BHC Special Events/Announcements

CT Humanities Council Grant Awarded: Bridgeport Cultural Arts Center Story

Friday, August 3 - April 30, 2018

12:00 am

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 Read More

BHC News

P.T. Barnum Research Collection – Now Available Online!

Many items from the P.T. Barnum Research Collection are now available online! Thanks to generous funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities, researchers may access many items from the History Center and Barnum Museum collections: Over a thousand items — advertisements, books, magazines, manuscripts, newspapers, photographs, prints, programs, records, sheet music, and souvenirs — all available through the Connecticut Digital Archives!`

History Center Photographs Online

History Center photographs are now available to search and view online.  The images are part of the General Photograph Collection held by the BHC and feature street scenes.  Please check back with us each month as we add new images to our site.

Family Search – BHC an Affiliate for Digital Records

The BHC is an affiliate for the Family Search program published by the LDS church.  This means that patrons using the computers at the History Center may access thousands of digitized records in the Family Search program that were previously available on microfilm only.  More records are being added each month, so stop by the History Center and do some searching in Family Search!

Bridgeport News Articles by M.K. Witkowski Now Online!

History Center Head Emeritus Mary K. Witkowski wrote over 450 articles for the Bridgeport News during her tenure at the BHC.  From the Historical Collections articles explore many facets of Bridgeport history –people, places, and things– from the renowned to the quirky, and will take readers on a delightful journey through the City’s past.

BHC Events & Regular Monthly Programming

Genealogy Basics: How to Get Started
Genealogy Roundtable

Thursday, November 15, 2018

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Memoir Writing Workshop

Saturday, November 17, 2018

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Memoir Writing Workshop

Saturday, December 15, 2018

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Genealogy Basics: How to Get Started
Genealogy Roundtable

Thursday, December 20, 2018

12:30 pm - 1:30 pm

Memoir Writing Workshop

Saturday, January 19, 2019

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Memoir Writing Workshop

Saturday, February 16, 2019

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

Memoir Writing Workshop

Saturday, March 16, 2019

10:30 am - 12:00 pm

BHC Exhibits on display

Heroes and Villains

Did Jack the Ripper Visit Bridgeport? Who Was the Mysterious Fred B. Beleno?

by Michael J. Bielawa

One hundred and thirty years ago this autumn, in 1888, Jack the Ripper terrorized the Whitechapel neighborhood of London, England. The madman brutally murdered five women. Then vanished. Never to be heard from again. Or was he? Some 21st century Ripperologists, as Jack the Ripper investigators are dubbed, think that the unknown assailant journeyed to America. Did Jack the Ripper voyage to Bridgeport, Connecticut?

Films

Adlai Stevenson and Harry Truman in Bridgeport, 1952

Bridgeport at War

Bridgeport’s Better Breakfast Program

by Brittney Murphy

When the United States entered World War II in 1941, the nation embraced for total mobilization. In addition to marshaling military resources, the federal government enlisted the cooperation of civilians, businesses, the media, and local governments to assist in the war effort. In an impressive display of home front patriotism, Bridgeport industries, including Bridgeport Brass Company and Sikorsky Aircraft, manufactured vital war materials from bullet shells and helicopters parts to rocket launchers. City residents also served in the military, planted victory gardens, and organized community canning drives. As the war drew hundreds of thousands of men into military service, women in Bridgeport and across the country emerged as leaders of the civilian support movement.[1]

Architecture

Casa Frouge, “Bridgeport’s First Luxury Apartment Building”

By Andy Piascik

When the 84-unit Casa Frouge high-rise on Cartright Street on Bridgeport’s West Side opened in 1955, its developer the Frouge Construction Company billed it as the city’s “first luxury apartment building” and “the outstanding apartment residence in New England.” Located across North Avenue from Mountain Grove Cemetery, the high rise is nine stories high with ten apartments on floors one through eight topped by four penthouse units. (1)

Art

Three Women

By Michelle Black-Smith

In the spring of 2018, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with three unique, creative, and insightful people.  These individuals inhabit all four spaces – Black, Woman, Artist, Bridgeport Native – and they do so with great pride, expression and articulation through their various art forms and discussion.  We watched a vocal interpretation of Nina Simone’s tour de force Four Women performed by Dianne Reeves, Angelique Kidjo, Lizz Wright and Nina’s daughter, Simone before the start of our discussion.  This article might have been titled Two Women.  I had to convince Wendy Bridgeforth that despite her near twenty-year hiatus from the professional art scene, she belonged in the circle. 

Bridgeport at Work

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,

Women

Bridgeport’s Better Breakfast Program

by Brittney Murphy

When the United States entered World War II in 1941, the nation embraced for total mobilization. In addition to marshaling military resources, the federal government enlisted the cooperation of civilians, businesses, the media, and local governments to assist in the war effort. In an impressive display of home front patriotism, Bridgeport industries, including Bridgeport Brass Company and Sikorsky Aircraft, manufactured vital war materials from bullet shells and helicopters parts to rocket launchers. City residents also served in the military, planted victory gardens, and organized community canning drives. As the war drew hundreds of thousands of men into military service, women in Bridgeport and across the country emerged as leaders of the civilian support movement.[1]

African American Heritage

Little Liberia – WNPR pod cast from “Where We Live”

Maisa Tisdale, President of the Mary and Eliza Freeman Center for History and Community, and Keith Stokes, Vice President of the 1696 Heritage Group, are interviewed by Lucy Nalpathanchil about Bridgeport’s Little Liberia, a community that was settled by African and Native Americans in the early 19th Century on Bridgeport’s South End.

Maritime

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.