New Britain, Connecticut

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New Britain is a city in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. It is located approximately 9 miles (14 km) southwest of Hartford. The city is part of the Capitol Planning Region. According to 2020 Census, the population of the city is 74,135.[4]

New Britain
City of New Britain
West Main Street, Downtown New Britain
West Main Street, Downtown New Britain
Flag of New Britain
Official seal of New Britain
New Britski, Hard-Hittin’ New Britain, Hardware City
"Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey."
New Britain's location within Hartford County and Connecticut
New Britain's location within the Capitol Planning Region and the state of Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°40′30″N 72°47′14″W / 41.67500°N 72.78722°W / 41.67500; -72.78722
Country United States
U.S. state Connecticut
RegionCapitol Region
Incorporated (town)1850
Incorporated (city)1871
 • TypeMayor-council
 • MayorErin Stewart (R)
 • Total13.43 sq mi (34.78 km2)
 • Land13.36 sq mi (34.59 km2)
 • Water0.07 sq mi (0.19 km2)
Elevation207 ft (63 m)
 • Total74,135
 • Density5,551/sq mi (2,143.2/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
06050, 06051, 06052, 06053
Area code(s)860/959
FIPS code09-50370
GNIS feature ID02378284[2]
State Routes
Rapid Transit

Among the southernmost of the communities encompassed within the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor metropolitan region, New Britain is home to Central Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College. The city was noted for its industry during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and notable sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places include Walnut Hill Park, developed by the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and Downtown New Britain.

The city's official nickname is the "Hardware City" because of its history as a manufacturing center and as the headquarters of Stanley Black & Decker. Because of its large Polish population, the city is often playfully referred to as "New Britski."[5]


View of New Britain, 1930. Essentially nothing is left of the industrial buildings today.

New Britain was settled in 1687 and then was incorporated as a new parish under the name New Britain Society in 1754. The name is a transfer from Great Britain.[6] Chartered in 1850 as a township and in 1871 as a city, New Britain had separated from the nearby towns of Farmington and Berlin, Connecticut. A consolidation charter was adopted in 1905.

During the early part of the 20th century, New Britain was known as the "Hardware Capital of the World", as well as "Hardware City". Major manufacturers, such as The Stanley Works, the P&F Corbin Company (later Corbin Locks), Landers, Frary & Clark (LF&C) and North & Judd, were headquartered in the city.

Postcard: West Main Street, pre-1907.

In 1843 Frederick Trent Stanley established Stanley's Bolt Manufactory in New Britain to make door bolts and other wrought-iron hardware. In 1857 his cousin Henry Stanley founded The Stanley Rule and Level Company in the city. Planes invented by Leonard Bailey and manufactured by the Stanley Rule and Level Company, known as "Stanley/Bailey" planes, were prized by woodworkers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and remain popular among wood craftsmen today. The two companies merged in 1920, and the Stanley Rule and Level Company became the Hand Tools Division of Stanley Works.

The wire coat hanger was invented in 1869 by O. A. North of New Britain. In 1895, the basketball technique of dribbling was developed at the New Britain YMCA. In 1938, New Britain High School competed in the high school football national championship game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 1954 saw the development of racquetball, also at the YMCA.[7]

The heads of the fire and police departments and seven other municipal employees were arrested as part of a corruption scandal in the 1970s.[8]

City motto


New Britain's motto, Industria implet alveare et melle fruitur—translated from Latin—means "Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey." This phrase was coined by Elihu Burritt, a 19th-century New Britain resident, diplomat, philanthropist and social activist.

In 2007 it was reported that the Latin word for "honey" in the motto had been a typo for decades; it should be melle, but it had long been misspelled as mele. Former mayor William McNamara, who unsuccessfully tried to fix it during his term, suggested "to either fix the spelling immediately" or "switch to the English version of the motto."[9][10] As controversy arose from the matter, the word was superseded with the correct spelling, melle.

Geography and topography


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (34.7 km2), of which 13.3 square miles (34.6 km2) is land and 0.1 square mile (0.2 km2) (0.52%) is water.

New Britain's terrain is mostly made up of gentle, rolling hills and young Connecticut forest. The many parks are populated with trees, and in small, undeveloped areas, there are also brushy woods. New Britain's streets also have many trees lining the sides of the roads. Many front yards in the northern half of the city have at least one tree. One or two streams flow through New Britain, undisturbed by the development.


