Shelton, Connecticut

Shelton, Connecticut

Motto: "Vision To See, Faith To Believe, Courage To Do"[1]

Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
Coordinates: 41°18′15″N 73°08′17″W / 41.30417°N 73.13806°W / 41.30417; -73.13806Coordinates: 41°18′15″N 73°08′17″W / 41.30417°N 73.13806°W / 41.30417; -73.13806
Country United States
State Connecticut
County Fairfield
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region Housatonic Valley/Lower Naugatuck Valley
Incorporated (town) 1789
Incorporated (city) 1915
  Type Mayor-board of aldermen
  Mayor Mark A. Lauretti (R)
  Total 31.9 sq mi (82.6 km2)
  Land 30.6 sq mi (79.2 km2)
  Water 1.4 sq mi (3.5 km2)
Elevation 62 ft (19 m)
Population (2010)
  Total 39,559
  Density 1,200/sq mi (480/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06484
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-68100
GNIS feature ID 0210800

Shelton is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 39,559 at the 2010 census.



Shelton was settled by the English as part of the town of Stratford, Connecticut, in 1639. On May 15, 1656, the Court of the Colony of Connecticut in Hartford affirmed that the town of Stratford included all of the territory 12 miles (19 km) inland from Long Island Sound, between the Housatonic River and the Fairfield town line. In 1662, Stratford selectmen Lt. Joseph Judson, Captain Joseph Hawley and John Minor had secured all the written deeds of transfer from the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation for this vast territory that comprises the present-day towns of Trumbull, Shelton and Monroe. Shelton was split off from Stratford in 1789, as Huntington (named for Samuel Huntington).[2][3] The current name originated in a manufacturing village started in the 1860s named for the Shelton Company founded by Edward N. Shelton — also founder of Ousatonic Water Power Company.[4][5][6][7] The rapidly growing borough of Shelton incorporated as a city in 1915 and was consolidated with the town of Huntington in 1919 establishing the present city of Shelton.[8][9]

Decline of Shelton's industry

Shelton was the site of one of the largest arson fires in the United States history. It happened in 1975 when the Sponge Rubber Products plant (formerly owned by B.F. Goodrich) was set on fire. Charles Moeller, president of parent company Grand Sheet Metal Products, was acquitted on arson charges, but in a civil lawsuit, a jury in 1988 ruled the insurer did not have to pay claims on the fire because a preponderance of evidence showed the company's top officials arranged the fire to claim insurance money. Eight others were convicted or pleaded guilty.[10]

The explosion that destroyed the Sponge Rubber Plant on Canal Street in 1975 marked the start of the decline of Shelton's industries. During the remainder of the 1970s and 1980s several firms that operated factories along the banks of the Housatonic River either went out of business or relocated to areas where labor and operating costs were cheaper.[11] In 1995, Sikorsky Aircraft closed a plant off Bridgeport Avenue that manufactured electrical components for helicopters.

Rise of Shelton's office space

With the completion of Route 8, new office spaces and businesses were attracted to the town, due to its Fairfield County location coupled with low costs of doing business as opposed to places such as Stamford or Greenwich. Major firms such as Tetley Tea, TIE Communication, I.T.T., Black and Decker, Sikorsky Aircraft, Gama Aviation, Chesebrough-Pond's, Tetra-Pak, General Electric, and Bunker Ramo.[11] Over 2,000,000 square feet (190,000 m2) of corporate office space spread across 12 buildings was constructed by the R.D. Scinto corporation alone.[12]

Downtown revitalization

Plumb Library, about 1905

Efforts are underway to restore nineteenth-century industrial buildings in the downtown area; those that were beyond repair were demolished in the late 1990s and early 2000s and replaced with the Veteran's Memorial and a farmer's market. The 10-acre (40,000 m2) Riverwalk Park next to the Veterans Memorial was created on the site of the former Sponge Rubber Plant. Other buildings along Howe Avenue, one of the city's main thoroughfares, have been restored, while developers have renovated two 19th-century factory buildings on Bridge Street, converting them into luxury condominiums. Several downtown streets have been reconstructed as part of a streetscape improvement project: sidewalks were reconstructed with brick and cobblestone, trees were planted, and some power lines were rerouted underground to improve the appearance of Shelton's central business district.[13] In March 2008, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell announced that after negotiations with State Senator Dan Debicella and State Representative Jason Perillo, state bond funds in the amount of $2 million would be directed toward additional infrastructure improvements leading to over $100 million in private investment in the city's downtown.[14]

