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Hats, History and Business in Danbury CT

Ms. Inglish is a successful employment & training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

Historic Downtown Danbury

A large hat factory in Danbury CT during the early 1900s.

A large hat factory in Danbury CT during the early 1900s.

Hat Peddler (public domain)

Hat Peddler (public domain)

A Unique "Best City" Since 1988

Danbury, Connecticut in the Northeastern Region of the US has been named by Money Magazine in the late 2000s as one of the Top 25 Best Small Cities for Jobs and Business in America. Since 1988, the city has continued to appear on one or another of Money’s “Best” lists.

Danbury is in Fairfield County with a population of about 79,000 people. It was named for the city in England from which its original settlers traveled - Danbury in Essex, England. The American city has also been called Hat City, especially during the years 1800 - 1930, because it was the hub for hat design and manufacture, especially of extravagant women's hats.

Danbury supplied upwards of 25% of the total hats purchased in America at one point and in the early 1900s, the hat making industry survived a brouhaha that involved labor unions and the non-union status of one of the largest hat factories in town.The large factory sued under the Sherman Antitrust Act and won. Today, the name of the Danbury Mad Hatters hockey club indirectly commemorates that case in a fun way.

Location - Northeast Of Manhattan

Historic Danbury

Settled by English immigrants in 1685, the town consisted of only 8 families at first, but it grew quickly.

The incoming settlers built many homes in the flatland called Pahquioque by the Munsee and Quiripi Nations in the southeast corner of Connecticut. The name meant “cleared, open land.”

It is reported that four men purchased the land from the Native Americans, rather than confiscating it and the settlers renamed their land Swampfield. Community government leaders decided on Danbury, a more sophisticated name, in just a year or so. During the American Revolution, the city was burned to the ground by the British military, but the residents of the town successfully rebuilt it.

As elsewhere in the Northeastern US, the railroad industry grew in response to the demand for transportation during the American Civil War and thereafter for reasons of commerce. A local railroad museum commemorates that mode of transport.


Manufacture of Felt Hats

Union Lawsuits

Danbury was a famous place known for its lawsuits in the hat industry involving union contracts.

The Danbury Hatters Case

From the famous local case:

Loewe v. Lawlor, 208 U.S. 274 (1908), 235 U.S. 522 (1915)

In 1902, hatter Dietrich Loewe refused to recognize the hatters’ union in his hat manufacturing plant. The majority of his workers then struck for high union wages.

Mr. Loewe hired a crew of non-union workers ("scabs"), resulting in a boycott organized by his former employees.

The boycott spread to most or all of the states that featured Loewe hat plants or shops that sold them.

Loewe sued for 6 years in US Federal courts, ending up in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1908. The highest court found in favor of Loewe and 7 years later, upheld a lower court's ruling to allow damages.

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Since the striking workers felt they would lose their homes in the suit, the hatters union sponsored one "Hatters’ Day" to collect one hour’s pay from each of its members to pay the damages.

Mad Hatters

Mad Hatters' Day is October 6th each year.

Danbury Railway Museum, US National Register of Historic Places

Danbury Community Network

21st Century Danbury

Like its neighbor just to the southeast, Bridgeport, Danbury CT has dedicated itself to reducing crime and substance abuse in its city and county. Toward this end, the city givernment and community based organizations formed a Citizen Corps that is making significant progress in improving the quality if life in the city and county. Among the many projects of the group, these are some of the most important:

  • Developing a preparedness plan and disaster supply kit for every home, practicing consistently good home health & safety, using disaster mitigation metods that work, and participating in crime prevention and reporting schemes.
  • Taking classes in emergency preparedness/response, First Aid & CPR, fire prevention, and Search & Rescue.
  • Engaging dedicated volunteers to help maintain first responders, disaster relief/community safety groups, law enforcement, fire, EMTs, public health, and emergency management quidelines.
EMD FL-9 diesel electric locomotive # 2006 at Danbury Railway Museum

