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Meriden, Connecticut
—  City  —
Aerial view, about 1914

Seal
Nickname(s): The Silver City of the World
Location in Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°32′12″N 72°47′41″W / 41.53667°N 72.79472°W / 41.53667; -72.79472
Country United States
State Connecticut
Region South Central Region
Incorporated (town) 1806
Incorporated (city) 1867
Consolidated 1922
Government
 - Type Council-manager
 - Council Leaders Michael Rohde, Mayor
Matthew C. Dominello, Deputy Mayor
Keith Gordon, Majority Leader
George McGoldrick, Deputy Majority Leader
Trevor Thorpe, Deputy Majority Leader
Walter Shamock, Minority Leader
 - City Manager Lawrence J. Kendzior
Area
 - Total 24.1 sq mi (62.5 km2)
 - Land 23.8 sq mi (61.5 km2)
 - Water 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)
Elevation 177 ft (54 m)
Population (2005)[1]
 - Total 59,653
 - Density 2,507.1/sq mi (968/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06450, 06451
Area code(s) 203
FIPS code 09-46450
GNIS feature ID 0208834
Website http://www.cityofmeriden.org/

Meriden is a city in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 59,653.[1]

Contents

History

Meriden Britannia Co. electro-gold and silverplating factory, 1881

Meriden was originally part of Wallingford. It was granted a separate meetinghouse in 1727, became a town in 1806, and incorporated as a city in 1867. It was named for the town of Meriden, West Midlands, England.

The oldest house in town still standing, built by Solomon Goffe in 1711, is now a museum, the Solomon Goffe House.

In the 1800s, Meriden earned the nickname “Silver City,” due to the large number of cutlery and related products which were manufactured here by companies such as International Silver and Meriden Cutlery.

Charles Parker and his younger brother, opened their first manufacturing factory in Meriden in 1832, with a capital outlay of $70.00. Over the years they manufactured a wide variety of products‚ from steam engines, train wheels and printing presses to piano stools. During the American Civil War Parker's Meriden Machine Company was under Union contract to produce 10,000 repeating rifles and 15,000 Springfield rifles. Parker began producing his own shotgun, referred to as “The Gun of 1866”. In 1868, Charles and his sons, Wilbur, Charles and Dexter started the Parker Brothers Gun Company, which continued as an independent company until 1934 when it was purchased by the Remington Arms Company.[2]

The Hanging Hills and Hubbard Park; Meriden below

The Hanging Hills' Hubbard Park was financed by Walter Hubbard, local entrepreneur and president of the Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company. Hubbard elicited the assistance of notable landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in drawing up the design.[3]

Edwin Howard Armstrong, a network radio pioneer who invented FM radio, used West Peak for the location of one of the first FM radio broadcasts in 1939. His original 70 feet (21 m) tall radio mast still stands on the peak. Currently West Peak is home to six FM broadcast stations, including WPKT, WWYZ, WKSS, WDRC-FM, WPHH and WHCN.[4] In 1900, Castle Craig was dedicated in Hubbard Park.

The Curtis Memorial Library opened in 1903.

Meriden is known as the home of the first steamed cheeseburger, at Ted's at 1044 Broad Street, which remains a popular local favorite to this day, and it is hard to find a seat at mealtimes- especially lunch. Within the last few years, Ted's has been sold to who is now the 2nd owner.

The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist have their mother house in Meriden as do the Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist.

Geography

The Quinnipiac River as it winds through the Quinnipiac River Gorge in South Meriden.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.1 square miles (62.5 km²), of which, 23.8 square miles (61.5 km²) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km²) of it (1.66%) is water.

Meriden is a showcase for a number of prominent peaks of the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous traprock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border. Notable peaks in Meriden include the Hanging Hills (West Peak, East Peak, South Mountain, and Cathole Mountain); Lamentation Mountain, Chauncey Peak, and Besek Mountain. Castle Craig, a city landmark for over a century, was constructed among the Hanging Hills in Hubbard Park.

The Quinnipiac River cuts through the southwest quadrant of the city, which is known to area residents as "South Meriden". Here, the river cuts through two hills for almost a mile, resulting in a gorge full of exposed sandstone and brownstone cliffs. Harbor Brook (originally named Pilgrim Harbor Brook) cuts through the town from the north east to the south west (passing underneath downtown Meriden in a culvert) before emptying into Hanover Pond (part of the Quinnipiac River) in South Meriden.

Principal communities

  • Meriden Center
  • South Meriden

Demographics

Looking west from Town Hall

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 58,244 people, 22,951 households, and 14,964 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,452.8 people per square mile (946.9/km²). There were 24,631 housing units at an average density of 1,037.3/sq mi (400.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.2% White, 6.4% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 8.6% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 32.4% of the population.

