July 23, 2014
By ROSA CICCIO | Hartford Courant
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: Named in 1843 for Anson G. Phelps, a large land owner who played a major part in establishing the area as a manufacturing center. Phelps had originally wanted to call the area Phelpsville, but was advised by a local doctor to take his first name and "Latinize" it so it would have a more pleasant, poetic sound.
ORIGINS: Originally a borough of Derby, Ansonia became an independent town in 1889. It was reincorporated as a city in 1893, becoming the first city in the Lower Naugatuck Valley.
CLOCK MAKING HISTORY: In 1851 Anson Phelps founded the Ansonia Clock Co., known for its decorative imitation gold and ornate novelty clocks. The company thrived in the area until 1878 when it moved its entire operation to Brooklyn, New York. The plant ceased operations in 1930.
DID YOU KNOW: The Ansonia Public Library and the Anna Sewell Memorial Fountain were gifts from Caroline Phelps Stokes, Anson Phelps' granddaughter. Stokes' love of horses inspired her to dedicate the fountain to Sewell, best known for having written the children's classic "Black Beauty."
FAMOUS RESIDENTS: General David Humphreys, Revolutionary War officer and aid-de-camp to George Washington; former Connecticut Attorney General Carl Ajello; and former NFL running back Nick Pietrosante.
SOURCES: The Hartford Courant; Ansonia.com; derbyhistorical.org; ctmonuments.net; New York Times; CT State Register and Manual.