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Bristol is a city located in Hartford County, Connecticutmarker, southwest of Hartfordmarker. According to 2006 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 61,353. Bristol is primarily known as the home of ESPN, whose central studios are in the city. Bristol was also known as a clock-making city in the 1800s, and is home to the American Clock and Watch Museum. Bristol's nicknames include the Bell City, because of a history manufacturing innovative spring-driven doorbells, and the Mum City because it was once a leader in chrysanthemum production and still holds an annual "Mum Festival".


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 69.5 km² (26.8 sq mi). The city contains several distinct sections: Forestville is approximately the southeastern quarter of Bristol and was Native American hunting grounds until the 1800s. The majority of Bristol is now residential, though in recent years there has been a push for commercial development in the city.


Historical population of
1800 2,722
1810 1,428
1820 1,362
1830 1,707
1840 2,109
1850 2,884
1860 3,436
1870 3,788
1880 5,347
1890 7,382
1900 9,643
1910 13,502
1920 20,620
1930 28,451
1940 30,167
1950 35,961
1960 45,499
1970 55,487
1980 57,370
1990 60,640
2000 60,062
2002 60,541 (estimate)

As of the census of 2000, there are 60,062 people, 24,886 households, and 16,175 families residing in the city. The population density is 874.8/km² (2,265.8/sq mi). There are 26,125 housing units at an average density of 985.6/sq mi (380.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 86.33% White, 2.68% African American, 5.27% Hispanic, 0.22% Native American, 1.47% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.40% from other races, and 1.60% from two or more races.

There are 24,886 households in Bristol of which 29.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% are married couples living together, 11.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.0% are non-families. 28.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.7% have a sole resident who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.38 and the average family size is 2.94.

Bristol possesses substantial age diversity with 23.2% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 22.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 93.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $47,422, and the median income for a family is $58,259. Males have a median income of $40,483 versus $30,584 for females. The per capita income for the city is $23,362. 6.6% of the population and 4.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 8.7% of those under the age of 18 and 5.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage

Democratic 12,480 381 12,861 38.64%

Republican 5,531 206 5,737 17.24%

Unaffiliated 13,954 729 14,683 44.11%

Minor Parties 4 0 4 0.01%
Total 31,969 1,316 33,285 100%


Education in Bristol, CT is conducted using ten elementary schools (grades kindergarten through five), three middle schools (grades six, seven and eight), and two high schools. In addition to these public schools, there are also a number of private Catholic schools available. These add an additional four kindergarten through grade 8 schools and one additional high school.

A recent press release shows good scores on the Connecticut Academic Performance Test, a standardized Connecticutmarker test which students take in tenth grade. The report states that more than 87% of Bristol students scored at or above the proficient level in each of the content areas assessed.

Schools in Bristol
Elementary Schools Middle Schools K-Through-8 Schools High Schools
Bingham School[32393] Chippens Hill Middle School[32394] St. Anthony's School[32395] Bristol Central High School[32396]
Edgewood School[32397] Memorial Boulevard Middle School[32398] St. Matthew's School[32399] Bristol Eastern High School[32400]
Greene-Hills School[32401] Northeast Middle School[32402] St. Joseph's School[32403] St. Paul Catholic High Schoolmarker[32404]
Hubbell School[32405] Immanuel Lutheran School[32406]
Ivy Drive School[32407]
Jennings School[32408]
Mountain View School[32409]
O'Connell School[32410]
South Side School[32411]
Stafford School[32412]

Recently, it has been proposed that the educational system of the city be redesigned. Because some of the schools are in historic buildings, new schools are being sought by the city. In addition, it has been proposed that the entire education system of the city be redesigned, eliminating the middle school category. In other words, all schools would be kindergarten through eighth grade or high school. The Bristol Board of Education's [32413] appeals for support for this project have been met with mixed emotions.

Public safety

Fire Department

The Bristol, Connecticut Fire Department is a full service fire department with 5 engine companies (or stations) and one tower company. The Bristol Board of Fire Commissioners consists of five members appointed by the Mayor who establish the primary policies of the fire department.

Police Department

The Bristol, Connecticut Police Department is a full service police department with approximately 125 sworn officers. In addition to a vehicular patrol division, downtown Bristol is also policed by a bicycle division and walking beat officers. During any shift, there may be as many as 20 officers on duty, not including detectives and officers from other divisions.

