New Britain, Connecticut

New Britain, Connecticut
Looking north from Walnut Hill Mansion

Nickname(s): New Britski, Hard-Hittin’ New Britain, Hardware City
Motto(s): "Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey."

Location within Hartford County and Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°40′30″N 72°47′14″W / 41.67500°N 72.78722°W / 41.67500; -72.78722Coordinates: 41°40′30″N 72°47′14″W / 41.67500°N 72.78722°W / 41.67500; -72.78722
Country  United States
U.S. state  Connecticut
County Hartford
NECTA Hartford
Region Capitol Region
Incorporated (town) 1850
Incorporated (city) 1871
Consolidated 1905
  Type Mayor-council
  Mayor Erin E. Stewart (R)
  Total 13.4 sq mi (34.7 km2)
  Land 13.3 sq mi (34.4 km2)
  Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 167 ft (51 m)
Population (2010)[1]
  Total 73,206
  Estimate (2016)[2] 72,558
  Density 5,360/sq mi (2,069/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC−5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
ZIP code 06050, 06051, 06052, 06053
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-50370
GNIS feature ID 0209217

New Britain is a city in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. It is located approximately 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Hartford. According to 2010 Census, the population of the city is 73,206.[1]

Among the southernmost of the communities encompassed within the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor metropolitan region, New Britain is home to Central Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College.

The city's official nickname is the "Hardware City" because of its history as a manufacturing center and as the headquarters of Stanley Black & Decker. Because of its large Polish population, the city is often playfully referred to as "New Britski."[3]


New Britain was settled in 1687 and then was incorporated as a new parish under the name New Britain Society in 1754. The name is a transfer from Great Britain.[4] Chartered in 1850 as a township and in 1871 as a city, New Britain had separated from the nearby town of Farmington, Connecticut. A consolidation charter was adopted in 1905.

During the early part of the 20th century, New Britain was known as the "Hardware Capital of the World", as well as "Hardware City". Major manufacturers, such as The Stanley Works, the P&F Corbin Company (later Corbin Locks), and North & Judd, were headquartered in the city.

In 1843 Frederick Trent Stanley established Stanley's Bolt Manufactory in New Britain to make door bolts and other wrought-iron hardware. In 1857 his cousin Henry Stanley founded The Stanley Rule and Level Company in the city. Planes invented by Leonard Bailey and manufactured by the Stanley Rule and Level Company, known as "Stanley/Bailey" planes, were prized by woodworkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and remain popular among wood craftsmen today. The two companies merged in 1920, and the Stanley Rule and Level Company became the Hand Tools Division of Stanley Works.

The wire coat hanger was invented in 1869 by O. A. North of New Britain. In 1895, the basketball technique of dribbling was developed at the New Britain YMCA. In 1938, New Britain High School competed in the high school football national championship game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 1954 saw the development of racquetball, also at the YMCA.[5]

City motto

New Britain's motto, Industria implet alveare et melle fruitur – translated from Latin – means "Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey." This phrase was coined by Elihu Burritt, a 19th-century New Britain resident, diplomat, philanthropist and social activist.

In 2007 it was reported that the Latin word for "honey" in the motto had been a typo for decades; it should be melle, but it had long been misspelled as mele. Former mayor William McNamara, who unsuccessfully tried to fix it during his term, suggested "to either fix the spelling immediately" or "switch to the English version of the motto."[6][7] As controversy arose from the matter, the word was superseded with the correct spelling, melle.

Geography and topography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (34.7 km²), of which, 13.3 square miles (34.6 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.52%) is water.

New Britain's terrain is mostly made up of soft, rolling hills and young Connecticut forest. The many parks are populated with trees, and in small, undeveloped areas, there is also brushy woods. New Britain's streets also have many trees lining the sides of the roads. Many front yards in the northern half of the city have at least one tree. One or two streams flow through New Britain, undisturbed by the development.


