Native American Fort Sites, Derby

New Indian Fort, DerbyDerby honors the location of two Native American forts with inscribed boulders.

The site of the “New Fort” is marked on the southwest side of Roosevelt Drive (Route 34,) near the section with Lakeview Terrace and across the street from the Osbornedale State Park garage.

An inscription on the boulder’s northeast face reads, “The new fort. Prior to 1654, the Paugasuck (Paugasset) Indians built their second fort near this spot.”

The boulder’s southwest face bears an inscription reading, “Erected by Sarah Riggs Humprey chapter, D.A.R, 1916.”

A boulder marking the site of the natives’ first fort stands in a small traffic island near the intersection of Seymour Avenue and Division Street. The boulder’s northwest face bears an inscription reading, “Great Neck. In this locality stood the old Indian fort prior to 1654.”

New Indian Fort, DerbyDerby was settled as a trading post in 1654, and was named for Derby, England, in 1675.







New Indian Fort, Derby









New Indian Fort, Derby









Old Indian Fort site, Derby









Old Indian Fort site, Derby

















East Derby World War II Memorial, Derby

Derby honors World War II veterans from its East Derby section with a monument at the corner of Main Street (Route 34) and Derby Avenue (Route 115).

The undated monument and flagpole base, alongside the Naugatuck River and Route 8, features an engraved eagle and dedication on its front (western) face reading, “Dedicated to the memory of these men who gave their lives in World War II,” above 10 names.

The monument further honors the men and women of East Derby who served in the Second World War.

The monument isn’t dated, but we found a reference to the state moving utility poles in 1960 to improve its visibility.

The East Derby monument is a short walk from monuments honoring the wartime service of people who worked in the former Farrel Corp. factory, which stood on today’s Home Depot site.

Founders Common, Derby

A monument dedicated in 1904 marks the first green in the city of Derby.

Founders Common, as the green is known, is flanked by Academy Hill Road and Clark Avenue in East Derby.

The granite monument’s front (north) face bears a dedication reading “Ye ancient common of the founders of Derby, 1654-1904. Erected by Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America.”

The monument stands between two evergreen trees and is surrounded by three ankle-height oval markers, the significance of which was not readily apparent. The site is surrounded by a low granite fence.

At the northern tip of the green, near where Academy Hill Road and Clark Avenue meet, stands an historical marker erected in 1981. The southern side of the marker describes the settling of Derby in 1654 as well as the city’s manufacturing heritage. The marker’s north side honors American Revolution heroes General David Humpreys and Commodore Isaac Hull.

Founders Common, which slopes rather sharply from south to north, was the site of Derby’s first green and its original schoolhouse. Today’s Derby Green, in the city’s downtown section, was laid out in 1839 when the industrial section originally known as Birmingham was developed.

A fountain that stood on Founders Common until its 2007 restoration is now located about a quarter-mile to the west, at the northern end of the Derby Greenway. The fountain, which was donated to Derby in 1906 by the National Humane Alliance, originally stood in the intersection of Seymour Avenue and Atwater Avenue. The fountain was moved to Founders Common after increased traffic levels and the construction of Route 8 made its location in the middle of the roadway unsafe.

The lion head spigots decorating three sides of the fountain were recreated during the 2007 restoration. The National Humane Alliance, which was dedicated to protecting horses and other work animals, donated about 125 fountains to cities nationwide.

The fountain is part of a plaza with numerous dedication bricks.

Source: The Electronic Valley

Farrel Corp. World War Memorials, Derby

Memorial plaques honoring Farrel Corp. employees who served in the World Wars were spared when the company’s Derby factories were demolished in 2000.

The plaques now stand as part of a Main Street monument (near the corner of Water Street) built when the former Farrel site was replaced by a Home Depot.

The western plaque lists the names of 25 employees who were lost in World War II. The plaque bears the dedication “In memory of Farrel-Birmingham employees who gave their lives for their country in World War II.”

The eastern honor roll plaque honors “Employees of Birmingham Iron Foundry who served their country in the World War 1917-1919,” and lists the names of  39 employees who served. The bottom section highlights four additional employees who were killed in the conflict.

When the former Farrel manufacturing facilities were developed into the Home Depot site in 2000, the plaques were mounted on a brick monument that also features a flagpole.

Farrel Corp., in nearby Ansonia, traces its roots to the 1830s, when two brothers moved a business that cast clock weights from the Westville section of West Haven to Birmingham, a boro on the westerns side of the Naugatuck River that now comprises Derby’s downtown area.

The Birmingham Iron Foundry was founded in 1850, and, across the river, the Farrel Foundry began making components for processing equipment used in the production of rubber tires, cereal and paper.

During the Civil War, both foundries produced cannon barrels and bayonet rolling machines.

In 1927, the companies merged to form the Farrel-Birmingham Company, which adopted the Farrel Corp. name in 1963. In the years since, the company has changed ownership several times, most recently being acquired by the HF Machinery Group division of the German company L. Possehl & Co. in 2009.

Soldiers’ Monument, Derby

Soldiers' Monument, DerbyDerby’s Civil War monument, on the Elizabeth Street side of the town green, honors soldiers from Derby and Huntington (a predecessor of today’s city of Shelton) who served and died in the war. 

The Derby monument has two dedication dates. The base was dedicated in 1877. Six years later, after additional funds were raised, the based was remodeled and the infantryman statue was added. (As a side benefit, this allows you to have two dedication ceremonies, as well as the associated parades and parties.) 

Even without the figure, the monument would be impressive. The front and rear plaques honor the men of Derby and Huntington who fell during the war of the rebellion, and the side plaques list about 81 names and regimental affiliations of local residents killed during the conflict. 

Soldiers' Monument, DerbyOne side also features a brief excerpt from the “Bivouac of the Dead” poem by Theodore O’Hara, which appears on plaques and monuments in many National and Confederate cemeteries.

The base has raised inscriptions listing the battles of Atlanta, Chancellorsville (Va.), New Bern (N.C.) and Gettysburg.  

The four cannons at the base of the Derby monument are 30-pounder Parrott rifles that were manufactured in 1861 at the West Point Foundry in Cold Spring, New York. Similar cannons can be found at the Civil War monument in Seymour, which will be profiled in a future post. 

The Derby Green also features monuments to local veterans of the world wars, Korea and Vietnam, as well as a second memorial listing nine residents who were killed in Korea and Vietnam. A bell at the southwest corner of the green honors local firefighters. 



























Soldiers' Monument, Derby












Veterans' monument, Derby










Korea and Vietnam memorial, Derby










Firefighters' memorial, Derby











Connecticut Historical Society: Civil War Monuments in Connecticut