Bristol, Connecticut

Bristol, Connecticut
—  City  —


Nickname(s): Mum City, Bell City
Location in Hartford County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°40′52″N 72°56′26″W / 41.68111°N 72.94056°W / 41.68111; -72.94056Coordinates: 41°40′52″N 72°56′26″W / 41.68111°N 72.94056°W / 41.68111; -72.94056
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Hartford
Region Central Connecticut
Incorporated (town) 1785
Incorporated (city) 1911
 – Type Mayor-council
 – Mayor Arthur J. Ward [1]
 – Total 26.8 sq mi (69.4 km2)
 – Land 26.5 sq mi (68.7 km2)
 – Water 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
Elevation 305 ft (93 m)
Population (2005)[2]
 – Total 61,353
 – Density 2,315.4/sq mi (894/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06010 - 06011
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-08420
GNIS feature ID 0205727

Bristol is a suburban city located in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Hartford. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 61,353.[2] Bristol is primarily known as the home of ESPN, whose central studios are in the city. Bristol is also home to Lake Coumpounce, America's oldest still functioning theme park. Bristol was also known as a clock-making city in the 19th century, and is home to the American Clock and Watch Museum. Bristol's nicknames include the Bell City, because of a history manufacturing innovative spring-driven doorbells, and the Mum City because it was once a leader in chrysanthemum production and still holds an annual Bristol Mum Festival.[3] In 2010, Bristol was ranked 84th on Money Magazine's "Best Places to Live".[4]



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.8 square miles (69.5 km²). The city contains several distinct sections including Chippen Hill in the northwestern quarter of Bristol, Edgewood in the northeastern quarter, and Forestville, in the southeastern quarter. The majority of Bristol is residential, though since 2008 there has been a push for commercial development in the city.[5] The Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency is the metropolitan planning organization for Bristol, New Britain, and surrounding towns.[6]


Forestville was Native American hunting grounds until the 19th century.[citation needed] There are many suburban neighborhoods and local businesses within the Forestville area. The official boundaries of Forestville are the Plainville town line, the Southington town line, Middle street, west of properties on the west side of King street, south of properties on the south side of Louisiana avenue, west of properties on the west side of Brook street north of Louisiana avenue and up to Farmington avenue. Within the Forestville area, there are two subsections known as East Bristol and the Stafford District. Those subsections are similar to Plantsville, Connecticut's Marion and Milldale.[7][8]


Historical population of
1800 2,722
1810 1,428
1820 1,362
1830 1,707
1840 2,109
1850 2,884
1860 3,436
1870 3,788
1880 5,347
1890 7,382
1900 9,643
1910 13,502
1920 20,620
1930 28,451
1940 30,167
1950 35,961
1960 45,499
1970 55,487
1980 57,370
1990 60,640
2000 60,062
2002 60,541 (estimate)

As of the census of 2000, there are 60,062 people, 24,886 households, and 16,175 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,265.8 inhabitants per square mile (874.8/km²). There are 26,125 housing units at an average density of 985.6 per square mile (380.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 86.33% White, 2.68% African American, 5.27% Hispanic, 0.22% Native American, 1.47% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.40% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races.

There are 24,886 households in Bristol of which 29.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% are married couples living together, 11.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.0% are non-families. 28.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.7% have a sole resident who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.38 and the average family size is 2.94.

Bristol possesses substantial age diversity with 23.2% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $47,422, and the median income for a family is $58,259. Males have a median income of $40,483 versus $30,584 for females. The per capita income for the city is $23,362. 6.6% of the population and 4.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 8.7% of those under the age of 18 and 5.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005[11]
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
  Democratic 12,480 381 12,861 38.64%
  Republican 5,531 206 5,737 17.24%
  Unaffiliated 13,954 729 14,683 44.11%
  Minor Parties 4 0 4 0.01%
Total 31,969 1,316 33,285 100%


Education in Bristol, CT is conducted using ten elementary schools (grades kindergarten through five), three middle schools (grades six, seven and eight ), and two high schools. In addition to these public schools, there are also a number of private Catholic schools available. These add an additional four kindergarten through grade 8 schools and one additional high school.[12]

A recent press release shows good scores on the Connecticut Academic Performance Test, a standardized Connecticut test which students take in tenth grade. The report states that more than 87% of Bristol students scored at or above the proficient level in each of the content areas assessed.[13]

