Waterbury, Connecticut

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Waterbury, Connecticut
Waterbury skyline from west, with Union Station clock tower at left
Waterbury skyline from west, with Union Station clock tower at left
Official seal of Waterbury, Connecticut
Nickname(s): The Brass City
Motto: Quid Aere Perennius ("What Is More Lasting Than Brass?")
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°33′22″N 73°2′29″W / 41.55611°N 73.04139°W / 41.55611; -73.04139Coordinates: 41°33′22″N 73°2′29″W / 41.55611°N 73.04139°W / 41.55611; -73.04139
CountryUnited States
CountyNew Haven
Region(Shared)New York Metro Area;. New England[1]
Incorporated (town)1686
Incorporated (city)1853
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorNeil O'Leary (D)
 • Total29.0 sq mi (75.0 km2)
 • Land28.5 sq mi (73.9 km2)
 • Water0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
Elevation270 ft (80 m)
Highest elevation820 ft (250 m)
Lowest elevation220 ft (70 m)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total110,366 (US: 240th)
Time zoneEastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP codes06701–06719
Area code(s)203
FIPS code09-80000
GNIS feature ID0211851
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"Waterbury" and "Brass City" redirect here. For other uses, see Waterbury (disambiguation) and Brass City (disambiguation).
Waterbury, Connecticut
Waterbury skyline from west, with Union Station clock tower at left
Waterbury skyline from west, with Union Station clock tower at left
Official seal of Waterbury, Connecticut
Nickname(s): The Brass City
Motto: Quid Aere Perennius ("What Is More Lasting Than Brass?")
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°33′22″N 73°2′29″W / 41.55611°N 73.04139°W / 41.55611; -73.04139Coordinates: 41°33′22″N 73°2′29″W / 41.55611°N 73.04139°W / 41.55611; -73.04139
CountryUnited States
CountyNew Haven
Region(Shared)New York Metro Area;. New England[1]
Incorporated (town)1686
Incorporated (city)1853
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorNeil O'Leary (D)
 • Total29.0 sq mi (75.0 km2)
 • Land28.5 sq mi (73.9 km2)
 • Water0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
Elevation270 ft (80 m)
Highest elevation820 ft (250 m)
Lowest elevation220 ft (70 m)
Population (2011)[2]
 • Total110,366 (US: 240th)
Time zoneEastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST)Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP codes06701–06719
Area code(s)203
FIPS code09-80000
GNIS feature ID0211851

Waterbury (nicknamed "The Brass City") is a city in the U.S. state of Connecticut on the Naugatuck River, 33 miles (45 minutes) southwest of Hartford and 77 miles (90 minutes) northeast of New York City. Waterbury is located in New Haven County, Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, Waterbury had a total population of 110,366,[2] making it the 10th largest city in the New York Metropolitan Area, 9th largest city in New England and the 5th largest city in Connecticut.[3]

Throughout the first half of the 20th century Waterbury had large industrial interests and was the leading center in the United States for the manufacture of brassware (including castings and finishings), as reflected in the nickname the "Brass City" and the city's motto Quid Aere Perennius? ("What Is More Lasting Than Brass?"), which echoes the Latin of Horace's Ode 3.30. It was noted for the manufacture of watches and clocks.

The city is located along Interstate 84 (Yankee Expressway) and Route 8 and has a Metro-North railroad station with connections to Grand Central Terminal. Waterbury is also home to Post University and the regional campuses of the University of Connecticut, University of Bridgeport, Western Connecticut State University as well as Naugatuck Valley Community College.


St. Anne's Church, Waterbury

The original settlement of Waterbury was in 1674 as a Town Plot section. In 1675 King Philip's War caused it to be vacated but the land, was returned to in 1677, this time west of the first settlement. Both sites are now marked. The Algonquin name for the area was "Matetacoke", meaning "place without trees." Thus the settlement was named "Mattatuck" in 1673. The name changed to Waterbury on May 15, 1686, when the settlement was admitted as the 28th town in the Connecticut Colony. It then included all or parts of the later towns of Watertown, Plymouth, Wolcott, Prospect, Naugatuck, Thomaston, and Middlebury. The name Waterbury was chosen because of all the streams flowing into the Naugatuck River. Growth was slow during Waterbury's first hundred years. The lack of arable land discouraged new settlers, and the residents suffered through the great flood of 1691 and the great sickness of 1712. After a century, Waterbury's population numbered just 5,000.

