|Currier & Ives, Gold Mining in California, c. 1871|
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Sunday, May 09, 2021
Tuesday, February 02, 2021
Waterbury's first High School
From Richard Clark's Map of Waterbury, 1852
Nineteenth-century advocates for free education argued that it was in everyone's interest to ensure that all children could get the best education possible, that no one should be deprived of fulfilling their potential. Thanks to their advocacy, education is free through 12th grade.
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Waterbury lost one of its greats this weekend. Carmine Capobianco lived his live to its fullest and left behind creative work that will help future historians understand Waterbury in 20th century. I consider myself very fortunate to have known him. He was a genuinely kind, warm-hearted person with a sense of humor that made the world a little brighter.
Photo from his Facebook page
Saturday, October 31, 2020
Advertisement, Middlesex Gazette, 12 March 1791, p. 3
We’ve almost forgotten about it, but for thousands of years, smallpox was a constant threat, a terrifying disease which could cause massive scarring, blindness, and death. It was fatal in about 3 out of every 10 cases. Thanks to an international campaign coordinated by the World Health Organization, smallpox was eradicated in 1979, the first disease ever to be wiped out by human effort.
Saturday, August 22, 2020
Completion of the Naugatuck Rail Road in 1849 was essential to Waterbury's transformation. Having an affordable, efficient, and safe way to travel to New York City made Waterbury's economic growth possible. The town's population hovered around 3,000 people during the early 1800s. By the time the train arrived, the population was growing rapidly. By 1850, the town's population was just over 5,000 people and by 1860, it reached 10,000 people.
M. Richardson may have been Waterbury's first jeweler, operating a store in the center of town during the mid-1840s. I have not yet been able to find any further information about him.
|M. Richardson advertisement, |
Waterbury American, 6 September 1845
Silas Bronson Library microfilm
Friday, August 07, 2020
James Kefford and the Waterbury Negro Business League
James Kefford (1871-1940) came to Waterbury from Virginia during the 1890s. He started a real estate business in 1904, successfully competing with white realtors in Waterbury. Kefford bought and sold houses and served as a manager for various rental properties including the building with his office at 95 Bank Street.
In 1905, Kefford began constructing apartment buildings to rent to Black people. Housing discrimination was unchecked at this time: there were no laws preventing property owners from refusing to rent to non-white people, and as a result it was very difficult for non-white people to find quality housing in Waterbury. (James E. Kefford, speech given at the Sixteenth Annual Convention of the National Negro Business League, Boston, MA, 1915)
|James E. Kefford|
Waterbury Republican, 15 September 1912
Silas Bronson Library microfilm
Friday, July 03, 2020
As soon as I saw the Rep-Am report that the Rat Pack Motorcycle Club (RPMC) had staged a counter-protest at the rally to "protect" the statue of Christopher Columbus, alarm bells went off inside my head. Members of the RPMC doing their best to look tough and intimidating towards Black people holding a rally at City Hall is something Waterbury has seen before. The past is repeating itself, and not in a good way.
|News coverage of the clashing groups outside City Hall, Rep-Am website, 2 July 2020. Photo by Jim Shannon.|
Sunday, June 28, 2020
|Horace Weston, c. 1880|
Harvard Theater Collection, HTC Photographs 1.1073
Saturday, June 27, 2020
|The former Waterbury Clock Company office building in 2007|
|Aerial View of the former Waterbury Clock Company factory complex, 2020|
The Waterbury Clock Company was formed in 1857, a spin-off of the Benedict & Burnham Manufacturing Company. It became a highly successful company, selling its products all over the world.
Although the name of the company specified clocks, they also produced watches, most notably the "dollar watch" starting in the 1890s. The watch was an oversize pocket watch with a mechanism based on alarm clocks. The company teamed up with Robert H. Ingersoll, a retailer in New York City, to improve and market the watch under the Ingersoll name. By 1910, Waterbury Clock was producing 3,500,000 dollar watches each year for Ingersoll. The watches were so ubiquitous, Ingersoll declared the product to be "the watch that made the dollar famous."
Despite the popularity of the dollar watch, Ingersoll went into bankruptcy in 1922. Waterbury Clock bought out their holdings, continuing the use of the Ingersoll name for a line of cheap watches. They later added a line of Disney character watches, including a highly collectible Mickey Mouse watch.
Waterbury Clock is also known for the devastating effects of radium on its employees. Radium was used in the early 1900s by several companies to highlight the dials on clocks and watches, making them visible in the dark. The radiation that made the dials glow in the dark also sickened and killed many of the young women hired to paint the radium onto the dials. All of the buildings in the North Elm Street complex have been tested for radiation hazards.
Waterbury Clock Company was purchased by Norwegian investors in 1942 and was renamed United States Time Corporation in 1944. The name was changed again in 1969, to Timex.
Monday, May 25, 2020
|Photograph by Lisa Hendricks, Wikimedia Commons, 2013|
Waterbury's first burial ground was located on Grand Street, where the Silas Bronson Library is today. By the 1840s, as Waterbury was transforming itself from a small farming community to a growing industrial city, it became clear that a new cemetery was needed. In 1850, the Riverside Cemetery Association was formed.
Thursday, April 30, 2020
|The Porter House, April 2020|
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
|U.S. Public Health Service Broadside, 1918|
Library of Congress
The 1918 influenza pandemic was caused by an H1N1 virus with genes of avian origin. Approximately one-third of the world's population was infected by the virus, leading to the death of 50 million people worldwide. Approximately 675,000 in the United States were killed by the pandemic, of which approximately 9,000 were in Connecticut and more than 1,000 were in Waterbury. Most of Waterbury's deaths happened in a single month.
Saturday, February 22, 2020
|Collection of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division|
The photograph is a carte-de-visite, a print mounted onto a card, with the name of the photographer below the photograph.The medal on the man's chest is the medal of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) veterans organization.
Friday, February 14, 2020
|Bucks Hill District, 1874|