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Fair Haven, New Haven

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Fair Haven, New Haven

Fair Haven
Neighborhood of New Haven
View of the Quinnipiac Brewery from the Grand Avenue Bridge
View of the Quinnipiac Brewery from the Grand Avenue Bridge
Fair Haven within New Haven
Fair Haven within New Haven
Country United States
State Connecticut
City New Haven

Fair Haven is a neighborhood in the eastern part of the city of New Haven, Connecticut, between the Mill and Quinnipiac rivers. The northeast section of the neighborhood is also known as Chatham Square.

In 2010, New Haven mayor John DeStefano, Jr. summarized Fair Haven by remarking that people in Fair Haven stay in the neighborhood to shop, eat, go to school and worship. "More than any other neighborhood in the city," Fair Haven is rooted in and contained within itself.[1]

Fair Haven is located about two miles east of the New Haven Green comprising New Haven wards 14, 15, 16, and a portion of 8.[2] It is bounded on the east and south by the Quinnipiac River, on the west by the Mill River, on the northwest by Amtrak railroad tracks, and on the north by I-91 (in the vicinity of Exit 7). The main through routes of the area are Grand Avenue, Blatchley Avenue, and Ferry Street.

In its early days, the area was called by a succession of names including Farmes, East Farmes, The Neck, Dragon, and Clamtown. Herman Hotchkiss is credited as founder due to his investments and development.

Fair Haven is not to be confused with the adjacent Fair Haven Heights neighborhood.


  • History 1
    • 17th century 1.1
    • 18th century 1.2
    • 19th century 1.3
    • 20th century 1.4
    • 21st century 1.5
  • Historical populations 2
  • Flora and fauna 3
  • Notables sites 4
  • Notable sites of the past 5
  • List of streets 6
  • References 7
  • Bibliography 8
    • Digital 8.1
    • Print 8.2


17th century

Prior to its founding by European settlers, Fair Haven was used by the Momauguin group of Quinnipiack Native Americans for farming.

Historic homes on Front Street

It is said that in 1639, when Captain Richard Russell first viewed the harbor, "The sight of the harbor did so please the Captain of the ship, that they called it a Fayre Haven." In 1640, the area currently called Fair Haven was named 'The Neck'. Fair Haven was originally a village formed in 1679 to house industrial workers, as the area was a source of oysters and other products of the rivers and nearby harbor. It is said to have produced almost 5,000 gallons of oysters per day in season when at its peak. Besides oyster houses, manufacturing plants and a brewery were established. In the beginning, Fair Haven could only be reached by boat, on foot, or on horseback. In time, dirt roads were laid, for use by horse-drawn vehicles.

18th century

In 1784 Fair Haven became a part of the city of New Haven. The Pardee Family of East Haven began a ferry service across the Quinnipiac in 1785. The service was discontinued in 1791 with the construction of the Dragon Bridge.

19th century

In 1806, land was donated for Fair Haven Union Cemetery.

By 1808, Fair Haven had 50 houses.

In 1820, the first apartment building for multiple residences was built.

In 1824, residents changed the name of their home from 'Dragon' to 'Fair Haven'.

By 1830, the oyster beds were dried up.

In 1835, importation of oysters began, with the supply being replenished by 1900.

Factory buildings on River Street

In 1837 Fair Haven withdrew from the jurisdiction of New Haven.

A number of homes in Fair Haven were used to hide slaves in the Underground Railroad.

By the time of the Civil War, some streets had been paved. There was an influx of immigrants after the war, notably Irish, German, Polish, Italian and Russian. One area with a large number of Irish was nicknamed 'little Dublin'.

In 1860, a group of local businessmen drew up a charter to build and operate a horsecar line of one or two tracks between Fair Haven and Westville.

In 1866, Samuel L. Blatchley developed Blatchley Ave., building moderately-priced homes for local workers.

St. Francis Church held its first service in 1867.

In 1870 Fair Haven rejoined New Haven.

In 1885, Nathaniel Graniss donated land for the construction of the First Quinnipiac School.

In 1888,

  • Harrison's Illustrated Guide: Greater New Haven ISBN 0-927054-39-6
  • Images of America: New Haven - Reshaping the City 1900-1980 ISBN 0-7385-1032-7
  • New Haven - A Guide to Architecture and Urban Design ISBN 0-300-01993-9
  • The Streets of New Haven - The Origin of Their Names, 2nd edition 1998 ISBN 0-943143-02-0
  • Three Centuries of New Haven - The Tercentenary History ISBN 0-300-00812-0


  • A River Runs Through It - A Brief History of Fair Haven
  • - Clinton Avenue School
  • The Community and You: Learning Your Way Around Fair Haven
  • DataHaven
  • Fair Haven: An Historical and Ecological Field Study
  • Fair Haven Community and the Grand Avenue Bridge
  • Fair Haven Walking Tour
  • The Fair Haven & Westville Railroad
  • New Haven Vital Statistics
  • Population of Connecticut Towns 1756-1820



  1. ^ This Farmacia Delivers - September 22, 2010 at New Haven Independent
  2. ^ City of New Haven Street Map
  3. ^ Life in the Model City: The Process of Urban Renewal - The Process of Redevelopment
  4. ^ Quinnipiac River Water Testing
  5. ^ Grand Avenue plants
  6. ^,+cedar+hill&hl=en&ei=AHofTJoJ0r6sB_Cb1bUL&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CFYQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q&f=false Public documents of the State of Connecticut, Volume 3, Part 1 By Connecticut