Waterbury hit its stride as an industrial power in the early 19th century when it began to manufacture brass. The new brass industry in this small city attracted many workers from all over the world, leading to an influx of immigrants from every nationality. As the "Brass Capital of the World", the city gained a reputation for the quality and durability of its goods. Waterbury was incorporated as a city in 1853. Waterbury supplied brass and copper used in Boulder Dam in Nevada. Waterbury brass was used for many other things in the United States such as minting disks for nickels, but the brass also went into South American coins.

Another famous Waterbury product of the mid-19th century was Robert H. Ingersoll's one-dollar pocket watch, five million of which were sold. After this, the clock industry became as important as Waterbury's famed brass industry. Evidence of these two important industries can still be seen in Waterbury, as numerous clocktowers and old brass factories have become landmarks of the city.

South Main Street, about 1910
Downtown on East Main Street in 1954

At its peak during World War II, 10,000 people worked at the Scovill Manufacturing Co, later sold to Century Brass. The city's metal manufacturing mills (Scovill Manufacturing, Anaconda American Brass, and Chase Brass & Copper were the largest) occupied more than 2 million square feet (180,000 m²) and more than 90 buildings.

Notable historic events[edit]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.0 square miles (75.0 km2), of which 28.5 square miles (73.9 km2) is land and 0.42 square miles (1.1 km2), or 1.46%, is water.[6]

Waterbury lies in the humid continental climate zone, and normally sees cold, snowy winters and warm, humid summers.

Climate data for Waterbury, Connecticut
Average high °F (°C)35
Average low °F (°C)15
Precipitation inches (mm)3.64
Source: [7]


Waterbury's neighborhoods are shaped by the history and geography of the city.

Ethnic communities distinguish the city's 25 neighborhoods. Clusters of shops at the street corners created villages within the city. For many people, home, work and community life was contained within their neighborhood. Downtown, a short walk away, was "the city", offering live theater, fancy stores, parades and spectacles.[8]

  • Overlook
  • Pine Hill
  • Fair Lawn
  • North Square
  • Robinwood
  • West Side
  • Country Club
  • North End
  • WOW/Walnut-Orange-Walsh
  • Long Hill
  • Crownbrook
  • Gilmartin


Commuting in the Greater Waterbury area consists of multiple public transportation options. CT Transit operates a significant amount of city buses running from the city center at Exchange Place to various neighborhoods in the city.[9] Metro-North Railroad runs commuter trains multiple times a day between the Waterbury station and Bridgeport, with connections to Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The two main highways that run through the heart of the city are I-84 (Yankee Expressway) and Route 8. In the downtown area, I-84 and Route 8 are located on the elevated William W. Deady Bridge[citation needed], known locally as the "MixMaster" with eastbound traffic on the upper deck and westbound traffic on the lower deck. The interchange is ranked as one of the most heavily congested traffic areas in the New York/Connecticut region.[citation needed]


Historical population
Est. 2012109,915−0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
2011 estimate

As of the census of 2010, there were 110,366 people, 42,761 households, and 26,996 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,866 people per square mile (1,449.7/km²). There were 42,761 housing units at an average density of 1,492.0 per square mile. The racial makeup of the city was 58.8% White, 20.1% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 14.2% from other races, and 4.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 31.2% of the population.

Waterbury has a heavy Italian-American population with 21.46% of its residents claiming Italian heritage.[10] The Italian influence is especially strong in the Town Plot, Brooklyn, and North End neighborhoods.[11] Additionally, the city is home to thriving Puerto Rican, French-Canadian, Portuguese, Lebanese, Lithuanian, and Albanian communities. Waterbury has strong Irish roots as well, especially in Washington Hill and Overlook sections - the Willow Street area was nicknamed "cracker hill", which is home to the city's annual St. Patrick Day's Parade, which, oddly enough, is rarely held on St. Patrick's Day itself. At the beginning of the 21st century, Waterbury had a growing Orthodox Jewish population.[12]

There were 42,622 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.7% were married couples living together, 28.4% had a single householder with no husband present, and 36.9% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.2 years. For every 100 females there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,254, and the median income for a family was $47,077. Males had a median income of $35,486 versus $27,428 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,545. About 12.7% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.6% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.

