1902 Encyclopedia > New Haven, Connecticut

New Haven
Connecticut, United States

NEW HAVEN, a city and town of New Haven county, Connecticut, U.S., in 41° 19' 28" N. lat. and 72° 55' 19" W. long. (local time 16 minutes before that of Washington), is widely known as the seat of Yale College. The town includes the city and two outlying suburbs - Westville and Fair Haven East. The city occupies an alluvial plain, from 3 to 4 miles in breadth, at the head of New Haven harbour, which is an indentation of the northern shore of Long Island Sound, extending inland about 4 miles, and formed by the confluence of three small rivers HAVEN flowing through the township ; the plain is partly enclosed on the east and west by two prominent trap rocks, with precipitous faces towards the city, respectively 360 and 400 feet in height. The mean annual temperature is 49° Fahr. ; and the city ranks among the healthiest in the United States. It is 74 miles north-east from New York, with which it is connected by rail, as well as by daily steamboats ; it has communication by three railway lines with Boston, 120 miles to the north-east, and two other railways have their termini here.

The central and older portion of the city is laid out in regular squares, surrounding a public green of 16 acres, on which stand the three oldest churches and a building formerly used as a State-house; the abundance and beauty of the elms planted about this square and along many of the streets has caused the place to be familiarly known as the "Elm City." On the squares bordering upon this central park are the interesting grounds and buildings of Yale College, the city-hall and county court-house, the post-office and custom-house, and several churches.

and there are thirteen buildings for recitation rooms, laborathe almshouse, the county prison, the halls of the finest private residences are in the section of the city north include sixty-one places of worship, of which nineteen the expenditure for their maintenance was $368,000 in 1882-83. Twenty-nine schoolhouses owned by the town, with their furniture and grounds, represent an outlay of about $675,000. There are also about twenty private schools, the oldest being the Hopkins Grammar School, founded in 1660.

The harbour, which originally determined the site of the city, and has always been a large factor in its prosperity, is large and safe, though shallow, and is under improvement by the construction of a costly breakwater. Long Wharf, begun in 1682, is 3480 feet in length, the longest pier in the United States. Natural oyster-beds formerly abounded in the harbour and its tributary streams ; and extensive beds arc still maintained by planting, which give l°-ge returns, and make New Haven the chief centre of the important oyster trade of Connecticut. Tho harbour is still more valuable in its relation to the extensive manufacturing industries of the vicinity. Within a radius of 20 miles not less than $50,000,000 is employed in the manufacture of hardware, carriages, arms, and wire. For this New Haven is the commercial centre, and through its port there annually passes merchandise (largely coal and iron) valued at $175,000,000. The foreign trade is chiefly with the West India Islands and Demerara, and its prosperity dates from the latter part of the 18th century. The exports in the thirty-six vessels employed in this branch of trade in 1882 (breadstuff's and live stock) were valued at $3,150,000, the imports (sugar and molasses) at $6,281,000; it should, however, be noted that three-fourths of these imports and exports enter and leave the port of New York, although the capital and management of the trade remain in New Haven. The estimated total value of foreign importations received (in 84 vessels of 18,126 tons) at the port in the year ending June 1883 was $1,155,883, the chief articles being sugar and molasses, salt from the West Indies and Spain (about $100, 000), and paper-rags from Alexandria. The value of the foreign exports for the same period, in 42 vessels of 7228 tons, was $670,046, the largest item being the shipments of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. For the same year the estimated value of cargoes received from domestic ports (in 2200 steam vessels and 4125 sailing vessels and barges) was $93,963,900. Of these receipts the largest items were - iron, valued at $2,000,000; lumber, $3,000,000, twice as much more being received by railroad; and coal (a rapidly increasing business of recent growth), $3,750,000. The value of shipments to domest'i'c ports was $74,812,000.

