Jobs in Meriden, Connecticut, United States
Congregationalists founded the first English colony in central Connecticut in 1636 and soon settled throughout the state. They obtained a royal charter in 1662 and governed until 1818. The state has a strong maritime tradition. During the 19th century it also became a major center for financial services and manufacturing.
Irish and southeastern European immigrants came to work in the factories and introduced Catholicism. In the 1950s and 60s, economic expansion led to an influx of Puerto Rican and African-American workers, but 71 percent of the state’s population of 3.5 million is still non-Hispanic and white, and their religious traditions remain influential.
Ending of the Cold War and endemic corruption led to a period of late-20th century decline, but since 2008 the economy has begun to rebound. Finance, insurance and real estate now account for a third of the state’s GDP. manufacturing, the arts and tourism are also important. Affluent communities within commuting distance from New York make Connecticut a high-income state, but wealth is unevenly distributed and many older industrial cities are now impoverished.
MERIDEN – Silver City
Portrait of Contemporary Meriden
With a population of just over 60,000, Meriden is the ninth largest city in the state of Connecticut. It is located in the northern part of New Haven County in the vicinity of the rocky peaks of the Metacomet Ridge. New Haven is an affluent county, but Meriden is not particularly affluent. Unemployment is not too high, but median household income is below the state average and barely equal to the US average.
Non-Hispanic Whites comprise 60% of the city’s population, followed by Hispanics (all races, 27%) and Black African-Americans (10%). In its heyday, Meriden gained an international reputation for engraved silver and graphic arts, but in the 1980s and 90sthe city lost its industrial base and much of its charm. The downtown ‘Hub,’ once a center of industrial and commercial activity, became abandoned, crime-ridden and environmentally contaminated.
Most residents now work at Yale or in low-paying service and retail jobs in Greater New Haven or the New York metropolitan area. Recently private and public investors have joined forces to implement a Site Reuse Plan for the distressed downtown. A 14-acre land reclamation and flood control park– Meriden Green – opened in 2016 as a vibrant public space in the town center. Two mixed-use residential complexes on adjacent vacant land have been approved for completion by 2020.
In the late 19th century a wealthy citizen donated a large tract of land in the Hanging Hills Peaks for use as a free public park. Hubbard Park features woodlands, streams, gardens, an outdoor bandstand, picnic spots and the manmade, Mirror Lake. Castle Craig, a stone tower and observatory constructed in 1900 offers panoramic views in all directions.
There are several other parks and trails in or near the city and in South Meriden the Quinnipiac River meanders through a cliff-lined gorge. The climate is continental with four distinct seasons.
Early History and Industrial Revolution
Meriden became a town at the beginning of the 19th century and incorporated as a city in 1867. Besides its silver hollow ware and silver plate, Meriden factories produced cut glass, glass lamps and small arms. The city also developed an important printmaking industry, building on its silver engraving expertise.
Meriden won many design awards, and many silver and glass design objects produced in Meriden are found in museums around the world. In 1937, the International Silver Company (ISC) founded the Silver Theater, a national radio program broadcast from Hollywood for ten years, subsequently taken over as a CBS television program.
In 1939 the inventor of FM radio constructed a broadcasting station on West Peak; today six stations operate from the Metacomet Ridge. After WWII, the Miller Company, a lamp manufacturer, mounted a world-renowned exhibition of modern art and photography showing links between lighting design, painting and architecture. Now, ISC is closed and Miller has become a US distributor of copper-based alloys produced by the German firm, Diehl Metall.
Amenities and Cultural Attractions
Two charitable organizations founded in Meriden (the Emily Tremaine Foundation and the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist) provide valuable social, educational and healthcare services to disadvantaged people in the area. Many unique historic buildings and sites are maintained by the Meriden Historical Society.
The neo-classical Curtis Memorial Library and Cultural Center is a venue for small events. Gallery 53 is home to the Arts &Crafts Association of Meriden.
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