What Life Was Like in the Hat City

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish

By Renato Ghio

The 1950s had its fair share of ups and downs like any decade, especially here in Danbury. In fact, our downtown was forever transformed in the 1955 flood. Many longtime residents still talk about it today.

You can get a look at what life was like in the Hat City during the era of poodle skirts, car hops and the Jitterbug at Focus on the Fifties, the latest free exhibit going on now at the Danbury Museum and Historical Society. It showcases Danbury people, places, events and objects that defined our city for a decade.

The show features classic (and coveted) baseball cards, photographs, fashion, children’s toys and more. Did you know in the 1950s there was skiing on a portion of land off Mountainville Road, which is now part of Tarrywile Park? There was a towrope, two trails and floodlights for night skiing. In 1953, Danbury hosted what at the time was the biggest parade in the city’s history, the Hatter’s Day Parade. However, by the mid-1950s only one hat factory was still in town, the Danbury Rough Hat Co. on Delay Street.

As a supplement to the exhibit, the museum has been holding special 1950s-inspired events. This summer, the museum hosted a series of family fun days, each focused on a popular pastime from the decade, including hula-hoops and dance moves, dominoes and Silly Putty. On September 18, they are having a special event in conjunction with The Danbury Lanes for a duckpin bowling and cruise night. The day features 1950s rollback prices on snacks and bowling. Then, coming up on Saturday, September 26, you can catch the local band The Red Hots performing 1950s music at the museum.

The exhibit runs through October 31. The Danbury Museum and Historical Society, located at 43 Main Street, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm. For more information, call 203-743-5200.

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