The town was split off from Stratford in 1789, as Huntington (named for Samuel Huntington). The current name originated in a manufacturing village started in the 1860's named for the Shelton Company founded by Edward N. Shelton — also founder of Ousatonic Water Power Company. The rapidly growing borough of Shelton incorporated as a city in 1915 and was consolidated with the town of Huntington in 1919 establishing the present City of Shelton.
Decline of Shelton's IndustryEdit
Shelton was home to one of the largest arson fires in the United States history. It happened in 1975 when the Sponge Rubber Products plant (formerly owned by B.F. Goodrich) was set on fire. Charles Moeller, president of parent company Grand Sheet Metal Products, was acquitted on arson charges, but in a civil lawsuit, a jury in 1988 ruled the insurer did not have to pay claims on the fire because a preponderance of evidence showed the company's top officials arranged the fire to claim insurance money. Eight others were convicted or pleaded guilty.
The explosion that destroyed the Sponge Rubber Plant on Canal Street in 1975 marked the start of the decline of Shelton's industries. During the remainder of the 1970s and 1980s several firms that operated factories along the banks of the Housatonic River either went out of business or relocated to areas where labor and operating costs were cheaper. In 1995, Sikorsky Aircraft closed a plant off of Bridgeport Avenue that manufactured electrical components for helicopters.
Efforts are underway to restore nineteenth century industrial buildings in the downtown area; those that were beyond repair were demolished in the late 1990s and early 2000s and replaced with the Veteran's Memorial, and a farmer's market. The 10-acre Riverwalk Park next to the Veterans Memorial was created on the site of the former Sponge Rubber Plant. Other buildings along Howe Avenue, one of the city's main thoroughfares have been restored, while developers have renovated two 19th Century factory buildings on Bridge Street, converting them into luxury condominiums. Several downtown streets have been reconstructed as part of a streetscape improvement project: sidewalks were reconstructed with brick and cobblestone, trees were planted, and some power lines were rerouted underground to improve the appearance of Shelton's central business district. In March of 2008, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell announced that after negotiations with State Senator Dan Debicella and State Representative Jason Perillo, state bond funds in the amount of $2 million would be directed toward additional infrastructure improvements leading to over $100 million in private investment in the city's downtown.
In November 2007, a tree located on Soundview Avenue in Shelton was picked to be the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.9 square miles (82.7 km²), of which, 30.6 square miles (79.2 km²) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.5 km²) of it (4.26%) is water.
As of the census estimates of 2005, there were 40,142 people, 14,190 households, and 10,543 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,246.4 people per square mile (481.2/km²). There were 14,707 housing units at an average density of 481.1/sq mi (185.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.44% White, 1.12% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.08% Asian, 0.89% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.48% of the population.
There were 14,190 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.9% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.7% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $67,292, and the median income for a family was $75,523. Males had a median income of $50,210 versus $36,815 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,893. About 2.5% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.
Mark Lauretti has served as mayor since taking office in 1991.
The Republican Party has controlled the city government since the 1980s. Before the 2007 Elections, the Board of Aldermen consists of 5 Republican members, 2 Citizens' United members and one Democrat member. Mayor Lauretti was re-elected for a ninth term on November 6, 2007. The new Board of Aldermen consists of 7 Republicans and one Democrat.
Political affiliations in Shelton have developed predominantly along demographic lines, with both representatives from the 2nd Ward (Jason Perillo (Also the Chief of Echo Hose Ambulance Corps (EHAC)) and Stanley Kudej), 3rd Ward (John Anglace and Lynn Farrell) and 4th Ward (John Papa and Kenneth Olin) being Republicans. The more affluent 1st Ward is represented by Jack Finn, the lone Democrat on the Board, and Republican Anthony Simonetti. Anglace (R-3) is the Board's President. Papa (R-4) is its Vice-president. In recent elections, the 2nd and 4th Wards have remained consistently Republican, while representation from the 1st and 3rd Wards has swung between Republicans, Democrats, and the Citizens' United Party.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005|
|Party||Active Voters||Inactive Voters||Total Voters||Percentage||Republican||6,195||134||6,329||25.54%||Democratic||4,553||106||4,659||18.81%||Unaffiliated||13,438||322||13,760||55.53%||Minor Parties||28||1||29||0.12%|
- Perkin-Elmer houses their Life and Analyitical sciences division on Bridgeport Avenue. Perkin Elmer is best known for building the optical components of the Hubble Space Telescope.
- Shelton is home to Wiffle Ball, Inc., manufacturers of the original Wiffle Ball.
- Home to Swiss Army Brands U.S. regional office, with about 175 employees, is planning a move to Monroe.
- TranSwitch Corp. headquarters, 3 Enterprise Drive
- Pitney Bowes employs 1,460 in the city.
- Health Net Inc. has 1,500 employees in the city.
- Computershare (formerly Transcentive Inc.), 2 Enterprise Drive
- NEC Unified Solutions (formerly Nitsuko America), manufacturer of business telephone systems, 4 Forest Parkway
- Panolam is headquartered in Shelton.
- Cartier SA has an office in Shelton
- Tetley USA is headquartered in Shelton.
- Bic Incorporated has an office in Shelton.
Notable residents, past and presentEdit
- Joe Ballaro, bassist of the rock band Hot Rod Circuit.
- Isaac Hull (1773 - 1843), Commodore in the U.S. Navy; commanded U.S.S. Constitution among other ships.
- David N. Mullany, inventor of the Wiffle Ball.
- Dan Orlovsky, professional football player, born in Shelton.
On the National Register of Historic PlacesEdit
- Commodore Hull School — 130 Oak Ave. (added July 30, 1983)
- Huntington Center Historic District — Roughly along Church and Huntington Sts., from Ripton Rd. to the Farmill River (added April, 2000)
- Plumb Memorial Library — 47 Wooster St. (added December 7, 1978)
- Town government Web site
- Fairfield County Business Journal slideshow
- Derby Historical Society Web site The society was "Founded April 18, 1946, to serve the Naugatuck Valley towns of Ansonia, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, & Shelton."
- Coastal Fairfield County Convention & Visitor Bureau
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