Beacon Falls, Connecticut
Official seal of Beacon Falls, Connecticut
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°26′19″N 73°03′20″W / 41.43861°N 73.05556°W / 41.43861; -73.05556Coordinates: 41°26′19″N 73°03′20″W / 41.43861°N 73.05556°W / 41.43861; -73.05556
CountryUnited States
CountyNew Haven
Metropolitan areaNew Haven
 • TypeSelectman-town meeting
 • First SelectmanGerard Smith (U) [1]
 • SelectmenMichael A Krenesky (R)
Peter Betkoski (D)
 • Total9.9 sq mi (25.6 km2)
 • Land9.8 sq mi (25.3 km2)
 • Water0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
207 ft (63 m)
 • Total6,000
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code203
FIPS code09-03250
GNIS feature ID0213387
Home Woolen Company, Beacon Falls, Connecticut
Home Woolen Company, Beacon Falls, Connecticut

Beacon Falls is a town in western New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. It lies in the southwestern part of the state, and is bisected by the Naugatuck River. The population was 6,000 at the 2020 census, down from 6,049 at the 2010 census.[2]


The area that was to become Beacon Falls was first inhabited by tribal communities of Paugusetts and Paugusucks and was originally known as Nyumps.[3] Early history texts indicate that a former Native American slave called Toby bought much of the land that was to become the town on September 7, 1693, for 10 pounds and a barrel of cider.[4]

Settlers from Derby, Connecticut moved to the area in 1678 and the town was incorporated in 1871 on lands carved from the neighboring towns of Bethany, Seymour, Naugatuck and Oxford.[5] The town was named for Beacon Hill, from which a small waterfall descended.[6]


The history of Beacon Falls is tied to the series of manufacturing concerns that operated in the town's impressive brick factory buildings on North Main Street, adjacent to the Naugatuck River. The last and most successful of those concerns was the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries rubber manufacturing thrived in the Lower Naugatuck Valley. This followed the invention and 1844 patent, by Connecticut native Charles Goodyear, of a chemical process called vulcanization to convert natural rubber into a durable, flexible, waterproof material. In the 1850s the American Hard Rubber Company built a brick factory in Beacon Falls, utilizing water power from the Naugatuck River. The company made buttons, whip sockets, and powder flasks. After that company was acquired and moved to Long Island, the empty brick building was bought by the Home Woolen Company, which in the 1860s expanded and manufactured woolen shawls, popular at the time with men, women and Civil War soldiers. The Home Woolen Company operated for 20-plus years until it became insolvent in 1887.

The 1898 inception of the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company lay in the decision of George Lewis, president of the Goodyear Metallic Rubber Shoe Co. of Naugatuck, Connecticut, and his son Tracy S. Lewis, secretary and treasurer of that company, to resign and start a new business together. In 1898 the two Lewis men bought the Home Woolen Company facility and started the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company. The new company enjoyed great success for over two decades. From 150 pairs of shoes manufactured in 1899, by 1920 5.5 million pair were shipped; during that same time the town's population doubled. The company specialized in rubber soled boots with leather uppers (like today's L.L. Bean boots), and rubber soled athletic shoes with canvas uppers (now called sneakers). The footwear was marketed under the brand name, Top Notch.

The Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company was a tremendous physical, economic, and cultural presence in Beacon Falls. It made major civic efforts to enhance the town and the lives of its employees, including building a movie theater, with an assembly room and dance hall for public use, sponsoring a musical band that gave daily performances, and commissioning the influential landscape architectural firm Olmsted Brothers to create an overall design for company lands and buildings. The resulting plan embraced the Tracy S. Lewis House and a neighborhood of workers' homes above the factory.

Tracy Lewis died prematurely in 1921 at age 47, marking the demise of the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Company, followed by the gradual end of manufacturing at the Beacon Falls facility. After Lewis's death, and after nearly a dozen years fighting against the infamous Rubber Trust (the Rubber Trust was a consolidation of rubber companies lead by the United States Rubber Company), the company was acquired by the United States Rubber Company in Naugatuck (formerly Goodyear Metallic Rubber Shoe Co., renamed Uniroyal, Inc. in 1961), and the Beacon Falls athletic shoe was renamed "Keds." Production in the elegant brick factory buildings ended during the Great Depression in 1930, after which the buildings were used only for storage. Several buildings associated with the company, including the movie theater, were destroyed when the State of Connecticut widened the road in front of the factory in 1949, and when the Flood of 1955 (Connecticut) flooded the Naugatuck River, causing extensive damage through the valley. In 1984 the brick factory buildings were placed on the National Register of Historical Places as the "Home Woolen Company" (#84000410—"also known as Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Factory"). In the late 1980s the buildings were converted to a 188-unit, full-amenity apartment complex called Beacon Mill Village. The "Depot Street Bridge," spanning the Naugatuck River across from the old brick factory, is also on the National Register of Historical Places (#07000108). Built in 1935 of riveted steel, it was designed by engineers from the Public Works Administration and the Connecticut Highway Department. The bridge joins the two parts of Beacon Falls bisected by the river.