Schools in Bristol
Elementary Schools Middle Schools K-Through-8 Schools High Schools
Bingham School [14] Chippens Hill Middle School [15] St. Anthony's School [2] Bristol Central High School[16]
Edgewood School [17] Memorial Boulevard Middle School [18] St. Matthew's School [3] Bristol Eastern High School[19]
Greene-Hills School [20] Northeast Middle School [21] St. Joseph's School [4] St. Paul Catholic High School[5]
Hubbell School [22] Immanuel Lutheran School [6]
Ivy Drive School [23]
Jennings School [24]
Mountain View School [25]
O'Connell School [26]
South Side School [27]
Stafford School [28]

Recently, it has been proposed that the educational system of the city be redesigned. Because some of the schools are in historic buildings, new schools are being sought by the city. In addition, it has been proposed that the entire education system of the city be redesigned, eliminating the middle school category. In other words, all schools would be kindergarten through eighth grade or high school. The Bristol Board of Education's [29] appeals for support for this project have been met with mixed emotions.[30]

Public safety


Bristol's emergency medical services program has been provided by Bristol Hospital since 1977. It was designed to assume the responsibility previously carried by the Bristol Police Department. The Bristol Hospital's EMS are carried out using 6 emergency ambulances, 2 paramedic intercept vehicles and 4 wheelchair vans.[31]

Fire department

The Bristol, Connecticut Fire Department is a full service fire department with 5 engine companies (or stations) and one tower company. The Bristol Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five members appointed by the Mayor who establish the primary policies of the fire department.[32]

Police department

The Bristol, Connecticut Police Department is a full service police department with approximately 125 sworn officers. In addition to a vehicular patrol division, downtown Bristol is also policed by a bicycle division and walking beat officers. During any shift, there may be as many as 20 officers on duty, not including detectives and officers from other divisions.[33]



In recent years,[when?] Bristol has begun a renovation of the downtown area. This has included a complete overhaul of a park in the center of the city. In addition, an outdated and underused mall from the 1970s was recently demolished. Also, North Main Street, one of the busiest sections of downtown, was recently improved by adding islands in the road, elegant street lighting and a brick median when the road was repaved.[34][35]

Blight Committee

In the 1990s, the Blight Committee was formed to enforce appearance laws, and even demolish[36] properties which it deems are unsightly and unkempt. This committee is tasked with ensuring that properties are not abandoned and that all properties are reasonably maintained.

In 2008, the Bristol Blight Committee was disbanded in order to make way for a new committee; the Bristol Code Enforcement Committee. This new committee has even greater powers and can now deal with both appearances and structural integrity issues of buildings in Bristol. The purpose of the committee is to streamline the process of enforcing the issues the former Blight Committee was tasked with. The law requires all structures to be free of "abandoned vehicles, nuisances, refuse, pollution and filth ... broken glass, loose shingles, holes, cracked or damaged siding, crumbling brick and other conditions 'reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance.'"[37]

The Blight Committee and Code Enforcement Committee continue to be hotly debated topics within Bristol.


In addition to the "Mum Festival", Bristol holds an annual street festival with a car show and a family farms weekend at Minors Farm, Shepherd Meadows and Roberts Orchard, similar to that of Southington's apple festival, all of which are held around September.[3]

Mum Festival and Parade

The first Bristol Mum Festival began on July 7, 1962 and included a parade. The members of the Chamber of Commerce and City of Bristol officials met and completed a list of activities to take place over six days. They wanted to focus on the positive things that were occurring in Bristol. When the festival opened it was originally known as the Fall Festival. In 1963 the Chrysanthemum (mum) was also added to the festival's name. Prior to 1986 the nurseries in Bristol would produce over 80,000 mum plants[citation needed].

Other attractions

Bristol has many parks as well: Peck, Page, Rockwell, Bracket, Barnes Nature Center, Indian Rock, Forestville memorial and many more (22 in total).[38] The city is also home to Lake Compounce, the oldest continuously operated amusement park in North America and to the New England Carousel Museum, the American Clock and Watch Museum, the Imagine Nation Children's Museum, Bristol Military Memorial Museum, Bristol Historical Society Museum and the Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum. The Harry Barnes Memorial Nature Center comprises 70 acres (280,000 m2) of forest and fields, with nature trails and an interpretive center.


  • Bristol hosts the Little League New England and Mid-Atlantic Regional playoffs every August at The A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Center.[39][40][41]


The name of the local daily newspaper is the Bristol Press, and town news is also featured in a small weekly called the Bristol Observer. It is also home to The Tattoo teen newspaper, one of the first on-line newspapers.[42]

Sister cities


Notable companies

The companies below are some of the most notable in Bristol, CT. These, in addition to Bristol Hospital, are the largest private employers in the area.[43]

Associated Spring

Founded in 1857, and headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut, U.S.A., Barnes Group is a diversified international manufacturer of precision metal components and assemblies and a distributor of industrial supplies, serving a wide range of markets and customers. Barnes Group consists of three businesses with 2005 sales of $1.1 billion.[7]


ESPN houses its broadcast studios in Bristol, CT on Middle Street. ESPN is the largest taxpayer to the City of Bristol.[44]

ESPN's former parent, Capital Cities Communications, once owned the local ABC affiliate WTNH, but sold it after acquiring ABC (which owned ESPN), and later merged with the Walt Disney Company.

