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Carolyn C. Smith
It was the year of 1638 when a small group settled in the area we now know as New Haven, Connecticut. Under the leadership of Rev. John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, this colony began to grow with prosperity. During that time in the history of New Haven, life and prosperity were centered around the shores of Long Island and Long Wharf. The colonists were happy and a new community was born. The population began to increase thus creating a need to expand the new territory. This increasing demand prompted the movement of small groups to build their homes further and further away from the center of town which we now identify as “The Green”. Families began to stake their claims to less crowded land for more favorable living conditions. This action gave rise to the various towns and neighborhoods in the surrounding area.
This unit will explore the history of New Haven with emphasis being placed on industries which played an important role in the rise of prosperity of the Newhallville neighborhood. As the students learn the history of New Haven they should be able to discover the historical background of Newhallville while making a sharp comparison and contrast of its growth over a period of one hundred years.
When this unit is completed the reader and students will be able to:
This unit is designed to be used in grade six as a supplement to the teaching of the Connecticut History Curriculum, however, it can easily be adapted to any K-12 curricula of Social Studies.
- 1. know the difference between a community and a neighborhood.
- 2. discuss how Newhallville got its name.
- 3. know the boundaries of this neighborhood and how it has grown through the years.
- 4. know the major industries related to the rise and fall of this neighborhood.
- 5. discuss the architectural design of houses found in this neighborhood.
- 6. project what this neighborhood will be like in the year 2040.
The sample lessons provided at the end of this unit will enable the teacher to integrate this unit with other disciplines especially Reading, Language Arts, Mathematics, and Art.
This unit will also provide a list of recommended field trips which would enhance the teaching of its content.
Although the unit is designed to be taught during a ten week marking period, the teacher will be able to use it in parts to meet the needs of individual students and/or a particular class.
A community is defined as the people who reside in one locality and are subject to the same laws and share similar interests. It is also defined as common ownership, possession, or enjoyment of property. When we broaden the definition, we find that community is used when we refer to a group of people joined together by common concerns. If we were to use the word community when referring to a town it means a center, a colony, or a hamlet. When we speak of a community in reference to a society, it means the public, the people, or the nation. When the term community is used to show similarity it means likeness, sameness, or identity.
A neighborhood is defined as a small area or section of a city or town, often having a distinctive quality or character. Some synonyms for neighborhood are district, locality, vicinage, block, precinct, ward, community, region, section, and zone.
We can readily see how confusion over the definition of community makes it so difficult for us to communicate with each other. Hundreds of years ago the basic definition of these two words were well defined and we had no trouble distinguishing the two. Due to the fact that we have such a mixture of groups of people living in the same neighborhoods today, the two words are almost always being used interchangeably to express the meaning of a topic or situation being addressed.
Most cities were not planned in the meaning of today. They were founded in location where natural resources such as minerals, existed near trade routes or bodies of water. Cities were also planned near rural areas which the people could use the land to grow their food. Many cities of long ago were developed around forts and temples. Some early cities were planned mostly with public areas as their centers and with two main streets, one running north and south and the other running east and west. Other streets divided the cities into what has come to be called the grid plan. The grid plan showed the blocks of the city formed by squares or rectangles bounded by streets on all four sides. This plan was used for hundreds of years and can still be seen in many American cities today. This is the case in the design of New Haven. The early plans of this city depict a square in the center of town with nine large squares. The center square was referred to as the town common. It contained a public meeting house where all political decisions were discussed. Today the center of town is called “The Green” (See Diagram Below).
New Haven was founded in 1638 and was originally the largest area in Connecticut. From the year 1701 until 1873 New Haven was the joint capital along with Hartford of Connecticut. The following towns or communities grew out of this prosperous “City of Elms”.
Name of Town Year Founded
East Haven 1785
North Haven 1785
North Branford 1851
Beacon Falls 1871
West Haven 1922
As New Haven began to prosper the citizens found it necessary to separate themselves into even smaller groups. Since the surrounding land had already been designated as towns a new concept had to be developed. Thus the neighborhood was born. During the earlier years of this concept, most of the people of the same ethnic background were living in the same general area. These neighborhoods were named for a noteworthy person or the topography of the land. Below is a map identifying those neighborhoods as well as downtown where the center of New Haven or “The Green” is located. (See Diagram Below)
Although each neighborhood began to take note of their individual needs, they were still under the same governmental rules and regulations of the city. The population increase caused each neighborhood to choose a representative to speak for them at town meetings. The increase in population as well as the influx of groups of people to the area caused many problems for the various neighborhoods. Most of these problems were of the social, economic, academic, housing, and political nature. Some neighborhoods had more serious problems than others. We would like to feel that we are still one big community with different backgrounds but society warrants a big discrepancy with its view on unity.
