Railroad bridge over the Naugatuck River in Ansonia being repaired after 1955 Flood - photo credit: UConn Library
Ansonia was incorporated in the late 1890's, intended from the outset to serve as a center of industry, joining a growing number of similar communities in New England at the time along the Naugatuck River. Similar to other factory towns at the time, a canal was built running parallel to the river at the steepest stretch, this one designed to provide power exclusively and not travel.
Built in 1903 by the American Bridge Company of NY as part of the original Naugatuck Railroad by industrialist Alfred Bishop, the 317-feet long Warren-through-truss bridge over the Naugatuck River at Ansonia provided service primarily to factories along the river, transporting materials and finished products to and from Bridgeport. The bridge was damaged during the 1955 Flood and in this photo from the UConn Library, crews worked to repair the line, which by that time was part of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad. The track remains in service today.
Front page headlines of the Naugatuck Daily News on August 21, 1955
The Sanborn Fire Insurance Map below from 1911 show the proximity of the American Brass Manufacturing Company to the Naugatuck River. According to reports, this factory was under 14 feet of water during the 1955 Flood and sustained $4.5 million worth of damage. The power canal and railroad tracks on the right side.
After the 1955 Flood, the US Army Corps of Engineers bolstered the network of flood protection infrastructure along the Naugatuck River by adding nearly two miles of earthfilled dike and one mile of concrete flood wall, all supported by four pump stations. A substantial length of the river passing through the city was straightened and banks reinforced with rip rap. A 1400-foot long conduit with five swing gates control access of railroad and motor vehicle traffic in the area.
The railroad bridge and the flood protection infrastructure in modern-day Ansonia.