Since colonial times the Boston Post Road, which runs through Stamford, was the main road between New York and Boston. In its early days, starting in 1673, the road was known as the King’s Highway or the County Road, and it was established as the route for the postal system. This road was used by many people, but it was rocky and hard to travel. President George Washington travelled along the Post Road in 1789 on a tour of New England. He stopped in Stamford for breakfast.
In 1825 Stamford Steamboat Company introduced service to New York from Stamford.
The first train arrived in Stamford in 1848. Starting on January 1, 1849 Stamford was one of the regular stops on the railroad from New York City to New Haven. Metro North still runs trains between these two cities.
In 1867 a train depot was built a short distance from what is now the corner of Atlantic and State Streets. The railroad at that time had two tracks. In the 1890s two more tracks were added and some train crossings were elevated over the streets. The depot was torn down and a new one was built.
In 1894 Electric trolleys become available as public transportation on the streets of Stamford.
By about 1900 the first automobiles could be seen on the streets of Stamford.
By 1927 buses had replaced most of the trolleys that ran through Stamford. The last trolley run took place in 1933.
By the end of the 1920s there was so much traffic on the Boston Post Road that something had to be done. One solution was the building of a highway inland from the Post Road that became the Merritt Parkway. The Boston Post Road still exists, and is now known as Route 1 or just the Post Road. It passes through Stamford on East and West Main Streets and Tresser Boulevard.
In 1934 work began on the Merritt Parkway, named for Stamford’s own Schuyler Merritt. The parkway is open only to passenger cars and it was built by men who needed work during the Great Depression. It was opened in 1938.
To further help with the traffic on the Boston Post Road, a second expressway was planned that would allow trucks and other commercial vehicles as well as cars. This became the Connecticut Turnpike, which is part of Interstate 95 (known as I-95). It opened in 1956. I-95 runs in a mostly north/south direction up the east coast of the U.S from Florida to Maine. The section through Stamford goes east/west.
In 1980 Stamford released plans for a new railroad station. Construction did not begin until 1983, and the Stamford Transportation Center was completed and opened in 1987. There were problems with the station from the beginning and a renovation was completed in 2003 that corrected many of the problems. The renovation added tracks and made it easier for pedestrians to walk to the train station. Amtrak trains and commuter trains run by Metro North Railroad serve Stamford’s train station.