DescriptionResidents of the older settlements of Fairfield and Stratford first settled at this harbor on the Pequonnock River in 1639. First called Newtown and later Stratfield, the community was incorporated as Bridgeport in 1821; by 1836 it had become a city. As in many New England seaport towns, whaling was the primary livelihood; with the coming of the railroad later in the century manufacturing became the chief economic activity.
Bridgeport was the home of P.T. Barnum and the birthplace in 1838 of Charles Sherwood Stratton, who was only 25 inches tall until reaching his teens and never grew beyond 40 inches. Billed as “General” Tom Thumb, Stratton was the main attraction of Barnum's “Greatest Show on Earth.”
A tiny avian resident in the vicinity is the monk parakeet, a native of South America. Colonies of the bright green birds live along the coast from Norwalk to Branford. Also known as Quaker parrots, these former pets survive the New England winter in communal stick nests that often span 6 feet.
The Port Jefferson Ferry provides daily car ferry service from Bridgeport to Port Jefferson, N.Y.; phone (888) 443-3779.
Things to SeeThe Barnum Museum