Place:Meriden, New Haven, Connecticut, United States

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NameMeriden
TypeCity
Coordinates41.533°N 72.8°W
Located inNew Haven, Connecticut, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Meriden is a city in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, located halfway between the regional cities of New Haven and Hartford. In 2010, the population of the city was 60,868.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

18th century

Meriden was originally a part of the neighboring town of Wallingford. It was granted a separate meetinghouse in 1727, became a town in 1806 with over 1000 residents, and incorporated as a city in 1867 with just under 9000 residents. It was once proposed as the Connecticut state capital. It was named for the village of Meriden, West Midlands, England, near Birmingham.

The oldest house in town still standing, built by Solomon Goffe in 1711, became a museum in 1986, the Solomon Goffe House.

The grave of Winston Churchill's great-great-great maternal grandfather, Timothy Jerome, can be seen today at what is now called "Burying Ground 1720" (Google Maps: 41.522877, -72.787707) at the juncture of Dexter Avenue and Lydale Place. At the time the location was known as "Buckwheat Hill," and overlooked the salt-making estate for which Jerome had received a royal grant. Timothy Jerome's son, Samuel, is the great-great grandfather of Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill's mother.

19th century to WWII

In the 1800s, Meriden became a manufacturing center of note, with several companies forming, or relocating to the city, including the Meriden Britannia Company (a predecessor of the International Silver Company with corporate HQ in Meriden), C.F. Monroe Company (1892–1916), Charles Parker Company, Parker Brothers (guns), Manning, Bowman & Co. (1849–1945), the Meriden Flint Glass Company (1876–92), Edward Miller & Co / Miller Company (1844–present), Wilcox and White, Handel Company (lamps), and the Bradley & Hubbard Manufacturing Company (1852–1940). Meriden earned the nickname "Silver City", due to the large number of silver manufacturers. In addition to hollowware, Meriden was also a significant center of cutlery production (various silver companies, Meriden Cutlery and Miller Bros. Cutlery). The small city is also known for the historical production of glass and lamps, and having secured a large number of technology and design patents by companies based in Meriden. During this time, several mansions and houses of note were built, particularly on Broad Street.

Charles Parker and his younger brother opened their first factory in Meriden in 1832, with a capital outlay of $70.00. Over the years they manufactured a wide variety of products‚ from steam engines, train wheels and printing presses to piano stools. During the Civil War, Parker's Meriden Machine Company was under Union contract to produce 10,000 repeating rifles and 15,000 Springfield rifles. Parker began producing his own shotgun, referred to as "The Gun of 1866". In 1868, Charles and his sons, Wilbur, Charles and Dexter, started the Parker Brothers Gun Company, which continued as an independent company until 1934 when it was purchased by the Remington Arms Company.

On March 7, 1860, Abraham Lincoln spoke in Meriden seeking the Republican presidential nomination.



In 1876, the Meriden Britannia Company made significant efforts at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, and won the First Place medal for plated wares. According to the Sotheby's auction house, "The publicity of the award and the impression the firm made on the fair's 8 million visitors was continued by the catalogues and other intensive marketing; by the end of the 1870s Meriden Britannia Co. was considered the largest silverware company in the world."

Meriden also was an important site for graphic arts innovation. In 1888, the Meriden Gravure Company (in Meriden 1888–1989) was founded by Charles Parker and James F. Allen, and continued a previous printing operation by Parker. The company developed an expertise in high quality image reproduction, which initially was driven by the needs of the silver industry.

Hubbard Park in the Hanging Hills was financed by Walter Hubbard (of the Bradley & Hubbard company). The design for the park was originally conceived by Hubbard in consultation with the Olmsted Brothers, sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, America's foremost landscape architect. In 1900, Castle Craig on a peak was dedicated in the park.

The Curtis Memorial Library opened in 1903. The Meriden Firearms Co. manufactured small arms from 1905 to 1918. The stock was owned by Sears, Roebuck & Company.

Hollywood connection (1937–50)

From 1937 until 1947, the International Silver Company sponsored the Silver Theater, a national radio program broadcast via CBS in Hollywood. The radio program featured many Hollywood actors and actresses of the time like Jimmy Stewart and Rosalind Russell. Over 200 programs were produced. In c. 1937-45, several Hollywood stars, including Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers and Barbara Stanwyck, endorsed the company's 1847 Rogers Bros. silverware in print advertisements in LIFE magazine.

After World War II, in 1949/50, The Silver Theatre was brought to television and broadcast on CBS, also with the International Silver Company as the sponsor. Guest stars included Eva Gabor, Kim Hunter, and Burgess Meredith.

