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Derby is a city in New Haven Countymarker, Connecticutmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 12,391 at the 2000 census. With of land area, Derby is Connecticut's smallest municipality.

The town has a Metro-North railroad station called Derby-Sheltonmarker.


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

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.

Home of the Derby Red Raiders, state champions in football many times. Derby High has always been a school heavy on sports, but due to its small size has not been very successful in recent years. Unlike Derby football, Derby cheerleading for both the high school and Pop Warner, have been very successful over the years.

The Green received a complete makeover in the spring of 1999.

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

  • The Kraus Corset Factory, now the Sterling Rowe Apartment House on the corner of Roosevelt Drive and Third Street.
  • Osborne Homestead, originally a farm house built in the early Nineteenth century, nothing is known of the first occupants. In 1867, Wilbur Osborne and Ellen Lucy Davis, married and moved there. The couple ran a dairy farm there, and Mr. Osborne owned and ran several industries in Derby, Ansonia and Bridgeport. Their sole surviving daughter, Frances, took over after her father's death and became a prominent businesswoman – president of the Union Fabric Co., vice president of Connecticut Clasp, treasurer of the F. Kelly Company, and a founding partner of Steels and Busks, Ltd. Of Leicester, England. She married Waldo Stewart Kellogg in 1919, and he took charge of the dairy, using selective breeding to make the herd "famous throughout New England for quality milk production."
  • Howe House, built in 1845, the former residence of Dr. John I. Howe, who spent much of his early career as a resident physician in the New York City Almshouse. There he saw how English inmates made pins. He had an idea for making them by machine, and in 1829 stopped practicing medicine after he and Lemuel Wellman Wright had invented the first practical, all-automatic pin-making machine. Previously, "it took 18 different operations to form one pin, and a package of handmade pins cost $1.00!" The Howe Manufacturing Company was founded in New York City in 1835, but moved the company to Birmingham to take advantage of water power there. By 1842 Howe had "perfected the solid-headed pin."
  • 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. Entertainers and others who have appeared at the Sterling Opera House include Amelia Earhart, John L. Sullivan, Harry Houdini, George Burns, Lionel Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore, comedian Red Skelton, and composer John Philip Sousa.
"D.W. Griffith (producer of silent films) was so pleased with the reception his Birth of a Nation received in Derby that he used the theater to try out several of his subsequent films before their general release," according to the Electronic Valley Web site.
The Sterling Opera House was the first structure in Connecticut to be listed on the National Register.
  • 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.
  • Birmingham Green Historic District was designated on April 21, 2000, as Derby's sixth site on the National Register of Historic Places.

Notable residents, past and present


At the intersection of Seymour and Atwater Avenues, the city has resurrected an "historic trough" – a century-old granite structure with lion-head spigots—as an entrance marker to the Derby Greenway. Also Saint Michaels Church and the Derby Hook and Ladder Firehouse. The 5-ton trough was at the site a hundred years ago.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.4 square miles (8.7 km2), of which, of it is land and of it (7.41%) is water. The city is home to the Osbornedale State Park.


As of the census 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
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%

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."


Derby High School, about 1909
  1. Derby, Connecticut - LoveToKnow 1911
  2. [1] "Osborne Homestead Museum" Web page on the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed on July 22, 2006.
  3. [2] "Howe House" Web page at the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed July 22, 2006
  4. [3] "Sterling Opera House" Web page at the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed July 22, 2006
  5. [4] "What Do These Celebrities Have in Common" Web page as part of the Sterling Opera House Web pages at the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed July 22, 2006
  6. [5] "They All Appeared at the Sterling Opera House" Web page at the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed July 22, 2006
  7. [6] "Derby Public Library" Web page on the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed on July 22, 2006.
  8. [7] "Derby History Quiz" page at the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed on July 22, 2006.
  9. [8] News story (writer and headline not known) in Connecticut Post June 23, 2006 as quoted at "Derby, CT Politics" blog in an item, "A New Home for an Old Fountain," dated the same day, accessed July 22, 2006
  10. [9] "Howe House" Web page of the Electronic Valley Web site, accessed on July 22, 2006

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