Sunday, January 1, 1956

  • DERBY – Six babies are born on New Year’s Day at Griffin Hospital. The first was to a Derby couple, at 10:17 AM.
  • ANSONIA – Sadly, the New Year begins with a murder at 9:25 AM, when a 38 year old man kills his 36 year old roommate after a bad word is said following an all night drinking party with friends. The murderer is almost immediately arrested.
  • SEYMOUR – Things start of pretty violently in this town, too, after a car crashes into the side of the Germania House hotel. The car contains a Second Street man who was stabbed. Although he is in critical condition, he is eventually released from Griffin Hospital on January 11, having never revealed who attacked him.
  • SEYMOUR – The new organ at the First Congregational Church plays for the first time during Sunday service. The old one was destroyed in the August flood.
  • SHELTON – A nighttime blaze destroys a 3rd floor apartment on River Road.

January 2

  • SHELTON – A 14 year old Derby boy is badly burned in a freak accident, when flames shoot up through a manhole cover on Bridge Street between the two bridges. Apparently leaking gas ignited just has he was passing by.

January 4

  • SEYMOUR – The Army Corps of Engineers approves the replacement of the Broad Street Bridge, and the complete removal of the island in the middle of it. The island is a choke point for flood waters.

January 5

  • The Naugatuck Valley Flood Control Committee has its first meeting at the Naugatuck YMCA. One of its first recommendations is to have a regional flood control system in place by March.
  • ANSONIA – A conceptual drawing of a new five-store building that will be built on the northwest corner of East Main and Bridge Street appears in the Sentinel.
  • SHELTON – The Army Corps of Engineers inspects the Far Mill River above the Huntington Street bridge, and Burying Ground Brook from B. F. Goodrich to the mouth at the Housatonic River. Finds a significant silt situation at both caused by the previous year’s floods – thinks Burying Ground Brook will qualify for Federal assistance.
  • SHELTON – W. R. Todd resigns as Vice President and Treasurer of the B. F. Goodrich Sponge Rubber Products Division. Mr. Todd had been with the company since it was founded as the Sponge Rubber Products Company in 1923, and continued after it was acquired by B. F. Goodrich in 1954.

January 6

  • DERBY – Silt pushed down the rivers by the floods has formed a new island below O’Sullivan’s Island, that must be removed.
  • ANSONIA – The City has 3 Maple Street Bridge replacement proposals: 1) A long bridge with its east end on East Main Street, with stair access from Main Street only. Main and East Main Streets would be made one-way streets in opposite directions. 2) Demolish part of the Gardella Building that still stands on Main and Maple Streets for a new, wider four-lane bridge. 3) Build a new bridge of the same width, but with a sidewalk on only one side, providing better vehicular access. The Board of Public Works likes the second option, calling for a four-lane truss bridge with sidewalks on both sides. They also recommend widening Main Street three feet by removing part of the sidewalk, and eliminating a sharp bend in the river above the destroyed Maple Street Bridge. The Board also accepts a proposal for 272 new single homes with accompanying streets.
  • SEYMOUR – Dredging of silt from the river around Broad Street Bridge begins. Silt and debris are being deposited in the playground across from the Seymour Congregational Church.

Sunday, January 8, 1956

  • SEYMOUR – Kostas Klarides dies at 276 Bank Street. A Greek immigrant from Asia Minor, he is proprietor of Klarides Supermarket and Appliance Store, one of Seymour’s largest retail stores.
  • SHELTON – The police are called to transport an injured William Street woman from her home, but the police car can’t get up Wheeler St. hill due to freezing rain. Seven police officers and Good Samaritans carry her on a chair to the waiting police car on top of the hill. One supernumerary officer falls and injures his head. Both are treated at Griffin Hospital. 

January 9

  • DERBY – Birmingham National Bank announces it gave $344,441 to 45 customers for flood rehabilitation loans in 1955.
  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby forwards a petition from Westfield Avenue residents to the State Highway Commissioner. The petition demands that residents should not be cut off by the new Ansonia-Derby expressway (now Route 8) under construction. If this occurs, their only egress will be onto Division Street.
  • SHELTON – A 3-room trailer on George Street occupied by a female Shelton High student is destroyed by an accidental fire while she is in school.

January 10

  • ANSONIA – Residents interested in forming a new fire company in the rapidly growing Hilltop are meet at an Arbor Terrace home. This is the very first step in what will eventually evolve into today’s Hilltop Hose Company #5.
  • SHELTON – Smoky fire in the Tisi Building basement on Howe Avenue.

January 11

  • SEYMOUR – The State announces that the Broad Street Bridge is one of the first flood-damaged bridges it wishes to reconstruct.
  • DERBY – The Board of Aldermen Street Committee tells a developer that he will receive no more new permits until Sentinel Hill Road is restored. The road is extremely broken and rutted, barely passable, due to the laying of sewers to new housing developments.  

January 12

  • ANSONIA – The City asks the Army Corps of Engineers to extend its silt dredging of the Naugatuck River down to the Derby line at Division Street.
  • ANSONIA – The Mayor’s Flood Disaster Fund splits $17,382.64 among five institutions whose buildings were damaged by the floods. They are the Beth El synagogue, Holy Rosary Church, Star of Bethlehem Church, Clinton AME Zion Church, and the Salvation Army.
  • ANSONIA – Jack and Ann Henry, who operated well known Dutch Door Inn that was obliterated by the August Flood at 7 Broad Street in Seymour, open a new establishment called Marrone’s at 41-45 Bridge Street in this City.

January 13

  • ANSONIA – Friday the thirteenth proves unlucky for eleven who were arrested in coordinated raids at six addresses by the State and Ansonia Police Departments. The charges are for an illegal gambling racket.

January 14

  • DERBY – Sanford, Florida, selects a site for a new library and museum dedicated to its founder, Henry Shelton Sanford of Derby, in Fort Mellon Park.

Monday, January 16, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Education unanimously approves an Ansonia High School senior class request to wear maroon and white gowns instead of what was up to that time the traditional gray at their graduation.
  • SHELTON – A 36″ water main laid in 1916, that connects Means Brook reservoir with Trap Falls bursts at Huntington Street and Buddington Road, sending a geyser of water shooting 10 feet into the air. The water rushes down Buddington Street hill, flooding the area.
  • SHELTON – A fire guts a new 3-room house on Far Mill Road, critically injuring an 18-year old bride of three months. She’s rescued by her 20-year old husband. 

January 17

  • The season’s 3rd snowstorm blankets area with 3″ of moist snow.
  • In terms of per pupil spending, of the 169 towns in Connecticut, Derby ranks 36, Ansonia 43, Shelton 100, Oxford 124, with Seymour trailing at 162.
  • DERBY – Derby native Bob Skoronski, a Derby High School graduate whose parents still reside on Talmadge Street, co-captain of the University of Indiana football team, is picked up as a 5th round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers.
  • SEYMOUR – Second Selectmen Raymond Sponheimer resigns as town road foreman, a position he has held since 1921. He later cites lack of cooperation from the Seymour Police Department as his reason, a charge vehemently denied by Police Commissioner Charles F. Clark. The argument is played out for a couple days in the newspaper.

January 18

  • DERBY – The Sentinel has a nice picture of a double ripper sled loaded with 1 adult and many children about to go down Eighth Street hill. Like the other Valley towns at the time, Derby sponsors “supervised sledding” down certain hills. Mayor Dirienzo was one of the supervisors overseeing Eighth Street hill that day.
  • ANSONIA – The Army Corps of Engineers cautions that further dredging of the Naugatuck River beyond that already authorized in Ansonia will increase tidal effects along the river.

January 19

  • ANSONIA – The City is assured by the State Tax Commissioner that it will receive $48,469.47 reimbursement to cover losses to its Grand List in the 1955 Floods.
  • DERBY – Meeting in Derby, all Valley Civil Defense organizations arrange a mutual aid plan for floods and other future emergencies.
  • OXFORD – The Zoning Board bans trailer parks.

January 20

  • SEYMOUR – Fire damages recently renovated offices, which had  only been open one week, on the third floor of Kerite’s office building.

January 21

  • SEYMOUR – An Ansonia man is pinned by the head under his car when it overturned in a scary accident on South Main Street. He is saved when about 20 men stop and immediately push the car off him. Later in day he’s listed in fair condition at Griffin Hospital.
  • SEYMOUR – A two hour closed session between the Boards of Selectmen and Police Commissioners results in Second Selectman Raymond Sponheimer withdrawing charges of mismanagement in the Seymour Police Department. The police, in turn, admit error in not telling him of the condition of Maple Street. and Washington Avenue. The First Selectman announces that Mr. Sponheimer will not be rehired as the town’s road foreman, a position held since 1921 before resigning in protest earlier in the week, saying he was not fired since he quit.

Monday, January 23, 1956

  • SHELTON – A short circuit at Driscoll Wire Company on Canal Street causes several hundred dollars damage and idles the plant for day. The short travels to the Star Pin Company, where it causes minor damage there and halts productivity for an hour.

January 24

  • ANSONIA – 65.8% of Ansonia residents make over $4000, which much higher than the 51.1% national and 55.7% New England averages. Of these residents, 32.4% of them are making over $6000, which is quite well by 1956 standards.
  • ANSONIA – The Sentinel releases a “Flood Book”, which is full of pictures from the August and October 1955 floods. The books become a popular keepsake, many of them still retained to this day.
  • SHELTON – One of the lateral girders on the Viaduct Bridge, which crosses the canal on Bridge Street, is struck by a crane on a truck. The girder is ripped off on one side, causing it to lean into traffic. Traffic flow is now limited to one lane until the problem is fixed.

January 25

  • DERBY – The town will be reimbursed $3,847.99 for losses to its Grand List from the 1955 floods.

January 26

  • DERBY – A 24-hour ‘Round the Clock’ sale starts at the Derby Radio Centre on 298 Main Street. Incredible deals are announced periodically, such as a washing machine sold with a 1946 Ford thrown in for free. The Police Department is called to maintain order due to the large crowds.
  • SEYMOUR – The Wall Street Journal reports the Gruen Watch Company of Cincinnati is trying to acquire the Watermen Pen Company.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Aldermen votes to change the zoning on the 18 acre Petremont property on River Road from CB-3 to IB-1. This is to accommodate SO&C Division of United Shoe Machinery of Ansonia, who wants to build a plant there. It is unclear if the firm is completely relocating there, or simply adding another plant. The property was a partially worked, undeveloped gravel pit in 1956.

January 27

  • It is announced that despite 2 floods, Ansonia’s gross taxable retail sales went up 18.45% in 1955. Derby’s went up 14%, and Seymour is up 17.94%.
  • ANSONIA – Responding to repeated queries about SO&C’s future in Ansonia, after yesterday’s announcement a new plant will be built in Shelton, the firm’s manager denies the Flood of 1955 was the reason. He says the firm had been looking to expand its manufacturing plant for some time, and again says no decision has been made regarding the future of the Main Street Ansonia plant.
  • ANSONIA – The Main Package Store, on 576 Main Street, is robbed by three men at gunpoint. A total of $98 and 4 bottles of whisky are taken. An APB is put out – and Milford Police arrest the trio at a Post Road gas station. The suspects are brought back to Ansonia where the package store clerk identifies them.
  • SEYMOUR – The President of Watermen Pen Company in Seymour confirms that negotiations are underway to sell the firm to the Gruen Watch Company.
  • DERBY – The Naugatuck River used to have two long islands between Division Street and East Derby bridges, which formed two channels. The east channel mostly disappeared after 1955 floods, the water flowed swiftly into the west channel. Now the B. N. Beard Company, working on an Army Corps of Engineers contract, has built a causeway, diverting the river out of the west channel, and into the east channel, where it will stay permanently.

January 28

  • ANSONIA – The City’s Disaster Coordinator, Timothy Quinn, resigns. He states the physical and financial recovery of Ansonia is at the point that he feels such a post is no longer needed. Mr. Quinn was appointed to this special position right after the August flood last year.
  • SEYMOUR – It is announced neither the Army Corps of Engineers or the State of Connecticut plan to erect a temporary bridge or footbridge during the replacement of the Broad Street Bridge in Seymour.
  • DERBY – Over 350 attend 50th anniversary Hotchkiss Hose Company Ball at the Ansonia Armory.
  • SHELTON – Over 200 attend the Silver Anniversary banquet of the Kazimir Pulaski Club.
  • SHELTON – Over 600 attend the Huntington Fire Company annual ball at Huntington School.

Monday, January 30, 1956

  • DERBY – The pastor of the Derby Methodist Church sends a strongly worded letter protesting the upcoming rental of the New Irving School gymnasium to the Polish Falcons Ladies Auxiliary, on the grounds that alcohol will be served.
  • DERBY – The Utica Wire Corp. on Hawkins Street is warned by the city to reduce noise emissions, after numerous complaints from neighboring residents.

January 31

  • ANSONIA – The Chairman of the Ansonia Planning Commission says a specific plan for redeveloping the City is still about a year away. He also states the City still wants a new 4 lane Maple Street Bridge.


Wednesday, February 1, 1956

  • ANSONIA – 38 merchants are participating in the first Ansonia Dollar Days sale since the Flood.
  • ANSONIA – The Clinton AME Zion Church receives $1800 from the Connecticut Council of Churches, to help restore it from the devastating damage from 1955 floods. Repairs from the August flood were just about complete when the October flood did even worse damage. The church also lost substantial income when 28 of it’s families, a full 25% of its total members, lost their homes in the August flood, and were relocated to emergency housing in Bridgeport or New Haven.
  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby meets with the State Highway Department, regarding a proposed pedestrian tunnel under the new Route 8 expressway from West Street.
  • SEYMOUR – The Seymour Redevelopment Agency’s plans to redevelop the Derby Avenue and Second Street areas are approved at a special town meeting.
  • SHELTON – Mr. & Mrs. John Gill of Highland Avenue win $200 in the question portion on the CBS-TV program Love Story.

February 2

  • Local groundhogs do not see their shadow, on account of the gray skies caused by snow and rain.
  • ANSONIA – The American Brass Company will complete their new bridge over the Naugatuck River by the end of the month. The previous one was destroyed by the August flood. Although it is a private bridge, its completion will nonetheless alleviate congestion over the remaining Ansonia span at Bridge Street, because the ABC Bridge will open up the rear parking lot on The Flats behind the plant complex, which is now inaccessible. The new bridge will be longer and higher than the old one.
  • SEYMOUR – The local Sarah Ludlow Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, is asking for support in a petition to name the new Broad Street Bridge after Seymour’s founder, David Humphreys. In other news relating to the bridge, the Town’s Second Selectman says the State has now reversed itself, and will erect a temporary span while it is being replaced.
  • SHELTON – A car goes out of control on the Bridge Street viaduct bridge over the canal, tearing off 53′ of pipe railing. The sidewalk on that side is closed.

February 3

  • ANSONIA – Ground is broken for the new Smith Building, which will appear similar to the one across the street, on East Main and Bridge Streets.

February 4

  • ANSONIA – Brothers Charles and Donald Seccombe receive the Connecticut Life Saving award. During the height of the August flood, they guided four people across Main Street, in the swift, dangerous current, using a light rope.
  • DERBY – As of this time, a 30′ high dike, which is 50′ wide at its base, has been along the riverbank at the Center Drive-In on Division Street.
  • SEYMOUR – Workmen clearing flood debris on Broad Street find a bronze plaque that has been missing since the Seymour Library was destroyed in the August flood. The plaque honors the late C.B. Wooster and Charles H. Pine for establishing a fund to maintain the library. It is put in safekeeping.

Monday, February 6, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The new Ansonia Redevelopment Commission adopted bylaws, and processes applications to seek Federal funds to redevelop Broad Street and Canal Street from Bridge Street to White Place.
  • ANSONIA – Work begins on replacing the water main under the Naugatuck River, destroyed in 1955 Flood. Construction on the new Bailey Bridge progressing.
  • DERBY – The John H. Collins Post of the American Legion in votes to sever relations with the Connecticut Hurricanes. The Post had sponsored the Drum Corps since 1931, but now complains the Corps has become so large and powerful (as it remains today) that they can’t even make suggestions anymore.

February 7

  • ANSONIA & DERBY – Officials meet to discuss replacing the destroyed Division Street Bridge. They agree that they want a two-lane bridge (unlike the last one) with a sidewalk.
  • ANSONIA – Employment has not only bounded back to its pre-flood levels, but its the highest it has been since 1953.
  • ANSONIA – The newly organized Hilltop Hose Company #5 elects its first captain – William Bruns. 

February 9

  • ANSONIA – Open house at newly remodeled Lincoln School. The new addition has an auditorium, stage, and gymnasium. In both the new and old sections, classrooms have been painted bright colors, and have been equipped with green chalkboards to reduce eye strain, and, new lighting.
  • DERBY – The City’s Civil Defense director has purchased a used 1947 Chrysler ambulance, to be used by the auxiliary police in emergencies.

February 10

  • DERBY – Charles Cock, considered the oldest active merchant in state, dies at age 92. He and his brother moved their dry goods store from Trenton, NJ to Ansonia in 1890. After the store was destroyed by fire in 1901, George Barber, of the Howard & Barber department store in Derby, invited him to join the firm. He became an officer in the company in 1902, and continued until his death. He was also secretary of the Connecticut Retail Merchants Association since 1910. Derby businesses announce they will close February 13, the day of his funeral, out of respect for Mr. Cock.
  • ANSONIA – 1200 inspect the newly renovated Lincoln School.
  • SHELTON – The State announces Shelton will receive one of its ten new mobile emergency hospitals. The City accepts it, though it is not yet clear where it will be stored.

