Heroes and Villains

Bridgeport Titanic Survivor Drowns in Beardsley Pond?
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Bridgeport Titanic Survivor Drowns in Beardsley Pond?

Photo: Oscar Palmquist In April of 1912, the news of the tragedy of the sinking of the ship Titanic resonated throughout the world.  In the New York metropolitan area, the many immigrants and their families shuddered to think of the sad drownings.  Many area residents themselves traveled over ...

April 12, 2012
Charles Stratton:  Tom Thumb
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Charles Stratton: Tom Thumb

By Eric D. Lehman A healthy child of over nine pounds, Charles Stratton was born in 1838 in north Bridgeport to a carpenter and a waitress. However, a faulty pituitary gland kept his growth slow. At age four, he was only twenty-five inches high, and would ...

February 01, 2011
Dutch Schultz
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Dutch Schultz

The gangster Arthur Flegenheimer, more commonly known as "Dutch Schultz," came to Bridgeport April 30, 1935. Schultz and his bodyguard, Lulu Rosenkrantz, occupied the fourth floor suite at the Stratfield Hotel on Main Street downtown. Schultz was interviewed by local reporters in the suite.  One reporter said ...

August 02, 2014
Elias Howe, Jr.
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Elias Howe, Jr.

Elias Howe Jr, invented the first practical sewing machine in 1845.  Howe opened a factory along the banks of the Pequonnock River in 1863. The factory was located on the east side of the Pequonnock River. The factory produced as many as 400 sewing machines a day.  ...

January 04, 2011
Fanny Crosby
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Fanny Crosby

Fanny Crosby, whose formal name was Francis Van Alstyne, was one of the corner stones of Bridgeport and a beacon for Bridgeport women. Her creative ingenuity inspired people all over the world, and her songs have been sung by generations of church-goers. As early as age 8, ...

January 18, 2011
James O’Rourke
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James O’Rourke

Bridgeport’s Scholar-Athlete James Henry O’Rourke 1850 – 1919   “Orator Jim” O’Rourke, one of the most colorful, popular and accomplished baseball ballplayers of the 19th century was born in East Bridgeport, Connecticut on September 1, 1850. His parents, Hugh and Catherine, had migrated from County Mayo, Ireland, and eventually ...

October 13, 2010
Jasper McLevy
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Jasper McLevy

It may be surprising to some that Bridgeport operated under Socialist rule for almost a quarter century. Jasper McLevy had stood on street corners for 20 years railing against the greed of political parties, and voicing what he’d do to make life better during the dog ...

P.T.Barnum

1810-1891 Phineas Taylor Barnum (P.T. Barnum) was born in Bethel, Connecticut on July 5, 1810.  After a Connecticut boyhood, he became interested in entrepreneurial enterprises which included a variety of businesses, such as owning a newspaper, amusements, show business and other entertainment ideas.  He ran the ...

January 18, 2011
The Day Lincoln Came to Bridgeport
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The Day Lincoln Came to Bridgeport

Abraham Lincoln was still a Republican candidate for president when he came to Bridgeport on March 10, 1860. It was a Saturday night and Lincoln was scheduled to give his talk downtown in Washington Hall, a lecture room in the Fairfield County Courthouse, which is now ...

January 04, 2011
The Night Broadway Joe Brought His Act to Bridgeport
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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 ...

January 27, 2016
Walt Kelly: Creator of Pogo
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Walt Kelly: Creator of Pogo

By:  Mary K. Witkowski, Bridgeport City Historian Cartoonist Walt Kelly, who created the comic strip "Pogo," about a group of swamp animals that discuss politics, developed his talent as a young man here in Bridgeport. Born Walter Crawford Kelly, Jr. in 1913 in Philadelphia, Walt Kelly moved with ...