Note – Words that contain CAPITAL LETTERS also have definitions on this page
AMERICAN BRASS COMPANY BRIDGE – A private bridge in Ansonia, which connected the west side with the American Brass Company’s plants above Farrel Foundry. The bridge was originally constructed as a footbridge in the late 1800s, and it was later replaced to accommodate automobile traffic. Destroyed in the August 1955 flood, it was rebuilt in February 1956, and remains today. The ABC bridge reduced congestion downtown, and opened up the rear of the factory complex for parking.
ANSONIA AIRPORT – A small airport located on the Woodbridge town line off Ford Street. It opened after 1930.
ANSONIA CANAL – A power canal first dug in the 1840s, which ran from the KINNEYTOWN DAM to about Tremont Street, behind Main Street. This canal provided waterpower to Ansonia’s first mills, and the large supply of water it provided was put to different uses even after other power sources were used, until it was filled in around 1931. Today’s East Main Street runs over the old Canal. Since the canal was owned by the American Brass Company for many decades, it was known, over the years, as the ABC Canal, or the American Brass Company Canal.
ANSONIA FLATS – Generally considered to be the tidal area on the west side along the banks of the Naugatuck River, above the Broad Street Bridge. Like DERBY MEADOWS, when the Ansonia Flats were not flooded, the level land was utilized for temporary purposes, such as circuses, sporting events, etc. Later, in the 1930s, the land was “reclaimed” by flood control measures, allowing more permanent structures and settlement. The American Brass Company in particular engaged in projects which actually changed the course of the river at this point, and the AMERICAN BRASS COMPANY BRIDGE was located here. Nevertheless, the area was devastated in the 1955 floods, and the flood control measures which followed effectively eliminated the Ansonia Flats from the local vocabulary.
ANSONIA OPERA HOUSE – Built in 1870 at 100 Main Street, Ansonia, although one 1910 source states it was built in 1868. The hall, on the top floor of the three story building, served as the area’s premier opera house and public hall until the Sterling Opera House was completed on Derby’s Elizabeth Street in 1889. The three-story block contained many stores over the years, and served a variety of uses, up to the present day. The hall was run by a corporation called the Ansonia Hall Company, with Jeremiah Bartholomew and his descendants holding a controlling interest in the corporation until it was sold to the estate of Alice Craig of New York in May 1910.
ARCANUM HALL (Shelton) – A public hall once located in the Pierpont Block, which still stands today on Howe Avenue near White Street.
BAILEY BRIDGE(S) (Ansonia) – These were temporary bridges designed for use by the US Army to cross waterways where there was no bridge, or where existing bridges were damaged, destroyed, or unusable, in the mid-20th century. Of local concern, the Corps completed a Bailey Bridge over the Naugatuck River in late September 1955, in the wake of the devastating flood the month before. This bridge, one of a number constructed in flood-stricken Connecticut towns, was one lane wide. It was intended to relieve pressure on Ansonia’s remaining span, the damaged Bridge Street Bridge. In the subsequent October flood, the Ansonia Bailey was the only Army bridge destroyed, less than a month after it was completed. After this loss, the Corps was initially reluctant to replace it, but bowing to pressure built a second, two-lane Bailey Bridge in the same spot (between the Bridge Street and Maple Street bridges) in early 1956. The bridge remained until the Clancy Bridge replaced the Bridge Street Bridge five years after the flood, in August 1960. For more information on Bailey Bridges, check out this offsite link.
BASSETT HOOK & LADDER CO #1 (Derby) – Derby’s hook and ladder company from 1874 until about 1916. Formally called the R. M. Bassett Hook & Ladder Company, their first firehouse was on Lower Main Street, and in 1889 they moved into quarters on the FOURTH STREET side of the Sterling Opera House. They appear to have found themselves on the wrong side in a battle with the political establishment around 1915, and soon found themselves without a firehouse of their own, and effectively disbanded. Their ladder truck was given to Paugassett Hose Company in East Derby (against the hose company’s wishes, creating a whole new controversy), and to this day Paugassett Hook & Ladder Company continues to serve the Derby Fire Department.
BASSETT HOUSE – Derby’s main hotel and restaurant, prior to its destruction by fire in 1914. It was located right next door to the Sterling Opera House on Elizabeth Street, across from the Green. It was converted from a former Victorian mansion into a hotel and restaurant in 1868, and was three stories tall. Complete interior description here.
BELT LINE – This was a loop the trolleys ran between Derby and Ansonia. Starting from Derby’s Main and Elizabeth Streets, it ran up Elizabeth Street to Atwater Avenue, crossing into Ansonia onto Clifton Avenue. From there it continued to Bridge Street, then turned south onto Main Street. From Ansonia’s Main Street, it continued all the way to Derby, crossing at Derby Avenue. From Derby Avenue, it crossed the Naugatuck onto Main Street, Derby, at the DERBY JUNCTION. From there, it proceeded on Main Street, Derby, all the way to Elizabeth Street, making a complete loop. There were branches that were built over the years off the belt line. In Derby these branches included Shelton and HOUSATONIC AVENUE via Main Street, and to New Haven via New Haven Avenue. In Ansonia these branches included a spur to Scotland Street and Westview Park from Clifton Avenue and Bridge Street, via Lester, High, Franklin, and Jackson Streets and Wakelee Avenue, and a link to Seymour via North Main Street.
