Main Births etc
Derby, Connecticut
—  City  —
Annual fireworks display from the Derby-Shelton Bridge
Official seal of Derby, Connecticut
Motto: "Connecticut's Smallest City"[1]
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°19′36″N 73°04′56″W / 41.32667, -73.08222Coordinates: 41°19′36″N 73°04′56″W / 41.32667, -73.08222
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region The Valley
Named 1675
Incorporated (town) 1775
Incorporated (city) 1893
 • Type Mayor-Board of aldermen
 • Mayor Dr. Anita Dugatto
 • Chief administrator Philip Robertson
 • Total 5.4 sq mi (14.0 km2)
 • Land 5.0 sq mi (12.9 km2)
 • Water 0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)
Elevation 102 ft (31 m)
Population (2010 census)
 • Total 12,903
 • Density 2,400/sq mi (920/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06418
Area code(s) 203
FIPS code 09-19480
GNIS feature ID 0206671

Derby is a city in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 12,903 at the 2010 census. With 5 square miles (13 km2) of land area, Derby is Connecticut's smallest municipality.


Derby was settled in 1642 as an Indian trading post under the name Paugasset. It was named after Derby, England, in 1675.[2][3]

Derby was incorporated on May 13, 1775.[4]

In the nineteenth century, both corsets and hoop skirts were manufactured in the city. Charlton Comics, a comic book publishing company that existed from 1944 to 1986, was based in town.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.4 square miles (8.7 km2), of which, 5.0 square miles (13 km2) of it is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) of it (7.41%) is water. The city is home to the 1.4 square kilometres (350 acres) Osbornedale State Park. Derby is divided into two main sections by the Naugatuck River: East Derby and Derby Center (Birmingham).


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 12,391 people, 5,252 households, and 3,245 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,487.6 people per square mile (960.7/km2). There were 5,568 housing units at an average density of 1,117.8 per square mile (431.7/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 90.08% White, 3.62% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 1.74% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 2.52% from other races, and 1.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.67% of the population.

There were 5,252 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.1% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $45,670, and the median income for a family was $54,715. Males had a median income of $42,367 versus $30,458 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,117. About 6.9% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.1% of those under age 18 and 7.8% 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 2,834 42 2,876 42.11%
  Republican 931 93 1,024 14.99%
  Unaffiliated 2,802 121 2,923 42.80%
  Minor Parties 7 0 7 0.10%
Total 6,574 256 6,830 100%

The Poles[]

Polish immigrants have left a large mark on the demographics of the town, with 18% of all residents claiming Polish as their ethnicity and 2% as having been born in Poland.[7] Due to this large population, the town features several Polish shops, restauarants, and clubs.[8] Saint Michael's the Archangel Parish, a Roman Catholic church serves mass in Polish as well as English.

Fire Department[]

The City of Derby is served by volunteer firefighters in the Derby Fire Department (DFD). The DFD consists of four all-volunteer fire companies (Hotchkiss Hose Co. # 1, Storm Engine Co. # 2, East End Hose Co. # 3, and Paugassett Hook & Ladder Co. # 4) operating out of four fire stations located throughout the city. Each all-volunteer fire company is commanded by a captain and two lieutenants, who in turn are commanded by three department assistant chiefs. The assistant chiefs in turn report to the Chief of Department, Tom Lenart Jr., who reports to the Fire Commissioner, Kelly Curtis.

Organized fire protection in Derby is traced back to the organization of the Derby Fire Engine Company which existed from 1830 to a period during the early 1850s. This was Derby's first organized fire company, with its quarters located originally in the area of Gilbert and Highs Streets, then called Derby Landing. This company operated an older style "goose-neck" fire engine that was outdated at the time. The fire engine was pumped by moving the handles back and forth thus forcing the water through the pipe and nozzle attached to the unit. People had to dump water into the fire engine by using buckets instead of putting a hose into or hooking up to a water source. In early 1840s, the company moved up Derby Avenue to the area approximately across from where St. Michael's Church now stands (the present east-bound lanes of Route 34). As the center of the town shifted from the east side to what is now downtown, interest in the company waned and thus was disbanded.

In 1837, residents in the village of Birmingham (today's present downtown) petitioned for their own fire company to protect their interests. Upon receiving a state charter the Birmingham Fire Company was established on June 7, 1837. This company is the oldest firefighting organization in the city now known as the Hotchkiss Hose Company No. 1. The company was first located in the area of Third and Minerva Streets then moved in the 1840 to Caroline Street to a location near the crest of the "cobblestone hill" portion of the street. The company moved again into new quarters several years later to the property located on Caroline Street across from Third Street. In 1872 the company changed its name to the Hotchkiss Hose Company No. 1 in honor of one of their original members Lewis Hotchkiss. In the early 1920s the old wood framed firehouse was removed from the property and the present building that houses the arts center was erected for the Hotchkiss Hose where the company remained until moving to their present location on David Humphreys Road in 1971.