Street Origin of name Other
2nd St.
Alton St. possibly Alton, Hampshire, England previously called Arch St.
Atwater St. probably William Atwater, Fair Haven native and realtor
Bailey St. William R. Bailey, farmer shortened with construction of I-91
Beach View Ln. new street added with 2006 Quinnipiac Terrace redevelopment
Blatchley Ave. Samuel L. Blatchley, realtor and developer segment previously named Jackson
Brewery Sq.
Bright St. Bright family, wholesale rag dealers
Castle St.
Chambers St. possibly William R. Chambers, file manufacturer previously called 3rd St.
Chapel St. Yale College Chapel previously called Winthrop St.
Chatham St. Chatham, England
Clay St. Henry Clay, U.S. statesman
Clinton Ave. DeWitt Clinton, governor of New York
Clinton Pl.
Del Rio Dr. new street added with 2006 Quinnipiac Terrace redevelopment
Dover Dr.
Dover St. Dover, England, a seaside resort partially obliterated in 1923 with creation of Clinton Park
Downing St. probably Downing St. in London
East Pearl St. originally named Pearl Street, perhaps because of the custom of using crushed oyster shells as a road surface
English St. Nathaniel S. English, farmer
Exchange St. location of an exchange office where oyster were traded for merchandise or for money
Fawn St. possibly named for a fawn sighted in the area
Ferry St. route to a ferry crossing the river originally Ferry Path, although the diagonal street was relaid straight; also previously called Guilford Tpke
Fillmore St. Millard Fillmore, 13th U.S. President
Fox St. Isadore Fox, landowner
Front St. in front of the river thought to be the oldest road in Fair Haven, with the exception of Ferry Path; it used to be low enough that oyster boats could reach houses at high tide
Grafton St. probably Grafton St., Dublin, Ireland
Grand Ave. called Grand St. until 1871; East Grand St. until 1887
Haven St. probably a haven for boats
Houston St. Senator Sam Houston
James St. possibly James Hillhouse, landowner, but probably James E. English, land developer
John W. Murphy Dr. Mayor of New Haven from 1940-1941, a Fair Haven native
John Williamson Dr. John Williamson, a basketball player from New Haven new street added with 2006 Quinnipiac Terrace redevelopment
Lewis St. Charles Lewis, ship master and oyster dealer
Limerick St. Limerick, Ireland
Lloyd St. Sarah Lloyd, wife of James Hillhouse
Lombard St. Lombardy poplar trees planted by James Hillhouse on his land
Main St. Amasa Porter, developer, probably mistakenly thought the area would maintain its importance as a main street
Maltby Pl. Oliver E. Maltby, wealthy retired New York businessman
Maltby St. Maltby family, early Fair Haven settlers
Market St. possible site of an old farmers' market
Middletown Ave. Middletown, Connecticut
Mill St. Mill River
Monroe St. James Monroe, 5th U.S. President
Murray Pl. Peter Murray, carpenter
Park Pl. Clinton Park
Peck Aly.
Peck St. probably William A. Peck, landowner
Perkins St. Charles Perkins, landowner
Pierpont St. Rev. James Pierpont
Pine Aly.
Pine Pl.
Pine St. Pine grove near the Quinnipiac River
Poplar St. Lombardy poplar trees
Qualmish Ave. Fair Haven Union Cemetery road
Richard St.
River St. Quinnipiac River
Rowe St. Rowe family, prominent Civil-War era Fair Haveners interrupted by I-95
Saltonstall Ave. Rev. Gurdon Saltonstall
Saltonstall Ct.
Sandford St. Captain Titus Sanford, steamboat pilot and landowner previously called 4th St.
Shelter St. possibly Shelter Island
Wilcox Pl. Edward T. Wilcox, joiner
Wolcott St. Governor Oliver Wolcott
Woolsey St. Rebecca Woolsey or Theodore D. Woolsey, President of Yale

List of streets

Notable sites of the past

Notables sites

Aside from stray cats and dogs, other small animals that can be found in Fair Haven include mice, urban frogs, opossums, raccoons, and squirrels. Common birds include blue jays, feral pigeons, robins, and starlings. Along Dover Beach, there are scuds and caddisflies.[4] Plants include the autumn olive, the beach rose, Spartina alterniflora, Rosa virginiana, and the weeping willow.[5]

Flora and fauna

  • 1808 - 150 (15 families)
  • 1837 - 1,000
  • 1850 - 1,317
  • 1870 - 5,600
  • 1930 - 23,960
  • 1989 - 13,895
  • 1990 - 14,545
  • 2000 - 13,753 (4,724 households)

Historical populations

The waterfront area (Front Street and adjacent streets) have been redeveloped in the last decade, including construction of luxury condominiums, renovation of the Fair Haven marina, demolition of the Quinnipiac Terrace public housing project and replacement with a Cape Cod style village with both subsidized and market rate units, and the renovation of many of the old oyster houses. This part of Fair Haven has attracted a culturally diverse mix of young professionals, students, artists, and families with children. Other parts of Fair Haven continue to struggle with poverty related problems such as crime and homelessness.

21st century

In the early 1980s, many buildings on Grand Avenue were renovated.

In 1978, a local historic district was created.

As part of Mayor Richard C. Lee's urban renewal program, 107 Fair Haven households were displaced in the 1960s.[3]

By the 1930s, Fair Haven was home to more immigrants than 'natives'. Many black and Puerto Rican families migrated into Fair Haven by the 1960s. Redevelopment occurred along the Quinnipiac River.

The southern portion of Front Street in Fair Haven, as seen from the Grand Avenue bridge in May, 2005.
20th century
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