Otis Elevator company

Though its beginnings were in Yonkers, New York, Otis Elevator possesses the largest elevator test tower in the United States in Bristol. Located near ESPN and Lake Compounce, the 383-foot (117 m)-high tower is easily visible from the surrounding roads.[45][46]

CIGNA Insurance

CIGNA Insurance has a long history, part of which has roots in Bristol. As early as 1865, CIGNA can trace the roots of its corporation to the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. As the company grew, an office was eventually opened in Bristol. Presently, CIGNA, among other insurance companies, provides many jobs for residents of the area.[47]

Top employers

According to Bristol's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[48] the top employers in the city were:

# Employer # of Employees
1 ESPN 3,400
2 Bristol Hospital 1,750
3 City of Bristol & Board of Education 1,656
4 Stephen AutoMall Centre 200
5 IDEX Health & Science 200
6 Sheriden Woods Health Care Center 180
7 Quality Coils 170
8 Stop & Shop 150
9 Rowley Spring and Stamping 150
10 The Pines at Bristol 140

Notable people



  1. ^ "City of Bristol, CT - Office of the Mayor 2". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  2. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Connecticut" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 21, 2006. Retrieved November 17, 2006. 
  3. ^ a b "Connecticut Economic Digest: Labor Market Information". Connecticut Department of Labor. October 2001. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  4. ^ "Best Places to Live 2010 - Top 100: City details: Bristol, CT - from MONEY Magazine". © 2010 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company. Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  5. ^ "City of Bristol, CT - Development Plans". City of Bristol, Zoning Board. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  6. ^ "Welcome". CCRPA. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  7. ^ Street Map Bristol, Burlington 1855
  8. ^ 1939 Bristol, Plainville, Terryville, Forestville Volume 51 Price and Lee City Directories.
  9. ^ "Office of the Secretary of the State". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  12. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Our Schools". City of Bristol, Public Schools. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  13. ^ "Bristol Public Schools" (PDF). City of Bristol, Public Schools. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  14. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Bingham School". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  15. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Chippens Hill MS". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  16. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Bristol Central HOME Page". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  17. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Edgewood School Homepage". 2011-10-19. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  18. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Memorial Boulevard HOME PAGE". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  19. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Bristol Eastern HS". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  20. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Greene-Hills School". 2011-10-28. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  21. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Northeast Middle School". 2011-09-12. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  22. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: E. P. Hubbell School". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  23. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Ivy". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  24. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Jennings School". 2011-10-04. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  25. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Mountain View School". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  26. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: O'Connell School". 2011-10-26. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  27. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: South Side School". 2011-09-07. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  28. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Stafford School". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  29. ^ "Bristol Public Schools: Board of Education". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  30. ^ "City of Bristol, Public Schools: School Brochure" (PDF). Bristol Board of Education. 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  31. ^ "Bristol Hospital EMS". Bristol Hospital EMS. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  32. ^ "City of Bristol, CT - Fire Department". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  33. ^ "City of Bristol, CT - Patrol Division". City of Bristol. 2004. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  34. ^ "City of Bristol, CT - Downtown Revitalization". Arthur J. Ward, Mayor. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  35. ^ "BDDC". Bristol Downtown Development Corporation. 2008. Retrieved mdy. 
  36. ^ "Titus Roberts House Justice". Ken Karl. November 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  37. ^ "Bristol Blog: Blight Committee Bites the Dust". Ken Karl. November 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  38. ^ "City of Bristol, CT - Parks & Facilities". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  39. ^ "Little League Baseball". Little League Baseball Incorporated. 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  40. ^ "Little League Baseball". Little League Baseball Incorporated. 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  41. ^ "Little League Baseball". Little League Baseball Incorporated. 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  42. ^ "". Bristol Press. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  43. ^ "City of Bristol, CT - History". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  44. ^ "City of Bristol, CT - top ten". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  45. ^ [1][dead link]
  46. ^ "Bristol, CT - North America's Tallest Elevator Test Tower". Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  47. ^ "CIGNA Company History". CIGNA Health Insurance. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  48. ^ "City of Bristol CAFR" (PDF).,_CAFR_2010.pdf. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 

External links

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