killed.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia ties Harding High School of Bridgeport 13-13. Derby suffers its first loss of the season, 6-0, against Branford. Shelton High School is defeated by Central High of Bridgeport 14-0.

November 11

  • ARMISTICE DAY – Various towns celebrate the 12th anniversary of the end of the World War. All hold religious and civil observances, and flags line the streets. Bells, whistles, and fireworks go off in Seymour at 11 AM, the time the Armistice took effect, while in Derby 11 AM was marked by a minute of silence. Ansonia holds a veteran’s parade that evening, from the Armory to Central Street and back.
  • SHELTON – Frederick M. Hubbell, who was born January 17, 1839 in Huntington, dies at age 91 in Des Moines, Iowa. He went to Iowa in 1855, and became a financier. For 50 years he played a vital role in Iowa’s development, and built the first railroad into capitol, real estate firm. His father, Frederick Hubbell, was a mason, and he was first cousin to Cornelia Shelton, who died 5 days earlier.

November 12

  • SEYMOUR – Thomas P. Petrie, a Seymour native and 1915 graduate of the town’s high school, is named acting assistant dean of technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His parents continue to live on Bank Street.
  • OXFORD – The forest fire watchtower at Quaker Farms is closed for the season.

Thursday, November 13, 1930

  • DERBY – Mayor Riordan plans to appoint a General Relief Committee due to Derby’s “deplorable” unemployment condition.

November 14

  • DERBY & ANSONIA – The two cities’ high school football teams are scheduled to play on Saturday for the Morris Jarmak trophy, started last year by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association. The winner gets to keep the trophy for a year. The team that wins three games in the series gets to keep it permanently. Last year the game was a tie, so the trophy was possessed for 6 months by each high school.
  • SHELTON – Milford High School defeats the Shelton High School football team 14-0.

November 15

  • An ongoing drought has resulted in many wells going dry, especially in higher elevations throughout the Valley. However, rain begins falling today, and continues for several days.

November 17

  • By the end of the day, over 4″ of rain has fallen in three days, effectively ending the drought. The big Ansonia-Derby football game is postponed.

November 18

  • DERBY – Wallingford’s Lyman Hall beats Derby High’s football team 7-0.
  • SHELTON – The Rural Road Improvement Association meets at the Long Hill Avenue schoolhouse. The school has no electricity, so the candles and lanterns that are utilized in the evening meeting remind many “of days gone by”.

November 19

  • ANSONIA – Henry Spero announces he’s leaving the jewelry business to focus on real estate and insurance. He started his business in Derby in 1900, and moved to Ansonia’s Capitol Building when it was erected in 1920. He branched into real estate in 1921. His liquidation sale is announced with much fanfare.
  • OXFORD – The erection of Connecticut Light & Power Company utility poles in Quaker Farms announces electricity will soon be widely available there.

Saturday, November 22, 1930

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – The delayed big Ansonia-Derby football game is played at Buddies Field in front of 7,000 people. In a major upset, Derby wins possession of the Morris Jarmak trophy for one year, defeating Ansonia 6-0 in a hard fought game.

November 23

  • SEYMOUR – A crowded trolley, containing many people who were returning from church services in Ansonia, leaves the tracks on Main Street, and smashes into the glass window of Tomlinson’s drug store, raising havoc. One passenger injured.
  • ANSONIA – A horse perishes in a Howard Avenue barn fire.

November 24

  • DERBY – Turkeys 34 cents a pound at the A&P supermarket.

November 25

  • OXFORD – Landowners are complaining that pine, laurel, and other greens associated with Christmas are being taken from their property without permission.
  • DERBY – The Mayor’s Relief Committee holds its organizational meeting, designed to ease the suffering of the city’s unemployed.

November 26

  • ANSONIA – State and Ansonia police raid a North Spring Street residence, and find a 500 gallon still and 100 gallons of homemade whisky. 2 are arrested.

Thursday, November 27, 1930 THANKSGIVING DAY

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia and Naugatuck battle to a 0-0 tie in hard fought game. Incredibly, Derby and Shelton also wind up in a 0-0 tie in front of over 6000 at Athletic field in Shelton.

