Shelton is a city in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 40,869 at the 2020 United States Census.[3] The city is part of the Naugatuck Valley Planning Region.

Shelton, Connecticut
View from the Shelton River Walk
View from the Shelton River Walk
Official seal of Shelton, Connecticut
"Vision To See, Faith To Believe, Courage To Do"[1]
Shelton's location within Fairfield County and Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°18′15″N 73°08′17″W / 41.30417°N 73.13806°W / 41.30417; -73.13806
CountryUnited States
U.S. stateConnecticut
RegionNaugatuck Valley
Incorporated (town)1789
Incorporated (city)1915
 • TypeMayor-board of aldermen
 • MayorMark A. Lauretti (R)
 • Total31.90 sq mi (82.63 km2)
 • Land30.63 sq mi (79.33 km2)
 • Water1.27 sq mi (3.29 km2)
62 ft (19 m)
 • Total40,869
 • Density1,334/sq mi (515.2/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)203/475
FIPS code09-68100
GNIS feature ID0210800
Major highways
Commuter rail





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).[4][5] 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.[6][7][8][9] 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.[10][11]

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 of criminal charges, but in a suit under civil law (where preponderance of evidence suffices to establish a factual claim), a jury found in 1988 the insurer was entitled to disallow claims on the fire losses, based on the finding that the company's top officials arranged the fire to claim insurance money. Eight others were convicted or pleaded guilty.[12]

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.[13] In 1995, Sikorsky Aircraft closed a plant off Bridgeport Avenue that manufactured electrical components for helicopters.[citation needed]

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.[13] 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.[14]

Downtown revitalization

Plumb Library, c. 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.[15] 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.[16]

Other events


In November 2007, a tree growing on Soundview Avenue in Shelton was selected and felled to be the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.[17]

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.[citation needed]

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.[18]

In November 2013, a tree located on Kazo Drive was picked to be the second Rockefeller Center Christmas tree from Shelton. [19]



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.


  • Downtown
  • Coram Gardens
  • White Hills
  • Soundview Avenue
  • South End
  • Booth Hill Road
  • Bridgeport Avenue
  • Huntington
  • Pine Rock Park
  • Long Hill


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[20]

As of the census[21] 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 inhabitants 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[22]). 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.

Government and politics


Republican Mark Lauretti 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 five Republican members, two Citizens' United members, and one Democratic member.[23] Mayor Lauretti was re-elected for a fourteenth term on November 7, 2017. The current Board of Aldermen consists entirely of eight Republicans.[24]

Political representation at the state level has been Republican since the 1960s.[citation needed] Republican State Senator Kevin Kelly of Stratford replaced Senator Dan Debicella in 2010 after Debicella sought election to the U.S. Congress. There are two State Assembly 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 Ben McGorty of the 122nd District took office after winning a special election in 2014 following the death of previous State Representative Larry Miller.

At the federal level, Shelton is represented by Democratic U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy in the United States Senate, along with the rest of the state. Representation of Shelton in the U.S. House of Representatives is split between the 3rd and 4th congressional districts, which are represented by Democratic U.S. Representatives Rosa DeLauro and Jim Himes, respectively. The boundary between the two congressional districts lies roughly along Route 8; Himes represents the portion of the city to the north and west of Route 8 while DeLauro represents sections of Shelton to the south and east.

Shelton is a Republican stronghold in presidential elections, as the city has voted for the GOP presidential nominee in every election since 1964 when Lyndon B. Johnson carried the municipality in his landslide election.

Shelton city vote
by party in presidential elections[25]
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2020 45.36% 10,837 53.35% 12,747 1.56% 308
2016 38.36% 8,001 57.78% 12,051 3.86% 805
2012 44.23% 8,362 54.63% 10,327 1.14% 215
2008 47.46% 9,655 51.26% 10,428 1.27% 259
2004 41.94% 8,247 56.64% 11,137 1.42% 279
2000 46.58% 8,441 47.89% 8,678 5.53% 1,002
1996 41.29% 6,779 43.18% 7,089 15.54% 2,551
1992 28.33% 5,354 47.43% 8,963 24.24% 4,582
1988 32.46% 5,217 66.76% 10,729 0.78% 126
1984 23.67% 3,628 76.05% 11,655 0.27% 42
1980 29.55% 4,084 60.73% 8,393 9.72% 1,344
1976 37.72% 4,938 61.64% 8,056 0.73% 96
1972 26.86% 3,344 70.76% 8,810 2.39% 297
1968 38.18% 4,125 51.53% 5,567 10.29% 1,112
1964 58.54% 5,930 41.46% 4,200 0.00% 0
1960 50.87% 4,666 49.13% 4,506 0.00% 0
1956 30.23% 2,372 69.77% 5,475 0.00% 0
Voter registration and party enrollment as of November 5, 2018[26]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Republican 7,420 322 7,742 30.23%
Democratic 5,769 253 6,022 23.52%
Unaffiliated 11,266 322 11,588 45.25%
Minor parties 247 10 257 1.00%
Total 24,702 907 25,609 100%