BIDDY LAMB’S POND (Ansonia) – Located in a natural hollow, and said to be fed by three underground streams, the pond was located on North State Street. Its size varied, depending upon the time of year. The pond appeared to dry up at times, but would form again during periods of protracted rain, and is cited at least to late 1933, when draining it was listed as a Civil Works Administration project.
BIRMINGHAM (BOROUGH OF) – Derby’s first industrialized village, located between the Housatonic and Naugatuck Rivers. It became a semi-autonomous borough within the Town of Derby in 1851, and continued until the City of Derby was founded in 1894. For more information on the rise and fall of Birmingham, see this article on our website.
BIRMINGHAM CANAL – The area’s first industrial canal, was dug in the 1830s. It ran began in what is now Ansonia, below today’s downtown, and ran parallel to the Naugatuck River, along the west bank, including through modern day Division Street. It was filled in by the end of the 1930s.
BIRMINGHAM IRON FOUNDRY (Derby) – One of Birmingham’s first industries, it was a major employer from 1836 until 1927, when it merged with Ansonia’s Farrel Foundry and became Farrel-Birmingham. The complex of buildings was a prominent landmark on both Route 8 and Main Street until they were torn down in 2000 to make room for the Home Depot.
BLACKSMITH HILL (Ansonia) – Former name for the steep hill on Tremont Street.
BOROUGH BUILDING (Shelton) – Three story brick building built in 1882 on Howe Avenue, just off VIADUCT SQUARE. Originally housed the Borough offices, clerk’s office, police, and fire departments. In the early 20th century it was also the TOWN OF HUNTINGTON town hall, and later Shelton City Hall. Gradually, as time went on, the building was used for less functions. Its last major role was as the police station, until about 1975.
BOROUGH OF SHELTON – Today’s downtown area. Was a semi-autonomous borough, with its own government and taxes, within the Town of Huntington, from 1882 until the City of Shelton was formed on January 1, 1917.
BOSTON STORE (Ansonia) – Large department store located on the corner of Main Street and Bridge Street. Later it became Landau’s Department Store. A substantial 3 story building, called the Murray Block, replaced the earlier store in 1905. The building was destroyed by fire in 1987, and is now Haddad Park.
BROAD STREET (Ansonia) – The main thoroughfare near the Naugatuck River on Ansonia’s West Side. It ran very close to the river, with densely packed buildings on either side of it. This area was devastated by the Flood of 1955 – with many buildings torn down immediately afterward. In the redevelopment that followed, Broad Street was effectively moved further inland, and renamed Olsen Drive. Prior to redevelopment, Clifton Avenue continued past Bridge Street, and formed a four-way intersection with Crescent Street to the west, Lester Street to the north, and Broad Street, which actually ran northeast along the river. Broad Street continued to High Street, actually running parallel to it for a short while before making a sharp turn to the north, onto HIGH STREET.
BUDDIES FIELD (Derby) – Originally owned by the OUSATONIC WATER COMPANY, it was used for athletic fields by Derby until a Federal Housing Project was built there after World War II.
BUDDIES TERRACE (Derby) – A Federal Housing Project that fronted both Roosevelt Drive and Park Avenue, between Cedric Avenue and F Street.
CAMP IRVING (Shelton) – Boy Scout Camp run by the Housatonic Scout Council, run for many decades where Housatonic Well Fields is now, near Indian Well.
CANAL STREET (Ansonia) – A street that paralleled Main Street to the west, running from Water Street to FRONT STREET. Below Bridge Street was a large mill of the the American Brass Company mills (ABC) – the former Latex Foam Products building that burned down in 2001. Canal Street disappeared during the redevelopment after the 1955 Flood. Portions of it are now called West Main Street.
CAPITOL THEATER – Ansonia’s premier movie house. Opened in the new Capitol Theater Block in 1920. Badly damaged, but recovered, in the 1955 Floods, and closed in the 1960s. The building remains a Main Street landmark today.
CENTER DRIVE-IN (Derby) – The Valley’s one and only open air drive-in movie theater was located on Division Street. It opened on July 2, 1953. Today the property is B.J’s and McDonalds.
CENTRAL STREET (Ansonia) A street that still exists today, but prior to the redevelopment following the 1955 Flood it continued all the way across lower Main Street, ending on CANAL STREET.
CHEEVER STREET (Ansonia) A street that ran from CANAL STREET, east across lower Main Street, ending at FACTORY STREET. Like many streets in this neighborhood, it was badly damaged in the 1955 Floods, and vanished in the subsequent redevelopment of downtown Ansonia. CENTRAL STREET paralleled it to the north, and GREEN STREET paralleled it to the south.
CHEEVER STREET EXTENSION (Ansonia) A dead-end street off POWE STREET. It aligned with CHEEVER STREET one block south of Powe Street off FACTORY STREET. Disappeared in the downtown redevelopment in the mid-20th century.
CHESTNUT STREET (Ansonia) – Small street that ran for two blocks – from CANAL STREET across lower Main Street to FACTORY STREET. Unlike so many other streets in the immediate area, much of this street still exists. From Main Street west to where it now dead-ends at the flood dyke (where Canal Street once was) is still called Chestnut Street. The block east of Main Street is now part of Bishop Williams Court. From the vantage point of Chestnut Street, we can get an idea where the other streets of this vanished Ansonia neighborhood once were.