November 28

  • The area is in a cold snap. Temperatures are hovering about 10 degrees. The Naugatuck River is frozen from shore to shore at one of its widest points north of the Kinneytown Dam in Seymour.

November 29

  • SHELTON – House across from Riverside Cemetery on River Road completely destroyed by fire. The Fire Department could do little more than remove whatever furniture they could, as there were no hydrants in the area.


December 1

  • First snow flurries of the year fall in the early morning hours.
  • A terrible early morning explosion and fire in a hunters’ cabin on Larkin’s Pond in East Otis, Massachusetts, kills 4 people, including two Shelton men, one of whom, Thomas Hill, a state sanitary inspector, is the son of John Hill, of 300 Bridgeport Avenue. Mr. Hill was a well-known politician, current Fairfield County Commissioner and former speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives. The other Shelton victim is Daniel A. Reilly, who conducted a cigar store on 441 Howe Avenue. Six others are injured, including Edward Preston of Ansonia, who was secretary-treasurer of Hurlburt & Preston automobile dealers in Derby. The story makes the Associated Press, and is the leading front page story in the Evening Sentinel. Mr. Preston is in the hospital, though his injuries are not considered serious. All are well known, and the community is stunned by the tragedy.
  • ANSONIA – Mrs. Mary Burleigh dies at he home on 570 Main Street at the age of 90. Born in Ireland, she had lived in Ansonia for 75 years. She was considered one of the city’s “pioneer businesswomen”. For many years, she ran a grocery and meat market on lower Main Street. She was highly regarded for her business sense, and well known in the neighborhood for her kindness, generosity and compassion.

December 3

  • ANSONIA – Appearing before the Rotary, Mayor Cook describes the unemployment situation in Ansonia. Says $5,500 has been put aside for projects that can employ men who lost their jobs to the Great Depression. To date, $3,800 has been spent on installing sewers at Clark Street, Addison Street, and Park Place, providing 18,000 work hours. The City will probably try to get a $50,000 bond to keep the program going.
  • SHELTON – Meanwhile, Superintendent of Schools presented another side of the Great Depression’s effects to the Board of Education. An increasing number of students are coming to school hungry, because their parents are out of work. Worst hit is Ferry School on Howe Avenue, where a student has already fainted from the effects of malnourishment.

Thursday, December 4, 1930

  • SHELTON – Many Valley residents attend the two back-to-back funerals for the two young men who were killed in Massachusetts hunting lodge explosion three days before at St. Joseph’s Church.

December 6

  • DERBY – Santa Claus makes his spectacular arrival at Howard & Barber’s locally famous “Toyland” section.
  • ANSONIA – The first train carload full of Christmas tress arrives. They will be distributed to local merchants.
  • ANSONIA – The Fulton Market, a local grocery store chain, opens in the Olderman Building on 252 Main Street.
  • SEYMOUR – Santa Claus makes his first appearance in Seymour, at the toy department of Isaacson’s store.

December 7

  • ANSONIA – Oswald Ullrich, retired, Ansonia cigar manufacturer, dies at age 74. A German immigrant, he began his business on Maple Street in 1883, and spent 41 years ending in 1926 at 64 Main Street. 

December 8

  • ANSONIA – Silas “Tie” Huggins, a well liked 10 year old boy who used to tap dance in restaurants and stores in Ansonia for pennies and nickels, has moved to Harlem, New York City, with his mother. There he will be paid $50 a week to tap dance at the Lafayette Theater – a prominent African-American establishment in Harlem.
  • ANSONIA – Mayor Cook announces a $50 reward for information on 2 false alarms that woke everybody up at 3 AM and 4 AM the morning before, which was a Sunday.
  • SHELTON – 50 citizens petition the Board of Aldermen to install fire hydrants along River Road, to avoid a recurrence of the house destroyed by fire for lack of water on November 29.