Largest ancestries (2010)[11] Percent
Puerto-Rican 29.9%
Polish 17.1%
Italian 9.6%
Irish 8%
German 4.1%
English 3.9%
French-Canadian 3.8%
Haitian 3.1%
Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the census[13] of 2020, there were 74,135 people. The racial makeup of the city was 38.1% Non-Hispanic White, 42.7% Hispanic or Latino (of any race), 14.2% African American, 0.4% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander and 11.7% from two or more races.

There were 28,261 households, out of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.4% were married couples living together, 25.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.6% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 88 males.

In 2021, the median income for a household in the city was $51,586, and for a family, was $67,482. The per capita income for the city was $26,152. 19.9% of the population below the poverty line (Poverty Rate is 15.4% for White Non-Hispanic residents, 25.7% for Hispanic or Latino residents).


Polish community


New Britain has the largest Polish population of any city in Connecticut, and by 1930 a quarter of the city was ethnically Polish.[15] Also referred to as "Little Poland", the city's Broad Street neighborhood has been home to a considerable number of Polish businesses and families since 1890. On September 23, 2008, through the urging of the Polonia Business Association, the New Britain City Council unanimously passed a resolution officially designating New Britain's Broad Street area as "Little Poland."[16] In recent years, the Polish community has been credited with revitalizing the area both culturally and economically. Media is served by three Polish language newspapers and a television station, and many businesses and civil agencies are bilingual. The post office branch in Little Poland is the only one in the nation with the word "post" written in Polish to welcome visitors. Each year, a Little Poland festival is held on a Sunday in the spring.

Notable visitors to the Polish district have included Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan on July 8, 1987.[17] In 1969, as then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyła, the future Pope John Paul II gave a mass at Sacred Heart Church.[18] A statue was erected in his honor in 2007.[19] Dubbed the city's "Polish heart" by The Boston Globe, Little Poland caught the attention of Polish Ambassador to the US Ryszard Schnepf, who toured the area with US Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, US Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, as well as several members of the Polish Sejm.[citation needed] An honorary Polish consulate was established in March 2017. The first of its kind in Connecticut, it was established by Polish diplomat to the United States Piotr Wilczek.[20]

In September 2019, Polish President Andrzej Duda became the first head of state to visit New Britain when he addressed thousands in Walnut Hill Park prior to traveling to New York City for the United Nations General Assembly. Duda was joined by a variety of Connecticut politicians, including Governor Ned Lamont, U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes and Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal.[21]

Government and politics

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 31, 2023[22]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Unaffiliated 12,849 4,668 17,517 44.59%
Democratic 13,349 3,249 16,598 42.25%
Republican 3,986 651 4,637 11.80%
Other Parties 407 122 529 1.35%
Total 30,591 8,690 39,281 100%
New Britain city vote
by party in presidential elections[23]
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2020 66.06% 16,031 32.09% 7,724 1.31% 315
2016 69.28% 15,468 27.12% 6,055 3.61% 805
2012 76.32% 16,052 22.74% 4,783 0.94% 197
2008 74.54% 16,742 24.23% 5,442 1.23% 276
2004 67.01% 14,122 31.13% 6,560 1.86% 392
2000 69.48% 13,913 25.26% 5,059 5.26% 1,054
1996 66.44% 14,322 22.78% 4,911 10.77% 2,322
1992 53.80% 14,159 26.75% 7,040 19.45% 5,118
1988 61.63% 15,843 37.22% 9,569 1.15% 295
1984 51.24% 14,608 48.14% 13,723 0.62% 177
1980 53.21% 15,649 34.99% 10,292 11.80% 3,470
1976 60.32% 18,737 38.96% 12,101 0.72% 223
1972 52.31% 18,143 46.52% 16,134 1.17% 405
1968 65.71% 21,890 28.97% 9,651 5.32% 1,772
1964 80.47% 29,976 19.53% 7,273 0.00% 0
1960 68.84% 27,293 31.16% 12,352 0.00% 0
1956 46.86% 18,125 53.14% 20,551 0.00% 0



Natives of New Britain have a fairly unmarked Connecticut accent, though there is some local perception of a distinct accent, popularly attributed to the Polish-American community, such as the use of a glottal stop in place of /t/ before syllabic /l/: in other words, in words like cattle and bottle.[24] The short "a" vowel /æ/ as in TRAP may be raised to [ɛə] for some speakers in Connecticut, including New Britain, though this feature appears to be declining among younger residents.[25]



New Britain is home to the global headquarters of the Fortune 500 manufacturing conglomerate Stanley Black & Decker. Other notable companies headquartered in New Britain include Gaffney, Bennett and Associates, Tomasso Group, Creed Monarch, Guida's Dairy, and Polamer Precision.