CLARK’S HALL (Shelton) – For many years a major gathering place, on 475 Howe Avenue. Occupied third floor of David N. Clark’s hardware store, on 471-475 Howe Avenue. Opened in 1898. The third floor was destroyed by a fire before World War II, and subsequently removed from the building.
CLIFFWAY (THE) (Ansonia) – This pedestrian walkway began at the top of South Cliff Street, between the Ansonia Congregational and Christ Episcopal Churches. It traversed the steep cliff via stairs, and crossed the ANSONIA CANAL over a footbridge. It then ran along a public alley to Main Street, directly across from the ANSONIA OPERA HOUSE. This was a very busy, completely pedestrian walkway back in the 19th and early 20th centuries – linking downtown with the churches, library, high school, and suburban neighborhoods on and around South Cliff Street. When the canal was filled in, the stairs ended at the bottom of East Main Street, but to this day both they, and the public alley between East Main and Main Streets, remain.
CLIFTON AVENUE (Ansonia) – Until the early 1960s, Clifton Avenue extended all the way to Bridge Street, encompassing what is now considered the top of Pershing Drive.
CORAM SANATORIUM or CORAM SANITARIUM (Shelton) – see LAUREL HEIGHTS HOSPITAL
COLBURN STREET (Ansonia) A street that ran from CANAL STREET, east across lower Main Street, ending at FACTORY STREET. It vanished in the redevelopment of downtown Ansonia subsequent to the 1955 Floods. Paralleling it to the north was Tremont Street, and to the south was CENTRAL STREET. The Clinton AME Zion Church was on 6 Colburn Street, near Canal Street.
COMMODORE HULL SCHOOL (Shelton) – An elementary school located on Oak Avenue from 1908 to 1978. The building is now housing.
COMMODORE HULL THEATER – Derby’s premier movie house in the mid-20th century, on 59 Elizabeth Street, and it stretched all the way to Minerva Street.. Opened May 7, 1927, and closed November 23, 1959, after which it was converted into a commercial building with indoor parking.
DERBY CANAL – The canal which is still visible along Roosevelt Drive, radiating from the Ousatonic Dam. Built in 1870.
DERBY DOCKS – Located at the end of Commerce Street in East Derby. Over the years packet boats regularly sailed from this area, and cargoes such as coal, and raw materials for Derby and Ansonia factories were landed here.
DERBY JUNCTION – Located in East Derby, near Main Street and Derby Avenue. This was the area where the trolley lines to Waterbury, Bridgeport, and New Haven came together, in close proximity to the passenger trains from the East Derby train station.
DERBY MEADOWS – Tidal, flood-prone land that was unusable for permanent activity until the flood-control measures begun in the 1950s allowed much of the land to be put to use. It extended from the mouth of the Naugatuck River, all the way to Ansonia. It formed a natural barrier between East Derby and BIRMINGHAM. The land, when dry, was used for activities ranging from horse racing to baseball and football to a drive-in movie theater. It was also responsible for one of the first commercial activities in Derby’s history in the 1600s – the growing of hops. The area also included O’Sullivan and Hog islands, and for a number of years there was a football field on O’Sullivan’s Island. This was sometimes called ISLAND PARK.
ELIM PARK (Shelton) – The Swedish Methodist Church owned land on both sides of River Road in the extreme southern part of the City for much of the first half of the 20th century. Over the years the land was used as a resort for children and young women from New York City, and a retirement home. It was located in the northern area of today’s landfill.
ELM STREET SCHOOL (Ansonia) – Built on the top of Elm Street in 1894. The name was later changed to Larkin School in honor of longtime principal Anne E. Larkin. Today it serves at the Ansonia Police Department headquarters.
ENSIGN MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN (Derby) – This is the stone watering trough that was placed on Seymour and Atwater Avenues in 1906. At the time of its placement, it was called the Ensign Memorial Fountain, though its not known by that name today. Around 1931 it was moved to the old Derby Green on Academy Hill, and in June 2006 it was moved again to the Division Street side of the Greenway. More information here.
FACTORY STREET (Ansonia) – Used to run from Tremont Street to FRONT STREET. After the ANSONIA CANAL was filled in, East Main Street was constructed across Tremont Street from it, and in February 1955 Factory Street was discontinued, becoming part of East Main Street. Ironically, the former Factory Street portion of East Main was eradicated in the redevelopment after the 1955 Floods. The Beth-El synagogue was located on 95 Factory Street, along with the Jewish Community Center and Jewish School. This small portion of Factory Street still exists, as north-south portion of what is now called Bishop Williams Court.
FACTORY STREET SCHOOL (Ansonia) – While it is unclear when this school began, we know that it existed in the first decade of the 20th century, on FACTORY STREET. It was also known as Park Row School. It closed on April 9, 1906, when the new GARDEN STREET SCHOOL opened. The school would become the Congregation Sons of Jacob synagogue in 1910.
FERRY SCHOOL (Shelton) – First modern school building in Shelton, built in 1878 on Howe Avenue. Closed in 1986, now the Shelton Victorian Condominiums.
FLATS, THE (Ansonia) – A flat plain along the Naugatuck River, above Farrel Foundry. At one time it was tidal, though steps were taken to make the area somewhat drier in the first few decades of the twentieth century. American Brass Company expanded into the flats, and actually built the American Brass Company Bridge to link their plant with the flats for additional space and parking. The are was devastated by the 1955 floods, and subsequent protective measures all but erased the identity of The Flats.