December 9

  • SHELTON – Chief Petty Officer Harold June is the guest of honor at Derby-Shelton YMCA father-son dinner at the Methodist Church on Coram Avenue. He was radio operator and relief pilot for Admiral Byrd’s recent expedition to Antarctica.

Saturday, December 13, 1930

  • ANSONIA – The High School is organizing a school band.
  • DERBY & SHELTON – The Navy reports the bronze tablet honoring Commodore Hull given by the Derby-Shelton Board of Trade has been placed on the USS Constitution‘s mizzen mast. The new plaque on Old Ironsides will be dedicated at a later date in Boston.
  • DERBY – Howard & Barber department store on Main Street is broken into late in the night. After unsuccessfully trying to drill through the safe, the crooks take about $2,000 in merchandise.
  • SHELTON – 15 freight cars derail on the flats near the Camp Irving Boy Scout Camp, known today as Birchbank, and rip up 1550 feet of track.
  • SHELTON – In the wake of last month’s election, some interesting facts come to light. John Donovan will be Shelton’s first Democrat Tax Collector since James Henry Beard in 1883. Thomas Griffin will be the first Democrat Town Clerk since Horace Wheeler in 1879.

December 14

  • ANSONIA – A smoky fire in a 10 family tenement on 57 Front Street is contained. Three small children are saved by Carlo Montefusco of Powe Street, who in the process is overcome by smoke, but recovers after spending the night at Griffin Hospital.
  • DERBY – A 14 year old boy saves his 3 year old brother from a burning shed behind their 37 Prospect Street home. Both were burned, but alive.

December 15

  • SEYMOUR – A 9′ high star with 52 electric lights is placed on the hose tower of Citizen’s Engine Company No. 2. It can be seen from most parts of town. Last year the tower sported a fully decorated Christmas tree.

December 16

  • SEYMOUR – Several days of very cold weather brings the first skating of the year to Paper Mill Pond.
  • DERBY – Commodore Hull Theater hosts two benefit movie shows to raise funds for the needy.

December 17

  • ANSONIA – Many merchants are offering Christmas trees, which are plentiful this year.
  • ANSONIA – Ansonia Water Company offering a limited amount of free wood to unemployed men who are willing to cut it down themselves on their reservoir properties. 

Thursday, December 18, 1930

  • Weather reaches 60 in places. Shoppers flood downtowns in droves.
  • DERBY – Derby’s relief registration office, organized to assist those unemployed by the Depression, opens.
  • DERBY – The police have a mystery on their hands. They have ordered a statewide search of the cashier of the Derby freight station, who has been missing for more than 24 hours. What is puzzling is all of his accounts are checked, and it does not appear that he has absconded with any money that did not belong to him. As of the holidays, he is still missing.
  • SHELTON – Shelton has its first benefit show of the Great Depression, to raise funds for unemployed, at Clark’s Hall on Howe Avenue. A total of $100 in cash is raised, along with $75 in goods.

December 19

  • ANSONIA – A police officer officer steps onto Bridge Street to halt a car for a traffic violation. He is struck and thrown into the air, breaking a leg and sustaining other injuries. The car speeds off.
  • SEYMOUR – Crowds of ice skaters each night at Paper Mill Pond, as well as Hoadley’s Pond.

December 20

  • ANSONIA – In the wake of the previous day’s hit and run involving one of their own, the Ansonia Police Department mobilizes, scouring the town, looking for cars with dented fenders. When a driver acts nervous under questioning in front of Gans’ Hardware on Smith Street, he’s taken to the Police Station where he confesses. He is arrested and jailed. The newspaper states he claimed he was frightened when he drove off, and was very relieved when he finally told the police the truth.
  • ANSONIA – Over 1000 people attend a midnight benefit show for the needy at the Capitol Theater. The show includes musicians, performers, and a movie. More than $500 is raised to prepare Christmas baskets of food for needy. The Ansonia Police Department is compiling a list of needy families that will need the baskets.
  • OXFORD – A roadhouse store along the Housatonic on River Road is raided by State Police. The owner arrested after 300 bottles of alcohol found.