Largest ancestries (2000)[8]Percent
Historical population
Est. 201672,558[2]−0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]

As of the census[10] of 2010, there were 73,153 people. The racial makeup of the city was 47.7% Non-Hispanic White, 36.8% Hispanic or Latino(of any race), 10.9% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander and 1.9% from two or more races.

There were 29,888 households out of which 28.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.6% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.18.

In the city, the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 12.5% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

In 2010 The median income for a household in the city was $35,357, and the median income for a family was $42,056. Males had a median income of $36,848 versus $28,873 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,404. 24.5% of population below poverty line (Poverty Rate is 19.2% for White Non-Hispanic residents, 36.8% for Hispanic or Latino residents)

Ancestries 2010: Puerto Rican (29.9%) Polish (17.1%), Italian (9.6%), Irish (8.0%), German (4.1%), English (3.9%), French (3.8%), Haitian (3.2%).

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of November, 2017[11]
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percent Change Since 2015[12] Percentage
Democratic 15,833 1,208 17,041 -5% 49%
Unaffiliated 12,146 1,285 13,431 + <1% 39%
Republican 3,323 229 3,552 +5% 11%
Total 31,807 2,762 34,569 - <1% 100%

Polish community

New Britain has the largest Polish population of any city in Connecticut, and by 1930 a quarter of the city was ethnically Polish.[13] Also referred to as "Little Poland", the city's Broad Street neighborhood has been home to a considerable number of Polish businesses and families since 1890. On September 23, 2008, through the urging of the Polonia Business Association, the New Britain City Council unanimously passed a resolution officially designating New Britain's Broad Street area as "Little Poland."[14] In recent years, the Polish community has been credited with revitalizing the area both culturally and economically. Media is served by three Polish language newspapers and a television station, and many businesses and civil agencies are bilingual. The post office branch in Little Poland is the only one in the nation with the word "post" written in Polish to welcome visitors. Each year, a Little Poland festival is held on the last Sunday of April.

Notable visitors to the Polish district have included Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan on July 8, 1987.[15] In 1969, as then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II gave a mass at Sacred Heart Church.[16] A statue was erected in his honor in 2007.[17] Dubbed the city's "Polish heart" by The Boston Globe, Little Poland caught the attention of Polish Ambassador to the US Ryszard Schnepf, who toured the area with US Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, US Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, as well as several members of the Polish Sejm.


The Polish influence could be in part responsible for some vowel qualities of the distinctive New Britain accent,[18] such as nasalization of reduced vowels before /n/. A more characteristic feature of the central Connecticut dialect is distinguished by systematic substitution of the glottal stop in place of [t] for an unreleased /t/ word-finally and before syllabic consonants (e.g. "eight" is pronounced [ɛɪʔ] instead of [eɪt]), leading to the shibboleth pronunciation of New Britain for many locals being [nuˈbɹɪʔɨː̃n], instead of [nuˈbɹɪtn̩].[19]


New Britain is home to the global headquarters of the Fortune 500 manufacturing conglomerate Stanley Black & Decker. Other notable companies headquartered in New Britain include Creed Monarch, Guida's Dairy and Polamer Precision.

Top employers

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[20] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 The Hospital of Central Connecticut 3,600
2 State of Connecticut 2,811
3 City of New Britain 2,226
4 Hospital for Special Care 1,396
5 Stanley Black & Decker 780
6 Tilcon Connecticut 735
7 Grove Hill Medical Center 430
8 DATTCO 409
9 Celebration Foods 400
10 Moore Medical 350

