July 23, 2014
By TINA BACHETTI | Hartford Courant
ORIGINS: New Britain was settled in 1686 by colonists from Berlin. It was named after Great Britain in 1754 by Col. Isaac Lee, chief magistrate of the settlement. The town was separated from Berlin and incorporated in 1850, and the city was incorporated in 1871.
HARDWARE CITY: The city once led the country in sales of shelf hardware in the early 20th century. The Stanley Works was founded in 1843 by 41-year-old Frederick T. Stanley, who got his start as a young Yankee peddler selling hardware on horse-and-wagon trips to the back country of North Carolina. Stanley was the town's first warden in 1850 and became the city's first mayor in 1871. He remained the company's president until he died in 1883. The Stanley Works merged with Black & Decker in 2010.
NEW BRITAIN MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART: The museum dates to 1903 when industrialist John Butler Talcott gave $20,000 in gold bonds to the New Britain Institute to buy "modern oil paintings." The museum's collection -- now about 10,000 works from 1739 to the present -- includes American paintings, sculpture and photographs. The museum, expanded in 2006 with the opening of the 43,000-square-foot Chase Building, is at 56 Lexington St., near Walnut Hill Park.
SOURCES: Connecticut Place Names; The Hartford Courant; New Britain Museum of American Art