Industrialization was quite favorable in New Haven as well as other parts of the country. There were a large number of industries making such items as buttons, clocks, tinware, wagons and carriages. New Haven’s earliest known carriage maker was John Cook. His business dates back to 1794 which was Connecticut’s first carriage manufacturing concern. During the early years of the nineteenth century carriage building gradually became a significant factor among new industries of the city. The high cost to produce the vehicle as well as the bad roads were the major factors of the lack of demands for such means of transportation.
As New Haven and its surrounding towns grew with prosperity so did the need for carriages and wagons. There was plenty of oak, hickory, and ash found in the forest thus making it very easy to manufacture these vehicles. By the year 1860 New Haven had a list of at least fifty carriage manufacturers. During the early stages of carriage and wagon making almost all the work was done at a particular factory with certain pieces of hardware being purchased elsewhere. The profit from this industry made life very comfortable for the people who resided in this community.
A stagecoach accident involving James Brewster while he was traveling from Boston to New York prompted the idea of New Haven becoming a carriage building center. In 1810 Brewster opened his own carriage factory which started a new era in New Haven carriage making.
James Brewster is known as the symbol of the New Haven carriage industry. His shop was located in a one story building at the corner of Elm and High Streets. He later moved his business to Elm and Park Streets. This second location proved to be too small for his growing business. He found a larger location on Orange Street to satisfy his needs. He became known for his production method of dividing the work of the factory into different departments. This assembly line production was beneficial to persons involved.
In 1832, Brewster moved to an even larger factory at the foot of Wooster Street. Concurrent with the moving of the factory, he assisted in developing the new neighborhood by the creation of new streets and the widening of older ones. As a result, this area came to be known as Brewsterville. It no longer is referred to by that name but is called Wooster Square. The rise of the railroad industry forced Brewster to abandon the carriage business and focus his attention on building railroads.
Jonathan Mix is noted for his invention of the elliptical steel carriage spring. This device made the old style coil spring and the previous leather suspension straps obsolete. Mix was an inventor and an important contributor to the success of New Haven’s carriage industry. Today’s Mix Avenue located in Hamden perpetuates the family name.
George T. Newhall
George T. Newhall became impressed with the large scale application of steam power as it had been used in Providence. In 1855, he was introduced to steam machinery on a large scale. This marked another milestone in the history of the New Haven carriage industry. Although the people were not in favor of steam driven equipment, its popularity could be seen and felt by its increase use after the Civil War. Due to the fact that coal had to be transported to New Haven from Pennsylvania, it caused an expansion of the industries for the city. This expansion permitted the wide spread of steam power.
Newhall learned the art of carriage making at the Hooker and Osborne factory which was located on Park Street. As a young man he entered business on his own and continued in the trade for over forty years. Normally he did not have a partner but at one time he did have Joseph Pardee and Singleton Carrington as co-partners. About 1850, Newhall acquired an old mill located on the banks of the Farmington Canal which is now the old railroad which runs parallel to Dixwell Avenue. He also purchased the section which was adjacent to the canal. After making the purchase and moving his carriage factory to the new location, business began to prosper.
As time went on Newhall purchased large tracts of land in the neighborhood from Henry and Joseph Munson as well as Ives Estate. He opened streets, built a number of houses and generally improved the property. Today “NEWHALLVILLE” is named in memory of this prominent businessman. Streets such as Newhall, Munson, Brewster, and Thompson remind us of the neighborhood’s history.
The Firearms Industry
The community of New Haven flourished with the carriage industry, however, the countries were not at peace with each other. The outbreak of World War II caused an economic slump for America. The factories in New Haven had to slow up their productions. Most industries were operating three or four days a week. As the war intensified, there was a great demand for weapons. By early 1915, Connecticut became a major center for the manufacturing of firearms. Winchester Repeating Arms and Marlin Rockwell, which were both located in New Haven, made a major impact on the lives of the people of the city.
Oliver Winchester was pleased with the outcome of this gun. This particular piece of ammunition was the beginning of revolutionizing the whole science of firearms. As time went on the Winchester Repeating Arms made remarkable improvements in the use of these new guns. These new firearms were helping everybody. Wages were increased from $1.00 a day to $3.50 a day. The whole community was benefiting because there was more money to be spent at the stores. The workers were able to move into better and more comfortable homes. Prosperity was again on the rise.