December 21

  • DERBY – The Congregation of the Sons of Israel Synagogue on Anson Street is completely destroyed with all its contents by Derby’s worst fire in almost a year. Served Derby and Shelton. Founded in 1905, it was the first synagogue in the Valley. The building was completed in 1918. A children’s Hanukah program had been going on that evening when the power went out. After the power would not come back on, even after fuses were replaced, the decision was made to end the program, as it was nearly over anyhow, and call an electrician in the morning. The main power switch and furnace were turned off. Within an hour and a half of the Congregation leaving, the building was in flames, and most of the items inside, including the Torah, was destroyed.

December 22

  • ANSONIA – Fire in an empty 3 story tenement at end of Front Street.

December 23

  • The first snowfall of the season brings 4-5″ between midnight and noon. The last time the first snowfall was this late was 1901.
  • ANSONIA – Acting on behalf of relief agencies, the Ansonia Police Department distributes 60 tons of coal, $300 worth of children’s shoes, and 200 food baskets to the needy for two nights, starting tonight. In addition, the Mayor’s Committee of relief, assisted by the Boy Scouts, distributes another 110 baskets.
  • SEYMOUR – House burns to the ground on Mountain Road near Seymour-Oxford line.
  • SHELTON – Electricity reaches the Wells Hollow section of Huntington for the first time.
  • SHELTON – Fire destroys a 14 room home on Isinglass Road near the Trumbull line.

December 24

  • “Enormous” amount of last minute shopping in the downtowns. 
  • DERBY – The city distributes 100 gift baskets. The Daughters of Dante and the Red Cross distribute even more. John H. Collins post of the American Legion, has passed out 60 gift baskets.
  • DERBY – Over 100 brave cold temperatures to hear carols sung on Derby Green.
  • DERBY – The site the new Derby Post Office, which has been a cause of much speculation, is now rumored to be Olivia Street, at the western termination of Fourth Street.
  • ANSONIA – Many last minute gifts to the needy are distributed. Derby Gas & Electric Company donates 2 barrels of small toys. The Sons of Italy, Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, and the Webster Hose Company, are all distributing various gift items to the needy.
  • ANSONIA – Santa Claus meets 1,500 children at the Capitol Theater’s Christmas party.
  • SEYMOUR –  57 gift baskets have been distributed. The Sentinel says Seymour has not been as hard hit by the Depression as many other areas.
  • SHELTON – “Hundreds” of food baskets have been given to the needy by various organizations.

Thursday, December 25, 1930, Christmas Day

  • Christmas is quietly observed throughout the Valley area, without major incident.

December 27

  • A morning rain and hailstorm bring slippery conditions throughout the region.

December 28

  • ANSONIA – Today is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Capitol Theater on Main Street. Back then, vaudeville was still popular, though it is virtually non existent in 1930. People prefer to watch movies at the Capitol instead.
  • ANSONIA – The Isttrutivo Italo-Americano Abruzzese Club forms with 61 members
  • SHELTON – Following traditional practice, the sacred scrolls and holy books destroyed or damaged in Sons of Israel Synagogue fire on Derby’s Anson Street on December 21 are placed into a grave at an impressive, emotional ceremony.
  • SEYMOUR – State police raid a Hillside Avenue building, where they find a large 500 gallon still along with 55 gallons of alcohol. Two Ansonia men arrested. This is the same building where another still was found over summer by a census taker.

December 30

  • DERBY – Miss Dorothy Gordon, internationally known singer of children’s songs and author of two books of children’s songs, appears before 400 children at the Sterling Opera House for an hour, during the Women’s Club meeting. Mrs. Frances Osborne Kellogg is the club’s president.
  • DERBY – The Street Commissioner reports that 54 men used in the previous week for snow removal. This is part of the City’s efforts to find work for unemployed factory workers.
  • SHELTON – An 8-year old boy suffers a scalp laceration after being hit by a car while sleighing down Kneen Street hill.
  • December 31
  • SEYMOUR – Sleighing popular with both children and adults this year. It is noted that sleighing parties are wisely going to the country hills instead of sliding down city streets nowadays.
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