Walking the Post Road

Looking west into Bridgeport, Connecticut from Boston Avenue shortly after crossing the border from Stratford.

“ Overdrawn pictures being unseemly in history, and there being no room in this book for mere word paintings, the substantial facts are given as the most agreeable and lasting to a prosperous city.”

Opening lines of “The City of Bridgeport” Chapter in Reverend Samuel Orcutt’s A History of the Town of Stratford and the City of Bridgeport, (New Haven:Tuttle and Morehouse, 1886), 693.

Distance Walked in the Entry:  4.66 miles

Total Distance Walked in Connecticut: 109.3 miles

Total Distance Walked for this Project (from Boston):  279.8 miles

Distance Remaining to New York:  67 miles


  1. 1.I used the helpful New York Times: Mapping America Interactive map for demographic data of the areas I visited on the post road. The mile-long stretch (mile 69 to 68 according to Colles map) of North Avenue (US1) that passes through Census Tract #717 in Bridgeport, which stretches from the Pequonnock River south to Main Street, is the district with 0% White, 33% Black, and 61% Hispanic residents according to the map, based on data taken from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, sampled from 2005-2009.

  2. 2.The homicide rate for all Americans, regardless of race or sex or age, was 6.1 per 100,000 in 2007 (the last year of full data).  Males were killed at a rate of 9.8 per 100,000, females at 2.5 per 100,000.  The following statistics for homicide rates are pretty eye opening: White non-Hispanic males: 3.7 per 100,000; Hispanic males: 11.2 per 100,000; Black non-Hispanic males: 37.1 per 100,000. Black males age 15-24: 85.3 per 100,000!; Black males ages 25-34: 82.5 per 100,000! Black females: 6.1 per 100,000. Conclusion: Black Males ages 25-34 die at 13.8 times the national average, 2.3 times the average for Black males, 7.7 times average for Hispanic males and 22.9 times the rate for White Non-Hispanic males. Finally, White Non-Hispanic females are murdered at a rate of 1.8 per 100,000 so you are 47 times more likely to be murdered if you are a 25 year-old black male than if you are a white female of any age. And the rate at which a 45 year-old white non-hispanic male (ME!) was murdered in 2007 was 4.2 per 100,000 so the kid passing me on the street in Bridgeport is at least 20 times more likely to be killed than I am.

  3. 3.There were 29 Homicides in Bridgeport in 2010. Connecticut typically has about 100-110 homicides per year in total so Bridgeport, population 137,000 (4% of CT total) has >25% of ALL homicides in the state of 3.5 million people. And that includes Hartford (25 murders in 2010) and New Haven (24 murders in 2010), which also have major crime problems. The homicide rate for Bridgeport as a whole for 2010 is 21 per 100,000, just for purposes of comparison to the above numbers.

  4. 4.In fact Bridgeport in 1920 constituted 45% of the total Fairfield county population (144,000 of 320,000 people), so the decline has been ongoing for almost a century.

  5. 5.The Frisbee Pie Company is often mentioned as the source of the word Frisbee. Apparently the story goes that kids would throw the used pie plates around as a game, and eventually this morphed into the plastic flying disc with which we are all familiar today. I should point out that there was a tavern run by the Widow Frisbie in Branford, Connecticut at which Hamilton stopped in 1744. The Frisbee’s of Bridgeport and the Frisbie’s of Branford are surely related, and thus I can include a discussion of Frisbees in my story of the Post Road.

  6. 6.Orcutt, 694.

  7. 7.Ibid., 276.

  8. 8.Ibid., 280.

  9. 9.Ibid., 277.

  10. 10.Washington, Diary, 22.

  11. 11. Sage, Milestones, 44.

  12. 12. According to the Wikipedia entry on Barnum, he did indeed design the cemetery and is buried there.