Danbury - Encyclopedia

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DANBURY, a city and one of the county-seats of Fairfield county, Connecticut, U.S.A., in Danbury township, in the south-west part of the state, on the Still river, a tributary of the Housatonic. Pop. (1890) 16,J52; (1900) 16,J37, of whom 3702 were foreign-born; area about 5 sq. m. In 1900 the population of the township, including that of the city, was 19,474. Danbury is served by three divisions of the New York, New Haven & Hartford railway; by the Danbury & Harlem electric railway, which connects at Goldens Bridge, New York, with the Harlem division of the New York Central; and by an electric line to Bethel, Connecticut. Lake Kenosia, about 22 m. from the centre of the city, is a pleasure resort. A state normal school was opened in Danbury in 1904, and there is a home for destitute and homeless children under private (unsectarian) control. The city has good water-power, and the municipality owns the water works. The principal industry is the manufacture of felt hats, begun in 1780, and in 1905 engaging about thirty factories, with a product for the year valued at $5,798,107 (71-9% of the value of all the factory products of the city, and 15.8% of the value of all the felt hats produced in the United States). The city ranked first among the cities of the country in this industry in 1900 and second in 1905, and in 1905 no other city showed so high a degree of specialization in it. Silver-plated ware (mostly manufactured by Rogers Bros.) is another important product. At Danbury is held annually the well-known agricultural Danbury Fair. The township was settled in 1684 by emigrants from Norwalk, and received its present name in 1687. When the War of Independence opened, Enoch Crosby, believed to be the original of Harvey Birch, the hero of J. F. Cooper's The Spy, was a resident of Danbury. A depot of military supplies was established in the village of Danbury in 1776; in April 1777 Governor William Tryon, of New York, raided the place, destroying the military stores and considerable private property. During his retreat he was attacked (April 26th) at Ridgefield (about 9 m. south by east of Danbury) by the Americans under General David Wooster (1710-1777), who was fatally wounded in the conflict (being succeeded by General Benedict Arnold), and to whose memory a monument was erected in Danbury in 1854. Danbury was chartered as a borough in 1832 and as a city in 1880. In 1870 the Danbury News was established by the consolidation of the Jeffersonian and the Times, by James Montgomery Bailey (1841-1894), from 1865 to 1870 proprietor of the Times. He wrote for the News humorous sketches, which made him and the paper famous, Bailey being known as the "Danbury News Man"; among his books are Life in Danbury (1873), The Danbury News Man's Almanac (1873), They All Do It (1877), England from a Back Window (1878), Mr Philip's Goneness (1879), The Danbury Boom (1880), and History of Danbury (1896).

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