The Winchester Repeating Arms plant was taken over in 1932 by Western Cartridge Company which was a division of Olin Industries. The Olin Corporation is still at its original site. Fortunate employees are still able to make a good salary which is in line with the high cost of living of our present days of the 1980’s.
There is hope with the rise of the Science Park Project, a subdivision of Yale University and the Olin Corporation. This project’s main purposes are to take unused industrial land and develop it into a large research, office, and manufacturing complex. It is the hope of the project that this development will benefit the residents as well as the companies involved. After much confrontation, businesses are beginning to occupy the office spaces.
With the support of the Neighborhood Restoration Corporation, efforts are being made to give Newhallville a facelift. Their long-range goal to improve the neighborhood will also erase the poor image that the neighborhood and its residents have been subjected to for the past twenty-five to thirty years. There is evidence of the work of this corporation as we walk or ride through the streets of Newhallville. We can see new housing developments replacing dilapidated homes and buildings. Grants and low rate loans are being provided to homeowners to make improvements to their dwellings.
Inside and outside forces have caused the neighborhood to be a victim of high crime. The community action of the residents will slowly eliminate many of these problems. The residents realize that they are not plagued with this problem alone, therefore, they are hoping that the government at the local, state, and national levels will come up with a rigid plan to combat the problem. These problems seem to be escalating faster and higher that a solution can be agreed upon to resolve the situation.
It will take a lot of planning, many years, and much effort in order to give this neighborhood what it so rightfully desires and deserves. The forces of all neighborhoods of New Haven forging and fusing together for the main purposes of unity and prosperity will be beneficial to all. We all must have faith because there is that glimmer of hope. We must remind ourselves that the settlers who came here from England did not give up when the times got rough.
Abraham Baldwin was a Yale graduate who fathered the public school system and state university. He served in the Federal House and Senate. Balwin School is named in his honor.
Herbert Bassett was the president of Acme Wire Company which made high tension ignition cables.
* James Brewster was a carriage maker, railroad builder, philanthropist, and civic leader.
* Charles Goodyear volcanized rubber.
* James Hillhouse was also known as “The Sachem”. He is responsible for the Elm trees planted in the city.
He was also president of the U. S. Senate as well as Administrator of Connecticut Western School lands.
Henry Hooker was a carriage maker. A school is named for him.
Jonathan Mix was the inventor of the elliptical steel carriage spring.
Jedidiah Morse was head of a New Haven school for young ladies. He was also known as the father of geography.
* Jared Mansfield developed and supervised a survey system which opened the Northwest to settlers.
* George Newhall was the first to apply steam power in making marriages. His company became the largest New Haven carriage of that time.
* Theron T. Pond distilled witch-hazel from Hamamelis, a shrub used by the Indians and early settlers for soothing medical purposes.
* Roger Sherman was New Haven’s first mayor. He was a shoemaker, compiler of almanacs, lawyer, legislator, judge, and a member of the Continental Congress. He is the only man who signed the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution of the United States.
Eli Whitney was known as the Father of American Industry. He was the inventor of the cotton-gin, guns with interchangeable parts, and many machine tools. He was the founder of Whitneyville in Hamden.
* Oliver Winchester was the founder of Winchester Repeating Arms Company. He was Connecticut’s Lieutenant Governor for one term beginning 1866.
John Winthrop was a notable physician. He was also a successful inventor and metallurgist. He was the founder of Saybrook.
Elihu Yale went to India as a poor man. He rose to the position as Governor of Madas. He made five million dollars in the diamond trade. Yale University is named in his honor.
David Wooster was a Major-General who was famous for his exploitations in the Indian Wars.
* Joseph Earl Sheffield is responsible for supplying the necessary fund to proceed with the building of the canal in New Haven which would have been a part of the Farmington Canal.
Samuel F. B. Morse was the inventor of the telegraph and the Morse code.
Ezra Stiles was president of Yale University during and after the war of Independence. He conducted the first electrical experiments in New England. He also promoted mulberry and silk-worm culture. He experimented with hot-air baloons and was the builder of a Yale planetarium.
Objectives The students will be able to:
- 1. learn about the early means of transportation used to get around New Haven.
- 2. discuss the benefits the Carriage Industry had on the city of New Haven.