Orthodox Jewish community[edit]

Waterbury had a significant Jewish population in the 1960s, but by 1990 most members had moved to other cities and only one Orthodox synagogue remained. The Orthodox Jewish community has experienced a renaissance since 2000 due to efforts by educators and developers to create an affordable alternative to the high cost of living in established Orthodox communities in New York and New Jersey. This renaissance began with the founding of the Yeshiva K'tana of Waterbury in 2000; as of 2014 this full-service elementary and middle school has nearly 400 students. Other educational institutions are the Yeshiva Gedolah of Waterbury, which includes a mesivta high school and beit medrash program for approximately 230 students, a Bais Yaakov school for girls, and a kolel. As of the end of 2014, the Waterbury Orthodox community numbers 180 families and includes a mikveh, eruv, and community services such as Hatzalah and Chaverim.[13]


Waterbury's economic decline in the 1970s and 1980s resulted in it being ranked as having the worst quality of life of 300 U.S. metropolitan areas by Money Magazine in 1992. Waterbury was also rated as one of the "Worst Places for Businesses and Careers in America" by Forbes Magazine in April 2008.[14] Regardless, the city was named on the 100 Best Places to Raise a Family list in the same year.[15]

According to the city's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[16] the top employers in the city are:

#Employer# of employees
1City of Waterbury3,811
2Waterbury Hospital1,541
3St. Mary's Hospital1,279
4State of Connecticut1,225
5AT&T Inc.400
6Naugatuck Valley Community College384
7United States Postal Service270
8Webster Bank (HQ)256
10MacDermid (HQ)217


MayorNeil O' Leary (D)
Town ClerkAntoinette C. Spinelli (D)
City SheriffStephen M. Conway (D)
City ClerkMichael J. Dalton (D)
Aldermen (15)
Paul K. Pernerewski, Jr. (D – President)
Anthony T. Piccochi (D – Majority Leader)
Gregory Hadley (D)
Anne Phelan (D)
Ronald Napoli, Jr. (D - President Pro Tempore)
Joseph Begnal, Jr. (D)
Ernest Brunelli (D)
Ryan Mulchahy (D)
Victor Lopez, Jr.(D)
Paul V. Ciochetti (R - Minority Leader)
Stephanie Cummings(R)
Jerry Padula (R)
Christopher Ursini (R)
Steven Giacomi (R)
Lawrence V. DePillo (I)

Waterbury has about 52,000 registered voters, of whom about 24,000 are Democrats. There are about 7,800 registered Republicans and the balance are largely unaffiliated, with a smattering belonging to minor parties.

John S. Monagan, who was a prolific author in addition to his political responsibilities, served as Waterbury's mayor from 1943 to 1948. He also served as its district's congressional representative from 1959 to 1973. George Harlamon, a member of the Waterbury Hall of Fame, was the city's 40th mayor. He served from 1969 to 1970 during a period of racial tension. The city is known for its hard-nosed political culture compared locally to Cook County, Illinois, close elections, and a number of scandals. This reputation is so solidified that U.S. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman once joked that upon his death, he hoped to be buried in Waterbury so he could remain politically active.[citation needed]

Waterbury's scandalous past dates back to 1940 when Mayor T. Frank Hayes and 22 others were convicted of conspiracy to defraud the City of Waterbury. Hayes received a 10–15 year sentence and served six years. Ironically, the massive corruption scheme was exposed with the help of then comptroller Sherwood Rowland, grandfather of Gov. John G. Rowland, who was convicted on corruption charges in 2004. The 2007 lulu.com book, Publisher vs. Politician: A Clash of Local Titans,[17] by author William A. Monti, is an account of the rise and fall of T. Frank Hayes and focuses on his election campaigns, his bitter fights with William J. Pape, publisher of two local newspapers, and his ultimate trial, conviction, and sentencing for corruption. Ironically, what appeared to have been a defeat for Hayes was not really a victory for Pape, and the stage was set for further corruption in Waterbury in the second half of the 20th century. Waterbury was in serious financial straits due to years of mismanagement, resulting in the city's finances being take over by the State of Connecticut. The State Oversight Board oversaw city business for several years and have since left following consecutive years of balanced budgets. The successors to Philip Giordano, former Acting Mayor Sam Caligiuri (2001) and former mayor Michael Jarjura (2001–2011) managed the city without major controversy since 2001. Democrat Neil O'Leary was elected the 46th Mayor of Waterbury on November 9, 2011. As of July 2012, the Mayor of Waterbury earns an annual salary of $119,306.[18]