Sites of interest

  • Central Connecticut State University
  • New Britain Little League.
  • New Britain Museum of American Art, the oldest art museum in the United States devoted to American art. It contains a famous and comprehensive art collection from the 18th century to the present.
  • Sudbury School – an independent alternative school.
  • New Britain Industrial Museum, a museum of New Britain's industrial past and present
  • The Hospital of Central Connecticut, the city's largest employer.
  • Walnut Hill Park – Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City.
  • Walnut Hill Rose Garden, the recently restored landmark with over 800 roses.
  • Connecticut Theatre Company, located in the historic Repertory Theatre of New Britain.
  • Hole in the Wall Theater.
  • New Britain Youth Museum, contains children's artifacts and exhibits on regional culture.
  • Stag Arms, a firearms manufacturer.
  • The Polish district or "Little Poland": Located primarily in the vicinity of Broad Street, visitors can find unique amber jewelry, handcrafted items, blown glass, Christmas ornaments, carved chess sets, as well as eat Polish food.
  • Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra

Cultural institutions

New Britain is the home of the New Britain Symphony Orchestra, which was formed in 1948 by several faculty members at the former Teacher’s College of Connecticut, now Central Connecticut State University. The orchestra performed its first concert under the direction of Dr. Etzel Willhoit, Chairman of the Music Department. The orchestra was official organized as the New Britain Symphony Society, Inc. in 1952 by Helen Kilduff, who was at the time the supervisor of music in New Britain’s public schools.[21] Maestro Ertan Seyyar Sener is the current conductor and musical director of the New Britain Symphony Orchestra, a role he assumed during the 2014–2015 concert season.

New Britain is also the home of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra. Established in 1997, The Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra is Connecticut’s premier professional chamber orchestra dedicated to presenting both traditional and contemporary classical chamber works to the public. The Orchestra, led by founder and Artistic Director Adrian Sylveen continues to grow in size and repertoire, presenting approximately twenty five regular and educational performances each year in New Britain, New London, Middletown, New York, and, since fall of 2009, in Waterbury. Over the last decade the orchestra also performed in Hartford, Mystic, Meriden, CT, New York, and Pennsylvania. The organization consists of approximately 27 professional Musicians. The mission of Virtuosi is to preserve and perpetuate the great traditions of orchestral music through the expansion of its public performance season, its education series, and, by showcasing the excellence of regional and international talent. In the choice of repertoire special attention is given to music from Eastern Europe. The Orchestra collaborates on many projects with the New Britain Chorale, CCSU, Middletown Concert Association, Chopin Foundation in NY, and others. The Virtuosi performs approximately 35 times a year in many major performing arts centers throughout the state, and in NY.We co-produce fully staged opera productions with the Connecticut Lyric Opera. Virtuosi also collaborates on a community music school project with the Tunxis College in Farmington.

New Britain is also home to the historic Repertory Theatre. The theatre was originally the Norden Street Lodge. In 1955, a theater group known as the Repertory Theatre of New Britain acquired the Norden Street Lodge. The lodge became known as The Repertory Theatre, as it is to this day. Members of the Repertory Theatre of New Britain sold bonds to theatre members and friends in order to acquire the property. Each year, bondholders received interest on their investment, sometimes reaching as much as 65 cents! Since 1955, at least four theatrical productions have been produced each year in the space. Since 1999, the theatre has also been home to numerous cultural events, children’s theatre and playwriting competitions. There have been notable names to grace the stage, such as Meryl Streep, who was active in children’s theatre at the Repertory Theatre during her time as a student at Yale University.


  • New Britain Bees, minor league professional baseball team playing in New Britain Stadium.
  • New Britain Fagan Cal Ripken Baseball League, a youth baseball program that serves children from the City of New Britain between the ages of 4 & 12.
  • New Britain Little League (NBLL, previously known as Walicki – A.W. Stanley Little League), a youth baseball and softball organization that serves the children of New Britain who are between the ages of 4 and 16.
  • Connecticut United Football Club, a professional soccer team affiliated with the American Soccer League[22]


Colleges and universities

The city is home to Central Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College, a public liberal arts college.

Primary and secondary schools

New Britain Public Schools operates public schools. The local high school is New Britain High School. New Britain is also home to the Mountain Laurel Sudbury School.


Connecticut Route 9 is the city's main expressway connecting traffic between Hartford (via I-84 and I-91) and Old Saybrook and Middletown. I-84 itself clips the northwestern corner of the city. Public transportation is provided by Connecticut Transit.

Downtown New Britain serves as the southern terminus of CTfastrak, a bus rapid transit line. Operated by Connecticut Transit, the project officially broke ground in May 2012, and became operational in March 2015.[23][24] The route's northern terminus is Union Station in Hartford. There are also CTfastrak stations on East Main Street and East Street, the latter near Central Connecticut State University. New Britain is served by Connecticut Transit New Britain.

New Britain has a nearby Amtrak station in adjacent Berlin. The Vermonter (once daily) and Shuttle (multiple daily arrivals/departures) provide service to destinations throughout the northeastern United States. There are also plans underway for a Springfield–Hartford–New Haven commuter rail, which would have Berlin as one of its stations.

Notable people

Herbert D. Welte (1898-1986), President for 39 years (1927-1968) of State Normal School, later Teacher’s College of Connecticut, now CCSU.

Sister cities

New Britain has five sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:


  1. 1 2 "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Connecticut" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 21, 2006. Retrieved November 17, 2006.
  2. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. "A city's Polish heart". The Boston Globe.
  4. The Connecticut Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly. Connecticut Magazine Company. 1903. p. 333.
  5. "Mission". Website. New Britain-Berlin YMCA. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  6. Polanco, Monica (May 28, 2007). "Lone, Latin Cause: 'L' Is On His Mind". The Hartford Courant.
  7. "Fix New Britain's Motto". The Hartford Courant. May 31, 2007.
  8. "American Factfinder, Community Facts, New Britain city, Connecticut, Origins and Language, Census 2000". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  9. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  12. "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2013" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 23, 2006. Retrieved October 2, 2006.
  13. "".
  14. Harris, Patricia; Lyon, David (March 13, 2011). "A city's Polish heart: Renewed business district tightens a community's ties". The Boston Globe. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  15. "Ronald Reagan: Remarks to Citizens in New Britain, Connecticut".
  17. Vallee, Jason (April 2, 2007). "Nearly 1,000 see Sacred Heart Church unveil figure of Pope John Paul II". New Britain Herald. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  18. Santaniello, Gary (September 5, 2004). "Accent? What Accent?". The New York Times.
  19. Gary Santaniello, "Accent? What Accent?", The New York Times, September 5, 2004.
  20. City of New Britain CAFR Archived July 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. "History - New Britain Symphony Orchestra".
  22. "American Soccer League".
  23. "What Is CTfastrak". State of Connecticut. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  24. Krafcik, Mike (July 17, 2014). "CTFastrak Set To Open In March; Economic Growth Expected Along Busway". WTIC Fox CT. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  25. "The 100 Stingiest Defenses In Football History". Archived from the original on November 14, 2015.
  26. "Greatest moments: Raiders Capture First Super Bowl with 32-14 Drubbing of the Minnesota Vikings". Official website of the Oakland Raiders. The Oakland Raiders. Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved January 31, 2007.
  27. "Tebucky Jones". NBC Sports Network.
  28. Mcintire, Andrew E. Kramer, Mike; Meier, Barry (August 14, 2016). "Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump's Campaign Chief" via
  29. "Charles Patterson". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  30. Friedell, Nick. Tom Thibodeau out in Chicago as Bulls seek 'change in approach'. May 29, 2015. Accessed August 26, 2017

Further reading

  • History of New Britain by Camp, New Britain, 1889
  • Legendary Locals of New Britain by Amy Melissa Kirby, 2014
  • A Walk Around Walnut Hill, 1975, by Kenneth Larson
  • New Britain, by Alfred Andrews, 1867
  • A History of New Britain, by Herbert E. Fowler, 1960
  • The Story of New Britain, by Lillian Hart Tryon, 1925
  • Images of America, New Britain, by Arlene Palmer, 1995
  • New Britain, The City of Invention, by Patrick Thibodeau
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