EMD FL-9 diesel electric locomotive # 2006 at Danbury Railway Museum

Largest Employers in Danbury

  1. Western Connecticut Healthcare. Hospital located conveniently on Bus Route 1.
  2. Danbury School District
  3. Cartus - Corporate/business relocation services. April 2014: Cartus planned expansion in Danbury, with the help of a $6.5 million loan, from the Conn Department of Economic and Community Development
  4. Boehringer Ingelheim - Two locations for the Pharmaceutical Industry
  5. City of Danbury
  6. Western Connecticut State University - Bus Routes 4 and 7.
  7. Barden Corporation. Ball bearings and aerospace.
  8. Praxair Inc. - A Fortune 500 company that deals in industrial gases worldwide for electronics, metal fabrication, health care (oxygen, other) and food processing. Sponsor of several departments at Danbury Hospital.
  9. WalMart
  10. Macy's

Additional Important Companies in Danbury:

  • Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. – HQ for design, manufacture, and distribution of this famous name brand of furniture, rugs, lamps, draperies and other décor, wordwide.
  • Scholastic Library Publishing Inc. - Educational, children's, and reference books, including the first encyclopedia in the USA - Encyclopedia Americana - and several other important products.
  • Pitney Bowes Inc. - Mail sorting and tracking
  • GE Capital VFS - Vendor financial services
  • Goodrich Corporation - Electro-optical and space systems

The largest sector of the Danbury economy is the Healthcare Industry. Job openings includes careers in health related Information Technology (IT) as well as nursing, practitioners, aides, allied health professions, and support staff.

Reference: HARTransit, March 2013.

Fast Growing High Demand Occupations to 2020

  1. Network Systems and Data Communications Analysts
  2. Database Administrators
  3. Systems Software Engineers
  4. Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  5. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
  6. Special Education Teachers for Preschool, Kindergarten, and all Elemtary grades
  7. Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers
  8. Radiologic Technologists and Technicians
  9. Physical Therapists
  10. Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers

Additional jobs that are growing rapidly in openings:

  • Pharmacists, Registered Nurses (RNs), Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants

Short-Term Trend 2014 - 2016

  • A rise in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals is evident, with increasing jobs.

Snapshot: Highest Demand Jobs For 1st QTR 2016

Employers listing the most openings for workers are:

  1. IBM - IT careers at all levels.
  2. Cimarron - Trucking jobs
  3. CVS Health - Retail crew, pharmacy assistants
  4. Western Connecticut Health Network
  5. Stamford Hospital
  6. Michael Page US - Temp to Perm for IT, Engineers, Accountants, etc.
  7. The Home Depot - Retail
  8. St. Vincent’s Health Services
  9. Barr-Nunn Transportation - Trucking and freight industry, fastest growing industry in USA.
  10. Prime Inc. - Trucking
  11. Knight Transportation - Trucking

Snapshot: Highest Demand Jobs For 2nd QTR 2014

Highest Demand Job Titles

  1. Jobs at GE: Project Managers, Administrative Assistants, others
  2. Retail Jobs: CVS/Pharmacy and Home Depot
  3. Physical Therapists
  4. United Technologies - Optical Manufacturing and IT positions
  5. Truck Drivers
  6. Researchers, IT staff and others in Pharmaceuticals
  7. Registered Nurses - Hospitals and Home Healthcare
  8. Pharmacy Technicians
  9. Ameriplan Healthcare positions, various
  10. IBM - Research staff people and Interns

Danbury Hospital Needs Staff

Danbury Hospital is important as the largest employer in the city, but also for its proactive stance on Cardiovascular Disease and its prevention and effective treatments. Its Praxair Regional Heart and Vascular Center offers the most cutting edge cardiovascular care in Southeastern Connecticut with both open heart surgery and coronary angioplasty.

This hospital also offers a complete Weight Loss Surgery Center, a Center for Advanced Orthopedic Care, a Family Birth Center, The Praxair Cancer Center, and other surgical specialties.

In addition, the cancer center is connected to a number of clinical trials that study cancer and cancer treatments, and a specialized cancer care coordinator to endure the best treatment plans possible. The cancer center enjoys over three decades of a good reputation for effective healing among its patients.

