The twenty-five cities and towns that make up Connecticut's Third Congressional District range from the city streets of New Haven to the typically New England town greens in Guilford and other shoreline communities. Settled some 350 years ago by English Puritans as a trading and religious community, New Haven and its surrounding towns have played an important role in our nation's history. Eli Whitney launched the Industrial Revolution here when he introduced interchangeable parts, New Haven served as a way station for the Underground Railroad, Samuel Colt built the first revolver, Thomas Sanford developed the first friction matches in Beacon Falls in 1834 and James Brewster opened the first assembly line at his carriage factory. The Third District's vitality and innovative spirit continues today in its neighborhoods, schools, and businesses.
Yale University, with its gothic spires, red brick halls and modernist skating rink, has always been the visual focus of New Haven; now Yale is New Haven's largest employer and has put $50 million into civic projects over the last decade. Wesleyan University in Middletown, founded in 1831 by John Wesley, is one of the oldest of the numerous originally Methodist institutions of higher education in the United States.
As in the days of Eli Whitney and Samuel Colt, the defense industry plays a leading role in Connecticut. Sikorsky Aircraft, located in Stratford, manufactures helicopters used by all branches of the military. Pratt and Whitney's North Haven plant makes blades and vanes for military and commercial jet engines. Defense manufacturers and related subcontractors employ large numbers of people throughout the district.
In the early 1800's, Anson Phelps developed a brass foundry in Ansonia. He named the town Ansonia and began producing clocks under that name. The company later moved to New York and became one of the largest clock manufacturers in America. Today, the Ansonia Clock Company remains a thriving, family-owned business.
Located at the junction of Routes 8 and 84, Waterbury was known for its brass industry for many years. The Brass Mill Center, a 150 store mall, now stands at the site of the Scovill Manufacturing Company, one of the three large brass mills that made Waterbury the "Brass Capital of the World."
A broad range of developing industries are thriving in the Third District. Science Park, in New Haven, houses over 105 technology-based businesses. For example, the Bic Corporation has settled in Shelton and the East Haven Industrial Park has been successful in drawing manufacturing and high-tech industry to East Haven.
The Third District offers cultural riches from art to theater to music, and rich educational opportunities, including Yale University, which is located in the heart of downtown New Haven. New Haven's diverse neighborhoods play host to numerous festivals throughout the year. In June alone, New Haven hosts the St. Andrew's and St. Maria Maddelena Feasts in Wooster Square; the Irish Festival is celebrated in North Haven; and Orange holds its Greek Festival. In the northern end of the district, Durham is home to the Durham Fair, Connecticut's largest agricultural fair held each September.
New Haven is home to a number of theater companies, including the Yale Repertory Theater and the Long Wharf Theatre. The Shubert Performing Arts Center features dance, opera, and Broadway hits throughout the year. Summertime concerts under the stars take place on town greens throughout the district.
For those who love the outdoors, over 270 species of migratory birds have been identified in Stratford at the Great Meadows area of the Stuart McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. As early as the 1920's the area was regarded by ornithologists as one of the premier birding spots in the region. Faulkner's Island off the coast of Guilford, which is also part of the refuge, is home to the second oldest lighthouse in Connecticut, authorized by Thomas Jefferson in 1801. West Haven has Connecticut's longest stretch of publicly accessible shoreline and Hamden's Sleeping Giant State Park boasts 33 miles of hiking trails, picnicking and fishing on almost 1,500 acres. Shelton maintains an award-winning greenway program. The trail complex at Shelton Lakes received Millennium Trail status from the White House. There are over twenty miles of hiking and walking trails in Shelton.
As the smallest municipality in Connecticut, the City of Derby occupies only 5.3 square miles. Derby is home to Griffin Hospital, recipient of national recognition and acclaim for adopting the Planetree patient-driven care philosophy in 1992. The Planetree model was founded on the belief that if patients have access to information regarding their illness and hospitalization, they can become active participants in their own health care.