Badge of the Shelton Sheriff's Department

Shelton is one of the few municipalities in Connecticut with its own sheriff's department, the Shelton Sheriff's Department. The sheriff's department, which is distinct from the police department, is responsible for serving legal process within the city of Shelton. The Fairfield County Sheriff's Department had a similar role before it and all other county sheriffs in Connecticut were abolished in 2000. The Shelton Sheriff's Department is not a law enforcement agency. Members are political appointees and receive no salary and derive income from fees charged to serve legal papers. As of 2022 the head of the department is Sheriff Carl Sylvester.[27]

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,[28] including a portion of the Paugussett "Blue Blazed" trail, part of an 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.



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 pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, including Elizabeth Shelton Elementary, Mohegan Elementary School, Long Hill Elementary School, Booth Hill Elementary School, and Sunnyside Elementary School.[29]

Fire department


The City of Shelton is protected by the 246-member all-volunteer Shelton Fire Department, which consists of four fire companies (Echo Hose Hook & Ladder Co. 1, Huntington Co. 3, Pine Rock Co. 4, White Hills Co. 5) operating out of four fire stations located throughout the city. There is also a board of fire commissioners with a representative from each company.[30]



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.[31] 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.[32] 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.

Notable companies

  • Bic Corporation conducts U.S. operations from Shelton
  • Cartier SA has an office in Shelton
  • Computershare (formerly Transcentive, Inc.), 2 Enterprise Drive
  • Hubbell Incorporated is headquartered in Shelton, 40 Waterview Drive
  • NEC Unified Solutions (formerly Nitsuko America), manufacturer of business telephone systems, 4 Forest Parkway
  • PerkinElmer, Inc. houses their Life and Analytical sciences division on Bridgeport Avenue. PerkinElmer, formerly Perkin-Elmer Instruments, is best known for building the optical components of the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Pitney Bowes employs 1,460 in the city[33]
  • Prudential Annuities headquarters
  • Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation has an Overhaul and Repair (O&R) facility in Shelton
  • Charter Arms Firearms, 18 Brewster Lane making a national brand of revolvers

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 Shelton Herald. The Connecticut Post and the New Haven Register also cover the city. Both are daily papers.


  1. ^ "City of Shelton Connecticut". Town of Shelton Connecticut. Retrieved September 22, 2012.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  3. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Shelton town, Fairfield County, Connecticut". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 21, 2021.
  4. ^ "Huntington Green Shelton".
  5. ^ "Welcome to the City of Shelton, Connecticut, Official WebSite".
  6. ^ Samuel Orcutt (1886). A History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Press of Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor. pp. 1002–1004. edward n shelton.
  7. ^ "Derby History Quiz – Edward Shelton". Town of Derby.
  8. ^ "Ousatonic Dam & Canals".
  9. ^ "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.
  10. ^ "Shelton's History in a Nutshell". Shelton Historical Society. Archived from the original on September 12, 2007.
  11. ^ "Shelton Historical Society's FAQs". Shelton Historical Society. Archived from the original on September 12, 2007.
  12. ^ Greenwald, Judy. "Jury rules no cover for bombed building." Business Insurance, April 4, 1988.
  13. ^ a b "IF YOU'RE THINKING OF LIVING IN SHELTON".The New York Times. Accessed January 30, 2012.
  14. ^ Developer Robert D. Scinto pleads guilty in Shelton corruption probe (video, documents)- The New Haven Register - Serving New Haven, Connecticut. Retrieved on August 16, 2013.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Crews cut Shelton spruce for Rockefeller Center Christmas tree". Associated Press. November 7, 2007. Archived from the original on August 5, 2012. Retrieved November 14, 2007.
  18. ^ Shelton tornado clean up continues | Connecticut. WTNH. Retrieved on August 16, 2013.
  19. ^ Shelton spruce to grace Rockefeller Center Connecticut Post. November 8, 2013. Retrieved on November 12, 2013.
  20. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  21. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  22. ^ American FactFinder. Retrieved on August 16, 2013.
  23. ^ Shelton Board of Aldermen Archived February 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Board of Aldermen". City of Shelton. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  25. ^ "General Elections Statement of Vote 1922".
  26. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of November 05, 2018" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Retrieved April 20, 2017.
  27. ^ "City Sheriff". City of Shelton. October 23, 2010. Retrieved March 20, 2022.
  28. ^ Teresa Gallagher. "". Retrieved March 2, 2010.
  29. ^ "Shelton Public Schools". Retrieved May 24, 2008.
  30. ^ Fire Department. Retrieved on August 16, 2013.
  31. ^ "Home".
  32. ^ "Home".
  33. ^ "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.

Further reading

  • Reverend Samuel Orcutt, History of the Old Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport Connecticut, Fairfield County Historical Society, 1886