The Storm Engine Company No. 2 was organized in 1851 when Birmingham was a borough in the town of Derby and was formally incorporated in 1853. First quartered on Elizabeth Street in the area of the Derby Green, the company now operates from its firehouse located on Oliva Street since the 1950s. The Storm Engine Company has continued holding an annual firemen's formal ball since its inception which now takes place Thanksgiving weekend. In 1949 seeing the need for an ambulance service in Derby, several members of the Storm Engine Company led by Edward Cotter established the Storm Engine Company Ambulance Corps, which continues today to provide medical, rescue and hazardous materials mitigation services.

The Paugassett Hook & Ladder Company No 4 was organized in 1903 originally as a hose company and originally named the Paugassett Hose Company No. 4. This company is named in honor of the Paugassett Native American tribe that once called Derby home. The company organized in what was known as the "Hotchkiss Hose Reserve", a unit of the Hotchkiss Hose that kept a hose cart on the east side of town to help protect it. When the Paugassetts organized, it was the first fully organized fire company to exist on Derby's east side since the disbanding of the old Derby Fire Engine Company in the 1850s. The company's first firehouse stood where the present firehouse now stands on Derby Avenue (Route 34). Around 1915 - 1916 the Paugassett Hose was given a motorized ladder truck after the disbanding of Derby's former hook and ladder company. It was at this time the company became known as the Paugassett Hook & Ladder Company No. 4.

In 1950, residents in the "East End" section of Derby's east side organized a new fire company to protect that area of the city. The unit organized independently from the city and adopted the name East End Hose Company No. 3. The company originally operated an old fire engine that was first used by the Storm Engine Company and was quartered at various locations. In 1955 the company moved into its present quarters on Derby-Milford Road, which was erected by the company's membership. The company remained independent from the city up until 1975 when the company was included and incorporated as part of the Derby Fire Department.

Besides the Derby Fire Engine Company, two other fire companies also existed before being disbanded. Around 1856 a unit known as the Pequot Fire Company was organized and existed for a short period of time. In 1861 this company ended up disbanding when a good majority of its members signed up to fight in the American Civil War to quell the southern rebellion. After the war, the members reorganized as a social club but never again acted as a fire fighting unit. The other fire company was known as the R. M. Bassett Hook & Ladder Company. This unit was organized in the Borough of Birmingham in 1874 and was named in honor of manufacturer Royal M. Bassett. The company was first quartered on Main Street until the completion of the Sterling Opera House. The company took up quarters on the old Fourth Street side of the Opera House which was later utilized by the Derby Police Department. The company was removed from their Opera House quarters around 1915 / 1916 under some sort of controversy though it seems the true reason is lost to history. With no home of their own the Bassett Hook & Ladder Company was disbanded and the "truck company" duties of the department were transferred over to the Paugassetts.[9][10]

Fire station locations and apparatus[]

Fire Company Engine Ladder Special Unit Address Neighborhood
Hotchkiss Hose Co. 1 Engine 13, Engine 14 200 David Humphrey Rd. East Derby
Storm Engine Co. 2 Engine 11, Engine 12 Rescue 18, Haz-Mat. 2, Haz-Mat. 19 51 Olivia St. Downtown
East End Hose Co. 3 Engine 16 Haz-Mat. 17 10 Derby-Milford Rd. East Derby
Paugassett Hook & Ladder Co. # 4 Truck 15 Squad 4(Dive Unit), Brush 4, Tac. 51(Gator) 57 Derby Ave. East Derby

Arts and culture[]

Derby sites on the National Register of Historic Places[]

of Derby
1756 1,000
1774 1,889
1782 2,218
1790 2,994
1800 1,878
1810 2,051
1820 2,088
1830 2,253
1840 2,851
1850 3,824
1860 5,443
1870 8,020
1880 11,650
1890 5,969
1900 7,930
1910 8,991
1920 11,238
1930 10,788
1940 10,287
1950 10,259
1960 12,132
1970 12,599
1980 12,346
1990 12,199
2000 12,391
2010 12,902
  • The Kraus Corset Factory, now the Sterling Rowe Apartment House on the corner of Roosevelt Drive and Third Street.
  • Osbornedale, a farm house built in the early nineteenth century.
  • Howe House, built in 1845.
  • Sterling Opera House was built in 1889 to seat 1250, and remained in use until 1945. City Hall and a police station occupied the two lower levels until 1965.[12]
  • Derby Public Library, built in 1902 with Ansonia marble, the library was originally founded as a free reading room in 1868. The land was provided by the Sarah Riggs Humphreys Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, on the condition that the building would always have a room the chapter could use. The chapter also donated $5,000 for books with the stipulation that people in the town raise an equal amount.[13]
  • Birmingham Green Historic District was designated on April 21, 2000, as Derby's sixth site on the National Register of Historic Places.[14]


