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Shelton, Connecticut
—  City  —
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°18′15″N 73°08′17″W / 41.30417°N 73.13806°W / 41.30417; -73.13806
Country United States
State Connecticut
County Fairfield
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region Housatonic Valley
Incorporated (town) 1789
Incorporated (city) 1915
 - Type Mayor-board of aldermen
 - Mayor Mark A. Lauretti
 - Total 31.9 sq mi (82.6 km2)
 - Land 30.6 sq mi (79.2 km2)
 - Water 1.4 sq mi (3.5 km2)
Elevation 62 ft (19 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 38,101
 - Density 1,246.4/sq mi (481.2/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06484
Area code(s) 203
FIPS code 09-68100
GNIS feature ID 0210800

Shelton is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 38,101 at the 2000 census.





Shelton was settled by the English as part of the town of Stratford, Connecticut in 1639. On May 15, 1656, the Court of the Colony of Connecticut in Hartford, affirmed that the town of Stratford included all of the territory twelve miles inland from Long Island Sound, between the Housatonic River and the Fairfield town line. In 1662, Stratford selectmen Lt. Joseph Judson, Captain Joseph Hawley and John Minor, had secured all the written deeds of transfer from the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation for this vast territory that comprises the present-day towns of Trumbull, Shelton and Monroe. Shelton was split off from Stratford in 1789, as Huntington (named for Samuel Huntington).[1][2] The current name originated in a manufacturing village started in the 1860s named for the Shelton Company founded by Edward N. Shelton — also founder of Ousatonic Water Power Company.[3][4][5][6] The rapidly growing borough of Shelton incorporated as a city in 1915 and was consolidated with the town of Huntington in 1919 establishing the present City of Shelton.[7][8]

Decline of Shelton's Industry

Shelton was home to one of the largest arson fires in the United States history. It happened in 1975 when the Sponge Rubber Products plant (formerly owned by B.F. Goodrich) was set on fire. Charles Moeller, president of parent company Grand Sheet Metal Products, was acquitted on arson charges, but in a civil lawsuit, a jury in 1988 ruled the insurer did not have to pay claims on the fire because a preponderance of evidence showed the company's top officials arranged the fire to claim insurance money. Eight others were convicted or pleaded guilty.[9]

The explosion that destroyed the Sponge Rubber Plant on Canal Street in 1975 marked the start of the decline of Shelton's industries. During the remainder of the 1970s and 1980s several firms that operated factories along the banks of the Housatonic River either went out of business or relocated to areas where labor and operating costs were cheaper. In 1995, Sikorsky Aircraft closed a plant off of Bridgeport Avenue that manufactured electrical components for helicopters.

Downtown Revitalization

Plumb Library, about 1905

Efforts are underway to restore nineteenth century industrial buildings in the downtown area; those that were beyond repair were demolished in the late 1990s and early 2000s and replaced with the Veteran's Memorial, and a farmer's market. The 10-acre Riverwalk Park next to the Veterans Memorial was created on the site of the former Sponge Rubber Plant. Other buildings along Howe Avenue, one of the city's main thoroughfares have been restored, while developers have renovated two 19th Century factory buildings on Bridge Street, converting them into luxury condominiums. Several downtown streets have been reconstructed as part of a streetscape improvement project: sidewalks were reconstructed with brick and cobblestone, trees were planted, and some power lines were rerouted underground to improve the appearance of Shelton's central business district.[10] In March 2008, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell announced that after negotiations with State Senator Dan Debicella and State Representative Jason Perillo, state bond funds in the amount of $2 million would be directed toward additional infrastructure improvements leading to over $100 million in private investment in the city's downtown.[11]

Other events

On June 14, 1978, Bob Marley & The Wailers played at the Pinecrest Country Club in the city as part of the group's Kaya Tour.

In November 2007, a tree located on Soundview Avenue in Shelton was picked to be the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.[12]

On May 30 2008 producers and staff for the upcoming movie "All Good Things" shot one scene on Canal St. in downtown Shelton. The scene was underneath the train trestle and involved one of the characters dragging a body and dumping it into the Housatonic River.

