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New Britain, Connecticut

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New Britain, Connecticut

New Britain, Connecticut
Looking north from Walnut Hill Park
Looking north from Walnut Hill Park
Official seal of New Britain, Connecticut
Nickname(s): New Britski, Hard-Hittin New Britain, Hardware City
Location within Hartford County, Connecticut
Location within Hartford County, Connecticut
Country United States
State Connecticut
Region Central Connecticut
Incorporated (town) 1850
Incorporated (city) 1870
Consolidated 1905
 • Type Mayor-council
 • Mayor Erin E. Stewart
 • Total 13.4 sq mi (34.7 km2)
 • Land 13.3 sq mi (34.4 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 167 ft (51 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 73,206
 • Density 5,360/sq mi (2,069/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06050, 06051, 06052, 06053
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-50370
GNIS feature ID 0209217

New Britain is a city in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. It is located approximately 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Hartford. According to 2010 Census, the population of the city is 73,206.[1]

Among the southernmost of the communities encompassed within the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor Metropolitan Region, New Britain is home to Central Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College.

The city's official nickname is the "Hardware City" because of its history as a manufacturing center and as the headquarters of Stanley Black & Decker. Because of its large Polish population, the city is often playfully referred to as "New Britski."[2]


New Britain was settled in 1687 and then was incorporated as a new parish under the name New Britain Society in 1754. Chartered in 1850 as a township and in 1871 as a city, New Britain was separated from the nearby town of Berlin, Connecticut. A consolidation charter was adopted in 1905.

During the early part of the 20th century, New Britain was known as the "Hardware Capital of the World", as well as "Hardware City". Major manufacturers, such as The Stanley Works, the P&F Corbin Company (later Corbin Locks), and North & Judd, were headquartered in the city.

Postcard: West Main Street, pre-1907.

In 1843 Frederick Trent Stanley established Stanley's Bolt Manufactory in New Britain to make door bolts and other wrought-iron hardware. In 1857 his cousin Henry Stanley founded The Stanley Rule and Level Company in the city. Planes invented by Leonard Bailey and manufactured by the Stanley Rule and Level Company, known as "Stanley/Bailey" planes, were prized by woodworkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and remain popular among wood craftsmen today. The two companies merged in 1920, and the Stanley Rule and Level Company became the Hand Tools Division of Stanley Works.

The wire coat hanger was invented in 1869 by O. A. North of New Britain, Connecticut.

In 1895, the basketball technique of dribbling was developed at the New Britain YMCA. In 1938, New Britain High School competed in the high school football national championship game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 1954 saw the development of racquetball, also at the YMCA.[3]

City Motto

New Britain's motto, "Industria implet alveare et melle fruitur" translated from Latin means, "Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey." This phrase was coined by Elihu Burritt, a prominent New Britain resident, diplomat, philanthropist and social activist.

Motto Mistake

According to The Courant, on May 31, 2007 it was reported that the Latin word, "mele" in New Britain's Motto was a misspelling. Since the error was discovered, former New Britain Mayor William McNamara has stated, "To either fix the spelling immediately" or, "switch to the English version of the motto." As controversy arose from the matter, the Latin word for honey was superseded with the correct spelling, "melle."

Geography and topography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (34.7 km²), of which, 13.3 square miles (34.6 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.52%) is water.

New Britain's terrain is mostly made up of soft, rolling hills and young Connecticut forest. The many parks are populated with trees, and in small, undeveloped areas, there is also brushy woods. New Britain's streets also have many trees lining the sides of the roads. Many front yards in the northern half of the city have at least one tree. One or two streams flow through New Britain, undisturbed by the development.


As of the census[4] of 2010, there were 73,153 people. The racial makeup of the city was 61.38% White( 47.7% Non-Hispanic) (13.68% White-Hispanic), 10.9% African American (8.1 Non-Hispanic Black)(2.7 Black-Hispanic), 0.1% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 19.1%(18.1 Other Hispanic) from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 36.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 29,888 households out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.6% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 12.5% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

In 2010 The median income for a household in the city was $ $35,357, and the median income for a family was $42,056. Males had a median income of $36,848 versus $28,873 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,404. 24.5% of population below poverty line (Poverty Rate is 19.2% for White Non-Hispanic residents, 36.8% for Hispanic or Latino residents)

Ancestries 2010: Puerto Rican (29.9%) Polish (17.1%), Italian (9.6%),Irish (8.0%), German (4.1%), English (3.9%), French (3.8%), Haitian (3.2%)

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005[5]
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
  Democratic 13,476 4,497 17,973 54.50%
  Unaffiliated 8,394 4,938 13,332 32.23%
  Republican 2,782 597 3,379 13.19%
  Minor Parties 19 4 23 0.07%
Total 24,671 10,032 34,707 100%

Polish community

New Britain has the largest Polish population of any city in Connecticut, and by 1930 a quarter of the city was ethnically Polish.[6] Also referred to as "Little Poland", the city's Broad Street neighborhood has been home to a considerable number of Polish businesses and families since 1890. On September 23, 2008, through the urging of the Polonia Business Association, the New Britain City Council unanimously passed a resolution officially designating New Britain's Broad Street area as "Little Poland." In recent years, the Polish community has been credited with revitalizing the area both culturally and economically. Media is served by three Polish language newspapers and a television station, and many businesses and civil agencies are bi-lingual. The Post office branch in Little Poland is the only one in the nation with the word Post written in Polish to welcome visitors. Each year, a Little Poland festival is held on the last Sunday of April.

