Local city information for Ansonia, CT
is a city and town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, on the Naugatuck River, immediately north of Derby and about northwest of New Haven. The population was 18,554 at the 2000 census. The ZIP code for Ansonia is 06401. The city has a Metro North train station, and the Route 8 state highway serves the city.
Ansonia is known for its devotion to its high school football team, the Ansonia Chargers. The Chargers' arch-rivals are the Naugatuck Greyhounds, from nearby Naugatuck. The annual Ansonia-Naugatuck game is one of the most important events of the year for the two cities.
The city, first settled in 1652 and named in honor of the merchant and philanthropist Anson Greene Phelps (1781-1853), was originally a part of the township of Derby. The state chartered Ansonia as a borough of Derby in 1864, and later as a separate town in 1889. In 1893, Ansonia incorporated as a city, consolidating with the coterminous town.
Ansonia suffered grievous damage in the Great Flood of August 19, 1955, when massive rain from Hurricane Diane filled the Naugatuck River beyond its capacity. Submerging the land along the river, the flood destroyed many houses and businesses. The high river waters swept away Maple Street Bridge, one of two bridges linking the east and west sides of the city. After the inundation, the authorities erected a flood wall along the east bank of the river to protect the city's factories and Main Street. On the west bank, federal public housing took the place of blocks of destroyed homes and businesses on Broad Street now known as Olson Drive.
In the decades following the flood, Ansonia's Main Street fell into decline as retail shoppers decamped to the Ansonia Mall at one end of the street (now replaced by a Big Y supermarket) and for malls in nearby Milford, Trumbull, and Waterbury. In recent years, however, Main Street has perked up with the opening of several antique stores, a wine bar, a coffee shop, a Polish delicatessen, and other businesses.
Ansonia hosted its own daily newspaper, the Evening Sentinel
, which enjoyed a wide readership throughout the Naugatuck Valley. However, the parent company of the Connecticut Post bought the Sentinel
in the 1980s and quickly folded it, despite promises not to do so, in order to consolidate the Post's position as the region's main newspaper.
In the early morning hours of November 6, 1960 Senator John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign motorcade stopped on its way to Waterbury for an appearance and brief address in front of City Hall drawing thousands to downtown, many with transistor radios tuned to live reports on WADS of Senator Kennedy's progress towards Ansonia. President Kennedy would make a return visit on October 17, 1962 while on his way to Waterbury.
President George H. W. Bush paid a visit to Ansonia by helicopter during the 1992 presidential election campaign. He was running far behind schedule due to severe weather damage to a large area New Jersey, and his late arrival and truncated speech caused many residents to feel he had slighted their city.
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