From the Capitol: Celebrating 375 Years

September 15, 2014

Stratford’s history is full of brave individuals and revolutionary minds. From the founding Reverend Adam Blakeman, to statesman William Samuel Johnson, to aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky, Stratford has been home to many amazing people who have done some incredible things. As the town celebrates its 375th anniversary this year, it is also a time to honor that history and those people who made our town, and our nation, what it is today.

Stratford was founded in 1639 by a group of Puritans who left their lives in England behind to seek religious freedom in the new world. Led by Puritan leader Adam Blakeman, a group of families settled in what was then the Native America village of Cupheag. The town was united under the Congregational Church, led by Reverend Blakeman, and eventually was renamed as Stratford, in April 1643, in honor of England’s Stratford-upon-Avon.

Stratford grew from a small settlement into a vibrant and vast town. In fact, Stratford originally included many surrounding towns that eventually broke off to form their own communities. Shelton (established in 1789 as Ripton) and Monroe (established in 1823 from the former town of Huntington) as well as Trumbull and Bridgeport all used to be part of Stratford.

While we are separate towns today, we all have a shared history. As Stratford gears up for some exciting fall and winter events celebrating that history, I look forward to celebrating with people from across our region.

Honoring our History

Upcoming events honoring our history include festivals, parades, shows and educational opportunities for the whole family.

On Saturday and Sunday, September 20th & 21st, the Town of Stratford and the Stratford Historical Society will present the “Early American Festival” commemorating our hundreds of years of history. This festival is free and open to the public. In place of admission fees, the historical society is asking for donations of diapers to be donated to the Sterling house food bank. Key festival happenings include:

  • A parade to kick off the event at 10 am on Saturday September 20. The parade will begin at Paradise Green and continue down Main Street to the war memorials on Academy Hill.
  • Re-enactments of Revolutionary and Civil War battles
  • Walking tours of the historical district
  • Tours of the graveyard of Christ Episcopal Church led by costumed re-enactors from 12:00-2:00 pm
  • Tours of the Captain David Judson House, a home built circa 1723
  • Tours of the Catherine Bunnell Mitchell Museum
  • Live music

On Sunday, October 12th at 2 pm the Stratford Library will also host “Songs, Stories & Tunes from Connecticut’s Past & Present” in the Lovell Room, an educational music workshop.

On Saturday, October 18th the Pumpkin Festival is coming to Boothe Park.

On Tuesday, December 2nd the Holiday Festival will kick off at 5:30 p.m. The festival features live music from elementary school choirs and special programs for the children at Stratford Library.

On Sunday, December 7th at 2 pm the Connecticut Yuletide Carolers will perform at the Stratford Library.

On Monday December 15th through Sunday, December 21st a Stratford tradition is gearing up. The Square One Theatre will re-enact “Stratford Characters.” Originally written for Stratford’s 350th landmark, this original play by Steven Otfinoski introduces such local historical notables as Captain John Selby, Igor Sikorsky and Goody Bassett. The play is scheduled for Monday-Thursday at 7 pm, Friday at 8 pm, Saturday at 4 pm and 8 pm, and Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets cost $20. For more information call 203.375.8778 or visit: The play is sponsored by Square One Theatre and the Stratford Library.

For more information about all the upcoming events, visit: