Fair Haven, New Haven

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Fair Haven is a neighborhood in the eastern part of the city of New Haven, Connecticut, between the Mill and Quinnipiac rivers. The northeast section of the neighborhood is also known as Chatham Square.

Fair Haven
Neighborhood of New Haven
View of the Quinnipiac Brewery from the Ferry Street Bridge
View of the Quinnipiac Brewery from the Ferry Street Bridge
Fair Haven within New Haven
Fair Haven within New Haven
Coordinates: 41°18′40″N 72°53′46″W / 41.311°N 72.896°W / 41.311; -72.896Coordinates: 41°18′40″N 72°53′46″W / 41.311°N 72.896°W / 41.311; -72.896
CountryUnited States
CityNew Haven

Fair Haven is located about two miles east of the New Haven Green comprising New Haven wards 14, 15, 16, and a portion of 8.[1] It is bounded on the east and south by the Quinnipiac River, on the west by the Mill River, on the northwest by Amtrak railroad tracks, and on the north by I-91 (in the vicinity of Exit 7). The main through routes of the area are Grand Avenue, Blatchley Avenue, and Ferry Street.

In its early days, the area was called by a succession of names including Farmes, East Farmes, The Neck, Dragon, and Clamtown. Herman Hotchkiss is credited as founder due to his investments and development.

Fair Haven is not to be confused with the adjacent Fair Haven Heights neighborhood.


17th centuryEdit

Prior to its founding by European settlers, Fair Haven was used by the Momauguin group of Quinnipiack Native Americans for farming.

Historic homes on Front Street

It is said that in 1639, when Captain Richard Russell first viewed the harbor, "The sight of the harbor did so please the Captain of the ship, that they called it a Fayre Haven." In 1640, the area currently called Fair Haven was named 'The Neck'. Fair Haven was originally a village formed in 1679 to house industrial workers, as the area was a source of oysters and other products of the rivers and nearby harbor. It is said to have produced almost 5,000 gallons of oysters per day in season when at its peak. Besides oyster houses, manufacturing plants and a brewery were established. In the beginning, Fair Haven could only be reached by boat, on foot, or on horseback. In time, dirt roads were laid, for use by horse-drawn vehicles.

18th centuryEdit

In 1784 Fair Haven became a part of the city of New Haven. The Pardee Family of East Haven began a ferry service across the Quinnipiac in 1785. The service was discontinued in 1791 with the construction of the Dragon Bridge.

19th centuryEdit

In 1806, land was donated for Fair Haven Union Cemetery.

By 1808, Fair Haven had 50 houses.

In 1820, the first apartment building for multiple residences was built.

In 1824, residents changed the name of their home from 'Dragon' to 'Fair Haven'.

By 1830, the oyster beds were dried up.

In 1835, importation of oysters began, with the supply being replenished by 1900.

Factory buildings on River Street

In 1837 Fair Haven withdrew from the jurisdiction of New Haven.

A number of homes in Fair Haven were used to hide slaves in the Underground Railroad.

By the time of the Civil War, some streets had been paved. There was an influx of immigrants after the war, notably Irish, German, Polish, Italian and Russian. One area with a large number of Irish was nicknamed 'little Dublin'.

In 1860, a group of local businessmen drew up a charter to build and operate a horsecar line of one or two tracks between Fair Haven and Westville.

In 1866, Samuel L. Blatchley developed Blatchley Ave., building moderately-priced homes for local workers.

St. Francis Church held its first service in 1867.

In 1870 Fair Haven rejoined New Haven.

In 1885, Nathaniel Graniss donated land for the construction of the First Quinnipiac School.

In 1888, Lancraft Fife and Drum Corps organized, practiced in Ed Lancraft's Oyster house.

20th centuryEdit

The southern portion of Front Street in Fair Haven, as seen from the Grand Avenue bridge in May, 2005.

By the 1930s, Fair Haven was home to more immigrants than 'natives'. Many black and Puerto Rican families migrated into Fair Haven by the 1960s. Redevelopment occurred along the Quinnipiac River.

As part of Mayor Richard C. Lee's urban renewal program, 107 Fair Haven households were displaced in the 1960s.[2]

In 1978, a local historic district was created.

In the early 1980s, many buildings on Grand Avenue were renovated.

21st centuryEdit

The waterfront area (Front Street and adjacent streets) have been redeveloped in the last decade, including construction of luxury condominiums, renovation of the Fair Haven marina, demolition of the Quinnipiac Terrace public housing project and replacement with a Cape Cod style village with both subsidized and market rate units, and the renovation of many of the old oyster houses. This part of Fair Haven has attracted a culturally diverse mix of young professionals, students, artists, and families with children. Other parts of Fair Haven continue to struggle with poverty related problems such as crime and homelessness.

In 2010, a 100kW windmill was erected near Criscuolo Park, which can be seen from much of New Haven. [3]

Historical populationsEdit

  • 1808 - 150 (15 families)
  • 1837 - 1,000
  • 1850 - 1,317
  • 1870 - 5,600
  • 1930 - 23,960
  • 1989 - 13,895
  • 1990 - 14,545
  • 2000 - 13,753 (4,724 households)

Flora and faunaEdit

Aside from stray cats and dogs, other small animals that can be found in Fair Haven include mice, urban frogs, opossums, raccoons, and squirrels. Common birds include blue jays, feral pigeons, robins, and starlings. Along Dover Beach, there are scuds and caddisflies.[4] Plants include the autumn olive, the beach rose, Spartina alterniflora, Rosa virginiana, and the weeping willow.[5]

Notable sitesEdit


  1. ^ City of New Haven Street Map
  2. ^ "Life in the Model City: The Process of Urban Renewal - The Process of Redevelopment". Archived from the original on 2009-11-15. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  3. ^ https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/wind_turbine_erected/
  4. ^ "Quinnipiac River Water Testing". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
  5. ^ "Grand Avenue plants". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2006-12-03.
  6. ^ http://thebigelowcompany.com/en/about-the-bigelow-company/
  7. ^ http://teachersinstitute.yale.edu/pubs/A5/gorman.html
  8. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=9_UUAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA6-PA9&dq=National+Folding+Box+%26+Paper+Co,+cedar+hill&hl=en&ei=AHofTJoJ0r6sB_Cb1bUL&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CFYQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q&f=false Public documents of the State of Connecticut, Volume 3, Part 1 By Connecticut