FOUNDRY HILL (Ansonia) – The hill at the foot of State Street, near the Farrel Foundry. The Ansonia Armory would be built upon Foundry Hill.
FOUNDRY STREET (Derby) – A now discontinued street east of Water Street on DERBY MEADOWS which led to some factories and foundries, including Birmingham Iron Foundry. In the 19th century the Derby & New Haven train terminal was there. Discontinued in 1908.
FOURTH STREET (Derby) – Still exists today, but until the 1960s was a through street between Olivia and Minerva Streets, passing Sterling Opera House and the Green. Today this portion of Fourth is only a public sidewalk.
FOURTH STREET SCHOOL (Ansonia) – See NOLAN SCHOOL
FOWLER SCHOOL (Shelton) – Originally built as Shelton’s High School on Hill Street at the corner of Coram Avenue, it became an elementary school after the new high school was built on Perry Hill Road. Later, it became Shelton’s City Hall, and remains so today.
FRANKLIN SCHOOL – East Derby’s primary grade school from its construction in 1902 until it closed about 1980. The Derby Avenue building has since been made into apartments.
FRENCH DISTRICT SCHOOL (Shelton) – A one-room schoolhouse, located on today’s Bridgeport Avenue just west of Meadow Street.
FRONT STREET (Ansonia) – A street that ran from CANAL STREET, east across lower Main Street and the foot of FACTORY STREET, along a portion of Beaver Brook, to the foot of POWE STREET. Street subsequently disappeared in the redevelopment after the 1955 Flood. Paralleling it to the north was CHESTNUT STREET, and to the south, after crossing lower Main Street, was WHITE PLACE. Part of today’s Bishop Williams Court encompasses a small portion of Front Street.
FRONT STREET (Derby) – An ancient road which ran close to the riverfront, in East Derby. By 1955 only the portion above Main Street, right after the Naugatuck River bridge, remained, though at one time it extended all the way to Gilbert Street (which used to extend near the river as well). The East Derby passenger and freight railroad station was built here in 1849, and it remained in operation into the early twentieth century.
GARDEN STREET SCHOOL (Ansonia) – See LINCOLN SCHOOL below.
GOOD TEMPLAR HALL (Oxford) – The main meeting place in the Quaker Farms district of Oxford. It was destroyed by fire on Halloween night, 1905, though it was replaced by another hall that was built early in 1906.
GOULD ARMORY – Located on the 3rd floor of NATHAN’S BLOCK, it was the largest public hall in BIRMINGHAM prior to the Sterling Opera House’s completion in 1889. It contained a large stage.
GREYSTONE – Historic old mansion which was the home of the Shelton family for generations, located where the (New) Irving School is today, adjacent to the junction of Elizabeth Street, Caroline Street, and Seymour Avenue. Among the notable people who lived there was President of the OUSATONIC WATER COMPANY. Edward N. Shelton, for whom the City of Shelton is named, and his daughters Miss Jane DeForest Shelton (a local historian who wrote the novel The Saltbox House and articles for Harpers Weekly), and Miss Adelia Stewart Shelton (who started the first playground in Derby and was a published poet). It was sold outside the family in September 1941, and was purchased by the City in March 1953, and within months razed to make way for the New Irving School.
GREEN STREET (Ansonia) – One of the many streets that disappeared in the downtown redevelopment after the 1955 floods. It ran from CANAL STREET east across lower Main Street to FACTORY STREET. Paralleling it to the north was CHEEVER STREET, and to the south was CHESTNUT STREET..
GROVE STREET SCHOOL (Ansonia) – First school on west side, opened in 1865. Later renamed Willis School after Principal Minnie E. Willis.
HALLOCK’S COURT (Derby) – A very narrow, crowded street very similar in layout, character, and history to RIVER PLACE. It was located one block above River Place, between lower Caroline Street and Factory Street. Unlike River Place, however, Hallock’s Court still exists to this day, though there is not a single building upon it as of this time.
HALLOCK’S DOCK (Derby) – Located at the end the old Hallock shipyards, where vessels were launched until 1868, at the end of Commerce Street. Part of the DERBY DOCKS.
HEALY’S CROSSROADS (Shelton) – Onetime name of Long Hill Crossroads.
HELL LANE (Oxford) – Modern day Moose Hill Road. Apparently alcohol ran freely at one time here in the early 19th century, hence the name.
HIGH STREET (Ansonia) – Still exists today, but prior to the redevelopment following the 1955 floods, it made a sharp turn to the north past Lester Street to Maple Street. BROAD STREET ended at the discontinued part of High Street.
HOFFMAN HOUSE (Derby) – A 3-story hotel owned by the Rapp family, which stood on the corner of Main Street and Water Street.
HOLBROOK STREET SCHOOL (Ansonia) – Opened in 1905 on Holbrook Street. It was later renamed the Peck School in honor of former principal Georgiana Peck, and closed around 2000.
HOLLYWOOD INN (Ansonia) – Operated by the Rapp family, this popular eatery and catering hall was located where Rapp’s Paradise would later be located, and now John J. Sullivan’s. This is very close to the old location of the TOWN FARM.