Top employers


According to the City's 2022 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report,[26] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Hospital of Central Connecticut 3,100
2 City of New Britain 1,910
3 Central Connecticut State University 1,654
4 Hospital for Special Care 1,231
5 Stanley Black & Decker 600
6 Starling Physicians 326
7 Community Mental Health Affiliates (CMHA) 325
8 Creed Monarch 275
9 Guida's Dairy 240
10 Costco 225

Sites of interest

  • Central Connecticut State University
  • New Britain Little League.
  • New Britain Museum of American Art, the oldest art museum in the United States devoted to American art.[27][28]
  • New Britain Industrial Museum, a museum of New Britain's industrial past and present [29]
  • The Hospital of Central Connecticut, the city's largest employer.
  • Walnut Hill Park – Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Central Park in New York City.
  • Walnut Hill Rose Garden, the recently restored landmark with over 800 roses.
  • Connecticut Theatre Company, located in the historic Repertory Theatre of New Britain.
  • Hole in the Wall Theater.
  • New Britain Youth Museum, contains children's artifacts and exhibits on regional culture.
  • The Polish district or "Little Poland": Located primarily in the vicinity of Broad Street, visitors can find unique amber jewelry, handcrafted items, blown glass, Christmas ornaments, and carved chess sets, as well as eat Polish food.


  • New Britain Bees, minor league professional baseball team playing in New Britain Stadium.
  • Hartford City FC, professional soccer team playing at CCSU Soccer field.
  • New Britain Fagan Cal Ripken Baseball League, a youth baseball program that serves children from the City of New Britain between the ages of 4 and 12.
  • New Britain Little League (NBLL, previously known as Walicki – A.W. Stanley Little League), a youth baseball and softball organization that serves the children of New Britain who are between the ages of 4 and 16.
  • Connecticut United Football Club, a professional soccer team affiliated with the American Soccer League[30]



Colleges and universities


The city is home to Central Connecticut State University and Charter Oak State College, a public liberal arts college.

Primary and secondary schools


New Britain Public Schools operates public schools. The local high school is New Britain High School. New Britain was also home to the Mountain Laurel Sudbury School but has since closed in 2019.[31]

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford is responsible for the operation of Catholic schools. A Catholic elementary school, Sacred Heart School, is in New Britain.[32] St. Thomas Aquinas High School closed in 1999.[33]

The Holy Cross Catholic School was established in 1954. The Holy Cross, St. Francis of Assisi and St. Joseph Catholic schools merged into Saint John Paul II School in 2006; the Holy Cross parish sponsored the consolidated school. The archdiocese closed the SJP School in 2015.[34] At the time of its closing, SJP school had debts of over $300,000.[35]


Downtown New Britain station is the terminus of CT Fastrak

Connecticut Route 9 is the city's main expressway connecting traffic between Hartford (via I-84 and I-91) and Old Saybrook and Middletown. I-84 itself clips the northwestern corner of the city. Public transportation is provided by Connecticut Transit.

Downtown New Britain serves as the southern terminus of CTfastrak, a bus rapid transit line. Operated by Connecticut Transit, the project officially broke ground in May 2012, and became operational in March 2015.[36][37] The route's northern terminus is Union Station in Hartford. There are also CTfastrak stations on East Main Street and East Street, the latter near Central Connecticut State University. New Britain is served by Connecticut Transit New Britain.

New Britain has a nearby Amtrak station in adjacent Berlin. The Vermonter (once daily) and Shuttle (multiple daily arrivals/departures) provide service to destinations throughout the northeastern United States. There is also a Berlin stop on the CT Rail Hartford Line, which provides northbound service to Hartford and Springfield, and southbound service towards New Haven.

Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Windsor Locks and Tweed New Haven Airport (HVN) in East Haven are the closest commercial airports to New Britain.

