Did you know that the movie "The Greatest Showman" was based on the life of P.T. Barnum, who was a beloved son of Bridgeport, Connecticut? Please read on for more surprising facts about my hometown, Bridgeport.
Before the settlement of the English, Bridgeport, then Pequonnock, was occupied by Indian village. The community changed its Stratfield in 1701 before it became Bridgeport in 1800 in honor of the drawbridge built over Pequonnock River.
Bridgeport is located in Fairfield county at the mouth of the Pequinnock river on Long Island Sound. This unique geography helped the city grow from fishing and agriculture into an industrial center after the opening of the railroad in 1840. Bridgeport was also the center of America's corset production until its merge with Union Metallic Cartridge Co. in 1912. From a small village, it has grown to be the largest city in Connecticut with big businesses, establishments, universities, and hospitals, bank, to mention a few. It is the most populated area with over 145,639 residents as of 2019 statistics.
Bridgeport is also known as "The Park City" because of its 1,300 acres of public park space aside from the popular Pleasure Beach and Seaside Parks. It is like each of us, residents, has a space in the park for relaxation and family gatherings. It is where the only zoo in the state of Connecticut, the Beardlsey Zoo, can be found.
FAMOUS RESIDENTS AND EVENTS
One of Bridgeport's beloved sons was Pheneas Taylor Barnum, a showman, who started his strings of businesses in Bethel, his birthplace. His greatest performer was a 25- inch tall man named Charles S. Stratton, a.k.a General Tom Thumb. He became richer than Barnum and lent him money when the latter' s businesses gone bad. PT Barnum became the mayor of Bridgeport in 1875.
James Henry O'Rourke, a baseball player who scored the first ever hit in the National League in 1876, was born in the "Park City"
Bridgeport was one of the venues where former US president Abraham Lincoln delivered one of his impassioned speech about slavery during his campaign. His message touched the heart of the residents and even followed him, literally, on his way back to the train station.
The famous sandwich restaurant chain, SUBWAY, first operated in Bridgeport, Connecticut as "Pete's Super Submarines" in honor of Fred Deluca's (owner) friend, Peter Buck who lent him 1,000 dollars to start the business.
It is in Bridgeport where the first helicopters were manufactured. First in the world!
Because of the persistence of its residents, Bridgeport was the first in the northeast to successfully establish an 8-hour day work which is now being practiced all over the country and in most part of the world.
There are more than 54 registered historic places in Bridgeport. I cannot believe that I was raised and grew up in this part of the country where historical events and places are the primary attractions. And it is with great pride that I shared with you my beloved Bridgeport.