Legacy of Meriden's grand manufacturing era

Many design objects from this manufacturing era from Meriden are in leading museums across the United States including those in Boston; at the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York (28 objects); Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; New York;[1] Philadelphia; Richmond, Virginia; Toledo, Ohio;[2] and Washington, DC. Design objects from this era from Meriden have also been included in notable exhibitions since at least 1867, with Meriden Britannia products on view at the Paris Universal Exhibition. Some comparatively recent examples include In pursuit of Beauty: Americans and the Aesthetic Movement at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (1986–87), and more recently, Modernism in American Silver: 20th century design (2005–06) in Dallas, Miami Beach, and Washington, DC, which highlighted downtown Meriden and the area's role as an important center of Modernist silver production. In 19th century Modern (2011–12) in Brooklyn, designs by the International Silver Company and the Napier Company, another Meriden manufacturer, were exhibited alongside iconic designs by Tiffany & Co. and the Thonet Brothers. In November 2016-November 2017, the city's iconic Napier penguin cocktail shaker is in an exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art; the Napier penguin is the lead image of the show.

With this level of attention, some special design objects from the era have become sought-after collectors items also at auction, sometimes due to their association with the commission or commissioner, or the product designer. For example, a painted glass and metal table lamp by Bradley and Hubbard, (c. 1920) sold for US$14,950, doubling its estimate, at Christie's auction house in New York in 1999. Later, a 14-inch, International Silver Company cocktail shaker (c. 1927) sold for US$21,600 tripling its estimate, at Christie's in New York in 2005. A Parker gun made for a Russian czar before World War I, but never delivered, was reported to have been sold for US$287,500 in 2007. In 2008, a rare Handel lamp sold for US$85,000. On March 5–6, 2014 at Sotheby's in London, "Al Capone's cocktail shaker" made by the Meriden International Sterling Company (c. 1932) achieved over 33 times its estimate with a sale price of GBP50,000 (US$83,250 on the day). Lastly, in 2014, at Sotheby's New York, a rare Paul Lobel-designed coffee service (c. 1934–35) produced by the Wilcox Silver Plate Co. / International Silver Company sold for US$377,000.

In summer 2017 alone, historical Meriden area design was exhibited in museum shows in at least Dallas, Newark, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Museum in New York, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague, The Netherlands, and the KunstHalle in Berlin, Germany. Since the 1850s, area designs have been included in over 200 exhibitions in the United States, Europe, South America and Australia.

WWII – 21st century

In 1939, Edwin Howard Armstrong, a network radio pioneer who invented FM radio, used West Peak in 1939 for the location of one of the first FM radio broadcasts. His original radio mast still stands on the peak. Currently West Peak is home to six FM broadcast stations, including WNPR, WWYZ, WKSS, WDRC-FM, WMRQ-FM and WHCN.

During World War II, factories in Meriden worked three shifts (24 hours/day). On March 8, 1944, the War Manpower Commission gave Meriden the designation as "National Ideal War Community", and Jimmy Durante and Glenn Miller entertained those at the ceremony.


In addition to manufacturers that continued operations after World War II, starting in the later 1940s, the Miller Company, Burton Tremaine, Sr. and Emily Hall Tremaine firmly put Meriden on the international, 20th century art/design map. In December 1947, Meriden became known once again as a site of design innovation, now with Modern art, via the Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art and the organization of a Painting toward architecture exhibition which opened at Hartford's Wadsworth Atheneum and later travelled to venues in 24 American cities (1947–52), including the Los Angeles Museum of Art, Houston's Contemporary Art Museum, and the Milwaukee Art Institute. The exhibition featured and referred to the leading Modernists in American and European art and architecture with a connection to then-Miller Company lighting designs. Artworks in the Meriden-based collection included those by Picasso, Braque, Gris, Mondrian, Jose de Rivera, Rufino Tamayo, and Stuart Davis, with photographs on Modern architecture design by Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius (Bauhaus), Oscar Niemeyer, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Mies van der Rohe. Substantial national media coverage reported on the exhibition, as well as regional media outlets when the show was on view. Painting toward architecture is considered one of the important art exhibitions of the 20th century.

In the 1950s, the Miller Company Collection of Abstract Art was privatized to "Mr & Mrs Burton Tremaine, Meriden, CT" and numerous artworks were lent for exhibitions nationally and internationally into the 1970s with this designation. One highlight includes two of their artworks included in 'Cézanne to Miró' (1968) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, an exhibition that later traveled to Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Caracas.


In 1965, the Miller Company addition on Center Street was completed. The black-and-white Modernist facade was designed by influential American architect Philip Johnson.

On April 27, 1976, Jimmy Carter campaigned at city hall and the Latin American Society for the nomination of the Democratic Party for President of the United States.

In 1987, the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation was founded by the noted art collector that partly worked in Meriden, before her passing, with three focus areas: learning disabilities, the arts, and the environment. The offices were located in downtown Meriden. The foundation is very well known nationally and frequently mentioned in the national American fine art press and exhibition catalogues as a funder. In c. 2010, the foundation offices were relocated to New Haven, near Yale University.

Meriden was a location chosen for the filming of the 1989 film Jacknife directed by David Jones starring Robert De Niro, Ed Harris and Kathy Baker. De Niro played a Vietnam War veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder adjusting to a return to American life. The film was adapted by the play, Strange Snow by Stephen Metcalfe, a native from the adjacent town of Cheshire, Connecticut. A number of Meriden locations can be seen in the film, including a historic house on Linsley Avenue, as well as film locations in the greater region.

The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist have their mother house in Meriden, as do the Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist.

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