History Center News

No More Unbreakable Rules: The Sinking of the Lusitania

Lusitania

Saturday, March 28th
2:00-4:00 PM
Community Room, 1st floor

Mark Albertson lectures on the sinking of the Lusitania and its impact on World War One in
commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the disaster at sea.

Lusitania2

…Continue reading

Special Events

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Merritt Parkway

Saturday, April 18th, 2:00 PM  
Community Room, 1st floor

Authors Laurie Heiss and Jill Smyth lecture on the history of the Merritt Parkway and sign their book.

Decorated with a breathtaking landscape and a treasured collection of diversely styled bridges, the Merritt Parkway runs thirty-seven and a half miles through Fairfield County. …Continue reading

Heroes and Villains

Kennedy at train station

President Kennedy in Bridgeport November 5, 1960

The crowd of 6,000 came to see then Senator John F. Kennedy.  The crowd,as estimated by Superintendent of Police Francis J. Shanley, cheered when Kennedy said that Connecticut was a key state in the election.

“The nation will have its eyes on Connecticut,” Kennedy told the crowd. …Continue reading

Films

Barnum Festival Parade, 1956

Film enthusiast Nicholas Soltis was born and raised in Bridgeport and spent his entire career as a policeman on the Bridgeport force. Nick enjoyed taking home movies of family gatherings and special events in Bridgeport. In this film, Mr. Soltis captured the 1956 Barnum Festival Parade in front of a Bridgeport furniture store (the Franklin Furniture Company). His wife, Gertrude (Trudy), as well as his son, Conrad, appear at the start of the film. Conrad also makes a special appearance at the end of the film.  Orginal film: 8mm, color

Bridgeport at War

McLevy, Edna Ferber, et al_edited-2

Black Market Rally Bridgeport:1943

Rationing of many products during World War II, such as food items, gasoline, and coffee, caused a surge of the black market--goods traded illegally.  In August 1943, a rally in Marina Park was held to protest the black market.  Shown in attendance in the rally are from left to right, the following:  (front row) Franz Rupp, pianist; Marian Anderson, opera  singer; Bud Hollick, comedian;Carl Frank, radio announcer and actor; (back row) Franklin P. Adams; columnist and quiz expert; Mayor Jasper McLevy; Edna Ferber, novelist; and Clifton Fadiman, book reviewer for the New Yorker.

Bridgeport at Work

Art Selleck center, Putnam Street Firehouse 1953

Art Selleck: A Tribute to a Fireman Historian 1920-2004

Arthur “Art” H. Selleck was born in Bridgeport in 1920, living there for five years before moving to Nichols. He attended Harding High School in the Park City,  since Trumbull had no High School at the time.  He would later recall witnessing a house fire as a youth in Nichols, …Continue reading

Women

Woman working in factory during WWII

Marge Schneider:Bridgeport’s Own Rosie the Riveter

This young lady was amazing. In 1942, Marge Schneider lived with her family on Barnum Avenue near Central. With the flurry of war around her, Marge took a job at the Bridgeport Brass Company on Grand Street. Marge walked to work. …Continue reading

African American Heritage

FreemanHousesIII

Mary and Eliza Freeman Houses

By:  Charles Brilvitch

A community of “free people of color” began to coalesce around the lower reaches of Bridgeport Harbor the same year (1821) that Bridgeport itself came into being.  Comprised of freed blacks born in Connecticut, …Continue reading

Maritime

Bridgeport Lighthouse

Bridgeport Lighthouse

The Bridgeport Lighthouse, shown here in 1930, marked the entrance to the Bridgeport harbor for about 80 years.

First constructed in 1871 by the federal government, it ushered in a dramatic increase in harbor activity. …Continue reading

Architecture

Jose DeRivera

Jose DeRivera

Most residents of Connecticut, when considering who were the earliest immigrants to this State naturally think mostly of the European countries.  If you asked anyone when the first Puerto Rican immigrant came to Connecticut, they would say, ” probably the 1950’s.” …Continue reading

Travel into the past and see what we can learn