A large number of informative pages appear at the hospital website, with interactive pages that aid in managing one's health. Job openings are listed in the side bar at Danbury Hospital and Registered Nurse (RN) Open Houses are held to recruit workers in that specific career track as well.

Danbury Job Finder

Western Connecticut State University.

Another major employer in Danbury, this university was founded in 1903 and has several schools: the Ancell School of Business, Arts & Sciences, School of Visual and Performing Arts, School of Professional Studies, and the Graduate School, all offered between two campuses in the middle of town and on the west side.

WCSU, or WestConn, is the only facility of higher education in the state to offer a degree in meteorology and it features its own Weather Center. In addition, each campus has an astronomical observatory and/or planetarium or astrophysical studies camera.

Athletics are available for both men and women and the teams are known as the WestConn Colonials.

Additional Schools

  • German Language School of Danbury at 12 Brookside Trl, New Milford CT 06776
  • Danbury Nurses Aid Training at 4 Liberty Street, Danbury CT 06810. Phone 203-797-1461
  • Fairfield University, Fiarfield CT.: Known for healthcare programs.
  • Henry Abbott Tech School at 21 Hayestown Ave, Danbury CT 06811. Phone 203- 797-4460
  • Naugatuck Valley Community College at 183 Main Street; Danbury CT 06810. Phone 203-797-9361
  • Paul Mitchell the School
  • Ridley-Lowell Business & Technical Institute - 44 Shelter Rock Road; Danbury CT 06810. Phone 877-611-8607

Assisting the Homeless - Project Connect

Sustainability in Danbury

The largest lake in Connecticut, Candlewood Lake, is man made and operates as a hydroelectric power facility by the Connecticut Light and Power Company. Thus, electricity is generated by water instead of coal in this area.

In addition to clean electricity, Danbury is home to FuelCell Energy, Inc. a major manufacturer of ultra-clean power plants that use renewable fuels for commercial, government, industrial, and utility clients.

Local Sports

  • Danbury Westerners college baseball - Rogers Park.
  • Danbury Mad Hatters hockey - Danbury Ice Arena.
  • New England Stars hockey – Danbury Ice Arena
  • Hat City Dubs - European Car Club
  • Richter Park Golf Course

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Patty Inglish MS


loretta on September 29, 2009:

Wonderful Article..You should get in touch with the bizymoms Danbury community to feature these on their page. It’s free and the moms will love them

Netters from Land of Enchantment - NM on November 30, 2008:

Beautiful pictures. I didn't know Danbury had that many people there. Thank you!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 28, 2008:

Cool! - Your wonderful travels and experiences of Danbury are now on the map.

Susan Reid from Where Left is Right, CA on November 28, 2008:

Hi Patty, I couldn't pass by a hub about Danbury! It is the turnoff to go and visit my wonderful Aunt Helen, the dear, devoted sister of my recently departed dad. I love Connecticut, even though for me it has always been primarily a "pass-through" state, going to MA from NY or going to NY from MA. Thanks for putting Danbury on the cybermap!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 28, 2008:

Thanks, William. I'll put a picture on the hub soon.

Must have been lots of mercury in the Mad Hatter's day...

William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on November 28, 2008:

I was a hatter, for a little while, Patty, but not a "mad hatter." Wikipedia explains that "mad as a hatter" comes from mercury poison affecting some hatters. Richter Park is beautiful, and it can be seen on this site:

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 26, 2008:

William - You're a Hatter! I like that. Thanks for the additional information and the Golf Course description. I'll see if I can find a picture of it and add it to the Hub.

Happy Thanksgiving!

William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on November 26, 2008:

Enjoyed reading this, Patty. Danbury is only up the road from Norwalk, where I lived and worked for many years and has a similar history to the Hat City. In fact, I worked for the Hat Corporation of America in Norwalk for a while (they made some of President Truman's hats there.) Your readers who find work in Danbury will also have the pleasure of playing golf at Richter Park, one of the best courses around with water coming into play on 14 of its 18 holes.

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