Monday, February 13, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The New Haven Railroad announces the passenger station destroyed in the August 1955 flood will not be rebuilt. It will be replaced by a platform instead. People are not happy with this news.
  • ANSONIA – The rebuilt American Brass Company Bridge opens to foot traffic for the first time since it was destroyed in the August 1955 flood.

February 14

  • ANSONIA – A wild car chase from Branford ends on Main Street. Six shots are fired, several of which hit the car, before it crashes into two telephone poles. The two juveniles in the car flee – one is chased down and captured on Main Street, while the other is apprehended later in the day in New Haven.

February 16

  • DERBY – The Mayor’s Disaster Relief Fund has collected $10,793.36 since the floods. $5,533.77 has been given to aid Derby flood victims. It is proposed to give $400 for the recently purchased Civil Defense ambulance, and the rest be put into an account to replace the Storm ambulance when needed.

February 17

  • SEYMOUR – Three room summer cottage on Roosevelt Drive gutted by fire.
  • SHELTON – Four room cottage burns to ground off River Road. The cottage is part of the Elim Park Summer Camp for Swedish children.
  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby vows he will try to get New Haven Railroad to build a new passenger station, rather then a platform.

February 18

  • ANSONIA – State Representatives Burkitt and Bergin ask for a public hearing on the proposed new railroad platform, saying they are opposed to Ansonia receiving a “fourth rate shed”.
  • DERBY – The Danbury Community Ambulance, returning from New Haven in a snowstorm, is involved in a minor accident with another vehicle on New Haven Avenue.
  • SHELTON – The police department holds its first variety show at the High School. Nearly one thousand people attend.

Sunday, February 19, 1956

  • ANSONIA – St. Joseph’s Church organizes a building fund for a new convent.

February 20

  • The 20th winter storm of the season dumps snow and sleet.
  • SHELTON – Dr. Edward Finn, who served as Shelton’s mayor in 1937 and 1938, and as the City’s Health Officer for many more years, dies. A star athlete in Shelton High School, he had practiced medicine in town since 1913.

February 21

  • ANSONIA – Incorporating lessons learned in the floods, Ansonia Red Cross decides to make dual key positions on both the east and west sides of town, in case the City gets split in half by a flooding Naugatuck River again.
  • SEYMOUR – The Pliskin Building on 47-49 Bank Street is damaged in serious fire. A package store, restaurant, and dry cleaners suffer big loss, while a meat market has less damage.

February 22

  • ANSONIA – 3 alarm fire at Mackowski Block and a 3 story house next door on Main Street near Colburn Street. The Mackowski block is a large, rambling building that has been added to several times, resulting in both a wood frame portion and a masonry portion. The frame portion is destroyed. 20 families flee, 5 families are homeless. The fire started when oil drums on the porches caught fire and explode, enveloping the stairwells in flames. Many are initially trapped on the upper floors. 9 children are tossed across an alley from the third floor to an adjoining building. One mother walks across narrow plank 3 stories above the alley. 3 more children are dropped from 2nd floor to people on the sidewalk below. Another is rescued by a ladder. The building eventually collapsed, but in all there was only 1 minor injury. Ice from fire hoses winds up everywhere. All Ansonia fire engines and firemen respond. Derby’s hook & ladder truck also responds, and Derby firemen later relieve exhausted Ansonia firemen as the hours go by.
  • SHELTON – An 18-year old high school boy, who was a varsity center on the basketball team, is accidentally shot by a friend. He is in critical condition.

February 23

  • DERBY – The Mayor’s Disaster Committee, formed after the August flood, makes final disbursements and disbands. $4000 goes to the Storm Ambulance replacement fund, $400 to Civil Defense to pay for its reserve ambulance, $709.59 to Paugassett hook & ladder for flood damage to its firehouse, and $150 to the Trabka brothers for damage to their boat while rescuing people in the lower Caroline Street area.
  • ANSONIA – Many attend the John C. Mead School open house. The wife of contractor who built the school in 1923 is present, and says her husband would have been pleased with the changes. Classrooms are painted bright, and there are new bathrooms, a teachers’ room, and an intercom system. The basement now a brightly painted assembly room.
  • ANSONIA – The south span of the Bailey Bridge is completed. Work has started on the north span, to make it a two-lane bridge.
  • SEYMOUR – The passenger station opens for the first time since the August flood, in anticipation of rail service starting on the 27th.

February 24

  • DERBY – James Donahue, 260 Hawthorne Street, dies at 79. He was appointed City Clerk by Mayor Alfred Howe in 1907, and served until his death. The mayor pays tribute to Mr. Donahue, while the City prepares for a special election to fill his position.
  • ANSONIA – Joseph Smith reveals the plans for new Smith Block on the northeast corner of Bridge Street and East Main Street have changed. The new building will now will have a 2nd floor with offices, and 5 stores on ground.
  • SEYMOUR – Dredging in the Broad Street area is 80% done, including elimination of the island in the Naugatuck River, and removing flood silt and debris.

February 25

  • DERBY – Today is 7th anniversary since the last fatal automobile accident in Derby. There have been only 2 deaths from that cause since 1944.

Sunday, February 26, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The State Police conclude the Mackowski Building fire investigation from four days before. Four boys between 8 and 12 saturated paper with oil from drums on the porch, and lit the paper on fire. The flames spread to the drums and porch. The boys tried to put the fire out with dirt, and when that failed they panicked. One boy actually became trapped while trying to notify upper story residents, and was among those rescued.

February 27

  • Passenger train service is restored to Derby, Ansonia, and Seymour for the first time since August 18, 1955.
  • ANSONIA – Ansonia residents now are paying the highest tax rate in City history. The rate is up 5 mills from last year to 37 mills. 
  • SEYMOUR – A $945,261 town budget is approved, which is a record. Taxes are raised 1 mill to 31 mills.
  • SHELTON – The police are investigating burglarizing and trashing of cottages at Mahoney’s Grove, above Birchbank along the Housatonic River.

February 28

  • Kornblut’s on 316 Main Street, Ansonia, and Reliable Department Store of 6 Elizabeth Street, Derby, now carry Walt Disney’s official Mouseketeer caps, for $1.00
  • DERBY – A car stolen in Ansonia spotted by a police car on New Haven Avenue, moving at a high rate of speed. The police car pursues, and nearly overtakes it, but the stolen car jumps across street and turns around near Mt. St. Peter’s Cemetery. After the car makes a quick turn onto Bank Street that the police car can’t make in time the car escapes. It is later found abandoned on Crescent Street. 

February 29

  • ANSONIA – Expressing anger over the City’s 37 mill tax rate, State Representative Garrett Burkitt accuses Ansonia’s administration of “gross incompetent mismanagement”.
  • SEYMOUR – The Gruen Watch Company of Cincinnati gets majority control of the Waterman Pen Company.
  • SHELTON – The police arrest 3 youths, ages 12 to 15, for burglarizing 12 cottages in Mahoney’s Grove above Birchbank. They recover a large cache of stolen goods, including small boats, guns, and fishing tackle. These boys are also accused of painting nearby railroad signal lights different colors, and one of them is further charged with vandalizing the Oates Brothers trucking terminal on Howe Avenue.


Thursday, March 1, 1956

  • DERBY – The Connecticut Hurricanes Drum & Bugle Corps is now 25 years old, and hold an open house.
  • DERBY – Local and State Police raid the Home Plate Tavern on Smith Street and arrest 7, and a Minerva Street market where one is arrested. A Caroline Street man is picked up at home. All face various gambling charges.
  • ANSONIA – The south span of the new Bailey Bridge is being lowered to the level of the northern span, which is already in place. Hopefully the work will be done by St. Patrick’s Day. The newly replaced American Brass Company bridge has lightened traffic over the crumbling Bridge Street Bridge (the only Ansonia span to survive the floods somewhat intact) to some extent.

March 2

  • SEYMOUR – 52 building permits issued in February, an all time high for the town. Includes 33 new single family houses off Bunting Road, and 14 in the area of Oriole Lane, Robin Road, and Skokorat Street.

March 3

  • ANSONIA & DERBY – Franklin Farrel 3rd, in his Annual Report to Farrel-Birmingham stockholders, states the company lost $1,750,000 in the 1955 floods – not counting lost of profits.

Monday, March 5, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Memorial Day Parade will have to be rerouted over the crumbling Bridge Street Bridge, because the Maple Street Bridge was destroyed in the August flood. The parade will assemble on State Street and end at Nolan Field.
  • SEYMOUR – Union Cemetery on Derby Avenue is being restored from the devastating damage from the August 1955 flood. Land that was washed away is being replaced. Monuments that were toppled have been placed on one side, and will be put back when the bulldozers are done.
  • SHELTON – The City is planning on splitting into Little Leagues, with the border at Bridgeport Avenue and Center Street. Each loop will have four teams – the North Loop will continue to play at Riverview Park, the South Loop will get a new Little League stadium at Lafayette Field.

March 6

  • ANSONIA – The first lightning storm of 1956 brings sizable hail. It is initially thought the hail broke windows at Bennett’s Service Station at 180 Wakelee Avenue, but it is later determined the window was actually broke by clever burglars taking advantage of the situation.
  • ANSONIA – The Copper City Lodge of the Elks celebrates the reopening of its High Street building for the first time since the August flood.
  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby announces preliminary plans for a one-week Ansonia Jubilee, to celebrate the business center’s recovery from the 1955 floods.
  • DERBY – Two 280′ towers are erected off Great Hill Road for the new WADS radio station.

March 7

  • ANSONIA – Woodbridge Manor, Inc, has 30 homes under construction off Pulaski Highway, and 3 streets laid – named Caroline, Michael, and Chester, with a fourth street, Adams, yet to be laid out.
  • SHELTON – The upstart Little Elephants Republican Club vote to completely reject the City’s GOP slate. They will present a full slate of their own candidates for their party’s next primary.

March 8

  • DERBY & OXFORD – Five Valley men are arrested for stealing 6 coils, totaling 1375 lbs of copper wire, worth $500, from the new WADS radio transmitter station on Silver Hill Road in Derby. A mailman stumbled upon them at the end of Good Hill Road, Oxford, and reported it to the police. State Police cased the area until two men showed up to pick up the coils. The copper ring unravels from there.
  • SEYMOUR – The town will receive $28,848 from the State to compensate for tax losses from the 1955 floods.

March 9

  • ANSONIA – The State Highway Department cleans all the dirt and muck off the 44-year old Bridge Street Bridge. While this may not sound like a big deal, it was a huge morale boast to Ansonia, as the bridge has been a wreck since the August 1955 flood. Flood deposits, as well as grime from the subsequent dredging of the river and visible damage from the flood, made the bridge very unattractive. The Bridge Street Bridge was actually legally closed just before the August flood, but it wound up being the only one of four Ansonia bridges to survive the August flood, the only link between the east and west sides of the City. The bridge was still a wreck after the large number of State men, equipment, and trucks finished their job, but the Sentinel proudly proclaimed it was transformed “into as tidy, bright, and shining a ruin as could be found anywhere in the world”.

Monday, March 12, 1956

  • SEYMOUR – The flood-damaged Broad Street Bridge is permanently closed to traffic. Preliminary demolition begins.
  • SEYMOUR – The Shed, a popular diner, will reopen for the first time since the August Flood.
  • ANSONIA – The frame of the new, unpopular, railroad passenger platform arrives. It will be placed above the old, condemned passenger station.

March 13

  • SEYMOUR – The 72 year old Broad Street Bridge is demolished.
  • DERBY – Rev. Joseph W. Barry, a retired priest, dies at his home at 115 Derby Avenue. The city native was born in 1881, and ordained in 1904.

March 14

  • ANSONIA – Pine Manual Training School has a new automobile for it’s driver education class.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Education turns down a request by the Town of Monroe to send high school students to Shelton High, saying the anticipated growth of the City eliminates any room within the next few years.

March 15

  • The State reports there are 270 Valley residents at Fairfield Hills long term psychiatric hospital. 97 of them were admitted within the past year – quite possibly due to the stress caused by the 1955 floods.
  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby shocks the City when he announces he will not seek a third term.

March 16

  • Snow begins falling in the evening, accompanied by 40 mph winds. A total of 7-8″ of snow falls. A rural mail carrier suffers fatal heart attack putting chains on car on South West Road in Seymour. Numerous traffic accidents are reported in Derby, including a snowplow that lost control on Colt Street and hits a utility pole. A woman is mugged on Lester Street in Ansonia during the storm, and her purse is stolen. Many cars are stranded in Shelton.
  • SHELTON – The City’s Grand List includes 3524 houses, 2490 garages or barns, 7368 lots, 208 commercial buildings, 159 mills, 6082 automobiles, 31 horses, 1187 cattle, and 9 boats.

March 17

  • ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADES – The Webster Hose Company #3 of Ansonia participates in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade for the third time in its history. Mayor Sheasby is in the line of march. Derby’s Storm Engine Company #2 and Ansonia’s Charters Hose Company #4 participate in the New Haven parade.
  • DERBY – A fire on the roof of Hull Dye & Print Company causes $1500 damage.

March 18

  • ANSONIA – Veteran humorist Fred Allen dies in New York City. Twice he appeared at the Capitol Theater on the vaudeville circuit, in 1923 and 1927.

Monday, March 19, 1956

  • By noon, 14 inches of snow had fallen from a storm which began the night before. This is the second major winter storm to hit the area in 48 hours. Schools and factories are closed. Numerous traffic accidents are reported.
  • SHELTON – Joseph Bednarcik, 28, paralyzed since a November 13, 1943 shooting accident on Wooster Street, dies. He was a life member of the Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Company, and periodically would ride around the city in the Echo ambulance.

March 20

  • The double snowstorm has been called the worst in 50 years, over 21 inches have fallen. The cleanup is massive and slow – “snow loaders” are being employed.
  • DERBY – A picture appears in the Sentinel of the Paugassett hook and ladder truck’s 65′ aerial being used to knock huge icicles off the Fourth Street side of City Hall (the Sterling Opera House).
  • SEYMOUR – The Board of Education votes to hold the High School commencement outdoors at Bungay School, one week earlier than usual. The flood-damaged high school will not be ready by June.
  • OXFORD – A bulldozer is being employed to clear snow off the roads.
  • OXFORD – The 1955 Floods cost the Town of Oxford $4,143.05. However, the Federal Government, though the Army Corps of Engineers, contributed $2,697.85 of the total costs.

March 21

  • ANSONIA – The Ansonia Red Cross has spent $2,170.73 to help 5 families burned out by the February 22 fire that destroyed the Mackowski Block.

March 22

  • Snow removal continues in Ansonia and Derby.
  • ANSONIA – Farrel-Birmingham Corporation Vice President Coe testifies before the Senate Committee of Public Works in Washington DC. He asks for funds for rip-rapping, permanent dikes, flood walls, and channel deepening. He says the Valley’s industries cannot move to high ground, and intend to stay.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Aldermen reverses its decision, and grants a zone change that will allow for a General Store on East Village Road in White Hills.

March 23

  • ANSONIA – The delayed Bailey Bridge is scheduled to finally open on March 26.

March 24

  • SEYMOUR – The Police Department will start a 40 hour work week on April 1, abandoning the current 48 hour system, with no loss in pay.

March 25

  • DERBY – Five injured, including three nursing students, in a 2-car accident at Roosevelt Drive and Cemetery Avenue.

Monday, March 26, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The new Bailey Bridge finally opens. All trains must stop at the nearby crossing, which is right at the approaches to the temporary span. A railroad flagman is posted there. Bank Street will be two-way street as long as its open – the Bridge connects Bank Street to Broad Street. The traffic thins on the overused Bridge Street Bridge.

March 27

  • ANSONIA – The replacement of the water main under the Naugatuck River, which was destroyed in the August 1955 Flood, is completed, but the main won’t be used for another month.

March 28

  • DERBY – The High School valedictorian is Annette Marcucio. The salutorian is Joyce Melillo.
  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby appears before the Public Works subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee in Washington DC. He asks them to look at the humanitarian component of flood protection instead of just the numbers it would cost.
  • SHELTON – About 500 Christmas Trees are destroyed at a brush fire at Jones Tree Farm.

March 29

  • ANSONIA – State Rep. Garrett Burkitt attends an Ansonia Board of Aldermen meeting, where he accuses them of “persecuting” a Bridgeport firm that wants to build 275 homes. He calls the Aldermanic President a “little nut” when he threatens to eject him from meeting.

March 30

  • ANSONIA – A bulldozer parked on the east bank of the Naugatuck River, just below the Bailey Bridge, slides into 15′ of water when the bank gives away. 

March 31

  • ANSONIA – A worker trying to attach a line to the submerged bulldozer in the river steps into a deep hole, falls, and has to be thrown a line to avoid being swept away.
  • ANSONIA – The Police Department surveys Bridge Street and Main Street intersection between 11 AM and 7 PM, and notes 16,776 cars passed during that time.