Emergency Medical Services

Bristol's emergency medical services program has been provided by Bristol Hospital since 1977. It was designed to assume the responsibility previously carried by the Bristol Police Department. The Bristol Hospital's EMS are carried out using 6 emergency ambulances, 2 paramedic intercept vehicles and 4 wheelchair vans.



In recent years, Bristol has begun a renovation of the downtown area. This has included a complete overhaul of a park in the center of the city. In addition, an outdated and underused mall from the 1970s was recently demolished. Also, North Main Street, one of the busiest sections of downtown, was recently improved by adding islands in the road, elegant street lighting and a brick median when the road was repaved.

Blight Committee

This citywide revitalization, however, has led to certain problems. Primarily, the controversial blight committee has come under fire for actions it has taken. Bristol houses a unique, and controversial, committee which has the power to enforce, and even demolish, properties which it deems are unsightly and unkempt. This committee is tasked with ensuring that properties are not abandoned and that all properties are reasonably maintained.

In a recent update, the Bristol Blight Committee has been disbanded in order to make way for a new committee; the Bristol Code Enforcement Committee. This new committee has further reaching power and can now deal with both appearances as well as structural integrity issues of buildings in Bristol. The purpose of the committee is to streamline the process of enforcing the issues the former Blight Committee was tasked with. By definition the law requires all structures to be free of "abandoned vehicles, nuisances, refuse, pollution and filth ... broken glass, loose shingles, holes, cracked or damaged siding, crumbling brick and other conditions 'reflective of deterioration or inadequate maintenance.'"

The Blight Committee and Code Enforcement Committee continue to be hotly debated topics within Bristol.


In addition to the "Mum Festival", Bristol holds an annual street festival with a car show and a family farms weekend at Minors Farm, Shepherd Meadows and Roberts Orchard, similar to that of Southingtonmarker's apple festival, all of which are held around September.

Bristol has many parks as well: Page, Rockwell, Bracket, Barnes Nature Center, Indian Rock, Forestville memorial and many more (22 in total).[32414] The city is also home to Lake Compouncemarker, the oldest continuously operated amusement park in North America and to the New England Carousel Museum, the American Clock and Watch Museum, the Imagine Nation Children's Museum, Bristol Military Memorial Museum, Bristol Historical Society Museum and the Witch's Dungeon Classic Movie Museum. The Harry Barnes Memorial Nature Center comprises 70 acres of forest and fields, with nature trails and an interpretive center.


Bristol hosts the Little League New England and Mid-Atlantic Regional playoffs every August at The A. Bartlett Giamatti Little League Center.


The name of the local daily newspaper is the Bristol Press, and town news is also featured in a small weekly called the Bristol Observer. It is also home to The Tattoo teen newspaper, one of the first on-line newspapers.

Sister Cities

Notable companies

The companies below are some of the most notable in Bristol, CT. These, in addition to Bristol Hospital, are the largest private employers in the area.

Associated Spring

Founded in 1857, and headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut, U.S.A., Barnes Group Inc. is a diversified international manufacturer of precision metal components and assemblies and a distributor of industrial supplies, serving a wide range of markets and customers. Barnes Group consists of three businesses with 2005 sales of $1.1 billion.[32415]


ESPN houses its broadcast studios in Bristol, CT on Middle Street. ESPN is the largest taxpayer to the City of Bristol.

Otis Elevator company

Though its beginnings were in Yonkers, New Yorkmarker, Otis Elevator possesses the largest elevator test tower in the United States in Bristol. Located near ESPN and Lake Compounce, the -high tower is easily visible from the surrounding roads.

CIGNA Insurance

CIGNA Insurance has a long history, part of which has roots in Bristol. As early as 1865, CIGNA can trace the roots of its corporation to the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. As the company grew, an office was eventually opened in Bristol. Presently, CIGNA, among other insurance companies, provides many jobs for residents of the area.

Notable people, past and present


Image:BristolCityHall.jpg|City HallImage:BristolPoliceCourt.jpg|Police HQ/Courthouse

Image:BristolMainLib.jpg|Main LibraryImage:BristolManrossLib.jpg|Manross LibraryImage:PostcardBristolCTGridleyHouse1908.jpg|Gridley House, about 1908


  1. City of Bristol, CT - Fire Department
  2. City of Bristol, CT - History
  3. City of Bristol, CT - top ten
  5. Bristol, CT - North America's Tallest Elevator Test Tower

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