July 23, 2014
By ROSA CICCIO | Hartford Courant
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: From the town and county in England of the same name.
ORIGINS: Settlement began in 1642 when Capt. John Wakeman established a trading post at the junction of the Naugatuck and Housatonic rivers. New Haven Colony recognized the area as a township as early as 1651, but after much protest by nearby Milford, the order was rescinded and the settlement reverted to Milford jurisdiction until 1675, when it was finally granted town privileges.
SMALL CITY, BIG DREAMS: Derby is the state's smallest city, but it was home to a number of "firsts." The first hoop skirts in America were manufactured there in 1830. In 1888, the Derby-Ansonia street railroad system utilized the country's first electric locomotive. In 1909, Derby industrialist J. Newton Williams and partner Emile Berliner produced the first successful helicopter flight with an operator.
NOTABLE RESIDENTS: Financier Stephen Whitney, builder of the first permanent New York Stock Exchange; journalist, historian and author Jane DeForest Shelton; David Knapp Croffut, inventor of the first movable ice box; Clara Louise Kellog, the first native American prima donna; former NFL players Bob Skoronski and Nick Pietrosante; and actor Brian Dennehy.