In 1640 Captain Nathaniel Turner from New Haven bought the land from the Native Americans. He then sold it to men from Wethersfield. In 1642 these settlers gave it the name “Stamford”. The name comes from a town in Lincolnshire, England. More than 80% of the settlers in New England came from that region in England.
To find out more about Stamford’s beginnings, visit Stamford Through the Centuries.
Originally, Stamford was a town, with a town meeting form of government. In 1893, a city charter was adopted, creating the city of Stamford. The city contained the southern one-fifth of Stamford (south of Bull’s Head, minus Glenbrook and an area in the west). Four-fifths of the people who lived in Stamford at the time lived in the city. For the first time, Stamford had a mayor and a city council. People who lived in the city were still residents of the town, and they paid taxes to both governments. This double government lasted for 56 years, until 1949, when a new charter went into effect. This charter called for a mayor and a 40 member board of representatives to govern the city. Now the basic structure of the Stamford government includes the mayor, a board of representatives and a board of finance.
In 1641 Stamford was settled by 28 Puritan families from Wethersfield, the first town settled in Connecticut. In 2000, 117,000 people lived in Stamford. About one-third of them were born in other countries. Some of the countries Stamford immigrants come from are Haiti, Guatemala, India, Russia, Poland, Jamaica, Colombia, China, Mexico and Peru.
Size and Location
Stamford today covers 37 square miles in the southwestern part of the state of Connecticut, in Fairfield County. It borders Long Island Sound, several Connecticut towns (Darien, New Canaan and Greenwich) and New York State.
It takes less than an hour to get to New York City by car or train from Stamford (The Stamford Transportation Center train station is 33 miles from Grand Central Station in Manhattan). Many people who live in Stamford work in New York City or go there to shop or to visit museums and theatres.
Since the mid-1800s, people have been moving to Stamford to live, while they commute to New York for work.
A resident of Stamford is a Stamfordite. Stamford was once known as “The Lock City” because the Yale & Towne Manufacturing Company, which made locks and keys, was located in Stamford’s South End.
When Yale & Towne moved away in the 1950s, Stamford became “The Research City,” because research laboratories and high-tech companies opened in Stamford.
Today, Stamford can be called “The Corporate City,” because it is home to many important corporations like UBS and Pitney Bowes.
- Stamford, Connecticut is not the only Stamford in the United States. There are also Stamfords in the states of New York, Vermont, Texas and Nebraska. The Nebraska Stamford was named after Stamford, CT.
- Stamford has three official sister cities: Sparta, Greece; Jiangdu, China; and Settefrati, Italy. In 2003 Mayor Dannel Malloy visited Jiangdu for their annual Dragon Festival. Stamford students have visited and taken classes at Jiangdu High School and people from Jiangdu have visited Stamford
- Summer Street used to be paved with cobblestones and lined with Victorian homes. Now it is mainly a commercial street with stores and businesses. Some of the old houses still stand, and many are now used as office buildings.
- The National Crossword Puzzle Championships were started by a Stamford resident. The championships were held in Stamford until 2006, when they moved to New York City.
- Many movies have been filmed in Stamford. For example, parts of a famous movie from the 1960s, The Cardinal, were filmed in Stamford, and Woody Allen’s 1991 movie Scenes From a Mall was filmed in the Stamford Town Center. In 2006 a state law was passed giving tax breaks to companies that filmed movies in Connecticut. In 2008, actress Drew Barrymore and actor Robert de Niro were in Stamford while they filmed a new movie called Everybody’s Fine. Some of the movie was shot in The Grand Penthouse at The Metropolitan on Summer Street.
- Stamford policemen could be seen riding around the city on bicycles at two times in history. In 1892, Arnold Kurth became Stamford’s first bicycle policeman. In 2000, the Stamford Police Department started a Police Bicycle Squad.
- The Presbyterian Church in 1890 was located where Burlington Coat Factory now stands. The house on the right is the site of The Ferguson Library.
- The First Presbyterian Church moved to Bedford Street and is known as the “Fish Church” by Stamford residents. The church was designed in 1958 in the shape of a fish, which is an important Christian symbol.
Historical and current photo of the policemen with their bicycles.
The First Presbyterian Church