- 3. list a few of the men who were responsible for the prosperity of New Haven and Newhallville.
- transportation, vehicle, prosperity
- Materials Needed:
- Map of Newhallville, pencil, paper
Introduce the vocabulary. Discuss the section of the unit titled “The Carriage Industry”. Make sure that the students have a good understanding as to why and how the carriage industry in New Haven became the largest in the country. Discuss the men who are listed in this unit who were big carriage makers of the Newhallville area.
- 1. Why do you think carriages were used in the early days to replace the covered wagon?
- 2. Do you think the rides were comfortable? Why or why not?
- 1. Have the students to find the names of additional persons who were carriage makers in the New Haven area years ago.
- 2. Have the students to make a collection of the different types or styles of carriages found during the earlier years.
- 3. Have the students to use any materials which can be recycled to make a replica of a carriage they admire. Write a brief description of the carriages and make an exhibit of them to be shared with other classes.
Objectives The students will be able to:
- 1. distinguish between a community and a neighborhood.
- 2. create an imaginary community with sections of neighborhoods identified.
Vocabulary community, neighborhood, boundary, outline map
Materials Needed paper, pencil, colored pencils
Procedures Introduce the vocabulary to make sure the students know that there is a difference in the meaning of those two words. Give a brief background of how New Haven was first divided into sections centered around “The Green”. Discuss with the students the need to divide the city into sections. Use the map of the various neighborhoods to show what New Haven looks like today.
- 1. Why do children move out of the home of their parents when they become adults?
- 2. Why do people move from their old neighborhood to new ones?
- 3. Is it necessary for all the people in a community or neighborhood to have like goals? Why or why not?
- 1. Divide the class in to small groups of 4 or 5. Have the students in each group create an imaginary community and divide that community into sections as neighborhoods.
- 2. Have the students to give their community and neighborhoods names. Make a map of their community and share with the other members of the class. (color code the areas)
- 3. Make a bulletin board display of their communities.
- 4. Invite a guest speaker to discuss the neighborhood in which they live.
Industries of Cities
Objectives The students will be able to:
- 1. discuss why it is necessary to have some plants built near bodies—large or small.
Vocabulary industry, construction, pollution, manufacture
Materials Needed Map of Connecticut, Map of New Haven, paper, pencil
Procedures Have the students to list as many different kinds of manufacturing industries found in New Haven. Identify those industries from that list that are found in or near Newhallville. Have the students to come up with a rationale as to why those industries were constructed at the site where they are presently located. If any of those industries moved away from the city, have them to tell why the move was done.
- 1. Can all cities have a major industry? Why or why not?
- 2. Can all neighborhoods have a major industry? Why or why not?
- 3. If you had your wish, would you have an industry to relocate to another part of the city?
- 4. What would be your reason(s) for having that industry relocate?
- 1. Have the students to conduct a mock meeting in small groups to discuss the plans of constructing an industry in their neighborhood.
- 2. In a larger meeting, have a spokesperson from each smaller group to try and sell the idea of building an industry for their neighborhood.
Haven Historical Society for a lecture on the industries found in or around the New Haven Area.
The Community (Continued)
Objectives The students will be able to:
- 1. construct residential and business districts of their imaginary community.
- 2. give an imaginary history for the names of their communities.
Vocabulary residential, business, air pollution, water pollution
Materials Needed An outline map of New Haven with the various neighborhoods, paper, pencil, colored pencils
Procedures Introduce the vocabulary. Have the students to examine the layout of the community which they created in a previous lesson. Discuss the various types of industries and/or businesses which are beneficial in providing jobs for the people living in the community. Have the students come up with other benefits that the new industry would bring to the community. Also have the students to make a list of negative benefits that the industry would have over a long period of time.
- 1. Why is it necessary to have several people working together when planning a city or community?
- 2. How are people in a neighborhood or community affected by air and water pollution of industries?
- 3. Why are some industries in operation for short periods of time while others are in operation for long periods of time?
- 4. What causes pollution?
- 5. What would you do to stop pollution?
- 1. Have the students read the newspaper to find out positive and negative statements which are being published about some of the industries found in and around New Haven. Share their findings with classmates for discussion.
- 2. Arrange for a guest speaker from the Parks and Recreation Department to discuss the affects of pollution found in public places.
Objectives The students will be able to:
- 1. discuss how the streets of New Haven got their names.
- 2. identify the important people for whom the streets found in Newhallville are names.
