Hamden, Connecticut

Hamden, Connecticut
—  Town  —

Seal
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°23′52″N 72°55′18″W / 41.39778°N 72.92167°W / 41.39778; -72.92167Coordinates: 41°23′52″N 72°55′18″W / 41.39778°N 72.92167°W / 41.39778; -72.92167
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA New Haven
Region South Central Region
Incorporated 1786
Government
 – Type Mayor-council
 – Mayor Scott Jackson
Area
 – Total 33.3 sq mi (56.2 km2)
 – Land 32.8 sq mi (84.9 km2)
 – Water 0.5 sq mi (1.4 km2)
Elevation 184 ft (56 m)
Population (2005)[1]
 – Total 58,180
 – Density 1,774/sq mi (685/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06514, 06517, 06518
Area code(s) 203
FIPS code 09-35650
GNIS feature ID 0213440
Website http://www.hamden.com/

Hamden is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. The town's nickname is "The Land of the Sleeping Giant." Hamden is home to Quinnipiac University. The population was 58,180 according to the Census Bureau's 2005 estimates.[1] Hamden is a suburb of the city of New Haven.

In 2008, Fortune Magazine and CNN Money picked Hamden as #33 on their "Best Place to Live and Launch" list, citing Hamden's great blend of urban and suburban lifestyles. The article also pointed out Hamden's exceptional education system as well as its "New England Charm".[2]

Contents

History

Clark's Pond, near the Quinnipiac University campus.

Originally settled by Puritans as part of the town of New Haven, Hamden was purchased by Theophilus Eaton and Reverend John Davenport in 1638 from the local Quinnipiack Native American tribe. It remained a part of New Haven until 1786 when 1,400 local residents incorporated the area as a separate town, naming it after the English statesman John Hampden.

Largely developed as a nodal collection of village-like settlements, (which remain distinct today,) including Mount Carmel (home to Quinnipiac University), Whitneyville, Spring Glen, West Woods, and Highwood, Hamden has a long-standing industrial history. In 1798, four years after Eli Whitney began manufacturing the cotton gin in New Haven, he made arms for the U.S. Government at a mill site in Hamden, where a waterfall provided a good source of power. At that site, Whitney introduced the modern era of mass production with the concept of interchangeable parts.

The major thoroughfare through Hamden has been named Whitney Avenue in honor of Eli Whitney, and it runs past Whitney's old factory, now the Eli Whitney Museum.

Whitney constructed stone houses for his employees in the nearby area, which is still referred to as Whitneyville; this is believed to be the first example of employer-provided homes in U.S. history. In 1806, the dam that Eli Whitney built at the mill site was enlarged to create a reservoir, Lake Whitney. The first truss bridge in the United States was erected nearby over the Mill River in Whitneyville in 1823, but has since been replaced.

The Farmington Canal, which ships traveled from New Haven northward, passed through Hamden between 1825 and 1848 until it was supplanted by railroad travel. The canal right-of-way has become, in recent years, a popular walking and bicycling trail, passing by some of the well-preserved locks of the canal, as well as some of Hamden's oldest sites. Before its use as a walking and bicycling trail, many local residents rode their motocross bikes on the Farmington Canal.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Hamden received a steady influx of immigrants, most notably from Italy and Ireland. To this day, a large part of Greater New Haven's Italian-American community resides in Hamden.

During the post-war period, Hamden underwent significant suburban development. Much of the southern section of town is urbanized and is difficult to distinguish from neighboring New Haven. The northern section of town, however, retains a more rural character, and has the distinct neighborhood of Mount Carmel. This area of town is the location of the unique Sleeping Giant hill formation that is the source of the town's nickname.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 33.3 square miles (86 km2), of which, 32.8 square miles (85 km2) of it is land and 0.5 square miles (1.3 km2) of it (1.62%) is water. The town features the Mill River, which runs from the northern part of town, is dammed to form Lake Whitney, and flows from there to the Long Island Sound. The town also has the Quinnipiac River and Lake Wintergreen, as well as numerous small streams.

Neighborhoods

  • Augerville
  • Centerville (Town Center)
  • Dunbar Hill
  • Hamden Plains
  • Highwood
  • Mix District
  • Mount Carmel
  • Spring Glen[3]
  • State Street
  • Whitneyville
  • West Woods (Hamden Hills)

Notable areas

The Town Hall at the center of Hamden has a distinctive appearance. Across the street is Freedom Park, which contains a fountain with concrete stepping stones leading to a sign that pleads for peace in several different languages.

Hamden was host to the Ghost Parking Lot, a notable roadside public art installation located in front of the Hamden Plaza shopping center in Hamden's commercial district on Dixwell Avenue. Erected in 1978, it consisted of 15 car hulks, specially treated and encased in asphalt. Although featured in over 100 art books, the attraction was torn down in 2003 due to the excessive cost of restoration and repair.[4][5]

Adjacent municipalities

Hamden is bordered by six other towns:[6]

Government

Hamden is governed by a mayor-council form of government, with a 15-member legislative council. Six councilors are elected at large while the other nine are elected by district. Town elections are held biennially during odd years in May. Other elected positions in the town government are the Town Clerk and members of the Board of Education. Positions in the various town boards and commissions are generally appointed by the Mayor subject to approval by the Legislative Council.

Scott Jackson became mayor in 2009. Past mayors of Hamden are:

  • Craig Henrici, 2005–2009
  • Carl Amento, 1999–2005
  • Barbara DeNicola, 1997–1999
  • Lillian Clayman, 1991–1997
  • Johnny Carusone, 1987–1991
  • John DeNicola Jr., 1985–1987
  • Peter Villano, 1981–1985
  • Dick Harris, 1979–1981
  • Lucien DiMeo, 1973–1979
  • Bill Adams, 1967–1973
  • John DeNicola Sr., 1965–1967

John DeNicola Sr. was the town's last first selectman before becoming the town’s first mayor, in November 1965.

Economy

The main industries in the town are retail trade, computer products, manufacture of wire and cable, concrete, pump mixer products, fabricated metals, construction and business services. Business services account for 49.4% of employment in the town, with retail trade accounting for 22.8%, and manufacturing accounting for 9.6%. The top four major employers are: the town government and school district, Quinnipiac University, Harborside Health Care, and Area Cooperative Education Services (ACES).

Shaw's Supermarket was one of the top five major employers but the Hamden Shaw's was sold to ShopRite in a sale of Shaw's Connecticut stores announced on February 13, 2010.[7] The Shaw's supermarket has been shut down and the new ShopRite store has opened.

Hamden is a residential suburb for New Haven with more residents commuting to work in New Haven than residents working in Hamden.

Transportation

The Wilbur Cross Parkway runs through the center of the town serving as a connection to Hartford in the north, and New York metropolitan area to the south. The town is connected to Interstate 91 via state highway Route 40, a spur expressway to the Mount Carmel section of town. The main route from the town center to New Haven passing through the commercial areas of Hamden is Dixwell Avenue (Route 10). Another route to New Haven via the Spring Glen and Whitneyville residential neighborhoods is Whitney Avenue.

Public transportation is provided by Connecticut Transit New Haven. The main bus routes in the town are the Dixwell Avenue (D) and the Whitney Avenue (J) routes. Other secondary routes serving the town are the State Street (M) and Winchester Avenue (O) bus routes.

North Haven/Hamden Station, a possible station on the proposed New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Commuter Rail Line, may be built next to the Hamden-North Haven border near the Route 40 Connector, serving both towns.[8]

Education

Public

Elementary schools

  • West Woods Elementary School
  • Church Street Elementary School
  • Spring Glen Elementary School
  • Shepherd Glen Elementary School
  • Ridge Hill Elementary School
  • Dunbar Hill Elementary School
  • Bear Path School [2]
  • Helen Street Elementary School
  • Alice Peck Early Learning Center

Middle school

Magnet schools

  • Wintergreen Interdistrict Magnet School (grades: Kindergarten through 8)
  • Highville Mustard Seed Charter School (High school)

High schools

Private

Hamden is home to several private and religious schools, including:

  • Hamden Hall Country Day School
  • Laurel Oaks Adventist School (grades 1–8)
  • Lorraine D. Foster Day School
  • Sacred Heart Academy (grades 9-12)
  • St. Stephen School (Roman Catholic, grades pre-K to 8)
  • St. Rita School [3] (Roman Catholic, grades pre-K to 8)
  • West Woods Christian Academy (evangelical Christian, grades K-12)
  • SKF Academy

Colleges and universities

Quality of life

Within the town limits, there are 16 banks, 6 lodging facilities, and 29 day care facilities. There are no hospitals in the town although it is close to the major hospitals in New Haven. In 2004, the crime rate was 2,084 per 100,000 residents, lower than the statewide average of 2,981 per 100,000 residents. The town library has 166,358 volumes (as of 2001).

Electricity in the town is provided by the United Illuminating company; natural gas is provided by the Southern Connecticut Gas company; the water provider is the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority; Cable TV is provided by Comcast of New Haven.

There are several parks and museums located in Hamden, including Eli Whitney Museum in Whitneyville, parts of West Rock Ridge State Park (including Lake Wintergreen) and East Rock Park (including the Pardee Rose Garden), and the Sleeping Giant State Park. The Farmington Canal Trail runs through the town. Two blue-blazed hiking trails, the Quinnipiac Trail and the Regicides Trail, also run through the town.

The Jonathan Dickerman House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places is located in Mount Carmel. Hamden also has an all-volunteer orchestra, the Hamden Symphony Orchestra, providing concerts throughout the year.

Demographics

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 56,913 people, 22,408 households, and 14,027 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,736.1 people per square mile (670.4/km²). There were 23,464 housing units at an average density of 715.7 per square mile (276.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 77.30% White, 15.53% African American, 0.13% Native American, 3.53% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.61% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.26% of the population.

There were 22,408 households out of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the town the population was spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18, 12.1% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 84.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $52,351, and the median income for a family was $65,301. Males had a median income of $45,909 versus $35,941 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,039. About 4.5% of families and 7.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.4% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005[10]
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
  Democratic 13,161 701 13,862 37.98%
  Republican 4,782 369 5,151 14.11%
  Unaffiliated 15,593 1,828 17,421 47.74%
  Minor Parties 57 4 61 0.17%
Total 33,593 2,902 36,495 100%

Notable people, past and present

  • Daniel Altman, author and journalist, grew up in Hamden and was educated entirely in the Hamden Public School system.
  • Sidney Altman, Nobel Laureate, resident since 1972.
  • Ernest Borgnine, the actor, was born in town.
  • Scott Burrell, two-sport athlete and longtime professional basketball player, grew up in town and attended the high school where he was also the starting quarterback on the varsity team.
  • Anthony Rossomando, of Dirty Pretty Things
  • John Carpenter, The first winner of "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?"
  • Joe Castiglione, former TV play-by-play man for the Cleveland Indians, currently radio play-by-play man for the Boston Red Sox
  • Thomas P. Colangelo (1949–2007), main designer of most famous high-end audio brand Mark Levinson. His designs put the American audio industry back on the map.
  • Rich Diana (born 1960), Former NFL running back for the Miami Dolphins.
  • Paul Fusco, the voice, creator, and puppeteer of ALF, grew up in town.
  • Edward W. Gosselin (1917 – December 7, 1941), a U.S. Navy ensign who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, was born in town.
  • James J. Greco, CEO of Bruegger's Enterprises Inc. grew up in town.
  • Linda Greenhouse (born 1947), Pulitzer prize winning journalist, grew up in town.
  • Henry Gruber (1863–1932), Baseball player, holds record for most walks in a game at 16.
  • Donald Hall, poet, named poet laureate of the United States in 2006, grew up in town.
  • Jean Harris, killer and ex-lover of Dr. Herman Tarnower, the co-author of The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet
  • Anttaj Hawthorne, Former Oakland Raiders defensive tackle, grew up in town and starred on the high school football team.
  • Bob Heussler, voice of the Connecticut Sun and a WFAN broadcaster, has resided in Hamden since 1983.
  • Rob Monaco, former St. Louis Cardinals Center was born in Hamden.
  • Jeff Natale, minor-league baseball in the Boston Red Sox organization, lives in town. Also teaches at Hamden Middle School in the offseason.
  • Jaroslav Pelikan (1923–2006) one of the world's leading scholars in the history of Christianity and medieval intellectual history, died in town, but not before saying the last of his many aphorisms: "If Christ is risen, nothing else matters. And if Christ is not risen -- nothing else matters."
  • Jonathan Quick, NHL goalie. Rookie in 2007. Played first game for the Los Angeles Kings on December 6, 2007.
  • The Rock (Dwayne Douglas Johnson, b. 1972), professional wrestler and actor, spent part of his childhood in town, attending Shepherd Glen Elementary and Hamden Middle School.
  • Benjamin Scolnic, author, Rabbi, long-time resident
  • Thornton Wilder (1897–1975), the playwright, lived in town and is buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery. In tribute to him, the Miller library (the town's main library) has a stage/performing arts wing named the Thorton Wilder Hall.
  • Eddie Wilson, (1909–1979), outfielder played for 14 years, born in Hamden.
  • C. Vann Woodward (1908–1999), pre-eminent historian focusing on the South and race relations, was a resident of the town at the time of his death.
  • Eli Whitney (1765–1825), inventor of the cotton gin.
  • Wendy Wright Lead singer of Def La Desh & The Fresh Witness, Star of ABC's Fat March (2007) author of Contrary Action: An Ordinary Girl's Dialogue with God, grew up in Hamden.

See also

References

External links


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