Stamford Through the Centuries - 1800's
Throughout the 1800s Stamford was still mostly a farming community, but as the century progressed the mills and factories became more and more important.
In 1801 New Canaan became a separate town, and was no longer part of Stamford.
In 1806 The Connecticut Turnpike Company wanted to build a toll road from Byram to Fairfield straight through the center of the village of Stamford. Many people were concerned because the planned route would divide the community burial ground. Even though there was disagreement about it, the road was built.
In 1820 The Town of Darien was established on territory that had been part of Stamford. Now, without Darien or New Canaan, Stamford was reduced to 37 square miles of land.
In 1825 the Stamford Steamboat Company introduced service to New York from Stamford.
In 1833 a ship canal was begun on the Rippowam River. The canal was dug along what is now Canal Street in Stamford.
The Advocate, our local newspaper, has been published since 1829. The Advocate is the oldest business operating continuously in Stamford.
In 1835 Stamford was a village, not the city it is today. It had 21 general stores, 12 shoemaker shops, four carpenter shops, three iron-rolling mills, two copper shops, a tinware factory, a water-powered gristmill, a tannery, a newspaper and print shop, a stove shop, a carriage maker, a silversmith, a millinery and hat-making shop, a bakery, a leather shop, three lumberyards, and a coal yard. Before 1840, the population of Stamford was less than 4,000.
In 1848 the first train stopped in Stamford, and in 1849 Stamford became a stop on the railroad line between New York City and New Haven, CT. Because of the railroad, many new people moved to Stamford.
By 1850, Stamford’s population was 5,000. The Irish began settling in Stamford and made up a large part of the population. They were the first immigrant group to come to Stamford. The Potato Famine in Ireland during this time caused many people to flee the country. Potatoes were a major part of the diet in Ireland, and when the potato crop failed many people were hungry. A large number left looking for a better life. The railroad allowed them to come to Stamford to work in the mills and factories.
By 1880 the population of Stamford reached 11,000, and Stamford was rapidly becoming industrialized.
In 1886 a second newspaper started publication in Stamford, called “The Stamford News”. You can no longer buy that newspaper today.
Starting in 1894, electrified trolleys were used for transportation around town. These trolleys ran through Stamford until 1933. All trolley lines met at Atlantic Square, the center of downtown life. For five cents passengers could ride to all areas of Stamford.
During the 1890s, the bicycle and horse-drawn trolleys were other popular and inexpensive transportation alternatives to the horse and carriage.
Many of Stamford’s municipal services began operating in the late 1800s. In 1871 the Stamford Water Company began piping water downtown. Sewers were built in the 1880s, and the first paved roads were built. Also in the 1880s a partly paid fire department replaced volunteer fire fighting groups. In 1882 The Ferguson Library opened its doors, and in 1896, Stamford Hospital was founded. 1893 marked the first year of the organized police department in Stamford.
This was one of Stamford’s first policemen, Charles Luther Alphonse.