19th & 20th Century Immigrants


The potato famine of 1846-1851 brought large numbers of Irish immigrants to town. Many purchased homes in the Town Hill neighborhood and St. Peter Church became a focal point for the community.
Germans immigrants were the first major group to speak a foreign language in town. The majority worked as hatters. Immanuel Lutheran Church was founded in 1881 and in 1882 the church founded Danbury’s first parochial school.
The first Italians arrived in the 1880s and were employed as work crews for railroad and public works projects. Many established local businesses. Nearly half a dozen Italian fraternal groups were formed by the end of the 1800s. Italians set down the roots for what would become the city’s largest ethnic community. In 1913 all of the city’s Italian clubs combined to form the Amerigo Vespucci Lodge, Sons of Italy, the largest organization of its kind in Connecticut.
Poles and Slovaks in large numbers were drawn to Danbury; attracted by jobs in the hatting industry and on local farms. Eastern European immigrants founded St. Paul Slovak Lutheran Church, St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church and Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church.
Smaller numbers of Swedes, Hungarians, English, French, French Canadians and others also arrived. In 1887, immigrants from Eastern Europe founded the first Jewish religious organization, the Children of Israel Society.
Danbury became home to a handful of Lebanese immigrants in 1890 and would soon become Connecticut’s largest Arabic-speaking community. Many Lebanese gravitated to fur-cutting for employment and within a few decades they were the dominant nationality in the industry. The Lebanon-American Club, founded in 1922, stressed education for American citizenship as well as social activities.

On Deer Hill Avenue, Danbury, (On the right
Danbury Museum & Historical Society. (Marker Number 27
Official (Historical Marker Database)
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