A second major historical Beacon Falls business, where many town residents worked over the years, was the Homer D. Bronson Company. In 1884 the company moved to Beacon Falls from Waterbury, Connecticut (known as "the brass capital of the world"). The Homer D. Bronson Company manufactured a multitude of brass items, specializing in hinges used in industry and homes; automobile hood hinges were a major product. The company survived both the Great Depression and the Flood of 1955. Now named HDB Inc., its present-day website states that it has been "a leader in the engineered hinge and metal stamping markets since 1839." In 1986 the company moved to Winsted, Connecticut.

Significant people and events

Beacon Falls is home to the nationally known Meteorologist Jim Cantore and U.S. Congressman Ronald A. Sarasin.

On May 15, 2018, one of the four EF1 tornadoes that struck CT had a 9.1 mile path that started in Beacon Falls and caused serious damage to homes and infrastructure.[7]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 9.9 square miles (26 km2), of which, 9.8 square miles (25 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (1.01%) is water.

The village of Pine Bridge, once known as Pines Bridge, is located within the town, south of the town center. Beacon Falls has been known as Beacon Falls Station, Beacon Falls Village, and the Beacon Falls Postal District within Bethany.[8][9][10]

The Beacon Falls (Metro-North station) is on the Waterbury branch of the New Haven line.

On the National Register of Historic Places

On the State Register of Historic Places


See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income

Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,049 people, divided into 2,509 total households, with 2,360 occupied households in the town. The racial makeup (population) of the town was 91.2% White, 1.4% African American, 1.2% Asian, and 0.8% from two or more races, while 5.0% identified as either Hispanic or Latino.[12]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 5,246 people, 2,032 households, and 1,450 families residing in the town. The population density was 536.6 inhabitants per square mile (207.2/km2). There were 2,104 housing units at an average density of 215.2 per square mile (83.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.97% White, 0.72% African American, 0.08% Native American, 1.03% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.13% of the population.

There were 2,032 households, out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.2% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families; 23.0% were made up of individuals, and 6.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.2% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 35.1% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $56,592, and the median income for a family was $62,461. Males had a median income of $41,696 versus $34,844 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,285. About 4.2% of families and 5.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.8% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.

Beacon Falls is home to Woodland Regional High School, which opened in 2001. Woodland is part of Regional School District #16 (Beacon Falls and Prospect), which also consists of Long River Middle School (P), Laurel Ledge Elementary School (BF), and Prospect Elementary School (P).

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 29, 2019[14]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Democratic 1126 53 1,179 25.06%
Republican 1164 48 1,212 25.76%
Unaffiliated 2,109 124 2,233 47.46%
Minor Parties 72 9 81 1.72%
Total 4,471 234 4,705 100%
Presidential Election Results[15][16]
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2020 40.6% 1,543 57.6% 2,191 1.8% 69
2016 34.4% 1,146 60.2% 2,002 5.4% 180
2012 43.9% 1,300 54.0% 1,598 2.1% 61
2008 47.7% 1,483 50.5% 1,576 1.8% 58
2004 41.5% 1,206 56.0% 1,634 2.5% 74
2000 47.6% 1,198 45.9% 1,158 6.5% 164
1996 45.4% 1,055 37.3% 868 17.3% 404
1992 29.6% 763 39.3% 1,019 31.1% 808
1988 43.1% 866 55.6% 1,119 1.3% 27
1984 31.0% 594 68.4% 1,311 0.6% 12
1980 34.7% 606 54.4% 951 10.9% 191
1976 48.7% 884 50.8% 922 0.5% 9
1972 38.4% 668 60.0% 1,045 1.6% 28
1968 53.1% 841 36.3% 576 10.6% 168
1964 72.7% 1,130 27.3% 425 0.00% 0
1960 66.0% 1,044 34.0% 540 0.00% 0
1956 47.2% 619 52.8% 692 0.00% 0

See also


  1. ^ "Smith wins first selectman seat in Beacon Falls". November 6, 2019.
  2. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Beacon Falls town, New Haven County, Connecticut". Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  3. ^ "Beacon Falls". September 12, 2011. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  4. ^ Mark Heiss; Beacon Falls Historical Society (2012). Beacon Falls. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 1–. ISBN 978-0-7385-9143-8.
  5. ^ The Connecticut Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly. Connecticut Magazine Company. 1903. p. 330.
  6. ^ "Acquisition of the land and first settlers" (PDF). 1871. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 4, 2021. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  7. ^ Puffer, Michael (May 16, 2018). "Tornado leaves dangerous conditions in its wake: Aftermath is 'horrifying'". Republican-American. Archived from the original on August 4, 2018. Retrieved May 31, 2018.
  8. ^ Geographic Names Information System database
  9. ^ "The Valley of the Naugatuck", National Magazine, January 1858, pg 11-20
  10. ^ "Indians of the Housatonic and Naugatuck Valleys", Samuel Orcutt, Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, pg 44, 1882
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ Connecticut State Data Center. (2011). Connecticut Town Population 2010 & 2000. Retrieved from "Connecticut State Data Center - 2010 US Census PL 94-171 Change Viewer". Archived from the original on March 21, 2011. Retrieved April 3, 2011.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  14. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 29, 2019" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  15. ^ "General Election Statements of Vote, 1922 – Current". CT Secretary of State. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  16. ^ "Election Night Reporting". CT Secretary of State. Retrieved December 16, 2020.