HOTEL CLARK (Derby) – Brick, four story hotel on Elizabeth Street located next door to the Sterling Opera House. For decades, it was Derby’s premier hotel and restaurant, replacing the Bassett House which served the same purpose at the same location. Hotel Clark replaced BASSETT HOUSE after it burned down in 1914, and was torn down in 1968.
HOUSATONIC AVENUE (Derby) – The portion of today’s Roosevelt Drive, or Route 34, from Cedric Avenue to downtown Derby. Above Cedric, the roadway was called RIVER ROAD. Housatonic Avenue was renamed Roosevelt Drive some time after River Road was so renamed.
HUNTINGTON (TOWN OF) – Shelton, as we know it today, was the Town of Huntington from 1789 to 1917. See BOROUGH OF SHELTON.
HUNTINGTON BRIDGE – A steel bridge, constructed in 1891, where today’s Derby-Shelton Bridge is today. Although it was a big improvement over the wooden covered bridge it replaced, and was able to carry trolley tracks across the river, it was never popular. The steel vibrated badly when trolleys passed over it, leading to several incidents where people actually thought he bridge would collapse. It was replaced by the current Derby-Shelton Bridge in 1918 – which was constructed of concrete to absorb vibrations.
HUNTINGTON LANDING (Shelton) – The Riverdale Avenue/Wharf Street area, where vessels used to land their cargoes.
HUNTINGTON SCHOOL (Shelton) – Brick building on Church Street replaced a 1-room schoolhouse. Built in 1911, received a major addition in 1950. Closed in 1983, reopened as the Shelton Community Center in 1991.
HUNTINGTON SPEEDWAY – Located on the grounds of the former Huntington Fair off Mohegan Road, a race track was built on the old half mile oval horse track. It became very popular by 1933, with fans and racers gathering from miles about to race. Crashes were common.
IRVING SCHOOL (Derby) – The main school building originally built for BIRMINGHAM on the corner of Elizabeth and Fifth Streets in 1869. It closed in 1954, and was replaced by the current building on Seymour Avenue. The old school was demolished in the 1950s. The new school was known as “New Irving School” for some time, before reverting back to the original, simpler name.
ISLAND PARK (Derby) – Better known today as O’Sullivan’s Island. This tidal “island” lies at the confluence of the Housatonic and Naugatuck rivers. Over the years it was used for large gatherings such as fairs, carnivals, much the same way as DERBY MEADOWS. More info on Island Park and its origins here.
JERSEY STREET (Ansonia) – On west side – the old name for the southern portions of BROAD STREET (see above), near the Bridge Street Bridge. About World War I the name was dropped, and the entire thoroughfare was called Broad Street.
KANKWOOD HILL (Ansonia) – Today’s Platt Street hill.
KINNEYTOWN DAM (Seymour) – Originally completed in 1848, the dam controlled water flowing into the ANSONIA CANAL from the Naugatuck River. It was severely damaged in the floods of 1910 and 1955, requiring it be reconstructed. The dam still exists today.
LAKE HOUSATONIC PARK (Derby) – An early trolley park, located along the riverfront off HOUSATONIC AVENUE, intended to encourage weekend trolley riders. The park boasted a large pavilion, as well as a baseball diamond. Once source says the first baseball game was played there in 1895, and by 1904 the trolley company had abandoned it, after being overshadowed by newer trolley parks like PINE ROCK PARK, as well as places like Savin Rock and Pleasure Beach. Even after it was no longer maintained, the park remained a favored place for local residents and baseball enthusiasts for a number of years afterward.
LARKIN SCHOOL (Ansonia) – See ELM STREET SCHOOL.
LAUREL HEIGHTS HOSPITAL (Shelton) – Originally a tuberculosis sanatorium, it was operated by the State of Connecticut off Coram Avenue from the early 20th century until it closed in the 1980s. For some time, it was known locally as the Coram sanatorium, before it was formally named Laurel Heights Sanatorium. In January 1958 it was named Laurel Heights Hospital.
LINCOLN SCHOOL (Ansonia) Originally called the Garden Street School, it was completed in 1906. Its entrance, along with its address, later moved to 83 Cottage Street. The school was renamed Lincoln School on February 12, 1909, to celebrate the centennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, and after that Lincoln-Hayes School, after longtime principal Mary Hayes. The school closed in the late 1990s.
MANSION HOUSE CORNER (Derby) – Junction of Gilbert Street, Bank Street, Derby Avenue, and New Haven Avenue. With the widening of Route 34, the area that was considered this “corner”, is now under the northbound lanes of the roadway.
MECHANIC STREET (Ansonia) – A one-block long street that vanished in Ansonia’s post 1955 Flood redevelopment. It ran from CANAL STREET east to Main Street, and was a block below Bridge Street, and a block above Tremont Street.
MILL STREET (Ansonia) – Road which ran from Division Street to Clifton Avenue. Renamed Pershing Drive in September 1960..
MILL STREET EXTENSION (Derby) – Today’s Pershing Drive. When first constructed, it connected the end of the Derby-Ansonia expressway (Route 8) with Mill Street in Ansonia, which was also Route 8. Later, the street became known as the MILL STREET CONNECTOR, before becoming Pershing Drive in September 1960
NATHAN’S HALL – Birmingham (downtown Derby’s) first large brick business block, at 202-224 Main Street, across from the foot of Minerva Street. Contained apartments businesses, the Borough offices prior to Sterling Opera House being built, as well as the GOULD ARMORY. Built about 1851. The building was razed on October 23, 2006, as part of downtown Derby’s redevelopment.