On July 31 2009, A line of heavy thunderstorms with weak rotation spawned an EF1 Tornado, which touched down with wind speeds between 95 and 105 miles per hour. According to WTNH, The most concentrated damage was along the Oronque Trail, where many trees were blown down. Fortunately, there were no injuries or fatalities.[1]


Town historical marker along Route 110

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.9 square miles (82.7 km²), of which, 30.6 square miles (79.2 km²) of it is land and 1.4 square miles (3.5 km²) of it (4.26%) is water.


As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 38,101 people, 14,190 households, and 10,543 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,246.4 people per square mile (481.2/km²). There were 14,707 housing units at an average density of 481.1/sq mi (185.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.44% White, 1.12% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.08% Asian, 0.89% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.48% of the population.

There were 14,190 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.9% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.7% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $67,292, and the median income for a family was $75,523 (these figures had risen to $80,694 and $94,485 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[14]). Males had a median income of $50,210 versus $36,815 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,893. About 2.5% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.


population of
1790 2,742
1800 2,792
1810 2,770
1820 2,805
1830 1,371
1840 1,326
1850 1,301
1860 1,477
1870 1,527
1880 2,499
1890 4,006
1900 5,572
1910 6,545
1920 9,475
1930 10,113
1940 10,971
1950 12,694
1960 18,190
1970 27,165
1980 31,314
1990 35,418
2000 38,101
2005 40,142

Mark Lauretti has served as mayor since taking office in 1991.

The Republican Party has controlled the city government since the 1980s. Before the 2007 Elections, the Board of Aldermen consists of 5 Republican members, 2 Citizens' United members and one Democratic member.[15] Mayor Lauretti was re-elected for a tenth term on November 3, 2009. The new Board of Aldermen consists of 7 Republicans and one Democrat.[16]

Political affiliations in Shelton have developed predominantly along demographic lines, with both representatives from the 2nd Ward (Jason Perillo (Also the Chief of Echo Hose Ambulance Corps (EHAC)) and Stanley Kudej), 3rd Ward (John Anglace and Lynn Farrell) and 4th Ward (John Papa and Kenneth Olin) being Republicans. The more affluent 1st Ward is represented by Jack Finn, the lone Democrat on the Board, and Republican Anthony Simonetti. Anglace (R-3) is the Board's President. Papa (R-4) is its Vice-president. In recent elections, the 2nd and 4th Wards have remained consistently Republican, while representation from the 1st and 3rd Wards has swung between Republicans, Democrats, and the Citizens' United Party.

Political representation at the state level has been Republican since in the 1960s. In 2006, State Senator Dan Debicella took over from George "Doc" Gunther, who represented the town for forty years. Im 2007, State Representative Jason Perillo took office after winning a special election held following the death of Richard O. Belden, who represented the town for 32 years. State Representative Larry Miller has also represented the town since 1991. All these current and former legislators are Republicans.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005[17]
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
  Republican 6,195 134 6,329 25.54%
  Democratic 4,553 106 4,659 18.81%
  Unaffiliated 13,438 322 13,760 55.53%
  Minor Parties 28 1 29 0.12%
Total 24,214 563 24,777 100%


Shelton is currently one of the few municipalities in Connecticut with its own Sheriff's Department, the Shelton Sheriff's Department, whose main task is the due process within the city lines and to execute judicial warrants within the city, much like the Fairfield County Sheriff's Department did before its abolishment in December 2000.


The City of Shelton's goal is to preserve at least 15% of the land as permanently protected, locally controlled open space in the following three forms: City of Shelton Public Open Space properties, Privately owned farmland protected by the purchase of development rights, and properties held by the non-profit Shelton Land Conservation Trust. As of 2009, these forms of open space amount to 13% of the City and more than 2700 acres. The City of Shelton owns close to 2000 acres of Public Open Space, Protected Farmland is 411 acres, and the Shelton Land Trust organization has preserved 364 acres.

There are over 15 miles of hiking trails in Shelton, including a portion of the Paugussett "Blue Blazed" trail, part of a 800 mile network of hiking trails throughout the state. There is opportunity for fishing, boating, geocaching and letterboxing, hiking, walking and biking. Dogs are welcomed when on leash. There is no hunting on City owned Open Space by Ordinance.

