Close-up on Bridgeport

The Hartford Courant

HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: The name refers to the three bridges crossing the PequonnockRiver. The city was previously called Stratfield , then Newfield and finallythe Borough of Bridgeport. The Indian name was Pequonnock, a name common toall cleared land.

HISTORY: Settled as early as the mid-17th century, when the General Assemblycommissioned the settlement of Pequonnock. Originally part of Stratford, it becameincorporated as a borough in 1800, making it the first borough in the state. It wasincorporated as a town in 1821.

INDUSTRY: Bridgeport's access to navigable waters and the presence of therailroad made it a manufacturing center. Producing goods ranging from sewingmachines to corsets, saddles and ammunition, the city was home to more than500 factories by the 1930s.

EARLY OBIT: When Bridgeport's most famous resident and former mayor, PhineasTaylor (P.T.) Barnum, wondered aloud what the papers would say about him whenhe died, the New York Evening Sun obliged by running his obituary early. The headlineread "Great And Only Barnum: He Wanted To Read His Obituary; Here It Is." Barnumdied two weeks later.

FAMOUS RESIDENTS: Actors Richard Belzer, Brian Dennehy, Robert Mitchum,Tony Musante, Kevin Nealon and John Ratzenberger; cartoonists Al Capp and WaltKelly; inventors Harvey Hubbell and Gustave Whitehead; musicians John Mayer andVinny Vincent; author Maureen Howard and Subway founder Fred DeLuca.

SOURCES: The Hartford Courant; Only in Bridgeport, An Illustrated history of the Park City (Grimaldi);;;

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