In the production of carriages and carriage trimmings, New Haven, which is the chief seat of the trade in New England, employs a capital of perhaps 1 millions dollars ; nearly 2000 workmen receive annual wages of about $750,000; and the estimated value of the yearly product is $2,240,000. Another important industry is represented by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, which, with a capital of $1,000,000, employs 1200 hands, and does a business in sporting guns and ammunition of about $2,500,000 a year. Another noticeable manufacture is that of superior blotting paper from cotton waste ; blotting paper was made here fcr the first time in America in 1856. The other principal manufactures are locks, rubber, clocks, organs, corsets, fish-lines, and paper boxes. There are nine banks of deposit, with an aggregate capital of $4,664,000, and a circulation of $3,038,940; also three savings banks, with deposits of about $9,000,000. About $225,000 is annually paid in New Haven in fire insurance premiums, for the protection of property valued at upwards of $25,000, 000.

New Haven (Indian name Quinnipiac, meaning " long-water land ") was settled in 1638 by nearly three hundred English emigrants of more than the average wealth and business ability, led by John Davenport and Theophilus Eaton, with the design of founding a commercial colony to be governed by the laws of the Bible. Davenport, an Oxford graduate, and for fourteen years a minister in London, became the pastor of the New Haven church; and Eaton, a successful London merchant, was the first governor of the colony which grew up about the town. The colony (of the same name) included five other towns, and remained independent until merged, by a charter of Charles II. in 1662, in the older colony of Connecticut; this result was largely due to the waning prosperity of New Haven (in contrast with Connecticut), and to the prejudice against its more rigidly Puritan tone, as shown, for instance, in its code of laws, and in such incidents as the shelter given to Whalley and Goffe, two of the regicide judges. In recognition of its former standing, the sessions of the legislature were held alternately here and in Hartford (the original capital of Connecticut) from 1701 to 1874. From the original territory of the town (about 13 by 18 miles) ten new towns have been wholly or partly taken. New Haven was from the beginning distinguished for its care of public education, - a free school being ordered to be set up as early as 1641, and the establishment of a college being contemplated in 1648. In 1716 Yale College was removed from Saybrook to New Haven, which had then somewhat under a thousand inhabitants. A period of quiet and regular growth ensued. In 1754 a printing press was set up, and in 1755 the first newspaper published in Connecticut appeared here. There are now six daily and six weekly papers, besides several college periodicals, The American Journal of Science, founded in 1818 by Professor Silliman, and another review (The New Englander). The Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, incorporated in 1799, and the American Oriental Society, have their libraries here, and publish valuable transactions. In the American Revolution the town favoured resistance to the British Government, and in 1779 was invaded by a detachment of about 3000 British troops, under General Tyron. In 1784 New Haven received a city charter (the earliest in the State), the territory incorporated having then a population of about 3350. With the close of the Revolutionary War commerce revived and expanded ; and after the war of 1812 manufactures were introduced.

The population numbered in 1790, 4510 ; in 1800, 5157; in 1810, 6967; in 1820, 8327; in 1830, 10,678; in 1840, 14,396; in 1850, 22,529 ; in 1860, 39,267; in 1870, 50,840; and in 1880, 62,882, of whom 15,668 were horn in foreign countries. The city was in 1880 the third place (next to Boston and Providence) in size in New England, and the twenty-sixth in the United States. Since 1880 new territory has been annexed, and the population is estimated in 1883 at nearly 74,000. The real and personal estate of the inhabitants was in 1882 valued at $48,335,632 (real estate 34 millions, personalty 14 millions). The net indebtedness of the city (principally contracted in building sewers) was $631,907 at the close of 1882; there was also a debt contracted by the town government of $941,637. The amount appropriated to meet the city expenses for 1883 was $559,435. The city is divided into twelve wards, and is governed by a mayor and twenty-four aldermen (twelve elected yearly) and thirty-six councilmen. The town affairs are controlled by a separate board of seven select men.

For the history of the town see Bacon, Thirteen Historical Discourses, 1839; Atwater, History of the Colony of New Haven, 1881; Papers of the New Haven Colony Historical Society, 3 vole., 1865-82.

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