NEW IRVING SCHOOL (Derby) – See IRVING SCHOOL.
NEW JERUSALEM (Ansonia) see WHITE PLACE.
NIKE (SITES) – Two of these US Army anti ballistic missile bases were installed in the mid 1950s, one on the Ansonia-Woodbridge town line in the area of Deerfield Lane and Osborn Road, and the other was in Huntington off Mohegan Road, with a control station near Jones Tree Farm. NIKE missiles carried a small nuclear warhead, and were intended as a last ditch defense against Soviet airborne nuclear attacks by destroying the bombers with high altitude nuclear explosions. Fortunately for humanity, the weapon system was never used. Decades after the bases were deactivated as part of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the land was eventually returned to the cites or private owners it was leased from. More information on the NIKE program can be found here. On May 25, 1958 (Memorial Day) the Huntington NIKE site was named after Lt. Patrick J. Tisi, of Coram Avenue, who was killed in the Battle of Metz in 1944. Both NIKE sites employed Nike Ajax missiles when they opened, though the Ansonia NIKE site was later upgraded to operate the more advanced Nike Hercules missiles. On December 16, 1960, the Army announced the Shelton Nike Site would be closed the following year, while the Ansonia base would be retained.
NOLAN SCHOOL (Ansonia) – Originally built in 1895 as the Fourth Street School. It was later renamed in honor of former Mayor Andrew F. Nolan, who attended elementary school there. The school was razed after a fire, and converted to a condominium around 1985.
OLD TOWN BRIDGE (Ansonia & Derby) – The old name for the Division Street Bridge. It went years without replacing prior to its destruction in the Flood of 1955, and was often in bad repair. This was because Ansonia and Derby often could not agree upon who should pay for its upkeep.
OUSATONIC WATER COMPANY – Formed by BIRMINGHAM businessmen in 1866 with the intention of building a dam across the Housatonic River. The dam was completed in 1870. The company built two canals from the dam, one on each side of the river. While the Derby Canal, along Roosevelt Drive, didn’t really start developing until about 1900, the canal on the HUNTINGTON side quickly became the nucleus of a “factory village”, which developed into downtown Shelton. The Ousatonic Water Company was Shelton’s largest landowner for years, and maintained tight control of Shelton’s early development – even deriving its name from the company’s president, Edwin N. Shelton. The company was absorbed into Connecticut & Power Company in 1927, right after donating 150 acres to the State of Connecticut, that became Indian Well State Park.
PAPER MILL BLOCK (Shelton) Built in the 1870s on Maple Street between Howe Avenue and Canal Street, it remains one of Shelton’s oldest apartment blocks. It was originally intended to house employees of the Wilkinson Paper Mill, located on top of the Shelton Canal, hence the name.
PECK SCHOOL (Ansonia) See HOLBROOK STREET SCHOOL.
PINE HIGH SCHOOL (Ansonia) – The Charles Pine Manual School, which opened in 1925, was a forerunner to today’s Vocational Technical schools. It was located on Clifton Avenue. The building still stands today.
PINE ROCK PARK (Shelton) Known as a housing development on the southern edge of town today, it was actually named in 1900 when the trolley company built a small amusement park and picnic area there to encourage riders on weekends. It was constructed less than a year after the Shelton-Bridgeport line was completed. It only lasted about 8 years, and never really caught on as it was unable to compete with resorts like Bridgeport’s Pleasure Beach and West Haven’s Savin Rock. In its heyday, however, it had dancing pavilions, a merry-go-round and other amusement park rides, a small zoo, and nicely manicured picnic areas and grounds. A spur line was built to allow trolleys to deposit riders at the park’s location on top of the steep hill. One well known feature was the balloon ascensions, which used to attract a large number of people – a stuntman would ride the balloon up, the parachute down.
PINESBRIDGE – The old name for Beacon Falls.
PLATT STREET (Ansonia) A street that still exists today, but prior to the redevelopment following the 1955 Flood it ran past Vine Street, down the steep hill, ending on lower Main Street. Today there is a public stairwell in the discontinued area.
POINT OF ROCKS (Shelton) – Located just below today’s Riverdale Avenue. Was the southernmost and one of the most prominent of a series of rapids along the Housatonic River.
POWE STREET (Ansonia) Another street that disappeared from the redevelopment following the 1955 Flood. It ran from FRONT STREET, north to CENTRAL STREET. Although it extended about four blocks, there were no cross streets, with the exception of CHEEVER STREET EXTENSION.
PUDDLE HOLLOW (Seymour) – A neighborhood off South Main Street that was eradicated in 1905 to make way for railroad improvements.
RAYMOND STREET (Seymour) – A street which ran from DeForest Street, north to the Naugatuck River. SECOND STREET and THIRD STREET were off this street, which disappeared in the redevelopment following the 1955 floods.
RIVER PLACE (Derby) – A very narrow road packed with tenements on either side, near the river and the terminus of the BIRMINGHAM CANAL, between lower Caroline Street and Factory Street. Some of the tenements were converted from first generation factories and warehouses from BIRMINGHAM. Primarily occupied by factory workers of lower income, from whatever the most recent immigrant group to move into town was, River Place was so narrow that vehicles had a hard time passing there. Vendors often would, in the evening, bring their carts down there and sell their food at a discount, before it spoiled. The area was extremely flood prone, sometimes nicknamed “Little Venice”. Any trace of River Place was eradicated shortly after the Flood of 1955.
