About Bridgeport, Connecticut
Located on the Pequonnock River and Long Island Sound in Fairfield County, Bridgeport is the largest city in Connecticut and has a population of just under 150,000 inhabitants. Named after the Native American tribe that used to live in the area it is the fifth largest city in New England. It’s location made the city popular for it’s shipbuilding, whaling, and trade. But it wasn’t until the railroad was introduced to the city in 1840 did it become a manufacturing point on the east coast, ultimately housing over 500 factories.
During the 1950’s Bridgeport, CT was deindustrialized; people lost their jobs and were forced to move out into the rural areas. During that time poverty and crime struck the city, from which it finally recovered over the past decade. The luxury and glory of old times is still visible in the city’s architecture, museums, theaters, galleries and park with recent renovations and restorations of historical buildings.
Due to it’s location on the Pequonnock River, Bridgeport is famous for it’s public parks, and is officially called “The Park City.” There have been parks in the area since 1666 (back then called “Public Commons”) with it’s first public square was established on 1806. The need for more parks grew as the city’s population grew. Residents donated a huge area where the city created Seaside Park, designed by the famous Frederick Law Olmsted.
Just as Greenville, SC was once famous for industry, after it’s deindustrilization and decline, Bridgeport has very limited industrial activity and has developed into a service-based economy with education, finance, and health care being the heart of the city’s economy. Bridgeport’s largest employers are it’s two main hospitals; Bridgeport Hospital and St. Vincents Medical Center.
Bridgeport has 30 elementary public schools, three high schools, two alternative schools and one vocational school. The public school system has almost 21.000 students and more than 1,700 teachers, making it the second largest in the state of Connecticut. Renovating the existing schools and constructing new ones has recently begun in an effort to improve the city’s educational facilities. There are four higher education facilities in Bridgeport; the Housatonic Community College, St. Vincent’s College, The University of Bridgeport, and the Yeshiva Gedola of Bridgeport. Although public schools are more popular, private schools are present in Bridgeport, with international, Catholic and Lutheran schools among them.