Notable people


Sister cities


New Britain's sister cities are:[45]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  2. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: New Britain, Connecticut
  3. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for All Incorporated Places in Connecticut" (CSV). 2005 Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division. June 21, 2006. Retrieved November 17, 2006.
  4. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: New Britain city, Connecticut". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  5. ^ "A city's Polish heart". The Boston Globe.
  6. ^ The Connecticut Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly. Connecticut Magazine Company. 1903. p. 333.
  7. ^ "Mission". Website. New Britain-Berlin YMCA. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  8. ^ Henry, Diane (September 28, 1979). "New Britain Undismayed By Latest Political Scandal". The New York Times. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  9. ^ Polanco, Monica (May 28, 2007). "Lone, Latin Cause: 'L' Is On His Mind". The Hartford Courant.
  10. ^ "Fix New Britain's Motto". The Hartford Courant. May 31, 2007.
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  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 2, 2023.
  14. ^ Foer, Franklin (March 2018). "Paul Manafort, American Hustler". The Atlantic. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  15. ^ "".
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  17. ^ "Ronald Reagan: Remarks to Citizens in New Britain, Connecticut".
  18. ^ "John P. Wodarski collection". Elihu Burritt Library, Central Connecticut State University. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  19. ^ Vallee, Jason (April 2, 2007). "Nearly 1,000 see Sacred Heart Church unveil figure of Pope John Paul II". New Britain Herald. Retrieved August 5, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "A place for Poland: Ambassador helps open honorary consulate | Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty". Archived from the original on November 11, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2018.
  21. ^ Stacom, Dan (September 22, 2019). "Polish president welcomed to New Britain by Lamont, senators, crowd of thousands". Hartford Courant. Retrieved September 23, 2019.
  22. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 31, 2023" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of the State. Retrieved June 3, 2024.
  23. ^ "General Elections Statement of Vote 1922".
  24. ^ Santaniello, Gary (September 5, 2004). "Accent? What Accent?". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Boberg, Charles (2001). "The Phonological Status of Western New England". American Speech. 76 (1): 26. doi:10.1215/00031283-76-1-3. S2CID 143486914.
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  27. ^ Susan Dunne (February 2, 2014). "New Britain Museum of American Art Was First Of Its Kind". The Hartford Courant.
  28. ^ "NBMAA History". New Britain Museum of American Art. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  29. ^ Don Stacom (November 27, 2018). "New director plans big future for New Britain Industrial Museum". Hartford Courant. Retrieved March 1, 2020.
  30. ^ "American Soccer League". Archived from the original on August 6, 2016.
  31. ^ "New Britain Herald - With enrollment down to 2, Newington school shuts down". Central Connecticut Communications. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  32. ^ Home. Sacred Heart School. Retrieved on March 15, 2019.
  33. ^ Leukhardt, Bill (July 29, 1999). "ST. THOMAS AQUINAS SCHOOL TO CLOSE". Hartford Courant. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  34. ^ Stacom, Don (February 15, 2015). "Another New Britain Catholic School To Close". Hartford Courant. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  35. ^ "Parents, Students Fight to Save Closing New Britain Catholic School". NBC Connecticut. February 13, 2015. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  36. ^ "What Is CTfastrak". State of Connecticut. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  37. ^ Krafcik, Mike (July 17, 2014). "CTFastrak Set To Open In March; Economic Growth Expected Along Busway". WTIC Fox CT. Retrieved July 19, 2014.
  38. ^ "The 100 Stingiest Defenses In Football History". Archived from the original on November 14, 2015.
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  42. ^ "Tebucky Jones". NBC Sports Network.
  43. ^ Mcintire, Andrew E. Kramer, Mike; Meier, Barry (August 14, 2016). "Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump's Campaign Chief". The New York Times.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  44. ^ "Charles Patterson". Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  45. ^ "New Britain welcomes delegation from Japanese sister city". New Britain Herald. February 21, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2021.

Further reading

  • History of New Britain by Camp, New Britain, 1889
  • Legendary Locals of New Britain by Amy Melissa Kirby, 2014
  • A Walk Around Walnut Hill, 1975, by Kenneth Larson
  • New Britain, by Alfred Andrews, 1867
  • A History of New Britain, by Herbert E. Fowler, 1960
  • The Story of New Britain, by Lillian Hart Tryon, 1925
  • Images of America, New Britain, by Arlene Palmer, 1995
  • New Britain, The City of Invention, by Patrick Thibodeau