RIVER ROAD (Ansonia) A dead-end, partly industrialized road devastated in the 1955 floods which ran north off Maple Street into the ANSONIA FLATS. The AMERICAN BRASS COMPANY BRIDGE was (and is) off this road. Today it is known as Riverside Drive.
RIVER ROAD (Derby, Seymour and Oxford) – Today’s Roosevelt Drive, or Route 34. The thickly settled portion closest to Derby was called HOUSATONIC AVENUE.
RIVERVIEW TERRACE (Derby) – Another term for RIVER PLACE used at the turn of the last century.
ROCKHOUSE HILL ROAD (Oxford) – Modern day Quaker Farms Road, or Route 188. The hill which the road climbed from the Seymour Town line was known as Rockhouse Hill.
SCHOOL STREET SCHOOL (Ansonia) – See WESTFIELD SCHOOL.
SECOND STREET (Seymour) – A street that ran from RAYMOND STREET northeast one block, ending on Bank Street. Badly damaged by the 1955 Flood, it was eradicated in the subsequent redevelopment that followed. For decades, Town Hall was on Second Street near Raymond Street.
SEWELL MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN (Ansonia) – The fountain in front of Ansonia Public Library, it was originally a watering trough for horses. It was dedicated to Anna Sewell, author of Black Beauty, on June 9, 1892. Like the library, it was donated by Caroline Phelps Stokes, granddaughter of Ansonia’s namesake Anson Phelps.
SHELTON CANAL – Runs from the Ousatonic Dam, along the west bank of the Housatonic River. It was originally constructed in 1870, and powered a mile of factories between the lock at the top of Canal Street to its terminus on Wharf Street. Much of the canal south of the lock is now underground, to make room for factory parking, though a portion can still be seen north of Bridge Street.
SHELTON COMMUNITY CLUB – Located in the old Huntington Piano Factory building on the corner of Howe Avenue and Center Street, it was the scene of many social activities in the mid-20th century. It later became the home of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lower Naugatuck Valley, and was destroyed by a fire in 1991. The Ripton Senior Housing building is now on the site.
SHELTON DOCKS (Shelton) – Located at the foot of Wharf Street, and along Riverdale Avenue. Normally served barges, but occasionally other vessels would land there as well. Much of the Valley’s coal arrived via the Shelton Docks, and it had a number of warehouses, coal bins, silos, cranes, and even a narrow gauge track at one point, all to quickly unload and distribute coal. Other heavy material, such as the bricks that built so many of the Valley’s buildings, arrived here as well.
SHELTON ISLAND (Derby) – An island off DERBY MEADOWS, near the confluence of the Housatonic and Naugatuck rivers. Since neither of the modern names were used at the beginning of the 20th century, it is likely that this is the island now known as O’Sullivan’s Island, or possibly Hog Island.
SHELTON THEATER – Shelton’s premier movie house in the mid 20th century. Today’s Children’s Center of the Performing Arts on 509 Howe Avenue.
SHERMAN AVENUE (Derby) – At one time, Derby was in the practice of naming what were essentially large, shared driveways. Sherman Avenue was an example of this, it was at 254 Division Street, and ran in a southerly direction. The 1932 directory listed 2 multi-family buildings on it.
SQUANTUCK – (Seymour) – Also spelled ‘Squauntuc’. A picturesque area along the Housatonic River. City dwellers used to board here in the summer months. Before the Stevenson Dam was built upriver, the geography of the river valley in this area sometimes caused ice flowing down the river to jam here, resulting in additional ice and water to build behind it, and depositing a considerable amount of ice on both sides of the river. Eventually, when the pressure became to great, the ice jam would burst, often resulting in a damaging freshet, or ‘ice flood’ downstream in Derby and Shelton. For this reason, particularly during sudden thaws, river dwellers kept an eye on what was happening at Squantuck.
SUNNYSIDE PARK – (Shelton) Originally laid out by the Sidney Blumenthal Company, it was (and portions still are) a recreational and picnic area off River Road, from today’s Sunnyside School to the river.
TAIL RACE (Ansonia) – Built in 1845 as part of the Ansonia Canal system, designed to return water from the canal to the Naugatuck River. The upper tail race connected with the canal behind today’s Ansonia Senior Center, and ran across Main Street near Bank Street. The lower tail race started at the old Phelps copper mill near today’s Bridge and East Main Streets. From there it went under Main Street and headed north under the BOSTON STORE and the CAPITOL THEATER buildings, crossed Water Street, and continued up the west side of Main until it merged with the upper tail race. From there, the joined tail races went under the freight depot on CANAL STREET and into the Naugatuck River. Although the Ansonia Canal was filled in below State Street in the 1930s, it continued to exist underground. Rain water from as high as South Cliff Street drained into the canal, and subsequently the tail race. For many years, merchants had to worry about the tail race backing up into their basements at times of high water, not to mention unpleasant odors certain times of the year. Over the years, the tail race became clogged with debris, and in August of 1955 this proved disastrous when the tail race was overwhelmed, causing water to back up into Main Street cellars and actually burst into street itself. Elimination of the tail race was a top priority of Ansonia immediately after the flood, and it was replaced by a storm water system. The tail race remained for some time afterward, and was a source of concern due to the stagnant water. Read more about the tail race here.
