A Brief History of Stamford, CT
A Brief History of Stamford, CT
Sometimes we forget to look back and admire the unique and accomplished histories of our Connecticut towns. Maybe you’re considering building a new custom home and moving into the area. Or perhaps you’re renovating or building an addition on a special property here. Either way we thought it would be interesting to take a brief look back, to the history of Stamford, CT.
Situated in the southwestern point of Connecticut, Stamford was originally known by early European settlers as Rippowarm. As the colony became more established, new settlers arriving from Lincolnshire, England chose to rename Rippowarm to match that of their old town back in the Lincolnshire community.
On July 1, 1640, Captain Turner, one of the town’s inhabitants, and an Indian chief named Ponus, signed a parchment deeding the land over to the settlers. In exchange for the land, Chief Ponus and his people were to receive a variety of items from the settlers, including 12 coats, 12 knives, 12 hatchets, 12 hoes, four fathoms of white wampum and four kettles.
By the late 1700s Stamford was established as both a market and agricultural community. Its 4,051 residents were primarily farmers who raised crops such as wheat and corn along with livestock. They would keep what they needed and sell the rest to the marketplace in New York.
During 1848 the expansion of the railroad gave outsiders easier access to town and new residents began flooding the area. Irish immigrants tended to prefer living in homes situated near the railroad tracks with easy access to this convenient transportation. While many took jobs in the local mills, others found work as gardeners, coachmen and laborers.
By 1850 the population had grown to 5,000. As political and economic tensions grew across Europe more immigrants moved to the States. German immigrants soon arrived and like the Irish before them, took whatever jobs they could find. By 1880 the population swelled to 11,000. The town was starting to evolve and in 1893 Stamford was incorporated into a city.
1909 brought developers Herman Henneberger and his son-in-law Henry Jevne to the area. They purchased 180 acres of land from the heirs of Stamford resident, Alfred Hoyt. The residential face of Stamford from that point changed forever.
Their initial plan was to build estates on 10 acres lots for the cities more prominent residents. There was little interest in the properties, however. The men soon turned their attention to building homes for what was then considered the upper middle class. They decided that minimum lot sizes would be 100 by 150 feet, and all homes would cost no less than $6,500. The area soon carried the name “Revonah Manor.”
Although the early 1900s were a prosperous time for the city, outside influences from the rest of the world began to take its toll. The stock market crash of 1929 followed by the Depression of the 1930s affected the prosperity of the city. Although times were bleak, Stamford’s landscape was about to change again. In 1934, construction began on the Merritt Parkway as a way to ease congestion on the historic Boston Post Road.
It wasn’t until the 1960s and 1970s, however, that one of the biggest changes came to Stamford as a commercial real estate boom brought New York City corporations to the area and a massive urban redevelopment began. Today, Stamford boasts a population of over 125,000 and its downtown area is filled with skyscrapers. Once again a thriving community, Stamford continues to inspire all who work and live there.