April 1

  • EASTER SUNDAY – Churches are crowded. The day features bright sunny skies, with temperatures a bit chilly. Hundreds attend a Protestant sunrise service at 6 AM at Shelton’s Highland Golf Club. At Seymour Congregational Church – flood recovery machinery sat silent right outside the door as services held inside. The neighborhood of Seymour Congregational was nearly obliterated in the Flood – the survival of the Church was nearly miraculous.
  • DERBY – Sixth anniversary of Yudkin Development observed. 79 homes have been built thus far, with 6 under construction, and another 13 under contract. The goal is 400 homes and a shopping center at Sodom Lane and New Haven Avenue, as well as a school nearby. Mr. Yudkin wants to turn Two-Mile Brook into a fountain w/ colored lights illuminating it.
  • ANSONIA – Staff Sgt. Joseph LaRocco of Central Street wrote this year’s Easter theme song for Narsarssuak Air Base, Greenland, called Eastertime. The flip side of his record is another song he wrote called Pretty Rag Doll. He has won awards for his music, that specialize in Italian folk songs.

Monday, April 2, 1956

  • SEYMOUR & OXFORD – The Boards of Education from both towns agree to form individual fact finding committees to explore combining to build a joint high school.

April 3

  • DERBY – The Board of Aldermen gives preliminary approval to reduce the police officers’ workweek to 40 hours a week, just as Seymour recently did.
  • ANSONIA – The State Highway commissiner tells Ansonia it will not replace the Maple Street Bridge until City agrees to replace the portion over the railroad tracks it recently demolished, arguing this portion of the bridge was not damaged. The State also says will not pay for the 44′ wide bridge sought by the City, but for a 30′ wide bridge, just like the last one destroyed in the August 1955 Flood. The State contends the money it is giving to the City is supposed to repair flood damage, not improvement infrastructure.
  • SEYMOUR – The Town will eventually have 3 bridges crossing Naugatuck River, despite the fact it currently has one left. These are, the present Bank Street bridge, the new Broad Street Bridge, and the new Route 8 expressway which will cross over a “huge bridge” that will end just north of Tingue Mills. Plans may call for extending elevated highway beyond
  • SHELTON – B.N. Beard is clearing 4-5 acres of land on Huntington Street, between Lane Street and Shelton Avenue, which has been zoned. The Huntington General Store is still located here at this time. The nearby Means Brook has been dredged, and the fill has been used to level the slope between the brook and Huntington Street. The ground will need a year to settle before anything can be built on it, so for the time being it will continue to be uses as ballparks.

April 4

  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby replies to the State Highway commissioner that the General Assembly had never intended state assistance to be disbursed as strictly as he is doing with the Maple Street Bridge improvements.

April 5

  • OXFORD – Carl Eckstrom, a prominent stage actor, dies in New York City. His summer resident was on Rockhouse Hill. For the last 20 years he recited Gettysburg Address at Oxford’s Memorial Day celebrations.
  • DERBY – The Board of Aldermen adopt an ordinance to create a Planning Commission, consisting of 5 members – 2 from each party and one independent.
  • SEYMOUR – The State is contemplating a temporary Bailey Bridge while the Broad Street Bridge is replaced.
  • ANSONIA – Although the State has not changed its position on the Maple Street Bridge, it announces today it will build a two-lane bridge to replace the one destroyed in the August 1955 flood on Division Street.

The Naugatuck Valley River Control Commissioner tells Governor Ribicoff the Valley can’t wait 4 years for a flood control dam to be completed at Thomaston – saying one more flood will destroy the community. The Commission recommends more dredging, temporary dikes, higher and wider bridges in interim. Town by town the recommendations include:

  • ANSONIA – A new higher bridge at Division Street, a new dike from the American Brass Company above Main Street, all the way to Beaver Brook
  • SEYMOUR – Removing Rimmon Dam in Seymour. A flood wall from Seymour Manufacturing Company to the Little River. A dike from West Street to the corner of Derby Avenue and Cedar Street. Removal of High Rock Dam (which gave Beacon Falls it’s name).
  • DERBY – Extend the Housatonic River Dike to include O’Sullivan’s Island. Extend the Naugatuck River dike form Division Street to O’Sullivan’s Island. Flood walls protecting East Derby.
  • SHELTON – A flood wall from Upper Canal Street to Wharf Street, and a dike form Wharf Street to Brewster Street.

April 6

  • DERBY – Woman walks into the SNET building on Elizabeth Street to pay a telephone bill dated October 1, 1917, totaling $3.32, including a 10 cent war tax. She says she lived in Shelton with her husband, who had been ill for 12 years. His sickness forced them to move. He died 30 years ago. She had promised herself she’d pay all their old debts.

April 7

  • Several inches of snow falls in the evening, continuing into Sunday morning. Public work crews are called out to plow for the 37th time this winter season.
  • ANSONIA – A near riot on lower Main Street, opposite Bing’s Restaurant at 491 Main. Two are arrested as Ansonia Police try to aid a woman among a hostile crowd. One suspect escapes a police car, but later recaptured.
  • ANSONIA – 420 couples attend the Charter Hose Company #4 ball at Ansonia Armory.

April 8

  • High water in the Housatonic River – it is only inches from overflowing its banks.

Monday, April 9, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Army wants Ansonia to abandon a little used section of Deerfield Road, that cuts through new NIKE site. The matter is referred to a public hearing.

April 10

  • ANSONIA – The State tells the City it will start new a Division Street Bridge in June, and a Maple Street Bridge in autumn. The Bridge Street Bridge will be replaced as soon as the Maple Street span is finished. The Maple Street Bridge will be longer than the old one, 400 feet, because the river has been dredged wider at this point. The width of the bridge, a point of contention between the State and City, is still being debated. However, the State has agreed that it will pay for the demolition of the Maple Street Bridge, which has already occurred, over the railroad tracks.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Aldermen vote unanimously to change the zoning on East Village Road to allow the construction of a White Hills General Store.

April 11

  • SEYMOUR – All traces of the Broad Street Bridge have been completely removed. The channel being is being widened and deepened, and footings are being prepared for a temporary bridge.

April 12

  • ANSONIA – City native Col. Niels I Poulsen retires after 38 years of service in the US Army. He is a veteran of World Wars I & II, as well as the Korean War. He retired from the National Guard in 1951 as a Brigadier General. He lives at 197 Wakelee Avenue.
  • DERBY – The Board of Aldermen approve a 40-hour workweek, at the same rate of pay, for the Police Department.

April 13

  • ANSONIA – The Valley’s new radio station, WADS-AM, goes on the air for the first time from its studios at the Capitol Theater building. The station’s call letters stand for Ansonia, Derby, Seymour and Shelton.
  • SEYMOUR – A 30-acre forest fire extends into Woodbridge behind the town dump at Haddad Road and Silvermine Road.

April 15

  • ANSONIA – Bishop John Hackett dedicates the new Assumption Church convent on North Cliff Street, and lauds the Sisters of Mercy for their 70 years work in Ansonia.

Monday, April 16, 1956

  • SHELTON – New Bridgeport Hydraulic Company pumping station dedicated on Myrtle Street and Fairfield Avenue. Will boost water pressure for 218 families.

April 17

  • ANSONIA – For several weeks, city children have been trading and playing with reflectors that came in a box left near the riverbank near the new Bailey Bridge. They are being used as reflectors, night lights, and even toys, as they glow in the dark. The police warn that the Army had made them aware that these reflectors actually contain lethal doses of radiation if they are broken. They were intended to guide soldiers over the bridges at night, but were not needed in Ansonia since the Bailey Bridge is lighted. The police urge all children and parents to return the reflectors to the police station.
  • DERBY – Work begins on replacing a 16″ water main that was swept away in the August 1955 flood from Main Street’s Naugatuck River bridge.

April 18

  • DERBY – The Derby Historical Society holds its Annual Meeting at the First Congregational Church. Miss Jeanette Booth is reelected President, Mrs. Mabel Marvin Vice President, and Miss Maude Bradley secretary-treasurer. The guest speaker was Miss Mary Hull of Seymour, who talked about the old days on Great Hill, and brought artifacts from Derby and Seymour’s history.
  • ANSONIA – Most of the radioactive reflectors have been recovered.
  • ANSONIA – Heavy black smoke pours from every window of Ansonia Armory, causing many to think the entire building was on fire. Oil in a pit in the basement caught fire, creating the smoke.
  • ANSONIA – State makes temporary repairs to the bad sidewalk on the south side of the Bridge Street Bridge.
  • SHELTON – 2-alarm brush fire burns 5 acres on Nell’s Rock Road. Two firemen are overcome by smoke and taken to Griffin Hospital.

April 19

  • Despite the disastrous floods, retail sales rose in all Valley communities in the last quarter of 1955. The big winners were Derby with $3,847,671, and Shelton with $3,172,506, as their downtowns were relatively undamaged. But even the devastated downtowns saw an increase, with Ansonia up $592,501 and Seymour up $356,240.
  • SHELTON – Bitter Republican primary as the Little Elephant Republican Club squares off against Shelton’s traditional “Old Guard” Republican Party. For the first time in their five year struggle, the Little Elephants win, securing 45 out of 48 town committee seats.

April 20

  • ANSONIA – A fire causes $3500 damage at the Scharmett Chemical Company on the corner of Canal Street and Green Street, and fills area up with heavy, dense smoke that can be seen for miles. The new company occupies a former feed mill, making cork and foam rubber stuffing for toys and dolls. It was about to begin operations, just waiting for the power connections to run its machinery. The loading dock is destroyed, and the main building damaged, but not destroyed, thanks to efforts of firemen from Eagles, Websters, and Charters hose companies.
  • DERBY – Permanent War Memorial commission tells Mayor Dirienzo they favor converting the newer addition of the old Irving School on Fifth Street into a swimming pool and gymnasium for teenagers.

April 21

  • ANSONIA – Ansonia and the State enter a $1 million agreement, which will involve the State will replacing the Division and Maple Street bridges (the width of the later still unresolved), and repave Canal Street, and parts of BroadHigh, and Maple Streets. The Division Street bridge will be replaced first, and it will be 15′ higher than the one destroyed in August 1955. It will have one sidewalk, and be two lanes wide. Property acquisition is already underway on the east bank of the bridge, in an attempt to eliminate the curves leading to its eastern approaches.
  • SHELTON – The high school student accidentally shot on February 22 and critically injured returns home for the first time.
  • SEYMOUR – A 13 year old boy is bitten in the finger by a copperhead snake in a swamp near the Seymour Grange Hall. His 13 year old companion utilizes his Boy Scout training – tearing a piece of his shirt to form a tourniquet on the finger, then sucking the poison out. The victim is taken to Griffin Hospital, where he is treated and released, and his friend is hailed as a hero. 

Monday, April 23, 1956

  • ANSONIA – John J. Stevens retires as Ansonia Superintendent of Schools after 25 years in that position, and 46 years in school system. He replaced Richard Tobin in 1931. Mr. Stevens is replaced by William J. Comcowich, principal of the Junior High School, by vote of 5-2.
  • ANSONIA – The Valley Home Show opens at the Ansonia Armory. Many of those attending view a color television for the first time in their lives, along with hi-fi record players. Many booths are present.
  • OXFORD – The Zoning Board votes to rezone Route 67 commercial, from the Seymour line to John Griffin Wayside State Park, and from opposite Great Hill Road to West Street.
  • SEYMOUR – The Town’s Chamber of Commerce goes on record as requesting the State to speed up erecting a temporary bridge across the Naugatuck River on Broad Street.
  • SHELTON – Fire guts a mobile home at Woodland Trailer Park off Bridgeport Avenue. A firemen is treated at Griffin Hospital and released for smoke inhalation.

April 24

  • DERBY – The 44 tenants of the Buddies Terrace Federal Housing Project get eviction notices, saying they must leave by October 1. The City’s housing chairman says the project will be demolished.
  • DERBY – The Board of Zoning Appeals grants approval for an open air market on the corner of Roosevelt Drive and F Street.

April 25

  • ANSONIA – The State announces it will build a new Maple Street bridge with a 30′ roadway, but 2 sidewalks. The City can later remove a sidewalk to widen the roadway, if it wants. City also must acquire parts of Gardella Building property on the east side, and the Paloski Building on the west side, for the project.
  • SHELTON – A police car is rammed by a car it was chasing on Route 8. The driver is caught and arrested.

April 26

  • ANSONIA – A $12,000 fire sweeps the B and J Electric Motor Repair Company, a motor rewinding and repair plant, in the Fosdick Building on Central Street at Beaver Street. This is the second major fire in the one story brick building – it used to be the Fosdick Bakery which burned in 1919. 
  • ANSONIA – The State is reconstructing sections of sidewalk on the crumbling Bridge Street Bridge.
  • DERBY – The City’s two new Ford police cars are put into service.
  • SHELTON – The Army leases the first floor of 25 Brook Street, to be used as a field maintenance shop for the NIKE missile bases under construction nearby. The lease runs to June 30, 1959.

April 27

  • ANSONIA – The German Society of Ansonia, also known as Deutscher Verein, sells its hall on Broad Street to private hands. The society started in 1915.

April 28

  • SHELTON – The Army acquires 8.82 acres off North Street, which would later become Palmetto Circle. This is in addition to the 36.15 acres off Mohegan Road for the NIKE site itself.

April 29

  • DERBY – After a mile of straight roadway, Mill Street Extension has a sharp turn (probably at today’s Exit 16 southbound entrance ramp onto Route 8) which causes so many frequent automobile wrecks the Derby police have started to call it “Accident, Incorporated”. On this date, a car almost went over the embankment, getting hung up on guardrail above a swamp. On a previous occasion, a car actually landed in the swamp, but fortunately no one was seriously injured. Police warn that its only a matter of time before a fatality occurs there.
  • SHELTON – A two-story, 30’x30′ barn on King’s Highway is struck by lightning and burns to the ground. The five cattle inside are saved. The City’s fire alarm system is also struck by lightning, preventing the Echo Hose fire horns from sounding. Fire engine drivers are called by telephone, while a man climbs to the roof of the building and manually sounds the fire horns.

Monday, April 30, 1956

  • DERBY – David Schpero, a downtown jeweler since 1923, collapses and dies. 


Tuesday, May 1, 1956

  • ANSONIA – Edward Begley of Ansonia, the 5th husband of comedienne Martha Raye, will divorce her. This news breaks one week after she was sued by a Westport woman for “stealing the affections” of her husband, who is an off-duty Westport police officer moonlighting as her bodyguard. Mr. Begley and Ms. Raye have been living apart a year, they were married in 1954
  • DERBY – After being nearly wiped off the map by the two 1955 floods, the Center Drive-In theater will reopen with a new, bigger 120×60′ screen. There will also now be 2 box offices, new and higher ramps for better views, a new carousel, and a larger, 4-lane snack bar.
  • SEYMOUR – One of the worst forest fires in years strikes town, threatening homes on Willow Street and Maple Street.
  • SEYMOUR – The State tells a visiting delegation from the local Chamber of Commerce a temporary span will be erected at the demolished Broad Street Bridge site by September 1.

May 2

  • DERBY – The City essentially shuts down for the funeral of David Schpero at the Congregation Sons of Israel on Anson Street. They synagogue is packed, with 2000 inside and many more many outside.
  • DERBY – 200 members of Local 127, the Carpenters and Joiners Union of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, vote to strike. They want $3.30 an hour for a 7 hour day. The old contract calls for $2.85 for 8 hour day. The 7 hour day is the sticking point – if they get this they will be the first Connecticut Carpenter and Joiner union to do so.
  • ANSONIA – Workmen collapsing the ancient tailrace for the new storm water sewer system find sewage is still flowing into it from number of buildings in the Bank Street area, despite decades of assurance to the contrary.

May 3

  • SHELTON – Esteemed resident Daniel Brinsmade dies. He was deeply involved with the Ousatonic Water Company, the Shelton Water Company, and the Bridgeport Hydraulic Company. He also served as president of the Plumb Memorial Library association.
  • ANSONIA & SHELTON – Equipment is being moved from the S.O.&C. plant on Main Street, Ansonia, to the new United Shoe Machinery plant on River Road in Shelton.

May 4

  • SEYMOUR – The American Brass Company is rebuilding the Kinneytown Dam, destroyed in the August 1955 flood. It is expected to be in operation by July 15. 
  • ANSONIA – The old American Brass Company office building is being demolished on Liberty Street to make room for a parking area. The structure was originally constructed in 1889 for the Coe Brass Company, which later became part of the ABC conglomerate.

May 5

  • SEYMOUR – Demolition of the Broad Street Bridge is nearing completion.
  • DERBY – The State announces the mouth of the Naugatuck River will be dredged from the Main Street bridge to the railroad trestle.
  • DERBY – Yale’s varsity crew beats Cornell and Princeton to win the 29th annual Carnegie cup. John Cooke of Ansonia was on the winning Yale crew. This is the first Yale win since 1951. Despite the fact there were 5,000 spectators lining the course in Derby and Shelton, their behavior was not nearly as bad as seen during the old “Derby Days” of yesteryear.

Monday, May 7, 1956

  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby’s flood recovery celebration committee votes to drop plans for a jubilee to mark Ansonia’s recovery from the disaster, after a largely passive or negative response from citizens.
  • ANSONIA – Public hearing is held on the requested closing of Deerfield Lane for the Army NIKE site. Those attending state they want an alternative street constructed in its place.
  • ANSONIA – A suspicious car with 4 teens is pulled over on Clifton Avenue. From this stop, police quickly unravel a ring responsible for many thefts of motor vehicle accessories in the Valley for a long time. A pair of 17 year olds, from Shelton and Ansonia, and two 15 year old Shelton boys are taken into custody. A search of the teens’ hiding places results in many stolen items being found.
  • DERBY – The water main at the Main Street bridge in Derby, destroyed in the August 1955 flood, is being replaced.
  • SEYMOUR – Seymour will get $204,278 from the State to repair damage to the high school from the floods.

May 8

  • ANSONIA – After a 3 week delay, radio station WADS-AM goes on the air for the first time.
  • ANSONIA – The State department of health is asked to investigate which buildings are dumping sewage into the tail race. When the new storm sewer is completed, only sewage will remain in the tail race, creating an unacceptable situation.
  • DERBY – A cellar fire breaks out in a 3 story wood frame 4-family building, that includes Hyde’s Pharmacy, the Regent Barber Shop, and Bunny-Dee Shoppe, on 59 Anson Street. 10 residents escape the flames, which cause $4,000 damage.
  • SHELTON – Francis Brophy, owner of the Huntington General Store, has asked for a permit to build a 50’x20′ gas station with 6 pumps in the Center on Huntington Street.

May 11

  • ANSONIA – The Police Department names its first female supernumerary officer, 23 year old Alice Lingane of Beaver Street. She will hold the rank of sergeant. Police Board says having a woman on the force will be helpful in certain cases dealing with females.
  • ANSONIA – The Urban Renewal Administration releases $72,000 to Ansonia to finance preliminary planning and redevelopment measures, part of $150,000 assured after the flood for the hard hit Main Street and Broad Street areas.

May 13

  • ANSONIA -The Bridge Street Bridge will be rebuilt – its arches will be cut down and the present footings will be used. The new span is planned as 48′ wide, with sidewalks on each side. The State spokesman also says the Division Street and Maple Street bridges will be replaced.
  • DERBY – The State announces the Main Street Bridge over the Naugatuck River will be replaced.
  • ROUTE 8 – To date, Route 8 from the Shelton expressway to Winter Street, Derby, along with the Mill Street Connector to Ansonia, has cost the State $9,442,000. A total of $384,000 on the bridges over Division, Hull, and Jackson Streets. The State plans to extend the expressway to Kinneytown Flats in Seymour by June 1, 1957.
  • SEYMOUR – Rev. Harold J. Edwards announces he will retire on July 1 as rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, where he has served as rector since January 15, 1928.

Monday, May 14, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Ansonia Girl Scout Council announces it has received a $2,400 New Haven Foundation grant to install a well and utilities at the new girl scout camp in Oxford. This is now Camp AnSeOx.
  • ANSONIA – Democrats on the Board of Aldermen object to their Republican counterparts not submitting their 2 Board of Education nominations until half hour before the meeting. After the Democrats decline a motion to table, all 6 Republican Aldermen leave the meeting, breaking it’s quorum and thus preventing any elections. The remaining 6 Democrats vote to reschedule the meeting, and they will subpoena the Republicans to attend if necessary.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Aldermen votes to accept an agreement with the State Highway Department to repair flood damage to roads and bridges. City funds will be reimbursed by the State.

May 15

  • DERBY – Plans are submitted to convert the former Creamery Package Corporation on Roosevelt Drive, between A Street and B Street, into a shopping center, with stores on the first floor, and offices on the second. A new A&P will be built on the land, too. 
  • ANSONIA – The Army Corps of Engineers says it will seek condemnation proceedings to get the rights to Deerfield Lane, adjacent to the NIKE site they wish to construct. At the same time, the Corps also asks city for rights to start construction permits for the NIKE site during the condemnation proceedings.

May 16

  • DERBY – Police Chief Manion asks merchants not to put garbage on the curb until the morning of trash pickup, saying boxes and papers blowing around have turned downtown into “a disgrace”.
  • ANSONIA – The State will reimburse Ansonia $10,378 for repairs to City Hall from the August Flood of 1955.

May 19

  • ANSONIA – Police officers fire 5 shots into air at fleeing pair who assaulted a couple near the train station. One suspect jumps into river and escapes to other side. The other is captured behind the McMahon and Wren Block on Water Street.
  • SHELTON – Chordas Pond off Nell’s Rock Road is closed to public fishing due to extreme acts of vandalism on the property, by the administrator of the nearby estate containing the pond. The pond had been stocked and managed by State as a children’s fishing area since 1950.

May 20

  • DERBY – 800 are present for the opening of the Little League season at Coon Hollow Park.
  • ANSONIA – Local and State police raid a craps game in the woods off Woodbridge Avenue. 10 are arrested.

Monday, May 21, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Alderman elect 2 Republicans to the Board of Education. Despite this, the Republicans are not happy because one of the candidates, did not announce until the last minute. He’s elected 7-6, with many Republicans voting against him.
  • OXFORD – A record town budget of $343,301 is approved.

May 22

  • SEYMOUR – A “spectacular” forest fire burns 40 acres on Silvermine and New Haven Roads.

May 24

  • DERBY – A public hearing at Derby High School on the Yudkin Development Company’s petition for a zoning change for an East Derby shopping center ends up seeing local citizens voting informally 168-77 against it.
  • SHELTON – Huntington General Store shopkeeper Francis Brophy and the Board of Zoning Appeals served by 3 neighboring residents and the Huntington Congregational Church. They are opposed to Mr. Brophy’s plan of installing 6 gas pumps in Huntington Center, saying they will lower property values, destroy the beauty of the Green, and increase traffic.

May 26

  • SHELTON – A Birdseye Road house under renovation is destroyed by a fire, despite the efforts of 3 fire companies. Firemen hampered by the fact the nearest hydrant was in Huntington Center, and the 2 tankers shuttling water got tied up in traffic caused by sightseers.

May 27

  • SEYMOUR – The new Seymour Congregational Church organ, replacing one destroyed in the August 1955 flood, is dedicated with a recital.
  • SEYMOUR – An 83 year old woman dies when a glass gallon jug of gasoline spills and explodes in her kitchen on Culver Street, setting the house on fire.
  • SHELTON – Huntington’s Memorial Day services and parade are cancelled by rain.

Monday, May 28, 1956

  • SHELTON – 80-100 homes planned on 125 acres of the former Harold Benedict property off Soundview Avenue.

May 29

  • Valley Health Survey – spent on public health in the past year – Ansonia $16,810, Derby $7,598, Seymour $7,587, Shelton $6,369, and Oxford $2,111
  • SEYMOUR – The Great Hill Hose Company #1’s new Seagrave fire engine can pump 750 gallons per minute, and is the most powerful pumper in the Valley.

May 30

  • The Memorial Day parades are well patronized in Seymour, Ansonia, and Derby-Shelton. 1000 visit Indian Well State Park on its opening weekend.
  • ANSONIA – This is the first parade in the 50-year history of the Ansonia Memorial Day Association that does not pass over the Maple Street Bridge, on account of it being washed away in the August 1955 flood.

May 31

  • ANSONIA – Harry I. Bennett, of 90 Clarkson Street, is named dean of Quinnipiac College.
  • SEYMOUR – The Town is informed it will receive $15,270 reimbursement on emergency housing, and $1,059 for damage to Broad Street park, both related to the floods last year.
  • DERBY – Yudkin Development withdraws its petition for a zoning change to erect a shopping center in East Derby seconds before Board of Aldermen meeting is to start. This petition was unfavorably regarded at a public meeting the week before.
  • SHELTON – A big crane strikes the Prospect Street overpass on Route 8, bending a steel girder on the bridge, and causing much damage to the crane. 


Friday, June 1, 1956

  • ANSONIA – Polio vaccine shots given to 200 children at Lincoln School.
  • OXFORD – Valley Boy Scouts from Housatonic Council hold their annual camporee on the Joseph Prokop farm, starting tonight. It is the worst weather ever, with constant rain. Several troops leave the following night when the rain is at it’s worst, but most stay.

June 3

  • SHELTON – A 23 year old from 43 Bridge Street is caught hiding while burglarizing the Twin Door Restaurant at 41 Bridge Street.

Monday, June 4, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Ansonia Board of Health authorizes its director to take whatever steps necessary to discover which Main Street buildings are dumping sewage into the tailrace.
  • ANSONIA – The State Department of Education will reimburse Ansonia $70,189 spent on remodeling and enlarging Lincoln School.
  • SHELTON – The Viaduct Bridge closed for major repairs for 3 weeks.

June 6

  • ANSONIA – Work starts clearing 20 acres at the end of Osborn Lane for the new NIKE site.

June 7

  • ANSONIA – Members of Local 445, International Union Mine Mill and Smelter Workers, are picketing the United Auto Workers-CIO office on Liberty Street to protest their membership drive among American Brass Company workers while the former union is negotiating with ABC.

June 8

  • SHELTON – Clearing of land for the new NIKE site is underway off Mohegan Road, and a new road to it is being built.

June 9

  • DERBY – State Police raid two Minerva Street stores, and arrest 17 men on gambling charges.

June 10

  • DERBY – The East End Hose Company fire station is dedicated on Derby-Milford Road.
  • SHELTON – 500 attend the Little League parade and opening day ceremonies.

Monday, June 11, 1956

  • SEYMOUR – The High School’s Wildcat baseball team wins the 1956 Housatonic League Championship by defeating Branford 6-5 at French Memorial Park.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Alderman votes to raise the number of regular police officers from 11 to 13.

June 12

  • The Army Corps of Engineers tells Sen. Prescott Bush that the 1955 Floods destroyed the erosion balance of the Naugatuck River, and removal of silt may be an ongoing process that is going to have to be up to Ansonia and other towns to handle in the future.
  • DERBY – A pair of horses escape an Orange farm and run down New Haven Avenue, nearly causing several accidents. They are captured near Prospect Street and held near Franklin School before being returned. An hour later they escape again into the Sentinel Hill area.
  • DERBY – The National Safety Council announces that Derby is number 2 in the nation in terms of length of time without a fatal traffic accident in cities between 10,000 and 20,000. It has been six years since a fatal accident. The only city with a better record is State College, PA.
  • SEYMOUR – The High School graduates 92 members in its 69th annual commencement. The ceremony is held outside on Bungay School grounds, because the SHS auditorium was destroyed by the Flood of 1955. The weather cooperates, providing a beautiful sky and blazing sunset as a background. Marion Teveleit is the valedictorian.
  • SHELTON – Mrs. Ellen Tate Booth, wife of former mayor Ralph C. Booth, dies while visiting New York City. Mr. Booth was mayor from 1941 to 1946, and is now judge of Shelton City Court.

June 13

  • ANSONIA – The American Brass Company and Local 443 International Union of Mine Mill and Smelter Workers sign a 3 year contract after long negotiations, raising wages from 24 to 29 cents an hour and agreeing to making ABC a union shop.

June 14

  • DERBY – 73 graduate Derby High School. The graduates walk from DHS on Minerva Street to the New Irving School gymnasium. The valedictorian is Annette Marcucio. Superintendent James L. O’Hara presents a diploma to his daughter Kathleen.
  • DERBY – John Santangelo and Edward Levy are petitioning to build a shopping center on the Mill Street Connector adjacent to Charlton Press. 

June 15

  • The Army Corps of Engineers approves 2 new flood control dams for the upper Naugatuck River in the Torrington area. This will help prevent flooding in the Lower Naugatuck Valley.
  • SHELTON – St. Joseph’s Church has completed redecorating.
  • SHELTON – A survey finds Plumb Memorial Library is badly overcrowded.

June 17

  • ANSONIA – Three Saints Russian Orthodox Church is dedicated by His Eminence, Bishop Metropolitan Leonty. The ceremony is very crowded, and a reception at the  Ansonia Armory is well attended by both church members and local dignitaries.
  • SHELTON – Pontifical mass held at St. Joseph’s Church for its 50th anniversary Golden Jubilee, conducted by Bishop Lawrence Sheehan. He gives a special blessing from Pope Pius XII to the parishioners

Monday, June 18, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Most Rev. James Mangers, Roman Catholic bishop of Oslo, Norway, is a guest of the Rev. Benedict Gauronskas, who is pastor of St. Anthony’s. The bishop’s visit takes some political tones when he states that Norwegians can’t understand why the United States fears the Soviet Union, saying it is inconceivable that they would attack the West.

June 19

  • DERBY – A member of the Board of Alderman member asks for police car #2 to patrol East Derby between 1 AM and 8 AM, partly to curb speeding on New Haven Avenue. He says the car idles in front of police station all night, a point Mayor Direnzo disagrees with.
  • SHELTON – The Police Chief reminds all Huntington School parents that swimming in the Beard pit, formed by the clearing of the Far Mill River channel, (near today’s shopping center), is dangerous and illegal.

June 20

  • ANSONIA – Ansonia High School and Pine High School graduate 168 students at the Ansonia High auditorium. Joan Johnston is the valedictorian, while Irene Kusako is the salutatorian.
  • ANSONIA – Rev. Jerome H. French, pastor of the Clinton AME Zion Church, is named Presiding Elder of the Boston District of the New England AME Zion Churches. He will stay in Ansonia until his successor is named.
  • DERBY – The Board of Apportionment & Taxation votes to compensate Mayor Direnzo $1500 he did not earn from his regular job at Farrel-Birmingham, because of duties he had to perform related to the Flood of 1955. Also related to the flood, pay for auxiliary police officers that served during the emergency will be compensated by Army Corps of Engineers.

June 21

  • ANSONIA & DERBY – Farrel-Birmingham and Local 3571 of the United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO reach a tentative agreement for a new contract. The Union ratifies it the following day.

June 22

  • ANSONIA – 28 stores affiliated with the Retail Merchants Branch of the Ansonia Chamber of Commerce begin a 2-day Ansonia Sale Days event.
  • ANSONIA – Three 90-year old Elm trees on Main Street, 1 in front of the Evening Sentinel office, the other two in front of the Post Office, will dismantled because they are in the way of the new storm sewer replacing the tailrace.
  • ANSONIA, DERBY, & SEYMOUR – A large transformer on Roosevelt Drive, belonging to the Housatonic Public Service Company, explodes twice, sending a fireball and smoke ring  into the air visible as far away as New Haven and Bridgeport. The transformer supplied all of Ansonia, and most of Seymour, and both of those communities lose power.
  • SEYMOUR – 92 Seymour property owners losing their property to the new Route 8 expressway, will be paid a combined total $1.2 million. This is despite the fact that some of the properties were obliterated in the 1955 Flood, as the State is paying pre-flood values.
  • SHELTON – 95 students graduate from Shelton High School. John Zaskalicky is the valedictorian, while Gay Yeager is salutatorian.

June 24

  • SHELTON – 140 people pack into the small White Hills Baptist Church on School Street, to attend the first service held there since it closed in 1916. Summer services will continue to be held.

Monday, June 25, 1956

  • ANSONIA – Main Street is flooded once again, this time when an 8″ water main is being worked on. The main was unknowingly tied to the 20″ main that ran parallel to it, causing water to rush out of the 8″ main when it was breeched. Fire engines are employed at hydrants above and below the breech, to flow water out of the hydrants and into the river to relieve pressure on the main while they shut it down. This is the first time the 20″ main is shut down since 1930.
  • SEYMOUR – Bernard H. Matthies makes a surprise donation of 4 or 5 acres for a new Seymour Public Library on the west side of Church Street, at the annual town meeting.

June 26

  • DERBY – Board of Aldermen empower Mayor Dirienzo to tear down rear or old portion of Irving School on the corner of Fifth and Olivia Streets, which is currently being used as “a hotel” by homeless people.
  • DERBY – The Board of Aldermen vote 5-1 to grant John Santangelo and Edward Levy a zoning variance to build a new shopping center between the Mill Street Connector and Atwater Avenue. During the hearing, it is claimed that JC Penney is planning on vacating its Elizabeth Street store. The store denies this three days later.

June 27

  • ANSONIA – The new Division Street Bridge will be entirely in Ansonia. It will be 40′ wide, with a 6% grade, and feature 5 spans. The east end will be 200′ from the city dump entrance. The west end will be where a temporary dike is located. Unlike the bridge washed out by the last year’s flood, it will be two lanes wide and feature sidewalks.

June 28

  • ANSONIA – Ground broken for the new St. Joseph’s Church convent on Jewett Street.

June 30

  • ANSONIA – American Brass Company, HC Cook Company , Ansonia Manufacturing, and the SO&C, all begin their 2 week vacations. 2,000 workers are now off. Hershey Metal started their vacations yesterday, The only major plant still working is Farrel-Birmingham, which will have its vacation in August.
  • ANSONIA – John R. Shields retires as manager of Capitol TheaterClick here for the full article of Mr. Shields amazing career.
  • ANSONIA – Mrs. Erika P. Ericson, 92, dies at 284 Wakelee Avenue home. She is the last surviving charter member of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. Born in Sweden, she came to the USA 70 years ago.
  • SHELTON – Sgt. Vincent Gudsnak of Park Street is coming home on this date from his base in Guam, for the funeral of his infant daughter. He does not arrive home in time for the funeral, but he narrowly misses being involved in a plane crash. He had tickets to board a flight on a DC-7 in Los Angeles. However, because he had military priority, he was given an earlier flight which left several hours later. The DC-7 collided with another loaded passenger jet over the Grand Canyon, resulting in what was then the worst air disaster in US history


Monday, July 2, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The City resembles  “a resort”, with the number of people walking around Main Street in vacation attire. A combined total of 2,000 are on summer vacation from American Brass Company, HC Cook, Ansonia Manufacturing, and Hershey Metals. Many have left for the shore or mountains. Merchants report mornings are busy.
  • DERBY – Charlton Press employees find a small monkey (yes, a monkey) in their plant. The animal is chased throughout the building for several hours, and is finally trapped when lured by a banana into a box. The box is given to the Derby Police Department, who trace the animal to the nearby Center Drive-In theater. Apparently it was being kept in a cage there, and escaped over the weekend. The Sentinel headlines this evening “Monkey Business at Charlton Press”.

July 3

  • ANSONIA – State informs Ansonia there are no funds immediately available to straighten the Naugatuck River channel (making it less vulnerable to flooding) or widening the soon to be built Maple Street Bridge.
  • ANSONIA – Work begun to lay a 12″ water main up Benz Street from Prindle Avenue up to Kimberly Lane. This is the beginning of the extension of city water service to the Hilltop section.
  • DERBY – 400 register at the Recreation Camp the first week it is open for the season.
  • SHELTON – YMCA Day Camp Tepee enrolls 136, its largest number ever. The camp is located off Park Street. 
  • SHELTON – 3,000 people, two-thirds of which are children, attend the City’s annual fireworks display at Lafayette Field. Popeye the Sailor and other characters provide entertainment prior to the show, and 2,000 free ice cream sticks are handed out to children. Prior to the festivities there was a small parade down Howe Avenue.


  • Very quiet in the entire Lower Naugatuck Valley. Many are on vacation.

July 5

  • ANSONIA – The battered and crumbling Bridge Street Bridge, the only one in Ansonia that survived both floods last year, will be replaced after the Maple Street Bridge is complete. The footings will be salvaged, but it will have new piers and be the same dimensions as old one.
  • OXFORD – Swan Lake off Park Road, popular with swimmers, is closed to the public by the Swan Lake Development Corp. They cite the reason as too many people making too much noise after dark.

July 6

  • Already 2.38″ of rain has fallen in the area this month, which exceeds the entire amount that fell in July of last year.
  • DERBY & SHELTON – The speed limits on the New Haven Avenue portion of Route 34, and the Route 8 expressway in Shelton and Derby, is raised from 40 mph to 45 mph.

July 8

  • ANSONIA – Cornerstone of the new Salvation Army building on the corner of Lester Street and High Street is laid with ceremonies.
  • DERBY – The State of Connecticut Military Order of the Purple Heart unanimously votes to hold their 1957 convention in Derby.

Monday, July 9, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Alderman pass a resolution authorizing the corporate counsel to prepare a bond issue to acquire property along the Naugatuck River for the new Maple Street Bridge. Also to prepare bonds for three new rooms at Peck School, and to renovate both Ansonia and Pine High Schools.
  • ANSONIA – Judge Albert B. Gardella dies suddenly at his summer home in Newtown along Lake Zoar. Born in New York City, his parents relocated to Ansonia when he was an infant, and he remained the rest of his life. He left school in seventh grade to go work at American Brass Company. He quickly realized he needed an education, returned to school, and became one of Ansonia High’s hardest working students, becoming the first Ansonia boy to attend Yale under the Charles H. Pine scholarship. He also played on Ansonia High’s state champion basketball team in 1913. He graduated Yale Law School in 1921, after serving in the army in World War I. He became a judge in 1931, and resigned two years later to become corporate counsel. At the time of his death, he was a prominent city attorney.
  • SEYMOUR – The Kinneytown Dam is now back in service. The entire eastern half of the dam, which was steel reinforced earthworks, was washed out in the August 19, 1955 flood. This section has now been replaced by concrete. The dam is once again impounding water in the reservoir behind it, known as Forty Acres Pond. Kinneytown Dam supplied the old Ansonia Canal, which in turn still supplied the hydroelectric plant of the American Brass Company in 1956. The western half of the dam burst in 1910, and was with similar concrete as the eastern half. The western half held during the 1955 Flood, and since the entire dam is now concrete it is hoped that the danger of it bursting is minimized. Fifty years later, the dam is still there.
  • SHELTON – 130 Girl Scouts begin the summer season at Camp Milcroft, though they are forced to meet at Huntington School due to heavy rain. A total of 403 girls have registered for summer camp this year.

July 11

  • ANSONIA – The City has received more checks from the Army Corps of Engineers to reimburse damage from the 1955 Floods – $3,916.48 for repairs to Mead School, and $1,200 for debris clearance.
  • ANSONIA – The missile launcher elevators have arrived for the new NIKE site at the Ansonia Airport.

July 12

  • SEYMOUR – The Town receives checks totaling $89,695.88 from the Army Corps of Engineers and the State of Connecticut for repairs to Seymour High School from Flood of 1955.
  • SHELTON – Local and State police raid 3 restaurants for illegal gambling. The proprietor of the Legion Restaurant, who is also a State Representative, is arrested with 5 others. Another one is arrested at Royal Restaurant 140 Center, and two more at Vic’s Restaurant. All three establishments are on Center Street.

Friday, July 13, 1956

  • ANSONIA – Rev. Sampson Green is appointed the new pastor of Clinton AME Zion Church.
  • DERBY –  Airman 3rd Class Alexander Lubinsky Jr., of 44 Buddies Terrace, is killed when his military transport plane crashes at Fort Dix, NJ, killing 45. He had just left Derby after completing a 30-day leave the day before. His family was relocated to the housing project from Ansonia when they lost everything in the Flood of 1955.
  • DERBY – A violent rainstorm sweeps the area. Parts of Derby Avenue are under one foot of water. Washouts occur on Water Street and Marshall Lane.
  • SHELTON – One lane of the Viaduct Bridge, which had been closed for repairs for weeks, finally opens, to the relief of businesses and residents alike.

July 15

  • DERBY – A Shelton woman is shot while attending a wake at the Lewis Funeral Home, on 148 Elizabeth Street. An apparent stray bullet fired from the Fifth Street side went through window and into her arm. She wasn’t even aware she had been shot initially, and is only slightly injured. The Police are investigating.

Monday, July 16, 1956

  • ANSONIA – American Brass Company employees return from their summer vacation.
  • SEYMOUR – Dr. Nancy Turner Deduk opens a pediatric clinic in the Casagrande building at 135 Main Street. She is the first female doctor in Seymour’s history.

July 17

  • OXFORD – A special Town Meeting is held over a proposal to reopen Larkey Road from the Heidecamp property to the old railroad bed is defeated 36-30. The road was closed in 1935.

July 19

  • DERBY – David O’Keefe of Tenth Street, a member of both Derby Board of Alderman and Commissioner of Public Works, has an apparent heart attack while driving on Derby side of Derby-Shelton Bridge and dies. This is Derby’s first traffic fatality since February 25, 1949.
  • SEYMOUR – Homer Fowler, a member of the Seymour Emergency Disaster Committee, appeals to the Board of Selectmen that $18,000 remaining in the disaster treasury from the 1955 floods should be used to help people still slowly getting their properties into livable condition on Derby Avenue and Pine Street.
  • SEYMOUR – State official proposes a temporary bridge for Broad Street, which will be 770 feet long, 2 lanes wide, with sidewalks. It will be made of timber and steel. 

July 20

OPERATION ALERT 1956 – The biggest Civil Defense test held up to that time in the USA occurs on this date. After a surprise Soviet nuclear attack on Hawaii and Puerto Rico, 73 US and 25 Canadian cities are struck by nuclear bombs, including seven Connecticut cities including Bridgeport, New Haven, Waterbury, and Hartford. Derby, Ansonia, and Shelton, while not targeted, are deemed uninhabitable due to radioactive fallout. All had to seek shelter at 4:10 PM, when the hypothetical bombs were dropped – including pedestrians. Drivers were instructed to pull over and seek the nearest shelter until the “all clear” was given. There is some confusion in Derby because the “all clear” never sounded. In Seymour, Boy Scouts and others are made up to resemble injured people at Housatonic Lumber and Tingue manufacturing. The “victims” had to be removed through windows. A simulated 40,000 people were evacuated from New Haven to Oxford, and the CD radio in that town was manned by an Explorer Post. In Shelton, a number of cars had to be stopped in the suburbs, as they were speeding trying to get home before the alert.

  • ANSONIA – Derby’s Hull Dye Works is leasing 40,000 sq ft. of the former Ansonia Wire & Cable Co plant for storage of finished goods, and future bleaching and dyeing. The plant complex is located on Main & East Main Streets. The area Hull is leasing is Plant 3, which fronts East Main.
  • DERBY – Fifty editors from France, Italy, and Switzerland arrive in Derby as guests of John Santangelo. Besides New York City, Derby is the only East Coast stop of their US tour. The Europeans are given keys to the city, and served diner at Mr. Santangelo’s Charlton Press
  • SEYMOUR – 32 flood evacuee tenants at the Kerite Court temporary housing off Pearl Street are told they must vacate by April 1, 1957.
  • SEYMOUR – Kerite announces it will discontinue its factory whistle at change of shifts, though it will continue to be used as a fire alarm.

July 21

  • DERBY – The New Haven Foundation announces a $20,000 gift to Griffin Hospital from the Gates Memorial Fund for expansion and improvement.

Monday, July 23, 1956

  • This has been one of the wettest Julys in years. 5.46″ of rain has fallen thus far. The total at the end of the month will be 6.18″.
  • ANSONIA – Democrat Joseph Doyle, clerk of the Board of Assessors, announces candidacy to replace Mayor Sheasby, who will not seek reelection.
  • ANSONIA – Girl Scout camp opens at Camp Loise Arthur, in the Hilltop section. Earlier in the month Brownie camp was conducted here.
  • SEYMOUR – The flood ravaged Seymour High School is on schedule for a September reopening.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Aldermen vote to change the zoning of a Brook Street near Howe Avenue from R-5 to CB-3, so a car wash can open there.

July 24

  • DERBY – Residents living near the east bank of the Naugatuck River in the Division Street area ask the Board of Aldermen to install a retaining wall to protect them from floods.
  • SEYMOUR – The Board of Education designates 3 member committee to look for an elementary school site in the Skokorat area. They also vote to ask Oxford to jointly build a new High School.

July 26

  • ANSONIA – Firemen of the newly organized Hilltop Hose Company complete negotiations with the Orange Fire Department to purchase of a used 450 gallon per minute Diamond T Suburbanite pumper. The firemen will now canvass the district to raise the funds to buy it.

July 27

  • SHELTON – Retired Rev. Carl A. Carlson arrives home at Elim Park. He was aboard the Swedish ocean liner Stockholm when it rammed the Italian ocean liner Andrea Doria off Nantucket on July 25, causing the later’s sinking. A total of 48 were killed or died of injuries. He grants an exclusive interview to the Evening Sentinel the following day, describing the collision as “a tremendous shock, and it seemed everything stopped at once. It was a terrible shock mentally and physically and at first the Stockholm was filled with the screams of women and children, but soon afterward it became calm”. Rev. Carlson was on his way to Sweden to visit his family, and has already booked passage on another Swedish ocean liner to convey him there next week.


Wednesday, August 1, 1956

  • SHELTON – The estate of Miss Elizabeth Nichols, who died on December 12, 1944, was held in a trust for her cousin. Now that this cousin has died, the rest goes to her former chauffeur, a Milford resident, after several legacies get paid, including $1000 to the Girl Scout Council. The estate values $77,548, a huge sum of money in 1956.

August 2

  • SEYMOUR – Fifty Derby Avenue and Pine Street residents attend the Seymour Emergency Disaster Committee meeting. They ask that they be given assistance to bring their properties back to their pre-flood appearance.
  • SEYMOUR – Oakville-Watertown beats the Seymour All-Stars 8-3, in the District 5 Little League championship.

August 3

  • ANSONIA – The Railroad Property, a large strip of land between Bridge Street and Canal Street, has been appraised for $100,080. The City wants to take over the property and put a 278 car parking lot there.
  • SHELTON – Fire causes $6,500 damage to a home on Yataka Trail in Pine Rock Park. It takes the Shelton and Stratford fire departments two hours to control the blaze.

August 4

  • ANSONIA – All but one of the several houses in the way of the east approach to the new Division Street Bridge has been torn down.
  • DERBY – Mayor Anthony Dirienzo is discharged from Deaconess Hospital in Brookline, MA, where he has been a patient since July 13 after undergoing observation, surgery, and treatment. He is brought back by Storm Ambulance. In a brief statement to the Sentinel he says he is feeling fine.

August 5

  • DERBY – Guiseppe Madonno, a cook aboard the recently sunken ocean liner Andrea Doria, is visiting his brother-in-law John Tedesco of 102 Olivia Street.
  • OXFORD – A water carnival on Swan Lake, conducted by the Swan Lake Estates’ Association, draws record crowd.

Monday, August 6, 1956

  • SEYMOUR – Popular television personality Ed Sullivan is involved in a serious head-on automobile accident on Derby Avenue, 1000 yards south of Cedar Street, at 1:25 AM. Three others, as well as the Ansonia driver of the other vehicle, are seriously hurt. Mr. Sullivan’s plane had made an unscheduled landing in Stratford, due to foggy weather. He was on his way, with his guests, to his Southbury country home.
  • DERBY – Ed Sullivan, and the Ansonia driver who struck his car, are both in fair condition at Griffin Hospital. Mr. Sullivan has chest and rib injuries. The three others in Mr. Sullivan’s car, including his son in law, are in serious condition at Griffin. The switchboard is flooded with national press inquiries, and numerous reporters descend on the hospital. A private detective is guarding his hospital room. Numerous telegrams wishing Mr. Sullivan a speedy recovery  from big names in the entertainment world also pour in – one of the first was from Jackie Gleason. More on the accident here.
  • ANSONIA – The Main Street widening project begins with the breaking up of the sidewalk near the old Methodist Church.
  • SEYMOUR – Town officials confirms State changed plans for the temporary Broad Street Bridge over the weekend. Many are disappointed to hear that the proposed bridge, which was supposed to carry automobiles, will now only be a footbridge. It is unofficially reported that the State balked at the $150,000 to $175,000 price tag of a 700′ long automobile span.

August 7

  • SHELTON – The East Village Land Company, a development firm, is incorporated.

August 8

  • SHELTON – The Board of Education votes to ask the Board of Aldermen to study the feasibility of adding classrooms to Huntington School, as well as a new wing to the new Shelton High School on Perry Hill Road.

August 9

  • SEYMOUR – The storefront of Rogol’s men’s clothing store on 141 Main Street is remodeled. The entire front is now glass and green aluminum. The store has been in that location since 1925, while the business started in 1910. It was very badly damaged in last year’s floods.
  • SEYMOUR – Town businessmen bitterly complain at a Selectmen’s’ meeting about the State plan for the Broad Street footbridge. They want a permanent vehicular bridge now.

August 10

  • DERBY – Ed Sullivan’s son-in-law, receives surgery for his broken left leg at Griffin Hospital. The telegrams and flowers have not ceased to pour in since Mr. Sullivan was admitted four days ago. The local flower shops are busy making and delivering floral arrangements from out of town well-wishers. 
  • DERBY – A railcar loaded with Milky Way candy bars catches fire while traveling south, and comes to a stop at the end of Burtville Avenue. Three firemen are overcome by smoke. $17,000 worth of candy bars lost.

August 11

  • SEYMOUR – The State accepting bids to demolish flood damaged lower Main Street homes, between street numbers 7 and 25.

Monday, August 13, 1956

  • DERBY – Ed Sullivan is discharged from Griffin Hospital, after being involved in an automobile accident in Seymour the week before. He faces a throng of reporters and photographers as he climbs into his automobile, which is driven by World War II war hero Col. Henry Mucci.

August 14

  • DERBY – The United Jewish Building Fund of the Associated Towns has bought the Derby Aerie of Eagles property, and the Hyde home next door, on Elizabeth Street. They want to build a synagogue, community center, and school there.

August 15

  • ANSONIA – A 14 year old boy has been admitted to Grace-New Haven Hospital with Bulbar Polio – the first case this year for the hospital. He did not get any polio shots, because his parents thought they were only for ages 12 and under. His condition is serious but not critical.
  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby declared August 19, 1956 a day of prayer and thanksgiving, on the first anniversary of the Black Friday flood, and urges all residents to go to churches to pray it does not happen again.
  • ANSONIA – The Sentinel features a picture of a crane removing a pile of flood-damaged cars from the municipal parking lot on Canal Street. The automobiles had not been formally abandoned by owners, which is why they have not moved until now. In the background, the Railroad Passenger Station still stands, abandoned and with smashed windows. It has since been replaced by an unpopular platform.
  • SEYMOUR – The State informs Town officials that Seymour will get a new footbridge to replace the Broad Street Bridge in October, which in turn will be replaced by a new vehicular span in 1957.

August 16

  • ANSONIA, SEYMOUR, & OXFORD – The Ansonia Red Cross announces the National chapter spent over one million dollars connected to the 1955 floods. $700,000 was spent assisting 700 Ansonia families, while the remainder was spent on Seymour and Oxford families. Based upon the current rate that the Ansonia chapter receives donations, it would take 200 years to reimburse the National chapter, if they were asked.
  • ANSONIA – The 14 year old polio victim dies in Grace New Haven Hospital. When this news breaks, many worried parent flood local doctors’ offices, trying to obtain the vaccine for their older teenagers.
  • ANSONIA – The recently completed St. Joseph’s auditorium in Warsaw Park will be used for first time today, by a pianist raising funds for St. Joseph’s Church on Jewett Street. At the time of its completion it was the largest auditorium in the Valley.

August 17

  • ANSONIA – There are 25 more vacant stores downtown since the August 19, 1955  flood. Bridge Street Bridge.
  • ANSONIA – Construction on the control area at the NIKE site at airport is in advanced stages. Construction on the launch area at Deerfield Lane and Osborn Road has slowed by rock ledge. A 12′ fence surrounds the area with signs reading “Government Property, Keep Out”
  • SEYMOUR – With the first anniversary of the Black Friday flood approaching, the Sentinel reminds readers that the State of Emergency was never lifted for Broad Street, Pine Street, and Derby Avenue. All still show visible damage from flood.
  • SHELTON – Mayor Malachi LeMay is at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Board of Aldermen president Charles Frager is acting in his absence, despite the fact he underwent surgery and is doing so from his bed at Griffin Hospital.
  • SHELTON – The Little League field for the new South League is completed at Sunnyside Park.

Sunday, August 19

  • The first anniversary of the Black Friday flood passes quietly. Many flock to the churches.
  • SHELTON – A 60’x40′ barn on the Joseph Block farm on East Village Road is destroyed by fire.

Wednesday, August 22, 1956

  • 4 people are rushed to Grace-New Haven Hospital with suspected polio, including a 9 year old Shelton girl, and a 32 year old Ansonia businessman who lives in Derby. 
  • SEYMOUR – The High School, which was badly damaged in last year’s floods, should be ready to open in time for the new school year.
  • SHELTON – A 25 year old Willoughby Road man is arrested when State and Shelton police raid his home and find two stills.

August 23

  • ANSONIA – The State to give Ansonia $3,088 for fire equipment ruined in last year’s floods, as well as $6,226 for flood losses at Mead School.
  • DERBY –  Beard Construction Company of Shelton is building a sand processing plant just north of the Main Street bridge, on the west bank of the Naugatuck River. It will process sand taken from the riverbed.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Aldermen building committee recommends an 8-room addition to Huntington School and a whole new wing for the Shelton High School on Perry Hill Road.

August 24

  • ANSONIA – The New Smith Building will be completed at Main & East Main Streets around October 15. It will be Ansonia’s first fully air conditioned building, located on the site of Anson Phelps’ old copper mill, which had been built in the 1840s.
  • OXFORD – A Seymour pilot makes a forced landing on an open lot on Riggs Street when his single engine plane stalls at 3000 feet. He is uninjured.

August 25

  • ANSONIA – 3000 watch the second annual “Music in the Air” drum and bugle competition at Nolan Field, featuring five of the best bands in Northeast, sponsored by the Sutter-Terlizzi Post American Legion.. The winner is the Old Colonials of Kingston, NY.
  • ANSONIA – Mrs. Louise M. Clarke dies in Portsmouth, NH, at age 86. She was superintendent of Julia Day Nursery from 1915 to 1950.

August 26

  • ANSONIA – Reception held by the Valley Clergy Club at the AME Zion Church, welcoming the new Clinton AME minister, Rev. Sampson M. Green.
  • SHELTON – Melvin H. Roe, of Trumbull, dies at age 40. He was the owner of the Derby Tank and Welding Company on Brewster Lane, and the Branford Tank and Heating Company, also in Shelton.

Monday, August 27, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Education is informed that neither Ansonia High School or Pine High School will be ready to open until September 10, due to work being done on the classrooms.
  • ANSONIA – Construction begins on the High Point housing project on Hill Street. Two model homes are under construction – one ranch and one cape.
  • OXFORD – Residents approve a 10-year pact to send their high school students to Seymour at a Town Meeting. Also, grammar schools will not open until September 17 because the new units at Oxford School will not be ready until then.

August 28

  • ANSONIA – The last Wakelee family leaves Wakelee Avenue when Mr. & Mrs. Robert L. and their 3 sons leave 257 Wakelee Avenue for Pennsylvania. The family has been there since the 1840s, and the street gets its name from the Wakelee farm, which was located on the upper part of the street.

August 29

  • ANSONIA – The Eagle Hose, Hook & Ladder Company’s parade carriage returns to Ansonia, after being refurbished in West Haven.
  • DERBY – Two small boys climb into boats they find moored near Riverview Park in Shelton, and start floating down river. They start screaming once they realize they’re heading for the Ousatonic Dam. Two staff members from the Recreation Camp jump into the camp boat The Kiwanian and rescue them. One was only 200′ away from going over the dam.

August 30

  • ANSONIA – The Cameron Electrical Manufacturing Company sells its building north of the Ansonia Post Office to the Ansonia Savings Bank. The bank plans to raze it for parking.
  • DERBY – The largest girders for the new Connecticut Turnpike bridge over the Housatonic River are being unloaded at the Derby freight station, as it has the best facility to handle them in the region. The girders are then trucked over the Commodore Hull Bridge, and down River Road to Stratford. The Connecticut Turnpike (I-95) is under construction at this time in history.
  • SEYMOUR – Residents of Skokorat have formed a new civic group, the Skokorat Area Association, for civic betterment and social functions.

August 31

  • Only .98″ of rain fell in August 1956, compared to 15.86″ during the flood month of August 1955.


Saturday, September 1, 1956

  • ANSONIA – Hilltop Hose Company receives the keys to its first fire engine, a used Diamond T 450 gallon pumper, from its previous owners the Orange Fire Department, at ceremonies at the Ansonia Airport.
  • DERBY – Paul Mester closes the East Side Pharmacy at 14-16 Main Street, after running it for 42 years. The landmark building has been sold to the State to  make way for the new Naugatuck River Bridge (the current Main Street/Route 34 Bridge is located south of where the bridge was in 1956. The roadway goes through Mester’s pharmacy).

September 2

  • SHELTON – Lightning strikes a house on Sorghum Road, causing minor damage.

Monday, September 3, 1956

  • ANSONIA – Work begins on replacing the Division Street Bridge, destroyed in last year’s August flood.
  • ANSONIA – A 100 year old barn and 12 tons of hay are destroyed by a two-alarm fire off Marshall Lane. Residents of Bartholomew Road are forced to wet down their roofs with garden hoses due to flying embers. The Ansonia, Derby, and Woodbridge fire departments respond, and are forced to carry water to the scene in tankers due to lack of hydrants. This is the first alarm for the Hilltop Hose Company’s newly acquired fire engine, which they purchased only two days ago.

September 5

  • ANSONIA – City schools open. The number of students per school who attend on the first day are – Larkin School: 237, Lincoln School: 303, Mead School: 109, Nolan School: 325, Peck School: 311, Willis School: 392, Assumption Roman Catholic: 690, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic: 326. Figures for Ansonia High School and Pine High School are not available as they do not start until September 10.
  • DERBY – City schools open. The number of students per school who attend on the first day are – Derby High School: 421, Irving School: 308, Lincoln School: 242, Franklin School: 265, Hawthorne School: 247, St. Michael’s Roman Catholic: 439, St. Mary’s Roman Catholic: 654.
  • SHELTON – City schools open. The number of students per school who attend on the first day are – Shelton High School: 567, Ferry School: 299, Fowler School: 381, Commodore Hull School: 172, Huntington School: 630, Lafayette School: 267, Sunnyside School: 316.

September 7

  • Although 2.57″ of rain falls in a 24 hour period, the Naugatuck River rises only slightly, due to dredging of it’s channel by the Army Corps of Engineers. Has this occured after the August 1955 flood, before the dredging, it could have been devastating.
  • ANSONIA – The American Brass Company has set up its own flood warning gauges along the Naugatuck River at its Waterbury, Torrington, and Ansonia plants, and has drawn contingency plans if the river rises to a certain point.

September 8

  • DERBY & SHELTON – Shelton Metal Products, located on 304 Seymour Avenue in Derby, has bought land on Shelton’s Access Road (which runs parallel to Bridgeport Avenue). The firm plans to build a new plant there.
  • SHELTON – Mrs. Blanche Zuckerman, president of the Shelton Yacht and Cabana Club, plans to purchase 75 acres from the Swedish Baptist Home and build a $1,000,000 country club with a 3/4 acre swimming pool and restaurant facilities, along 300 boat marina with a 600′ waterfront, and a hotel. Although not every one of these projects are realized, this is the very beginning of the nearly 50 year history of Pinecrest Country Club.

Monday, September 10, 1956

  • DERBY – The temperature drops to 36 degrees by 7 AM. (see this date, 1931)
  • DERBY – A smoky fire at American Laundry on Cemetery Avenue causes 23 female employees to evacuate but little permanent damage.

September 11

  • DERBY – Mayor Anthony Direnzo survives a challenge in the Democratic Caucus from Vincent DeRosa by a vote of 1488-1015. DeRosa had presented a full slate against Direnzo, but the only winner on his slate was Fred Pepe, who won the 3rd Ward seat by one vote.
  • SEYMOUR – The State confirms that formal condemnation procedures have begun, at the request of Seymour’s Health Officer, to remove flood damaged structures at 7, 9-13, 17-19, and 25 Main Street.

September 12

  • ANSONIA – Ansonia residents spent $7,694,000 on food in 1955, averaging $1400 per family. The New England average is $1270.
  • ANSONIA – Joseph A. Doyle defeats John J. Ready at the Democratic Caucus at the Capitol Theater by a vote of 808-536.
  • SEYMOUR – Seymour Manufacturing Company makes a $5,000 donation to Griffin Hospital.
  • SEYMOUR – The pen and inkwells at Seymour Post Office have been replaced by new ballpoint pens, attached to the desks by 2′ long chains.

September 13

  • ANSONIA – There are 444 students at Ansonia High School, 184 at Pine High School, and 410 at the Junior High School. Combined with the elementary schools, this makes a total of 2,815 public school students, which combined with the Catholic school students totals 3,731.
  • SHELTON – Two construction workers are injured when a pneumatic drill sets off a blasting cap in a hole being driven for a utility pole on Shelton Avenue. One of the injured, an Ansonia man, may lose sight in both eyes.

September 14

  • ANSONIA – The Condon and Murphy Building on East Main Street, between the new Smith building and Ansonia City Hall, will be sold to Joseph Smith for about $45,000. It was being used as a storage warehouse. Years before it was a stable for a trucking company. Originally it was the carbarn for the electric locomotive that ran between Ansonia and the Derby Docks.

September 15

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – The season begins with Ansonia defeating Leavenworth Tech at Nolan Field 33-7. Derby High School beats North Haven at Coon Hollow 6-0.

September 16

  • SHELTON – Mullite Refractories on 195 Canal Street suffers a $5,000 fire. Oil sprayed a kiln’s electrical board, setting it on fire.

Monday, September 17, 1956

  • DERBY – Family of three nearly asphyxiated from a gas leak in their in Minerva Street flat.
  • DERBY – Ground broken for the new Storm Engine Co. #2 firehouse, in the yard of the old Irving School off Olivia Street.
  • OXFORD – Oxford students return to school. Because of overcrowding, in addition to Oxford Center School classes are also being held in the town library, the Grange Hall, and the Congregational Parish House. A total of 513 are enrolled.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Shelton High School defeats Seymour High School 13-6 in French Memorial Park in Seymour.

September 18

  • ANSONIA – The appearance of tall grass growing alongside the Naugatuck River, where none grew before, has some wondering if it is cleaner now than it was before 1955 floods.
  • ANSONIA – The New Haven Foundation gives the Naugatuck Valley Salvation Army a $3000 grant toward completing their new building at Lester and High Streets.
  • DERBY – Roofing contractor and City resident Arthur J. Fagan, president of A. J. Fagan, Inc., is seriously injured when he falls 20 feet from the rear of Derby Methodist Church.

September 19

  • DERBY – Miss Isabel M. Smith dies at the age 97 in Harford Hospital. She was the granddaughter of Fitch Smith, who was the brother of Sheldon Smith. The Smith brothers, along with John Lewis and Anson Phelps (for whom Ansonia is named), were considered the founding members of the venture that created Birminghamwithin the Town of Derby in the 1830s.
  • SHELTON – Rev. Martin J. McDermott, an assistant at St. Joseph’s Church, is named chaplain of the State Catholic War Veterans.

September 20

  • SEYMOUR – The Board of Selectmen approves the numbering of houses on Bungay Road. 
  • SHELTON – St. Lawrence Church pastor Rev. Alfred J. Carmody announces a $75,000 capital campaign to build a new combination church and parish center off Shelton Avenue will launch on October 14. The new church will be a “modern adaptation of the Norman style suitable to its country setting”.

September 22

  • DERBY – The Derby High School band unveils their new uniforms at today’s football game at Coon Hollow Park.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Shelton High School upsets Ansonia High School 13-7 at Lafayette Field in Shelton. Derby High School ties Lyman Hall of Wallingford 6-6 at Coon Hollow Park in Derby. 

Monday, September 24, 1956

  • DERBY – Two Shelton boys, aged 9 and 15, climb up 45′ ladder extension they took nearby, to get into Sam’s Sport Shop on 294 Main Street. The nine year old does so from the First Street side, which is actually four stories up, and had he not weighed so little the ladder probably would have snapped and he would have fallen to his death. Once inside, he lets the 15 year old in through the front door on the Main Street side. The two steal 4 guns & cash. They then go to Island Park, fire one of the guns, and left for Shelton. In the uproar that follows, both turn themselves in soon afterward. Chief Manion calls it one of the most spectacular burglaries he has seen in his career.

September 25

  • SHELTON – The Star Pin Company marks its 90th anniversary with a reception at its Canal Street factory.

September 26

  • DERBY – Frances Osborne Kellogg, one of Derby’s most dynamic women of the 20th century, dies at her home at Osbornedale Farm at 500 Hawthrone Avenue. Her full obituary has been reproduced here.
  • SEYMOUR – It is recommended that the new Route 8 pass over the Second and Third Street area, since most of the dwellings are uninhabitable due to the flood, and any area left over be made into parking.

September 27

  • SEYMOUR – A a special town meeting, residents vote to recommend that the relocated Route 8 Expressway over Second and Third Street area be on a steel base, rather than on dirt fill. 
  • SEYMOUR – At the same town meeting, the Board of Selectmen is authorized to secure an option to purchase the Hutwohl property on Skokorat Street for a school, which will be called Paul Chatfield School.

September 28

  • ANSONIA – The city and state reach a tentative agreement on the new Maple Street Bridge. The western approaches will be north of the old approaches, eliminating need for taking seizing properties south of it. The Vatelas and Shays properties, where structures that were demolished right after the flood once stood, will be taken for the western approaches. On the east side, one of the three Gardella buildings will be seized.
  • ANSONIA – Farrel-Birmingham receives 2 huge new cranes which arrive on several flatcars for its Ansonia plant. The cranes can lift 75 and 60 tons respectively.
  • ANSONIA – A fire which started in an oil burner in the basement of the Tremont Building on Main Street and Tremont Street causes $3000 in damage to the first floor dry cleaner and drug store, and the third floor Valley Dress Company, a garment factory Valley Dress Company. There is no damage to the second floor Tremont Lanes bowing alleys.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – The Branford Hornets defeat Derby 32-6 at Coon Hollow Park.

September 29

  • SHELTON – The Bridgeport Hydraulic Company  buys 128.5 acres on the west side of the railroad tracks near Birchbank, for protection of the Housatonic well fields.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia defeats Crosby 27-7 at Nolan Field. Shelton defeats Wilby at Waterbury Municipal Stadium 27-7. Seymour defeats Lyman Hall 25-12 at Doolittle Field in Wallingford.

September 30

  • DERBY – A potential strike involving 300 employees of Housatonic Dying and Printing Company on Roosevelt Drive is averted by a last minute settlement between the company and union.


Monday, October 1, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Church of the Assumption fires a up a huge new oil burner for the first time, after it was installed by the Derby Coal and Oil Company. It replaced the Church’s original boiler which dated to 1910, and had been converted from coal.
  • DERBY – Frances Kellogg’s will stipulates that 1/3 of her fortune goes to Derby Neck Library. Half of her fortune, as well as most of Osbonredale Farms, goes to the State Park and Forest Commission to maintain the new Osbornedale State Park. 1/6 will go to the UCONN animal husbandry program. Her chauffer and his wife, Mr. & Mrs. Charles Connors, retain lifetime use of her home at 500 Hawthorne Avenue. Upon their decease, it too will go to the State of Connecticut. 
  • SHELTON – A recently renovated house on Healy Crossroads is completely gutted by fire.

October 2

  • DERBY – A 65 year old employee of Mt. St. Peter’s Cemetery is seriously injured when he falls off the back of a truck at the cemetery.

October 3

  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby cuts the ceremonial ribbon for new the High Point housing development on High Street. A&H Construction uses the occasion to announce the donation to the City of 3.5 acres for recreation, including a tennis court and baseball diamond off Prindle Avenue between Ford Street and Benz Street.
  • DERBY – Mr. Charles Connors, the chauffer of the late Frances Kellogg is found dead in bed early this morning. It was only announced two days before that he and his wife inherited $5,000 and lifetime use of the Kellogg homestead from Mrs. Kellogg. 

October 4

  • ANSONIA – Ansonia honors John Cooke of North State Street at Rapp’s Paradise Inn in Derby. He is on the Olympic-bound Yale Rowing Crew.
  • DERBY – The East End Hose Company will buy a water tanker, due to the lack of hydrants in the area.
  • DERBY – Storm Engine Company Ambulance Corps purchases a new Cadillac ambulance and puts it in service today. It replaces the corps’ first ambulance, a 1948 Buick Flexible, which will be kept as a spare.

October 5

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Shelton beats the East Haven Yellowjackets at Lafayette Field 21-0.