There were 22,951 households out of which 31.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 15.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $43,237, and the median income for a family was $52,788. Males had a median income of $39,633 versus $10,268 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,597. About 17.5% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.3% of those under age 18 and 23.8% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005[6]
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
  Democratic 9,225 524 9,749 30.15%
  Republican 4,275 213 4,488 13.88%
  Unaffiliated 16,927 1,147 18,074 55.90%
  Minor Parties 19 2 21 0.06%
Total 30,446 1,886 32,332 100%

Transportation

The former MM&WRR right of way prior to construction of the linear trail.
Historical
population of
Meriden
[1]
1810 1,249
1820 1,309
1830 1,708
1840 1,880
1850 3,559
1860 7,426
1870 10,495
1880 18,340
1890 25,423
1900 28,659
1910 32,066
1920 34,764
1930 38,481
1940 39,494
1950 44,088
1960 51,850
1970 55,959
1980 57,118,
1990 59,479
2000 58,244
2002 58,675
(est.)[2]

Railroad

The city of Meriden is connected to the cities of New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield, Massachusetts by regional rail service provided by Amtrak, which runs north-to-south through the center of the city. This rail line opened in 1839, and operated for many years under the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad. The city was also serviced by the Middletown, Meriden and Waterbury Railroad, which provided both freight and passenger service to Waterbury and Middletown from 1888 until its abandonment in 1924.

Currently, Amtrak runs 16 trains through the Meriden station on most weekdays, but these are not widely used for commuting. However, the success of the state's subsidized commuter rail line, Shoreline East, has spurred the state to open a New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Commuter Rail Line in 2011. Funds from the state will pay for a new station in Meriden, and city officials are hoping to capitalize on the commuters that will use the station and create a transit village in the city. They hope this will spur revitalization of the downtown area.

In the Quinnipiac River Gorge in South Meriden, 1.3 miles of the original MW&CR Railroad right of way has been converted into a recreational linear trail as the Meriden Linear Trail. Open to the public in December 2006, the formal dedication occurred on November 3, 2007.

Highway

The city of Meriden is located on Interstate 91, which provides access to Hartford, Springfield, Massachusetts, and New Haven. Interstate 691 provides access to Interstate 84 and points west such as Waterbury. The Wilbur Cross Parkway, which provides access to points south such as Wallingford, New Haven, and New York City becomes the Berlin Turnpike on the northern end of Meriden.

Schools

Pictures

Points of interest

Red Bridge, one of only three remaining lenticular through trusses in the state of Connecticut.

Meriden in popular culture

Meriden was the location chosen for the filming of the 1989 Robert De Niro film Jacknife. Many Meriden landmarks can be seen in the film, and many Meriden residents boast of encountering De Niro during the filming.

Dan Petriw's investigative special for Channel 8 News about the "tail pipe golf ball" craze of the 1990s was filmed at Fantozzi's Oldsmobile Dealership on Broad Street. Several commuters and car dealers in Meriden had reported that tail pipes on their new and used vehicles were randomly being stuffed with golf balls, thereby causing major damage to their exhaust systems. Petriw assisted the Meriden Police Department in the capture of the suspects by placing hidden cameras in the Meriden City commuter parking lot as well in several locations at Fantozzi's Oldsmobile dealership. The juveniles were tried and sentenced by the Hon. Judge Jared Steinberg at the Meriden Superior Court.

Meriden's Ted's Steamed Cheeseburger Restaurant was featured in the documentary Hamburger America, as well as the Travel Channel show Man v. Food.

The 2006 movie The Quiet was based here.

Tomie dePaola's 26 Fairmount Avenue is based on the author's Meriden childhood.

Many towns in the western United States were named for Meriden, Connecticut including Meriden, Iowa, Meriden, Kansas, Meriden, Wyoming, and Meriden Township, Minnesota.

Notable natives

References

  1. ^ a b "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Connecticut" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 21, 2006. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2005-04-09.csv. Retrieved November 17, 2006.  
  2. ^ Copy of "The Parker Gun" by Ron Kirby from The City of Meriden Message Board
  3. ^ City of Meriden. Cited Dec. 13, 2007
  4. ^ This Week in Amateur Radio. Cited Dec. 13, 2007
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  6. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. http://www.sots.ct.gov/ElectionsServices/lists/2005OctRegEnrollStats.pdf. Retrieved 2006-10-02.  

External links

Colony Street, postcard picture, ca. 1906







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