From the 1800's until 1950, Danbury led the world in hat manufacturing. At the peak of its production, in 1906, its mills were putting out 36 million hats. It is believed that President Kennedy's disdain of head wear caused the decline in sales and the collapse of the industry.
The town's history is well documented in the Danbury Museum and Historical Society on Main Street. Their collection includes Dodd Hat Shop, Marian Anderson Studio, Charles Ives Birthplace and the John & Mary Rider House.
On the campus of Westside University, an amphitheater was constructed to commemorate the work of Danbury's son, Charles Ives, one of America's top composers. The Charles Ives Center for the Arts, which can seat a total of 5,500 people, hosts numerous concerts of contemporary music during the summer months. Musicals At Richter is another great open-air stage in town that thrills audiences with summertime musicals.
Danbury has numerous avenues for outdoor fun. There are several nature preserves that offer trails, forging their way through a multitude of ecosystems, that are great for hiking, biking, jogging and horseback riding. Fishing is also fun at the Tarryville Lake where bullheads and king fish are the biggest game. Budding geologists can hunt for marble and limestone deposits as well as for quartz and feldspar at Tarryville Park. There is no better place to observe the beauty of nature and all its wonderful creatures..
One of the most active sites in Danbury is Candlewood Lake. Connecticut's largest lake with 60 miles of shoreline is a man-made haven for swimming, diving, fishing and boating. And perhaps the newest addition to the action scene in town is an ice arena for hockey and figure skating, or for just cooling off on a hot summer day.
Danbury, the former Hat Capital of the World, is about 60 miles west of Hartford on I-84.