The City of Shelton's Conservation efforts are served by a City agency in form of the Conservation Commission. The current Chairman is Thomas Harbinson. Further information is maintained at the Commission's official City of Shelton webpages: []


Public schools in Shelton include Shelton High School for grades 9 through 12, Shelton Intermediate School for grades 7 and 8, and six primary schools for kindergarten through sixth grade.[18]

Prominent companies

  • Perkin-Elmer houses their Life and Analyitical sciences division on Bridgeport Avenue. Perkin Elmer is best known for building the optical components of the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Shelton is home to Wiffle Ball, Inc., manufacturers of the original Wiffle Ball.
  • Home to Swiss Army Brands U.S. regional office, with about 175 employees,[19] is planning a move to Monroe.
  • TranSwitch Corp. headquarters, 3 Enterprise Drive
  • Pitney Bowes employs 1,460 in the city.[19]
  • Health Net Inc. has 1,500 employees in the city.[19]
  • Computershare (formerly Transcentive Inc.), 2 Enterprise Drive
  • NEC Unified Solutions (formerly Nitsuko America), manufacturer of business telephone systems, 4 Forest Parkway
  • Panolam is headquartered in Shelton.
  • Cartier SA has an office in Shelton
  • Tetley USA is headquartered in Shelton.
  • Bic Incorporated has an office in Shelton.
  • Baldwin Technology is headquartered in Shelton.
  • Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation has an Overhaul and Repair (O&R) facility in Shelton.

Notable residents, past and present

Birthplace of Isaac Hull

On the National Register of Historic Places

  • Commodore Hull School — 130 Oak Ave. (added July 30, 1983)
  • Huntington Center Historic District — Roughly along Church and Huntington Sts., from Ripton Rd. to the Farmill River (added April, 2000)
  • Plumb Memorial Library — 47 Wooster St. (added December 7, 1978)


Indian Well State Park boat launch at Sunset
  1. ^ "Huntington Green Shelton".  
  2. ^ "Welcome to the City of Shelton, Connecticut, Official WebSite".  
  3. ^ Samuel Orcutt. A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut. pp. 1002–1004.  
  4. ^ "Derby History Quiz - Edward Shelton". Town of Derby.  
  5. ^ "Ousatonic Dam & Canals".  
  6. ^ "CT0426: Ousatonic Water Power Company, Dam & Canals, CT Routes 34 & 108, 1 mile North of Derby-Shelton Bridge, Derby, New Haven County, CT". The Library of Congress.,+Dam+++Canals,+CT+Routes+34+++108,+1+mile+North+of+Derby-Shelton+Bridge,+Derby,+New+Haven+County,+CT)). Retrieved 2008-02-07.  
  7. ^ "Shelton's History in a Nutshell". Shelton Historical Society.  
  8. ^ "Shelton Historical Society's FAQs". Shelton Historical Society.  
  9. ^ Greenwald, Judy. "Jury rules no cover for bombed building." Business Insurance, April 4, 1988.
  10. ^ Eleanor Charles (November 2, 1997). "In the Region/Connecticut; How Shelton Won a Role in Fairfield's Office Market". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-14.  
  11. ^ Musante, Fred (March 20, 2008). "Rell delivers $2 million for downtown revival". The Huntington Herald. Retrieved 2008-03-20.  
  12. ^ Associated Press (November 7, 2007). "Crews cut Shelton spruce for Rockefeller Center Christmas tree". Retrieved 2007-11-14.  
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  14. ^
  15. ^ Shelton Board of Aldermen
  16. ^ For Lauretti, a sweet ride to 9th term, Connecticut Post November 7, 2007
  17. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Retrieved 2006-10-02.  
  18. ^ "Shelton Public Schools". Retrieved 2008-05-24.  
  19. ^ a b c "State to aid Shelton firm's move," by Maya Rao, The Hartford Courant, June 15, 2006; Rao cites James Ryan, head of the Shelton Economic Development Commission.
  • Reverend Samuel Orcutt, History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport Connecticut, Fairfield County Historical Society, 1886

External links


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