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Middletown City


Middletown City Hall is located at 245 deKoven Drive, Middletown CT 06457; phone: 860-344-3459.

Beginnings [1]

Originating in the early 17th century, Middletown was one of the first towns founded in Connecticut. Similar to other New England settlements of the period, Middletown's economic base centered around a thriving agricultural sector. Initially producing cereal crops including corn, rye, oats and wheat, which began to be marketed in the late 1700's, the City later specialized into dairy and poultry farming, a move influenced by its proximity to larger urban areas. Agriculture remained an important aspect of Middletown's economy even in the face of new industrial development, preserving its status as an agricultural center until the 1960's.

Industry has also featured as a significant factor in Middletown's economic development. Beginning in the mid 17th century as a center for mill operations, its industrial base diversified into shipbuilding. Middletown also developed an important status as a riverport, being an official port of entry that fed a flourishing trade with the Atlantic seaboard and the West Indies.

Between 1750 and 1800, Middletown was the wealthiest town in the State. The City of Middletown was incorporated in 1784 and by 1790 it was the largest city in Connecticut and the customs port for the Connecticut River. Throughout this time, and well into the 19th century, the River was the major transportation link between Middletown and other towns. Ferries had begun to operate on the River in 1726, soon after the east side was settled. The Middletown ferry slip was located approximately where the Arrigoni and railroad bridges are today. Commercial steamboat service began on the River in 1822 with establishment of the Connecticut Steamboat Company. Side-wheeler steamboat service linked Hartford and New York with Middletown in between. Already the City's basic infrastructure for the center had been laid down, as witnessed by the city map of 1825. Additionally, Wesleyan University was established in Middletown in 1831 and quickly became recognized as a prominent educational institution. The University has contributed to the economic and cultural well being of the community and continues to offer educational, artistic, and entrepreneurial benefits to the city.

  1. City of Middletown, Middletown Plan of Development, 2002, www.middletownplanning.com, accessed May, 2010.
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