Other events

In November 2007, a tree growing on Soundview Avenue in Shelton was selected and felled to be the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.[15]

On May 30, 2008, producers and staff for the upcoming movie All Good Things shot one scene on Canal St. in downtown Shelton. The scene was underneath the train trestle and involved one of the characters dragging a body and dumping it into the Housatonic River.

On July 31, 2009, a line of heavy thunderstorms with weak rotation spawned an EF1 tornado, which touched down with wind speeds between 95 and 105 miles per hour. According to WTNH, the most concentrated damage was along the Oronoque Trail, where many trees were blown down. There were no injuries or fatalities.[16]

In November 2013, a tree located on Kazo Drive was picked to be the second Rockefeller Center Christmas tree from Shelton. [17]


Town historical marker along Route 110

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.9 square miles (83 km2), of which 30.6 square miles (79 km2) is land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2), or 4.26%, is water.



Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201541,296[18]4.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 38,101 people, 14,190 households, and 10,543 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,246.4 people per square mile (481.2/km²). There were 14,707 housing units at an average density of 481.1 per square mile (185.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.44% White, 1.12% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 2.08% Asian, 0.89% from other races, and 1.31% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.48% of the population.

There were 14,190 households out of which 32.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.9% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.7% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 30.0% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $67,292, and the median income for a family was $75,523 (these figures had risen to $80,694 and $94,485 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[21]). Males had a median income of $50,210 versus $36,815 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,893. About 2.5% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.


population of
1790 2,742
1800 2,792
1810 2,770
1820 2,805
1830 1,371
1840 1,326
1850 1,301
1860 1,477
1870 1,527
1880 2,499
1890 4,006
1900 5,572
1910 6,545
1920 9,475
1930 10,113
1940 10,971
1950 12,694
1960 18,190
1970 27,165
1980 31,314
1990 35,418
2000 38,101
2010 39,559

Mark Lauretti (R) has served as mayor since taking office in 1991.

The Republican Party has controlled the city government since the 1980s. Before the 2007 Elections, the Board of Aldermen consisted of 5 Republican members, 2 Citizens' United members and one Democratic member.[23] Mayor Lauretti was re-elected for a twelfth term on November 5, 2013. The current Board of Aldermen consists of 7 Republicans and one Democrat.[24]

Voters tend to lean Republican, although there are voters supporting a wide range of parties throughout the city. Both representatives from the 2nd Ward (Eric McPherson and Stanley Kudej), 3rd Ward (John Anglace and Lynn Farrell) and 4th Ward (John Papa and Noreen McGorty) are Republicans. The 1st Ward is represented by Jack Finn, the lone Democrat on the Board, and Republican Anthony Simonetti. In recent elections, the 2nd and 4th Wards have remained consistently Republican, while representation from the 1st and 3rd Wards has swung between Republicans, Democrats, and the Citizens' United Party, which often has aligned with Democrats on major issues.. Many voters are also Unenrolled in a party.

Political representation at the state level has been Republican since the 1960s. Republican State Senator Kevin Kelly is the newest legislator representing Shelton in Hartford, having been elected in 2010. There are two House districts that cover Shelton. In 2007, Republican State Representative Jason Perillo of the 113th District took office. He won in a special election following the death of Richard O. Belden, who had represented the town for 32 years. Republican State Representative Larry Miller of the 122nd District has represented the city since 1991. At the federal level, Shelton is represented by Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy. Representation of Shelton in the House of Representatives is split between the 3rd and 4th Congressional districts, which are represented by Democratic Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Jim Himes, respectively. The boundary between the two congressional districts lies roughly along Route 8; the portion of the city to the north and west of Route 8 are represented by Congressman Himes, while Representative DeLauro represents sections of Shelton to the south and east.

