Stratford, CT

Stratford, CT

Stratford is famous for two very diverse things: shipbuilding and helicopters. The English settled this historic city and named it for Shakespeare’s Stratford-on-Avon in 1639. Shipbuilding was an important industry along the Housatonic River dating back to the 1700s. In the 1800s, large schooners were built here, most notably the 280-ton Helen Mar.

Over 100 years later, the city made a name for itself in aviation. Igor Sikorsky flew the first helicopter at his Stratford manufacturing plant in 1939 and, to this day, the company manufactures helicopters for both the military and civilian markets. Aeronautics buffs can visit the Connecticut Air & Space Museum at 550 Main St., 203-380-1400) and the smaller but equally interesting National Helicopter Museum at 2480 Main St. (203-375-8857).

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