Materials Needed Outline map of the streets found in Newhallville, paper, pencil
Procedures Distribute copies of the map of the streets of Newhallville. Have the students to guess how each of the streets got their names. Remind the students that most streets carry the names of important people such as presidents, governors, great leaders, or anyone who has made an outstanding contribution to the history of a city, state, or country. These names can also be used to identify schools, playgrounds, parks, etc.
- 1. Why do we name things?
- 2. What is the meaning of your name?
- 3. Were you named after someone?
- 4. Have you ever wondered why most cities have a street named Water Street, Main Street, or Washington Street?
- 1. Have the students to find out the meaning of their name or for whom they were named.
- 2. Have the students to find out the names of additional persons for whom the streets of New Haven have been named.
- 3. Have the students to come up with original names for at least five streets of the community they have created. Write a statement as to why the names were chosen.
114 Whitney Avenue—New Haven
A visit to the New Haven Historical Society will enable the students to see the original model of the Eli Whitney’s cotton gin. There are also valuable prints and early American portraits. Arrangements can be made for lectures of specific subjects you deem appropriate for this unit. Call 562-4183 for further details.
170 Whitney Avenue—New Haven
This museum is one of the oldest of its kind in the United States. A visit to Peabody Museum will enable the students to view and examine some of the 2,000 objects on display which include dinosaurs and other fossils, mammals, minerals, meteorites, American Indians and Egyptians artifacts. For more information and schedules of special events call 432-5050 or 432-5799.
Eli Whitney Museum and Tools
915 Whitney Avenue—Hamden
This museum is the oldest continuously-operated industrial site in New England. A visit to this museum will enable the students to view and explore some of the hand and water powered tools used long ago. For further details call 777-1833.
This book traces the history of Connecticut from the arrival of the first settlers in 1632 through the ratification of the Constitution in 1788.
Carpenter, Allan. The New Enchantment of America. Chicago: The Childrens Press. 1979.
This book discusses the history, natural resources, and famous citizens of the Constitution State. It also describes numerous places of interest to visit.
Fadin, Dennis. Connecticut In Words and Pictures. Chicago: The Childrens Press. 1980.
This book gives a brief introduction to the history, geography, cities, industries, places of interest and famous citizens of the Constitution State.
G. Fox & Company. Tales of Centinel Hill. Hartford: G. Fox & Company. 1947.
This book is a story woven from the threads of the past to the fabric of the future. It is the story of a small boy who lives in Hartford 100 years ago.
Johnston, Johanna. The Connecticut Colony. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. 1969.
This book tells about the hardship as well as the good times the settlers encountered in the new world.
Perry, Charles. Founders and Leaders of Connecticut. Boston: Heath & Co. 1934.
This book gives a very brief biographical sketch of some important people of Connecticut.
Soderlind, Arthur E. Connecticut. New York: Thomas Nelson Inc. 1976.
This book traces the Connecticut history from its exploration and settlements by the Dutch in the seventeenth century to 1788, when it became the fifth state to ratify the Constitution.
This book gives an account of the events which led to the making of greater New Haven from the early days through the period of about 1956.
Bixby, William. Connecticut A New Guide. New York: Charles Scribner & Sons. 1974.
This book tells what you can see and do in every part of the state of Connecticut. It describes places of interest and explains the history behind each one.
Osterweis, Rollins G. Three Centuries of New Haven 1638-1938. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1953.
This book recalls the activities which surrounds the New Haven Colony, its union with the Connecticut Colony, and its involvement during the revolutionary period. It also explains the growth of New Haven from 1784-1938.
Purcell, Richard J. Connecticut In Transition. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press. 1963.
This book talks about the peculiarities of Connecticut as a New England state. It shows a comparison of the rate of changes in democracy and religion in Connecticut with those of other states.
Roth, David M. Connecticut. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1976.
This book gives a brief bicentennial history of the state of Connecticut from the colonial period through 1976.
Stewart, David. Black New Haven. New Haven: The Advocate Press, Inc. 1977.
This book tells of the changes in the Dixwell Community that have taken place from the turn of the century to 1977.
VanDusen, Albert E. Connecticut. New York: Random House. 1961.
This is one of the few books about Connecticut which gives an informative account of the state’s history from the seventeenth century to 1960.
———. Inside New Haven Neighborhoods—A Guide to the City of New Haven. New Haven: New Haven Historical Society. 1928.
This book describes the activities which occurred in all the neighborhoods of New Haven from the turn of the century through 1980.
Contents of 1989 Volume I | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute