Connecticut’s Cities: By the Numbers
March 9, 2017
March 10, 2017

New Haven

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Yale College, 1832. Library of Congress

In 1638, Reverend John Davenport and his followers sailed from Boston to find a new home. They found a good harbor on Long Island Sound. A good harbor was a good place to set up a trading post.

The Quinnipiac Indians lived there. Davenport made an agreement with the Quinnipiac about settling on the land.

The settlers’ trading post was not very successful at first. So they started farming.

Towns sprang up around New Haven. In 1643, the neighboring towns joined with New Haven to form the New Haven Colony.

The Connecticut Colony was its neighbor. The two colonies joined together in 1665. For 200 years, Connecticut had two capitals: Hartford and New Haven. The legislature met in each city every other year.

Lighthouse Point, New Haven, c. 1900. Library of Congress

Around the time of the American Revolution, New Haven became a more successful trading port. Ships left New Haven full of timber and livestock. They sold their goods in cities along the coast and in the West Indies. New Haven grew and became a city in 1784.

Shipbuilding was an important early industry. Coopers made barrels to ship goods in. Chandlers sold equipment for boats. Warehouses lined the waterfront. But New Haven’s harbor was shallow. A long wharf was built to connect the shore to deep water.

In the 1800s, industry developed. Many industries! New Haven factories made horse-drawn carriages and hardware of all kinds. Factories made guns and ammunition. Other factories made clocks, toys, bricks, pianos–even lollipops!

New Haven rail yard with the city in the background, c. 1970. Library of Congress. New Haven’s railroad is important to the city’s economy.

The railroad came to New Haven in 1839. It linked the city to Hartford. Eventually six important routes connected New Haven to every major city in the state, New York, and Boston.

An important person in New Haven’s history is William Lanson. He was an African American entrepreneur. He extended the Long Wharf in 1810 and built part of the Farmington Canal in 1825.

Messenger boys worked until 11 p.m, 1909. photo: Lewis HIne, Library of Congress

New Haven is home to Yale University. Yale is one of our nation’s very best universities. It was established in 1701. It is said that the hamburger was invented in New Haven and the city is famous for its pizza.

Towns That Were Once Part of New Haven