A number of presidential candidates have campaigned in Waterbury due to its pivotal role in statewide elections. The most famous was the election eve visit on the Green by John F. Kennedy in 1960. Forty thousand people waited until 3 am on the Green to greet Kennedy on Sunday, November 6, 1960. Sen. Kennedy spoke to them from the balcony of the Roger Smith Hotel (now called the Elton). Pierre Salinger later said it was the greatest night of the campaign. In September 1984 Ronald Reagan held a huge noontime election rally at the same location. In July 2006 former President Bill Clinton made a campaign appearance at the Palace Theatre for Senator Joe Lieberman during his campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Shortly after the Democratic primary, Tom Swan, campaign manager for Lieberman's opponent Ned Lamont, described Waterbury as a place where "the forces of slime meet the forces of evil," after a large majority of the town's voters backed Lieberman. Swan claimed he was referring to former Mayor Philip A. Giordano and former Governor John G. Rowland.[19]

Governor John G. Rowland served ten months in a federal prison until February 10, 2006. He was released from federal prison with the stipulation that he serve four months house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet monitor until June 2006.

In January 2008 Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura announced that he would hire Rowland as an economic development advisor for the city. Rowland began work in February that year receiving an annual salary of $95,000 as the city's economic development coordinator funded in conjunction with the Greater Waterbury Chamber of Commerce.[20][21]

In 2011, the Board of Aldermen voted to eliminate funding the city's portion of his salary and in November 2011 Rowland stated he would give up his position when his contract expired thus ending his quasi-city employment.[22]

Later that year, following his victory over then Mayor Jarjura, new Mayor Neil O'Leary created the position of Economic Development Director as part of his new administration, removing the duties from the Chamber of Commerce and bringing them directly into City Hall, making Economic Development a cornerstone of his administration. Ron Pugliese was hired as the first Director to hold the position.[23]

Foreign relations[edit]

Consulate office[edit]

Waterbury is home to Connecticut's Consulate General of Portugal, which has its office downtown on East Main Street.[24]

Sister cities[edit]


Waterbury is home to a total of 42 schools. That number breaks down to 9 high schools, 3 middle schools, 26 elementary schools (private & public), 2 Jewish schools and 5 colleges/universities. The city's public schools are operated by Waterbury Public Schools under the leadership of superintendent Dr. Kathleen Ouellette and a board of education that consists of ten elected members and the city mayor, who acts as the chairman ex-officio. Waterbury at one time had the designation of the most catholic schools in the State. However St. Thomas, St. Lucy, St. Margaret, St. Joseph, and St. Francis Elementary Schools have all closed over the years due to budget constraints.

Board of Education (10)
Charles Stango (R – President)
Felix Rodriquez (D)
Patrick Hayes (D)
Juanita Hernandez (D)
Jason Van Stone (R)
Thomas Van Stone, Sr. (R)
Elizabeth Brown (D)
Bryan E. McEntee (R)
Cathy Awwad (R)
Karen F. Harvey (D)

List of schools[edit]

Public High Schools

Public Elementary Schools

Public (Charter) Schools

Public Middle Schools

Secular college preparatory school

Religious schools

Colleges & Universities


Emergency services[edit]

Fire Department[edit]

The city of Waterbury is protected by the paid, full-time firefighters of the Waterbury Fire Department (WFD). The department currently operates out of eight fire stations located throughout the city.[29]

Police department[edit]

The Waterbury Police Department (WPD) was founded in 1853. Headquarters is at 255 East Main Street, while the Waterbury police academy is located at the Waterbury Police Department Annex at 240 Bank Street. Chief of Police is Vernon Riddick, who holds the distinction of being the first African-American to hold the position in the departments history.[30]

The Waterbury Police Athletic League (PAL)is one of the top-rated PAL associations in the nation. The PAL headquarters is located in the city's North End and consists of mix-use buildings and a state of the art athletic complex. The department's Community Relations division plays a key role in PAL's operations.

Local media[edit]




The Union Station Clocktower is Waterbury's most prominent landmark

On the National Register of Historic Places[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

Notable people[edit]



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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]