Shelton has favored Republicans in recent state and presidential elections. Shelton voters favored Mitt Romney (54%) over Barack Obama (44%) during the 2012 presidential elections. Remaining Shelton voters in the 2012 president election voted for candidates from the Justice, Libertarian and Green parties, respectively.[25] Shelton voters favored John McCain (51%) over Barack Obama (47%) during the 2008 presidential elections.[26] City voters also favored George W. Bush (56%) over John Kerry (41%) in 2004,[27] and George W. Bush (48%) over Al Gore (46%) in 2000.[28] Shelton voters also favored Republican Thomas Foley (61%) over Democrat and current Governor Dannel Malloy (38%) during the 2011 gubernatorial election.[29]

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 25, 2005[30]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Republican 6,195 134 6,329 25.54%
Democratic 4,553 106 4,659 18.81%
Unaffiliated 13,438 322 13,760 55.53%
Minor parties 28 1 29 0.12%
Total 24,214 563 24,777 100%


Shelton is currently one of the few municipalities in Connecticut with its own Sheriff's Department, the Shelton Sheriff's Department, whose main task is the due process within the city lines and to execute judicial warrants within the city, much like the Fairfield County Sheriff's Department did before its abolishment in December 2000.

Landscape, geology, and natural environment

The City of Shelton's goal is to preserve at least 15% of the land as permanently protected, locally controlled open space in the following three forms: City of Shelton Public Open Space properties, Privately owned farmland protected by the purchase of development rights, and properties held by the non-profit Shelton Land Conservation Trust. As of 2009, these forms of open space amount to 13% of the City and more than 2,700 acres (11 km2). The City of Shelton owns close to 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of Public Open Space, Protected Farmland is 411 acres (1.66 km2), and the Shelton Land Trust organization has preserved 364 acres (1.47 km2).

There are over 15 miles (24 km) of hiking trails in Shelton,[31] including a portion of the Paugussett "Blue Blazed" trail, part of a 800-mile (1,300 km) network of hiking trails throughout the state. There is opportunity for fishing, boating, geocaching and letterboxing, hiking, walking and biking. Dogs are welcomed when on leash. There is no hunting on city-owned open space, by ordinance.

The City of Shelton's conservation efforts are served by a city agency in form of the Conservation Commission. The current Chairman is Thomas Harbinson. Further information is maintained at the Commission's official City of Shelton webpages:


Shelton Public Schools include Shelton High School for grades 9 through 12, Shelton Intermediate School for grades 7 and 8. Perry Hill School for grades 5 and 6, and five primary schools for kindergarten through fourth grade.[32]

Fire Department

The City of Shelton is protected by the 267-member all-volunteer Shelton Fire Department (SFD). The SFD consists of four companies operating out of four stations located throughout the city. Each company is headed by an Assistant Chief, who is the company's liaison to the Deputy Chief and Chief's Office. Each fire company is commanded by a Captain and 2 Lieutenants. Fran Jones III is currently the Chief of Department. There is also a board of fire commissioners with a representative from each company. Fire Headquarters is located at Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Co. 1 on Coram Ave.[33]

Fire station locations and apparatus

Fire Company Engine Ladder Squad/Rescue Special Unit Command Unit Address Neighborhood
Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Co. 1 Engine 2 Tower 7 Squad 1 Truck 9, Marine 1 Car 1(Chief of Department), Car 2(Deputy Chief), Car 6(Assistant Chief), Car 101(Captain) 379 Coram Ave. Downtown
Huntington Fire Co. 3 Engine 32, Engine 35 Rescue 30 Car 3(Assistant Chief), Car 301(Captain) 44 Church St. Huntington
Pine Rock Park Fire Co. 4 Engine 42, Engine 44 Ladder 47 Rescue 45 Brush 43, Truck 40, Marine 4, Zodiac 4 Car 4(Assistant Chief), Car 401(Captain) 722 Long Hill Ave. Pine Rock Park
White Hills Fire Co. 5 Engine 52, Engine 53 Ladder 51 Tanker 59, Truck 54, Truck 55, Gator 5 Car 5(Assistant Chief), Car 501(Captain) 2 School St. White Hills