TENDERLOIN (Shelton) – The nickname for the neighborhood in the Center Street area, up towards Oak Avenue. A number of eastern European immigrants lived here a century ago, and it was known for being a lively, if sometimes rowdy, place.
THIRD STREET (Seymour) – A street that ran from RAYMOND STREET northeast one block, ending on Bank Street. It paralleled the Naugatuck River, and suffered terribly during the 1955 Floods. It vanished in the redevelopment that followed.
TREMONT THEATER (Ansonia) – Located on the southwest corner of Main and Tremont Streets, at 394-398 Main Street. The original theater was located in a church, which served Christ Episcopal Church from 1850 to 1896, and later was sold to St. Paul’s Swedish Lutheran Church. About 1910, it was converted into the Tremont Theater. The old church was replaced with a new theater building in 1926, a 3 story brick structure that was sometimes called the Olderman Building after Max Olderman, who built it. When a serious fire broke out in 1932, it had two stores and the theater on the first floor, a bowling alley on the second floor, and the Ansonia Dress Company, which employed over 75 women, on the third floor. It never quite achieved the luster of the CAPITOL, but it remained a movie theater until 1953, having shown its last picture two years before. Previous to the theater being built, the first Christ Episcopal Church building was there, which had ironically been converted into a movie house when it was razed to make way for the Tremont. Another fire swept the two Main Street stores in 1954. Yet another fire struck the basement in 1956, at which time there was still a bowling alley on the second floor, and a dress factory on the third. Still another fire broke out on July 15, 1958. The building was razed about 1963 to make way for Ansonia’s redevelopment.
UNDERCLIFF (Ansonia) – The name of the hardscrabble neighborhood which ran off State Street, between the east bank of the ANSONIA CANAL and the steep embankment below South Cliff Street. It was just north of the CLIFFWAY. (Bear in mind the canal ran about where East Main Street is today).
VIADUCT SQUARE (Shelton) – The name given to the intersection of Howe Avenue and Bridge Street, including the approach to the steel truss viaduct bridge on Bridge Street, which was built in 1888. It served as the gateway into Shelton from Derby. Bridge Street was (and is) exceptionally wide here to accommodate the viaduct, and one interesting feature was the four stairways, one near each of its corners, to allow direct access from what is now West Canal Street and Canal Street below to the Bridge Street portion of the viaduct. The Viaduct itself crossed above the SHELTON CANAL, railroad tracks, and Canal Street and West Canal Street. It was replaced by the present concrete Veteran’s Memorial Bridge in 1973.
WALLACE’S GROVE (Ansonia) – see WOODLOT
WARCHOLIK HALL (Ansonia) – Also spelled “Worcholik Hall”. At the time one of the of the largest buildings on the West Side of Ansonia, containing 3 stores on the ground floor, a large hall in the rear, and a number of tenants. Located on 158-160 BROAD STREET, it was an important meeting place. It was named after Polish immigrant Joseph Warcholik, who owned the building at the turn of the 20th century. The building, along with two others, would be destroyed in a spectacular fire on April 17, 1955, leaving 34 homeless. The burned out ruins were pushed down right after the 1955 Flood.
WESTFIELD SCHOOL (Ansonia) – Opened in 1882 as the School Street School, and originally housed the overflow of students from GROVE STREET SCHOOL and HOLBROOK STREET SCHOOL. It was closed in 1937.
WESTWOOD PARK (Ansonia) – see WOODLOT
WHITE HILLS ROAD (Shelton) – An old road that served as the primary link between White Hills (and by extension Monroe) and downtown Shelton. It was very steep, and passed close to the waterfall at Indian Well. In 1935, a new State Road was built, less steep and further west of White Hills Road, called Leavenworth Road (Route 110). After that the White Hills Road was abandoned.
WHITE PLACE (Ansonia) – A small residential development with an interesting history. Most of the houses were originally in the area of upper CANAL STREET, when the Railroad took over the land they occupied. The buildings were physically moved to a dead end road, beginning east from lower Main Street, paralleled by Beaver Brook to the south and FRONT STREET to the north, in 1905. The settlement was originally called “New Jerusalem”. Because of its proximity to Beaver Brook and the Naugatuck River, this neighborhood never had a chance in the 1955 Flood, and it was completely demolished about a month afterward.
WILLIS SCHOOL (Ansonia) – See Grove Street School.
WOODLOT (Ansonia) – A clear lot off Maple Street on the West Side that was often used for large events such as circuses and concerts. Owned by the American Brass Company, this was later renamed Wallace’s Grove, and then WESTWOOD PARK, both in 1909.
WOODSIDE (Shelton) – A neighborhood which was part of the sprawl of the BOROUGH OF SHELTON, but was outside its limits, on both sides of Shelton Avenue above Wooster Street.
WOOSTER STREET (Ansonia) – Modern day Pershing Drive, south of Clifton Avenue to MILL STREET. It was so named because the grounds of the Col. William B. Wooster estate was on both sides of the street.
ZOAR BRIDGE (Oxford, Monre) – A suspension bridge that linked Monroe and Oxford. It was built in 1876, and torn down when the Stevenson Dam was built downstream in 1919. The village of Zoar was on the Oxford side of the bridge, and much of it went under Lake Zoar when the Stevenson Dam was completed. A person who lived in the area at that time talks about it here at Our Oxford Info.