October 6

  • ANSONIA – City native Ed Begley is granted a divorce from actress Martha Raye in Juarez, Mexico.
  • ANSONIA – Eugene Diotelevi and Virginia Frattalone are married at Holy Rosary Church. At their reception at AM Hall in Derby, they have an impressive 200 pound wedding cake that looks exactly like Holy Rosary Church, with figurines of the wedding party in front.
  • DERBY – A 20 year old auxiliary fireman is seriously injured when he falls off the ladder truck near its firehouse. The truck was responding to a fire alarm box on High Street, which turned out to be a false alarm. A priest from St. Michael’s, the fire company’s chaplain, accompanied him all the way to Griffin Hospital.
  • DERBY – Housatonic Council is considering purchasing a 200 acre area, including a 75 acre lake, in the town of Goshen to serve as a Boy Scout campsite.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia beats the Stamford Black Knights in an away game 14-7. Seymour upsets Southington 13-7 at French Park.

October 7

  • The traveling Eisenhower bandwagon, designed to reelect the President, passes through the Valley.

Monday, October 8, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Aldermen votes not to accept the Hilltop Hose Company into the Ansonia Fire Department at this time. The Board does vote to increase fire protection in the Hilltop area, however, by digging new water holes. The Board also votes to ask the New Haven Railroad to tear down the old passenger station that was destroyed in the 1955 Flood, as it is a health risk. In other matters, the Board votes to ask the water company to fluoridate the City water supply, to buy land near Peck School and property off Grove Street, and to accept the 3.5 acres off Prindle Avenue gifted by the A&H Construction Company on October 3.
  • SHELTON – A 67-year old Ansonia man is struck by a car at the west end of the viaduct bridge, and is carried all the way to the other side of the bridge. He dies of broken neck. The Derby man who struck him is hospitalized for emotional trauma.

October 9

  • ANSONIA – The contract to raze the old Ansonia railroad passenger station is awarded to the Beard Construction Company in Shelton. Work will begin immediately.
  • SHELTON – Frank Cica of the Little Elephants Republican Club wins the City’s Republican primary, narrowly defeating Henry J. DeMarco 1221-1203. Ironically, DeMarco won both the First and Third Wards, but Cica’s overwhelming victory in the Second Ward ensured his victory.

October 11

  • ANSONIA – The poles that will eventually hold Ansonia’s Christmas decorations are erected along Main Street.
  • DERBY – Mayor Anthony Dirienzo defeats Democratic primary challenger Vincent DeRosa 1547-824, carrying all 3 wards. Unfamiliarity with machines with no party levers caused 319 votes to be voided.

October 12

  • ANSONIA – A new 3-position telephone switchboard has been installed at Farrel-Birmingham. It will serve both the Ansonia and Derby plants.
  • DERBY – The John H. Collins Post, American Legion, breaks ground for a new hall on the former Warner property on Caroline Street.
  • SEYMOUR – First Selectman Henry F. Mannweiler starts the second year of his 13th consecutive term. He will not seek reelection, and has held the office of First Selectman since 1931, longer than anyone in Seymour. He also serves as the Chief of Police and is in charge of town charity cases.

October 13

  • ANSONIA – Popular Shelton policeman/musician Chester Karkut suffers possible fractured ribs and contusions when an out of control car rams a parked car, then his, on Wakelee Avenue. The man driving the other car is arrested for driving under the influence, and reckless driving.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia defeats the Wilby High School Wildcats 53-0 at Nolan Field. Shelton defeats the Southington Knights in an away game 14-0. Seymour defeats Derby 24-7 at French Memorial Park. Two Derby players are removed from the field by ambulance.

October 14

  • ANSONIA – Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien of Hartford blesses new the new branch offices of the Diocesan Bureau of Social Service in the Blanko Building on 36 East Main Street.
  • ANSONIA – Right Rev. Amvrossy, Bishop of Alaska, celebrates liturgy at the Three Saints Russian Orthodox Church.
  • ANSONIA – A woman shoots her husband in the arm at their 11 Factory Street home during a tussle after they return home from a dance. He’s in fair condition. Both are arrested.
  • SEYMOUR – Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien of Hartford conducts high mass at St. Augustine’s Church for its centennial anniversary celebration. Hundreds attend, including 27 visiting priests.
  • SHELTON – Bishop Laurence Shehan of Bridgeport celebrates mass for St. Lawrence Church in the Huntington School auditorium to start $75,000 campaign to build a new church off Shelton Avenue.
  • SHELTON –  The Shelton War Memorial dedicated with impressive ceremonies and a small parade, at Riverview Park. The keynote speaker is James Hartman. He was the first Shelton man in action in World War II, and was Shelton’s only Bataan Death March survivor.

Monday, October 15, 1956

  • ANSONIA – Demolition begins on the vacant, flood damaged 72-year old Ansonia passenger station. People are dissatisfied because the new platform does not sell tickets or maintain a counter, and people have to make a toll call to New Haven to get train information.
  • SEYMOUR – Seymour Redevelopment agency recommends taking all of Pine Street for the proposed expansion of Seymour High School.

October 16

  • ANSONIA – Ansonia’s librarian says the library needs an addition in her annual report.
  • ANSONIA – John J. Mahoney, who serves as police chief from 1929 to 1952, dies at his Ellis Street home. He was first appointed to the police force on October 12, 1913.
  • DERBY – East End Hose Company has bought a 500 gallon tanker truck. It will be put into service shortly.

October 17

  • ANSONIA – Fire in a vacant second floor apartment on 75 Factory Street

October 18

  • SEYMOUR – Work starts on the temporary footbridge on Broad Street. This replaces the demolished, flood damaged bridge that was here. A new bridge is scheduled to be built next year.
  • SHELTON – Ground broken for the new A.H. Nilson Company factory at the corner of Bridgeport Avenue and Healy’s Crossroads in Well’s Hollow.

October 20

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Shelton beats Lyman Hall of Wallingford 37-19 at Lafayette Field. Seymour defeats North Haven 32-18 at French Memorial Park.

Monday, October 22, 1956

  • ANSONIA – 146 new homes authorized in Ansonia in the fiscal year that ended on October 14.
  • SEYMOUR – The Chamber of Commerce votes to send a letter to the Governor, urging that the new Route 8 highway be on a steel bridge, rather than on fill, when it passes through the Second Street and Third Street areas. 
  • SHELTON – St. Lawrence Church announces $92,525 has been raised for its new church fund, smashing it’s goal of $75,000.

October 25

  • ANSONIA – Court of Common Pleas in Waterbury finds the City Board of Zoning Appeals acted illegally when it granted Keyes Funeral Home permission to open on 20 Lester Street, because the area is zoned residential. This is despite the fact that there was another funeral home right next door, that was “grandfathered” in before the zoning took effect. Keyes Funeral Home was previously on High Street, and it was destroyed in the August 19, 1955 flood.
  • DERBY – A man eating at a Main Street restaurant collapses after choking on corned beef, and begins to lose consciousness. He is saved from choking to death by a crew from Storm Ambulance, who dislodges the blockage and administer oxygen.

October 26

  • SEYMOUR – Demolition begins on buildings damaged in the August 19, 1955 flood on lower Main Street.

October 27

  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia destroys Derby 40-0 at Coon Hollow Park. Gene Smalls scores 27 points in the game, making him the highest scoring player in the State up to this point in the season, with a total of 123 points. Seymour beats Branford 35-2 at French Memorial Park. Shelton slams North Haven 48-0 in an away game.

October 28

  • ANSONIA – The new Salvation Army building is dedicated on Lester Street.

Monday, October 29, 1956

  • ANSONIA – David Samuel Levine, a former Board of Education member and former city sheriff, suffers a fatal heart attack while playing cards on 374 Main Street. The City’s present sheriff gets so upset he suffers a heart attack, too, but is apparently revived at Griffin Hospital.

October 31

  • DERBY – A truck ridiculously overloaded with Christmas trees has it’s load shift while passing under the Route 8 Bridge on Main Street, and almost tips over. The truck is shored up, and part of it’s load is transferred to another truck. 
  • SEYMOUR & OXFORD – The Naugatuck Valley River Control Commission approves construction of $2,478,000 dam at Bladen’s Brook in Seymour one mile above its joining with the Naugatuck River, and another costing $1,412,000 on the Little River on Oxford – 2.3 miles from its meeting with Naugatuck River. Both dams are intended to protect from floods.
  • SHELTON – Star Pin Company will buy the machinery, inventory, trade names, and goodwill of the DeLong Hook and Eye Co. of Philadelphia, from Scovill Manufacturing of Waterbury. DeLong makes straight pins and safety pins.
  • HALLOWE’EN – The 1.68″ of rain puts a damper on Hallowe’en, keeping many indoors. One false alarm is pulled in Ansonia. In Shelton 94 boys and girls are successfully called during the Hallowe’en telephone hour by the Shelton Playground Commission. A 12 year old boy falls from running board of car on Hawthorne Avenue, Shelton, while trick or treating – taken to Griffin Hospital with possible broken bones and concussion.


Thursday, November 1, 1956

  • DERBY – Airman Joseph Moccia, 19, of 17 Seventh Street, dies at at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, after being blown off back of a truck by the backwash of a 4 engine airplane. He graduated from Derby High School in 1954, and was co-captain of the baseball and basketball teams his senior year.
  • DERBY – Medical laboratory opens on 17 Elizabeth Street.

November 2

  • ANSONIA – The State Highway Department is designing a new Maple Street Bridge to replace the one destroyed in the August 1955 flood. The roadway will be 30′ wide plus two sidewalks, and will be higher than the old span.
  • DERBY – Derby Business Men’s Association opens a parking lot on lower Caroline Street.
  • SEYMOUR – The Seymour High School Student Council sponsors a Spook Swing dance at the High School’s  gymnasium. This is the first event held at the gymnasium since it was renovated after the 1955 Flood.

November 3

  • DERBY – Derby Savings Bank surpasses $30,000,000 in assets.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia defeats Torrington in an away game 25-12. Derby beats New Canaan 13-0 in an away game. Seymour beats East Haven 13-9, its first victory against that team in 10 years, in an away game.

November 4

  • OXFORD – Hubert L. Stoddard presents the Oxford Congregational Church with a hi-fi sound system that can play carillon music that can be heard 3 miles from church. Choir and organ music can be heard, too

Monday, November 5, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The State Department of Education has approved $70,189.64 for remodeling and adding a gymnasium to Lincoln School, and $27,852.81 for remodeling Mead School in Ansonia.
  • OXFORD – The Board of Education is discussing shifting the two 4th grade classes currently in the Oxford School auditorium, and the 6th grade class currently at at Grange Hall, to Beacon Falls.
  • SHELTON – The new Ansonia-Derby Telephone Directory features the Edward J. Lynch Building at Laurel Heights Sanatorium on the cover. Dr. Lynch was superintendent and medical director of Laurel Heights from 1916 to 1954.

November 6 – Election Day 
See the Ansonia entry for links for the federal and state races. The press referred to this election as the “Eisenhower Landslide”, as Republicans benefited from the President’s popularity.

  • ANSONIA – The Evening Sentinel offers up to date telephone updates on the 1956 elections. 12,321 calls are received between 6:30 PM and 2:25 AM.
  • ANSONIA – The City backs President Eisenhower over Democratic challenger Adlai Stevenson 6191-3539. Ansonia also backs Republican incumbent SenatorPrescott Bush (father of the 41st President, grandfather of the 43rd President) in his successful reelection bid over Thomas Dodd (father of Senator Christopher Dodd) 4822-4636. Republicans also wins the local state and federal representative races. Mayor Sheasby declined to seek reelection, so Democrat Joseph Doyle defeats Judge Leon McCarthy to become Ansonia’s mayor 4933-4766. Republicans control the Board of Aldermen 12-3. Voter turnout is near 90%.
  • DERBY – The city backs President Eisenhower over Stevenson 3136-2372. Breaking from the rest of the Valley, Derby backs Dodd over Bush by a decisive 3099-2309. Democrats win most other races. Incumbent Mayor Dirienzo defeats his Republican challenger Anthony DeLallo 3260-2266. Democrats and Republicans are now equally represented on the Board of Aldermen 3-3. A $65,000 bond referendum to build a sewer in the Maple Shade area and new field house at Coon Hollow Park passes 3211-1834.
  • OXFORD – The town backs President Eisenhower over Stevenson 960-290, and Senator Bush over Dodd 862-348. Republicans win most other races.
  • SEYMOUR – The town backs President Eisenhower over Stevenson 3089-1576, and Senator Bush over Dodd 2675-1873. Republicans win most other races. Turnout near 90%.
  • SHELTON – The City backs Eisenhower over Stevenson 5475-2576, and Senator Bush over Dodd 4389-3165. Republicans wins most other elections. This includes Frank Cicia, of the Little Elephant Club of the Republican Party, who defeats Democratic incumbent Mayor Malachi LeMay 4366-3391. Republicans also take complete control of the Board of Aldermen. Voter turnout near 90%. A bond referendum for new school additions and a new city hall-police station and fire headquarters passes 1698-1139.

November 7

  • DERBY – Hundreds attend funeral of Airman Basic Joseph Moccia at the Scarpa Funeral Home on 36 Fifth Street. Flags are at half mast across the city. The wake took two days. He is buried with military honors at Mt. St. Peters. Airman Moccia died from an accident at Lackland Air Force Base on November 1.

November 10

  • ANSONIA & SHELTON – The Army Corps of Engineers announces 16 housing units will be erected at both the Ansonia and Shelton NIKE sites.
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Ansonia beats Sacred Heart 39-0 at Nolan Field. Shelton beats Branford 46-12 in away game, winning Housatonic League Championship since they are undefeated. One Shelton player, a sophomore, breaks his arm. Only Derby stands in Shelton’s way for an undefeated season. Derby defeats Amity 21-14 in an away game. Seymour, which has had a less than stellar season, pulls a huge upset by tying undefeated Naugatuck 0-0 in an away game, breaking Naugy’s winning streak.

November 11 – Veterans’ Day

  • ANSONIA – Holy Rosary Church burns its mortgage at solemn high mass attended by the auxiliary bishop of Hartford, Rev. John Hackett. Later 640 attend a banquet at Actor’s Colony Inn in Derby, where a second copy of the $65,000 mortgage is burned.
  • ANSONIA – World War I, World War II, and Korean War veterans and dignitaries gather at the Naval Gun at the Ansonia Armory at 11:00 AM for Veterans’ Day ceremonies. Rev. Ross Morrell of Christ Church urges all to pray harder than ever for peace, saying we’re on the brink of World War III. It is understandable he and many others felt this way, as world tensions were extremely high as the Soviets were crushing the Hungarian Revolution, and Britain, France and Israel were fighting Egypt in the Suez Crisis.
  • SEYMOUR – The town observes 2 minutes of silence at 11:00 AM for Veterans’ Day, then breaks out in church bells and factory whistles.

Monday, November 12, 1956

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Aldermen hold their last meeting before the new Board is sworn in. This is the last meeting for 10 Aldermen. 7 didn’t seek reelection, and 3 Democrats were defeated in the Eisenhower landslide on election day.
  • ANSONIA – The City’s oldest twins celebrate their 85th birthday – Michael Frawley of Main Street, and Mrs. Bridget Larkin of Johnson Street. Mrs. Larkin has twin sons.
  • SHELTON – Board of Aldermen approve the following new streets: Beacon Hill Terrace, Oak Hill Lane, Fern Drive, Deerfield Road, Meadowbrook Drive, Sunset Drive, Newport Avenue, Weybossett Street, and 2400′ of Valley Road.

November 14

  • Retail sales in all five Valley towns in the second quarter of 1956 reached $73,203,589. The breakdown was: Ansonia: $31,732,625; Derby: $10,844,621; Oxford: $237,407; Seymour: $14,682,532; and Shelton $15,706,354
  • DERBY – Harry A. Haugh Jr., inventor of the electromatic traffic signal, dies in Camden, NJ at age 60. He was born on the corner of Fifth Street and Minerva Street. Read his obituary and invention here.
  • OXFORD – State fire marshal condemns Grange Hall for use by overflow students from Oxford School. The students must be out in two days. The Board of Education says in this emergency situation, both the Oxford Center and Quaker Farms firehouses can be used if necessary. Beacon Falls has scheduled a town meeting, to consider giving Oxford permission to use a recently closed schoolhouse.
  • SEYMOUR – 60 cases of measles among town kindergarteners causes the Health Officer to warn of a possible epidemic.

November 15

  • ANSONIA – Mayor Sheasby gives notice he will veto a Board of Aldermen action to raise the number of regular police officers from 19 to 25. He gives 5 reasons why in a letter.
  • SHELTON – Catastrophe narrowly averted when a hose from a tanker truck carrying 5000 gallons of gasoline catches fire from static electricity, while filling a gas station at 334 Howe Avenue. The driver shuts off off valve, and speeds down the street with dripping, flaming gasoline following him. The fire is put out with a fire extinguisher, though had the fire caused an explosion it could have been disastrous in this densely populated part of town.

November 16

  • ANSONIA – Two police officers assist in the birth of a baby boy on South Cliff Street.
  • OXFORD – The State fire marshal extends the deadline for all overflow students to be out of Grange Hall to November 21.

November 17

  • ANSONIA – An 8-year old boy narrowly escapes injury when an oil burner explodes in his first floor apartment in a 6-family tenement building on 49 Colburn Street. The fire is contained to the one apartment, though a fireman is hurt by glass.
  • DERBY – Harry Haugh’s funeral services at Lewis Funeral Home at 148 Elizabeth Street are largely attended. He is interred at Oak Cliff Cemetery.