There are two private golf courses in town. Highland Golf Club of Shelton is located in the downtown Shelton area where it was founded in 1900, only 6 years after the USGA was organized. It is a 9-hole course (with 10 greens to allow alternating #2 and #11 where the tee shot goes over Perry Hill Road) in which an unknown original designer created difficult greens. The clubhouse's 1920s era structure still remains as the core to the current structure. Brownson Country Club is an 18-hole venue located in the Huntington section of Shelton. There is an annual competition between the clubs for the "Mayor's Trophy", alternating the venue each year. The 2009 Champion and holder of the Trophy is Highland.

Prominent companies

Notable people

Birthplace of Isaac Hull

On the National Register of Historic Places

Indian Well State Park boat launch at Sunset


The Valley Independent Sentinel, an online-only, non-profit news site, launched in June 2009, thanks to the efforts of The Valley Community Foundation and The Knight Foundation.

Shelton also has a weekly newspaper, The Herald. The Connecticut Post and The New Haven Register also cover the city. Both are daily papers.


  1. "City of Shelton Connecticut". City of Shelton Connecticut. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  2. "Huntington Green Shelton".
  3. "Welcome to the City of Shelton, Connecticut, Official WebSite".
  4. Samuel Orcutt. A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut. pp. 1002–1004.
  5. "Derby History Quiz – Edward Shelton". Town of Derby.
  6. "Ousatonic Dam & Canals".
  7. "CT0426: Ousatonic Water Power Company, Dam & Canals, CT Routes 34 & 108, 1-mile (1.6 km) North of Derby-Shelton Bridge, Derby, New Haven County, CT". The Library of Congress. Retrieved February 7, 2008.
  8. "Shelton's History in a Nutshell". Shelton Historical Society.
  9. "Shelton Historical Society's FAQs". Shelton Historical Society.
  10. Greenwald, Judy. "Jury rules no cover for bombed building." Business Insurance, April 4, 1988.
  11. 1 2 "IF YOU'RE THINKING OF LIVING IN SHELTON".The New York Times. Accessed January 30, 2012.
  12. Developer Robert D. Scinto pleads guilty in Shelton corruption probe (video, documents)- The New Haven Register - Serving New Haven, Connecticut. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  13. Eleanor Charles (November 2, 1997). "In the Region/Connecticut; How Shelton Won a Role in Fairfield's Office Market". The New York Times. Retrieved November 14, 2007.
  14. Musante, Fred (March 20, 2008). "Rell delivers $2 million for downtown revival". The Huntington Herald. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2008.
  15. "Crews cut Shelton spruce for Rockefeller Center Christmas tree". Associated Press. November 7, 2007. Retrieved November 14, 2007.
  16. Shelton tornado clean up continues | Connecticut. WTNH. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  17. Shelton spruce to grace Rockefeller Center Connecticut Post. November 8, 2013. Retrieved on November 12, 2013.
  18. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  19. "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  21. American FactFinder. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  22. Office of the Secretary of the State Archived September 13, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  23. Shelton Board of Aldermen Archived February 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  24. By The Numbers Shelton Election Results, Shelton Patch, November 6 2013
  25. Shelton November 2012 Election Results, New Haven Independent
  26. 2008 Presidential Election Results by Town, Connecticut Secretary of the State, Accessed 23 Dec 10
  27. 2004 Election Results, Connecticut Secretary of the State
  28. 2000 Election Results, Connecticut Secretary of the State
  29. State of Connecticut Secretary of State Statement of Vote November 2 2010
  30. "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 23, 2006. Retrieved October 2, 2006.
  31. Teresa Gallagher. "". Retrieved March 2, 2010.
  32. "Shelton Public Schools". Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  33. Fire Department. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  34. "State to aid Shelton firm's move," by Maya Rao, The Hartford Courant, June 15, 2006; Rao cites James Ryan, head of the Shelton Economic Development Commission.

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