Notable visitors to the Polish district have included Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan on July 8, 1987.[7] In 1969, as then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II gave a mass at Sacred Heart Church.[8] A statue was erected in his honor in 2007. Dubbed "A City's Polish Heart", by The Boston Globe, Little Poland caught the attention of Polish Ambassador to the US Ryszard Schnepf who toured the area with US Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, US Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, as well as several members of the Polish Sejm.


The Polish influence could be in part responsible for some vowel qualities of the distinctive New Britain accent,[9] such as nasalization of reduced vowels before /n/, though a more characteristic feature of the central Connecticut dialect is distinguished by systematic substitution of the glottal stop in place of [t] for an unreleased /t/ word-finally and before syllabic consonants (e.g. "eight" is pronounced [ɛɪʔ] instead of [eɪt]). Thus the shibboleth pronunciation of New Britain, [nuˈbɹɪʔɨː̃n] instead of [nuˈbɹɪtn̩].[10]


Top employers

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[11] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 The Hospital of Central Connecticut 3,600
2 State of Connecticut 2,811
3 City of New Britain 2,226
4 Hospital for Special Care 1,396
5 Stanley Black & Decker 780
6 Tilcon Connecticut 735
7 Grove Hill Medical Center 430
8 DATTCO 409
9 Celebration Foods 400
10 Moore Medical 350

Sites of interest

Grand Street after the mid-March Great Blizzard of 1888
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • New Britain Little League
  • New Britain Museum of American Art — the oldest art museum in the United States devoted to American Art. It contains a famous and comprehensive art collection from the 18th century to the present.
  • Mountain Laurel Sudbury School - an independent alternative school
  • New Britain Industrial Museum A museum of New Britain's industrial past and present
  • The Hospital of Central Connecticut is the city's largest employer.
  • Walnut Hill Park - Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City.
  • Walnut Hill Rose Garden, the recently restored landmark with over 800 roses
  • Hole in the Wall Theater
  • New Britain Youth Museum has children's artifacts and exhibits on regional culture.
  • Capitol Lunch—a hot dog institution in New England. The "Cappie Dog" is well known to New Britain visitors for its unique and secret chili sauce.
  • Stag Arms, a firearms manufacturer is located in New Britain.
  • The Polish District or "Little Poland": Located primarily in the vicinity of Broad Street, visitors can find unique amber jewelry, handcrafted items, blown glass, Christmas ornaments carved chess sets, as well as eat their fill of Polish food.


The New Britain Knitting Co. factory shown in this set of directions for washing some of its products, about 1915
  • New Britain Fagan Cal Ripken Baseball League, a youth baseball program that serves children from the City of New Britain between the ages of 4 & 12.
  • New Britain Little League (NBLL, previously known as Walicki - A.W. Stanley Little League), a youth baseball and softball organization that serves the children of New Britain who are between the ages of 4 and 16.


Colleges and universities

The city is home to Central Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College.

Primary and secondary schools

New Britain Public Schools operates public schools. The local high school is New Britain High School. New Britain is also home to the Mountain Laurel Sudbury School.


Connecticut Route 9 is the city's main expressway connecting traffic between Hartford (via I-84 and I-91) and Old Saybrook and Middletown. I-84 itself clips the northwestern corner of the city. Public transportation is provided by Connecticut Transit.

Downtown New Britain will serve as the southern terminus of CTfastrak, a Bus rapid transit line currently under construction. Operated by Connecticut Transit, the project officially broke ground in May 2012, and is expected to be operational by March 2015.[12][13] The route's northern terminus will be Union Station in Hartford.

New Britain has a nearby Amtrak station in adjacent Berlin. The Vermonter (once daily) and Shuttle (multiple daily arrivals/departures) provide service to destinations throughout the northeastern United States. There are also plans underway for a Springfield - Hartford - New Haven commuter rail, which would have Berlin as one of its stations.

Notable people

Public Library, ca. 1910

Sister cities

East Main St., ca 1911

New Britain has five sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:


Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church, before 1907
  1. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Connecticut" ( 
  2. ^ "A city's Polish heart". The Boston Globe. 
  3. ^ "Mission". Website. New Britain-Berlin YMCA. Retrieved 2008-02-01. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  5. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2013" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Santaniello, Gary (September 5, 2004). "Accent? What Accent?". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Gary Santaniello, "Accent? What Accent?", The New York Times, September 5, 2004.
  11. ^ City of New Britain CAFR
  12. ^ "What Is CTfastrak". State of Connecticut. Retrieved 18 October 2013. 
  13. ^ Krafcik, Mike (17 July 2014). "CTFastrak Set To Open In March; Economic Growth Expected Along Busway". WTIC Fox CT. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  14. ^ "Raiders Capture First Super Bowl with 32-14 Drubbing of the Minnesota Vikings". Official website of the Oakland Raiers—History—Greatest moments. The Oakland Raiders. Archived from the original on 2006-12-06. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  15. ^ "Tebucky Jones". NBC Sports Network. Retrieved October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Charles Patterson". Retrieved 26 November 2014. 

Further reading

  • History of New Britain by Camp, (New Britain, 1889)
  • A Walk Around Walnut Hill, 1975, by Kenneth Larson
  • New Britain, by Alfred Andrews, 1867
  • A History of New Britain, by Herbert E. Fowler, 1960
  • The Story of New Britain, by Lillian Hart Tryon, 1925
  • Images of America, New Britain, by Arlene Palmer, 1995
  • New Britain, The City of Invention, by Patrick Thibodeau and Arlene Palmer

External links

  • City of New Britain
  • Greater New Britain Arts Alliance
  • New Britain Police Department
  • New Britain Downtown District
  • East Side Community Action/ Neighborhood Revitalization Zone
  • CT Transit Rapid Transit Planning Commission
  • BBC Special on Polish Community in New Britain
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