The city has resurrected an "historic trough" – a century-old granite structure with lion-head spigots—as part of a gateway entrance plaza at the Division Street entrance to the Derby Greenway. The fountain was given to the City in 1906 by the National Humane Alliance and erected at the intersection of Seymour and Atwater Avenues. The water was first turned on on June 1, 1906. Years later it was moved to Founders Commons when traffic patterns made its original location a problem. It fell into disrepair and was not used as a fountain while on Founders Commons. When the Derby Greenway was built, the fountain was moved to its new location on June 22, 2006, fully restored with new plumbing and new lions heads and formally dedicated with the surrounding Derby Hall of Fame Plaza on September 1, 2007.[15]


The Valley Independent Sentinel, an online-only, non-profit news site, launched in June 2009. It has an office in Ansonia. Its editor lives in Derby.

The Valley Gazette, a weekly, also covers Derby, as does The Connecticut Post and The New Haven Register.

Derby High School, about 1909



The city has a Metro-North railroad station called Derby – Shelton.

Notable people[]

  • Samuel George Andrews, (1796–1863), born in Derby, United States congressman from New York[16]
  • Ebenezer Don Carlos Bassett (1833–1908), the first black American diplomat (appointed in 1869 to Haiti)
  • Brian Dennehy, film actor, lived in Derby during his early life and was a Boy Scout in Troop 3, based in Derby
  • Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-Man comics hero
  • William Frederick Durand (1859–1958), the first civilian chair of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
  • Isaac Hull (1773–1843), commodore in the U.S. Navy; commanded USS Constitution among other ships, and nephew of William Hull
  • William Hull (1753–1825), general in the American Revolutionary War, governor of Michigan Territory, and uncle of Isaac Hull
  • David Humphreys, American Revolutionary War soldier, public official and entrepreneur
  • Orson Hyde (1805–1878), a leader in the Latter Day Saint (Mormon) movement
  • Patrick B. O'Sullivan (1887-1978), CT state senator, US congressman, Superior Court judge, and Chief Justice of the CT Supreme Court
  • Nick Pietrosante, NFL fullback for the Detroit Lions, Cleveland Browns and Notre Dame Fighting Irish; born in Derby
  • Alan Schlesinger, former Derby mayor and unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2006
  • Sheldon Thompson, former Mayor of Buffalo, New York
  • Elizabeth Ann Whitney (1800–1882), early Latter Day Saint (Mormon) leader; born in town
  • Stephen Whitney (1776-1860), merchant and one of New York's first multi-millionaires
  • Frank P. Witek (1921-1944), recipient of the Medal of Honor; born in Derby
  • Edward Wooster (1622–1689), "the first permanent settler in Derby"

Plans for the future[]

The Howe House "will become home of the Lower Naugatuck Valley Industrial Heritage Center; where the Derby Historical Society's extensive collection of Industrial Era artifacts will be properly displayed. Future educational programs will include student hands-on programs that will introduce the Industrial Revolution and the Valley's active role in this period."[17]


  1. ^ "City of Derby Connecticut". City of Derby Connecticut. Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off.. pp. 104. 
  3. ^ "Profile for Derby, Connecticut, CTistrict". ePodunk. Retrieved September 19, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Derby, Connecticut". Retrieved September 22, 2012. 
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original on 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2006-10-02. 
  7. ^ Mozdzer, Jodie. (2009-10-08) 'Warsaw' Coming To Ansonia | Valley Independent Sentinel. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ Derby Fire Department Derby, CT. (2013-02-24). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  10. ^ About Us. (1935-09-21). Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  11. ^ Office of the Secretary of the State. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  12. ^ [2] "Sterling Opera House" Web page at the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed July 22, 2006
  13. ^ [3] "Derby Public Library" Web page on the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed on July 22, 2006.
  14. ^ [4] "Derby History Quiz" page at the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed on July 22, 2006.
  15. ^ Derby History Quiz - National Humane Alliance Watering Trough. Retrieved on 2013-07-15.
  16. ^ Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963. 
  17. ^ [5] "Howe House" Web page of the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed on July 22, 2006

External links[]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Derby, Connecticut. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.