Town Plot

Town Plot, at the top of the hill, was the original place of settlement in Waterbury in the 17th century before the permanent town was laid out on the east side of the river.  The continued occupation of the high ridge can be seen in the 19th century farm houses that survive along Highland Avenue. 


"[My father Thomas Izzo] settled in Waterbury, and bought land on Fairfield Avenue, where we are now.  Only at that time it was more like a dirt road.  My mother didn’t want to go live up there, because she didn’t want to go to the woods.  ...but she had to go where he went.  He built the house himself, built the garage, the house, and bought a long strip of land, which he used to make this great big garden.  It stretched from the top of the hill...."
~ Genove Izzo Ryan


In the early decades of the 20th century, Town Plot attracted new homeowners seeking more open space than the densely settled, older neighborhoods of Brooklyn and the South End could offer.  Civic improvements in the area, including the development of Chase Park in 1911, the construction of Chase Parkway in the 1920s, and the construction of St. Margaret's school in 1927, brought greater public attention and transportation services to the neighborhood.


"My father bought land here [in 1912]. The lots were $25. …then when he got a little more money... they started building…. my Aunt Grace Cipriano and my Uncle Tom, they bought [a lot on] Wilkenda Avenue, 150 feet. My Aunt Mary, next door to us, she bought 150 feet. She’s on Wilkenda Avenue, the corner right up here. My Uncle Tony, down below, he comes down here, he bought 150 feet. It was cheap… "
~ Josephina Angelicola


Many of the new homeowners were Italian families building single family homes, often in proximity to other family members.  Many of the homes were built by the owners themselves, with the help of family and friends, with extensive vegetable gardens nearby.  The construction of the church and school of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in the 1940s and '50s, and its related festivals and activities added to the attraction and vitality of the neighborhood, and served as a center for a close-knit Italian community.  Nearly a third of the residents were Italian natives or first generation in Waterbury in 1970.


"At one time the Madonna, the Lady of Mt. Carmel Madonna, instead of being carried on a float as it is today, was carried on peoples' shoulders. Today they do it on a truck and it's all decorated... as they go by, people put money on [the float]. We have a feast and the feast has been going on for over 60 years. "
~ Louise Ingala, describing the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.