During the current COVID-19 emergency, we are offering the link below to the Hamden Fire Retirees' website, which is maintaining links to current updates on the COVID virus coming from official government sources.
The History Room houses over 100 distinct document collections, cataloged and preserved, to meet the research needs and interests of the community. The Library has many texts on state, regional and local history, volumes of agency and government publications, directories of services, and several historical society publications. Regional and town maps from 1854, grave-site directories, family and personal narratives, Bibles, diaries and ledgers from the early families in Hamden complement the document collections and shed additional light on the history of Hamden.
Among the collections:
The Mount Carmel Ecclesiastical Society
The Whitneyville Congregational Church
The Sleeping Giant Park Association Archives
The Hamden Chamber of Commerce
The Webb Family Papers
The Rachel Hartley Files
The Thornton Wilder Papers
The Leather Man Collection
The Rectory School Records
Golden Bells Archives
The Farmington Canal Records
Hamden: Our Architectural Heritage
The Hamden Historical Society Archives
Hamden Historic Districts Collection
Hamden Schools and Board of Education Records
Mount Carmel Free Public Library and Hamden Public Library Archives
From 1790 to 2020, the United States Census has produced some interesting statistics about our town. In this year of the 24th U.S. Census, Paul Saubestre's article illustrates how Hamden's population, neighborhoods, and demographics have changed over the last 230 years. Enjoy!
Hamden's Historian has put together a brief video on the history of "The Door-Tree" and what is being done with the lumber harvested following its destruction last summer. Numerous photos were taken of the tree parts as they were cut in September, then moved to City Bench on Park Road in March, where they were milled for future memorial projects.
One of the most recent projects taken on by Hamden Historical Society Researcher Paul Saubestre is determining the origins of Hamden's street names. In conjunction with the recent Presidents Day holiday, Paul investigated the origins of those streets with the same names as former U.S. presdients.
I recently completed a report on the location of the first occupied house in what would later become the Town of Hamden. I titled it “David Atwater House Site, Hamden Connecticut. East Farms/Cedar Hill.” 2019.
David Atwater Sr. was one of the original settlers in New Haven in April 1638. He was given a house lot in New Haven but chose to later build two miles, as the crow flies, into the wilderness about 1646. He built a brick Dutch gambrel roof style house in an area later called East Farms/Cedar Hill.
English imported ballast bricks may have been used in the construction. There is also the possibility that John Benham, another early settler and brick maker, was making bricks in that area.
David raised his family there and the house remained in the family until April 1905 when it burned down due to a grass fire. The site will be confirmed only when the site becomes available for a future archaeology research dig. The home site is on private property and no permission has been given to examine the location.
When Hamden separated from New Haven in 1786 this site then became part of Hamden. The full report is available for reading at the Hamden Historical Society History Room, Miller Library 3 rd floor, Tuesdays 10am-2pm. Summer hours may apply. Anthony Griego 2020 MSS #49 Box3 A-L, Hamden Inhabitants.
Julie Hulten, a Wallingford school system retiree, has been one of our history room volunteer researchers for several years. Julie recently completed a thoroughly researched outline of Hamden history for a post-graduate course she is taking, and has generously offered to share it with our website visitors. It encapsulates nearly three-hundred years of Hamden history highlights. Enjoy this great read!
Julie also recently posted this contribution about Hamden's Jonathan Dickerman House on Clio, "your guide to the history and culture around you, with 31666 historical entries from all across the country."
September 23 - Historical Society Researcher Paul Saubestre and other History Room volunteers met today with representatives of Connecticut Department of Transportation at Milestone V, on Whitney Aveue opposite Buell Street, in order to make it more visible and to try to determine why it has listed so dramaticallly since a photo of it was taken in the mid-1970s. CLICK HERE!
It was first photographed at the turn of the last century. During the next twelve decades, the Door Tree fascinated and enchanted countless Hamdenites and many others. It was an oddity of nature: two trees, one growing into another, forming a doorway-like arch.
Longtime Hamden Historian Rachel Hartley devoted a page to its photo in The History of Hamden Connecticut - 1796-1936 (1943). It was featured several times in Ripley's "Believe it or Not." It was a Hamden treasure.
Sometime in the very recent past, vandals took a chain saw, brought it down, then cut it up.
Quinnipiac University student Shayla Colon presents wonderful multi-media portrait of how Hamden has evolved, from colonial times to the present day. She has conducted interviews with several longtime Hamden residents who tell their stories of growing up in Hamden. Check it out.