Monday, November 19, 1956

  • Random sample of Thanksgiving turkey prices – 47-53 cents per pound at Klarides on 271 Bank Street in Seymour, and at Vollaro’s on Hill Street in Shelton. 45-49 cents per pound at the A&P supermarkets in Ansonia and Derby as well as the Fulton supermarkets, which are located in all 4 towns.
  • ANSONIA – The Board of Education votes to send letters to the parents of 21 non residents attending Ansonia High School who are not paying tuition. The letter will ask them to appear at the December 3 meeting to explain themselves.
  • ANSONIA – The poor box at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on Hubbell Avenue is broken into, and the contents stolen.
  • OXFORD – The Bailey Bridge on Laughlin Road is removed, and construction starts on a permanent replacement the following day. The Barry Road bridge is being repaired. The O’Neil Road bridge will be rebuilt soon. All were damaged or destroyed in the August 1955 Flood.
  • SEYMOUR – The Police Chief warns citizens to stop using the new Broad Street footbridge, as the temporary span is not yet completed and is dangerous.
  • SHELTON – Fire damages Eddie Grecco’s Hill Top Lunch on Bridgeport Avenue.

November 20

  • DERBY – The prize herds of 150 Holstein cattle at Osbornedale Farm, and 175 Jersey cattle at Bassett farm, owned by the late Mrs. Francis Osborne Kellogg, are sold to Hilltop farm in Suffield.
  • OXFORD – At a special town meeting, the citizens of Beacon Falls reject a proposal to allow Oxford School students to use their recently closed Center School. Overflow students from Oxford School were being taught in Grange Hall, which the State Fire Marshall has ordered vacated of students by November 21.
  • SHELTON – Valley Hungarian Relief organized at Pulaski Hall, plan to hold fundraisers to aid refugees after the failed Hungarian Revolution
  • SHELTON – Boxcar loaded with lumber is discovered on fire near Indian Well in the late evening. The fire goes to two alarms, with firemen pouring water on the smoldering car for 4 hours. An Echo Hose H&L pumper becomes stuck in the mud up to its bumper while drafting water out of the Housatonic River and had to be towed out. Finally, after 2 AM the following morning, the fire appears to be out, and the boxcar is towed to Derby by switcher.

November 21

  • DERBY – As the Storm Engine Company leaves Echo Hose H&L in Shelton, where they were standing by while that city fought a boxcar fire at Indian Well, at 2:25 AM, the receive a call that the same boxcar has been moved, and is now on fire near Commerce Street. The Storms quickly extinguish the fire – they think. They are called back at 4:30 AM, and spend another 35 minutes extinguishing it. At 5:30 AM, the boxcar is on fire again. The Derby Fire Department spends for another 4 hours pouring water on it as the lumber is unloaded, finally extinguishing the fire.
  • DERBY – The Fathers’ Club presents Derby High School with a new flag at a pre-Thanksgiving game pep rally.
  • OXFORD – State Fire Marshal gives Oxford School permission to continue using Grange Hall to handle overflow on a day by day basis, due to recent safety improvements made there. It is hoped that 2 classrooms in the new addition will be ready by early December.

  November 22 – THANKSGIVING DAY

  • The day passes quietly, except on the football fields…
  • HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL – Naugatuck upsets Ansonia, defeating them 27-0 before 8000 in Naugatuck. Ansonia finishes its season with a 7-2 record. Shelton beats Derby 33-0 at Lafayette Field. Shelton closes its season unbeaten and untied for only the second time. The only other perfect season was in 1950.

November 23

  • SEYMOUR – First Selectman Harry Mannweiler, assisted by Santa Claus, throws the switch turning on downtown Seymour’s Christmas lights for the first time this season.
  • SHELTON – Col. Clarence Chamberlin announces the Chamberlin Realty Company will build 300-400 new homes. Some will be in White Hills on the new Bona Vista Drive – 3 model homes are there already. Others will be on his farm in Huntington off Ripton Road.

November 25

  • DERBY – Newly organized Boy Scout Troop 21, sponsored by St. Michael’s Church, receives its charter.
  • DERBY – Rt. Rev. Walter H. Gray, Episcopal bishop of Connecticut, visits St. James Church.
  • SHELTON – Huntington Congregational Church dedicates its Church House after Sunday services. The home is the old Kemp house, an old colonial, on Church Street, and as of this point will house nursery school, kindergarten, and Sunday School. Dr. James English, superintendent of the Congregational Christian Churches of Connecticut is in attendance.

Wednesday, November 28, 1956

  • DERBY – Mayor Dirienzo issues a proclamation declaring December 2 a Protest Day against the Communist suppression of Hungarian freedom. 
  • SEYMOUR – The Seymour High School Wildcats football team finished their season 6-1-1, one of best in Connecticut this year, second best in school history. The best record was 7-1-0, set in 1953.
  • SHELTON – The State informs Shelton it will replace the bridge over the Far Mill River at the Stratford line at River Road next Spring.

November 29

  • ANSONIA – On his second to last day in office, Mayor William Sheasby is awarded by State Civil Defense Director for his outstanding efforts during the Floods of 1955.
  • SEYMOUR – 400 attend a special town meeting. 8 of 9 resolutions, all relating to post-flood redevelopment projects, are approved. The resolution to have the Seymour Housing Authority negotiate low income housing with the Public Housing Administration was withdrawn.

November 30

  • ANSONIA – Mayor William Sheasby and Mayor-elect Joseph Doyle are both in attendance when the Christmas lights are turned on in downtown Ansonia for the first time. Doyle’s six year old daughter Patricia pulls the switch turning on the lights.
  • DERBY – Mayor Dirienzo’s young grandson Anthony Dirienzo III pulls the switch turning on the Christmas lights in downtown Derby for the first time this season.
  • SHELTON – Mayor LeMay pulls the switch turning on the Christmas lights in downtown Shelton, on Howe Avenue and Center Street, for the first time this season.


Saturday, December 1, 1956

  • ANSONIA – Mayor Joseph A. Doyle is sworn in to become Ansonia’s 15th mayor, by Rep. Thomas Dodd. The ceremony is carried live on the local AM radio station WADS.
  • SEYMOUR – This is the first year that the Seymour Chamber of Commerce has outright purchased the lights decorating downtown Seymour. On weekends, Santa Claus can be visited in his trailer next to Strand Theater, where children will receive a gift.
  • SHELTON – Mayor LeMay asks residents to observe a moment of prayer at noon on December 3 for the oppressed people of Hungary.

December 2

  • DERBY – At noon, the church bells ring for 3 minutes. Many do as Mayor Dirienzo requested when he designated this date as a Protest Day, and come onto the streets and stand at attention in solidarity with those killed by the Soviets in the recent Hungarian Revolution.

Monday, December 3, 1956

  • SEYMOUR – 43 prefab houses that were used to shelter people made homeless by the 1955 flood will be sold. 15 of them are now vacant.

December 5

  • The Evening Sentinel publishes an editorial entitled “Our Heightened Flood Peril”, where it argues that the Valley towns are still short of minimal flood protection.
  • SHELTON – An explosion resonated throughout downtown at 3:45 PM, but the source cannot be traced. It is concluded it was probably a supersonic jet passing overhead.
  • SHELTON – The Shelton Baptist Church trustees vote to sell it’s Howe Avenue church and parsonage, and relocate both to White Hills. The favorable reception of the 5 summer services at the old White Hills Baptist Church on School Street helped make the decision.

December 6

  • ANSONIA – The Division Street Bridge construction is proceeding at a good pace, after experiencing a delay due to the steel not arriving on time. This replaces the older span destroyed in the August 1955 flood.
  • DERBY – The City has different Christmas lights than usual this year, and they are attracting favorable comment. They feature multi-colored lights, as well as circles of lights, bells, and candy canes on light poles.
  • SEYMOUR – The new temporary footbridge over the Naugatuck River at Broad Street is now open to traffic. Lights have been installed at either end. Preliminary plans for a vehicular bridge to replace the Broad Street Bridge demolished shortly after the 1955 floods are being readied.

December 7

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Education appoints its first ever female president – Mrs. Doris Beardsley Clark.
  • ANSONIA – There is a problem with wells on Granite Terrace and North Prospect Street Extension becoming contaminated with chromium. This has attracted the attention of the State, as chromium contamination is very rare.
  • DERBY – The 60 public housing tenants at Lakeview Terrace, along with the 40 at McLaughlin Terrace, have been notified that they will get a $6 per month rate increase in January.
  • DERBY & SHELTON – The Derby-Shelton Memorial Day Parade Committee is in crisis due to declining interest and donations for the annual parade. Last May both towns donated $800, but the actual parade cost $2,100. This is the third year in a row the Committee has finished the year in a deficit, and manufacturers are not donating as they used to. The committee will reportedly be meeting soon to consider disbanding.
  • SHELTON – An apparent arson fire completely destroys the Hilltop Lunchroom on Old Bridgeport Avenue at 3 AM. The building was about to reopen after a November 19 fire, it had been repainted and a new linoleum floor was just installed. The building was one story, about 20’x30′, and set back 100 feet from Route 8 (Bridgeport Avenue). One of the heaviest fogs in years obscured the fire for awhile, and made it difficult to locate.

Monday, December 10, 1956

  • DERBY – Certificate of Incorporation filed for the Valley Shopping Center, Inc., by Charles Santangelo and Edward and Hortense Levy. The shopping center will be on the Mill Street Connector, today’s Pershing Drive. Fifty years later, the shopping center will be anchored by Shop Rite.
  • SHELTON – The Board of Aldermen accepts plans for new firehouse on Bridge Street, and a combination City Hall/Police Station on Hill Street (neither of which will ever be built in the manner planned on this date). Also a 16-room addition to Shelton High School, and an 8-room addition to Huntington School. The Board also votes to change the name of Riverview Park to Riverview Memorial Park.

December 11

  • ANSONIA – Mayor Doyle tells the US Army Corps of Engineers Gen. Fleming, at a hearing in Waterbury, that a new flood survey is needed for Ansonia. The survey needs to study the effects of encroachments on the flood plain and Naugatuck River since the 1955 floods. They Mayor states the city, as well as Derby and Seymour, still lack adequate flood protection.
  • DERBY & SHELTON – The Derby-Shelton Memorial Day Association meets at Veteran’s Memorial at Shelton’s Riverview Park. They decide that, despite the setbacks of the last few years, they want to continue the joint observances and parade, and set January 8 as a reorganization date.

December 12

  • DERBY – The Griffin Hospital trustees have agreed to allow the Russ Memorial Nurses’ Home to be used for a district public health department that will serve all 5 Valley communities
  • OXFORD – Reconstruction of 1955 flood damaged bridges continues. The O’Neil Road bridge is currently closed as it is being replaced. The Punkup Road bridge closed while it is being worked on. Repairs to the Laughlin Road bridge are almost completed.
  • SHELTON – The Huntington Fire Company has decorated their firehouse for the holidays for the first time since organized in 1918. Santa and his reindeer are on the roof, and colored lights are in the windows.

December 13

  • DERBY – Police Department matters take up much of the Board of Aldermen meeting. Every regular officer and patrolman gets a $500 raise to their salary. The Board is also asked to consider adding rank of sergeant, and to allow the East Side patrol car to remain on duty 24 hours a day instead of the current 16.

December 14

  • A rain and sleet storm dumps .97″ of precipitation and raises havoc upstate, but causes few problems locally. The exception is Oxford, which loses power in much of the town.
  • ANSONIA – A 22 year old Shelton man working on the new American Brass Company powerhouse is seriously injured when he came in contact with a 13,800 volt wire.

Monday, December 17, 1956

  • SEYMOUR – The Post Office processes 47,400 pieces of mail, making it the busiest day in the Seymour branch’s history up to that time.
  • SEYMOUR – Residents of Derby Avenue and Pine Street hold an organizational meeting to form a civic association, and vote to ask Cedar Street residents to join them too. The new organization is called the Derby Avenue Civic Association.
  • SHELTON – A 13 year old boy who took part in the street fighting in Budapest against the Soviets during the recent Hungarian Revolution has found refuge with his aunt and uncle on 113 Center Street.

December 18

  • DERBY – For the first time in its 55 year history, Griffin Hospital received full accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. Ten days later, however, the claim is disputed by a doctor who has been affiliated with the hospital for a long time, saying in fact the hospital has been fully accredited since 1931, and to claim otherwise is a disservice to the dedicated hospital staff.
  • DERBY – At a State hearing on relocating Route 8 conducted in Ansonia City Hall, Mayor Dirienzo says he is opposed to the highway cutting through West Spring Street and Mountain Street, saying it unfairly isolates them and impedes emergency vehicles. He vows he will take the State to court if they do not change their plans.
  • SEYMOUR – The Derby Avenue Civic Association members attend the Route 8 Public Hearing in Ansonia, where they ask the State when they will tear down the condemned, vacant, flood-damaged houses bought in the Derby Avenue area for the new Route 8 expressway. The Association says rats “as big as cats” live in the the houses, and create a public health risk.

December 19

  • ANSONIA – The Sentinel runs a picture of Charters Hose Company #4, which is covered with Christmas lights.
  • DERBY – The Derby Coal and Oil Company publishes a full page ad in the Evening Sentinel, stating they are now the first in the Valley to have a two-way radio dispatch system in all of their trucks.

December 20

  • ANSONIA – The State announces plans for new Maple Street Bridge are “well advanced”, and any additional changes Ansonia wishes to make will have to be paid for by the City.
  • SEYMOUR – The W. L. Ward Funeral Home is reopening in a modern building on 260 Bank Street. The old funeral home on 15 Pine Street destroyed by the August 1955 flood.

December 21

  • ANSONIA – 15,556 cars pass through the intersection of Main and Bridge Streets between 1 PM and 9 PM.

December 22

  • ANSONIA – 24,450 cars pass through the intersection of Main and Bridge Streets between 9 AM and 7 PM.
  • ANSONIA – Mrs. Ella H. Emerson announces a $2,500 gift to the Ansonia Public Library, to allow it to microfilm its collection of the Evening Sentinel from August 18, 1896, to the present day. She is the widow of Howard F. Emerson, who was a second generation owner and publisher of the Sentinel. Mrs. Emerson herself was part owner, and the publisher of the newspaper in 1956, which then enjoyed a circulation of 14,000. The importance of her gift cannot be overstated. Many Valley libraries, as well as the State Library, have microfilmed copies of the Evening Sentinel dating back to August 18, 1896, which subsequently immortalized the area’s history until the paper closed in 1994. Most of the information that goes into this website’s This Week in History comes from the microfilmed Sentinel editions at the Ansonia and Derby Public Libraries.

Monday, December 24, 1956

  • Morning rain has little effect on last minute Christmas shoppers. All downtown streets and parking lots are jammed. 
  • ANSONIA – 28,915 cars pass through the intersection of Main Street and Bridge Street in a 9 hour period. It is believed that Christmas receipts have set a new record in downtown Ansonia.
  • DERBY – Oliver W. Lewis, proprietor of Lewis Funeral Home on 148 Elizabeth Street, dies. His father, Cyrus, entered the employ of George Bedient, a furniture salesman who also served as Derby’s undertaker, in July 1889. Back then wakes were held in houses. When Mr. Bedient died, Cyrus Lewis continued the undertaking business from 272 Main Street. In 1910, he moved the buisness to the former Boyd home on 148 Elizabeth Street, on the corner of Fifth Street, opening the Valley’s first true funeral home. He took his son, Oliver W. Lewis, as a partner in 1912. Cyrus Lewis died in 1948, and Oliver W. continued to run it as Derby’s main funeral parlor until his death on this date.

 December 25 – CHRISTMAS DAY

  • The Salvation Army hands out 150 Christmas dinners to needy families. It is noted that  more houses are decorated with Christmas lights and crèches this year. Throngs attend midnight mass and Christmas day mass.
  • ANSONIA – Vandals break into a hanger at Ansonia Airport and do $1000 damage to an airplane. Vandals also rip the receivers from of 9 out of 10 telephone booths  on Main Street, and cut some wires. The Southern New England Telephone Company is so upset by the damage and overtime, it threatens to pull all phone booths out of Ansonia. Later in the day, three youths, 2 from Ansonia and 1 from Oxford, are arrested by Ansonia Police for vandalizing the telephones.
  • DERBY – Only one Christmas baby is born in Griffin Hospital, to a family that resides on Judson Street in Shelton.

December 27

  • ANSONIA – The Board of Education votes to ask Planning & Zoning to secure an option to erect a new grade school at the corner of Ford Street and Finney Street in the Hilltop area.

December 28

  • ANSONIA – John G. Predergast dies in Griffin Hospital in Derby at 68. He was Ansonia High School’s principal from 1931 to 1948, and also represented Ansonia in the State Legislature.

December 29

  • SHELTON – A truck owned by Derby’s East Side Oil Company overturns on Shelton Avenue, on the hill leading into Huntington, in a snowstorm. The truck’s two occupants escape injury, and no oil is spilled.

Monday, December 31, 1956

  • ANSONIA (& DERBY) – Arthur Clifford DeForest dies at 74. At the time of his death he lived at 21 Hill Street Ansonia, but for most of his life he resided at 7 Prospect Street, Derby. He was an amateur weatherman forecaster, and for over 50 years, he reported his predictions in the Evening Sentinel under the pseudonym “East Side Weather Prophet”. His identity was a secret until 1947. Many set their schedules around his predictions.
  • DERBY – 191 permits for single family homes were given in Derby in 1956.
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