BHC Special Events/Announcements

BHC News

Williams, C. Lamont-a

Bridgeport Cultural Arts Center Project

Friday, January 1 - December 31, 2016

All Day

The ABCD Cultural Arts Center was a creative and social hub of Bridgeport in the 1960s and 70s.  The Arts Center occupied a space at the intersection of visual arts and music, and politics and community activism. Thanks to a generous grant from the CT Humanities Council,  the BHC is organizing an exhibition and public programming celebrating the Arts Center.  If you have memories of the Arts Center we would like to hear from you.   Please call 203-576-7400, #7 and leave your name and a number where you can be contacted.

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BHC Events & Regular Monthly Programming

Genealogy Basics: How to Get Started

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Genealogy Roundtable

Thursday, November 17, 2016

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Memoir Writing Class

Saturday, November 19, 2016

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Genealogy Basics: How to Get Started

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Genealogy Roundtable

Thursday, December 15, 2016

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Memoir Writing Class

Saturday, December 17, 2016

2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Heroes and Villains

The Night Broadway Joe Brought His Act to Bridgeport

By Andy Piascik

There’s an old expression in Broadway theatrical circles that goes something like “Everything outside of New York is just Bridgeport.” Perhaps Broadway Joe Namath felt that way when he travelled to the Park City in 1967, perhaps not. But on one summer evening nearly 50 years ago, Bridgeport hosted an exhibition football game featuring the flamboyant Namath and the up-and-coming New York Jets.


Barnum Festival, 1949, pt. 1, by Vincent Frazzetta, Sr.

This is the first segment of four reels of 8mm film taken during the first year of the Barnum Festival in Bridgeport, 1949.

This segment begins with a long shot of the stature of P.T. Barnum located at Seaside Park. The photographer pans from the statue toward Long Island Sound where a strip of beach with sunbathers and park visitors strolling along a walkway are visible. As the camera faces east looking across the Sound toward Stratford, the Bridgeport Harbor Lighthouse is visible for a few frames.

Bridgeport at War
Viola Louise Smith Bridgeforth

Viola Louise Smith Bridgeforth: Making the Most From Extraordinary Times

By Mary K. Witkowski,
Editor: Ann Marie Virzi

In her 99 years on earth, Viola Bridgeforth, born in 1897, lived through many if not most of the profound changes that African-Americans and women in general experienced in the 20th century. Through all the changes, Viola Bridgeforth remained steadfastly focused on what mattered.

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.”

Bridgeport at Work
Art Selleck center, Putnam Street Firehouse 1953

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

By Rob Novak, Bridgeport Fireman

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,

Kate Moore

Kathleen Moore, 1812-1899

By:  Mary K. Witkowski

The story of Kate Moore, the lighthouse keeper who kept the lights aglow in Black Rock Harbor is a wonderful tale of the sea of long ago.

In 1817, Captain Stephen Moore was injured while unloading goods from a ship.  Stephen then applied for a job through the United States Lighthouse service as a lighthouse keeper. He was given the position as the Keeper of the Fayerweather Lighthouse.

African American Heritage
Broadway Playbill

Theater for the 99% in Bridgeport

By Stephen Thornton

On stage at Bridgeport’s Park Theater in the fall of 1944 stood “Republico, The Little Mechanical Man.”  He was an empty-headed dummy that the stage barker described as “handy, dandy, and works like a whiz.”  With his slick hair and neat mustache, the figure looked a lot like Thomas E. Dewey, Franklin Roosevelt’s competitor in the presidential race.  “He will not break, chip, or take action on any controversial subject,” the barker promised, and the audience erupted with laughter.  The satire hit home with these FDR supporters.


The Charles Cooper: The Only Surviving American Packet Ship

By Robert Foley

The Charles Cooper was built in Black Rock, Connecticut in 1856 and is the only surviving American ship of its kind in the world. It is the best surviving wooden square-rigged American merchant ship.  Built for New York’s South Street packet trade, the vessel voyaged around the world during the golden age of sail, and when it could sail no longer, became a floating warehouse for nearly a hundred years on an island off South America. The ship sailed for a decade from 1856 to 1866. It carried cotton to England, salt to India, gunpowder ingredients to the North during the Civil War, and brought European immigrants seeking economic opportunity and freedom in America. The Charles Cooper began with regular fixed schedules between New York and Antwerp. Then, with the outbreak of the Civil War, it no longer had set published departure times and instead voyaged based on spot demands from America to Europe and Asia.