Brooklyn and Town Plot: Introduction

Named for that other city across the river in New York, Brooklyn was developed after the creation of the park-like Riverside Cemetery in the 1850s. A wooden bridge over the Naugatuck River was erected at Bank Street in 1853, followed by more substantial bridges in the 19th century as the neighborhood developed. Two railroads served manufacturing activities in the area, and later in the 19th century, the Waterbury trolley was laid out through the center of Brooklyn to the Hellmann & Kipp's brewery. By the end of the century, 5,000 people lived in Brooklyn.

 

"Everybody knew every family. My aunts and uncles lived on the same street that we did. My grandparents lived on the same street, the cousins were on the other side of the street... and that's the way it was. So if you ever had a problem, there was always someone there to help you out. It made no difference what ethnic background you were. I made some good friends. As a matter of fact, the friends I made as a grammar schooler, I have as friends now, we're still together. We bowl on Friday nights."
~ Frank C. Perrella

 

Lying along the industrial corridor at the Naugatuck River, Brooklyn was a center for Lithuanian, Irish and Italian communities. One of the most vibrant commercial centers in a city neighborhood flourished in Brooklyn. This center was severed in the flood of 1955 and highway construction and urban renewal projects of the 1960s and 1970s.

 

"I lived on Greenmount Terrace. My father was a shoemaker, he was an electrician, a mechanic.  He did it all.  He knew all these things.  He raised the chickens and he had rows and rows of grapevines.  He used to make his own wine…. I learned how to make anisette and rosolio."
~ Marge Hellmann