city, coextensive with the town (township) of Danbury, Fairfield county, southwestern Connecticut, U.S. It lies along the Still River in the foothills of the Berkshire Hills. Settled in 1685, it was named in 1687 for Danbury, England, and was incorporated as a town in 1702. The municipality within the original town tract became a borough in 1822 and a city in 1889; the town and city were consolidated in 1965. An important military depot for the American Revolutionary armies, it was burned and looted in April 1777 by the British under Major General William Tryon. Danbury is now a manufacturing city. Its products include optical equipment, ball bearings, pharmaceuticals, and machinery, and it is the location of the corporate headquarters of Union Carbide Corporation, a major manufacturer of petrochemicals. Danbury once was known for its hat industry, begun in 1780 by Zadoc Benedict-who made beaver hats-and lasting until the 1950s, when the wearing of hats declined. The Scott-Fanton Museum has a historical display of hats. The Danbury Fair, held annually from 1869 until it closed in 1981 to make way for a shopping mall, was Connecticut's largest. Western Connecticut State University (1903) is in Danbury. A resort area based on the artificial Candlewood Lake (with more than 60 miles [97 km] of shoreline) adjoins the town. Pop. (1990) city, 65,585; Danbury PMSA, 193,597; (2000) city, 74,848; Danbury PMSA, 217,980.
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