Business or Individual SPONSORSHIP
that we will be placing in historic locations throughout Bethel

TOUR BOXES...$250.00

Bethel Tour Boxes Map Advertising...$200





bethel images of america
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bethel historic tales
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bethel historic tales
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IMAGES of America
Historic Tales of
Separated from Danbury in 1855, Bethel was settled as early as 1700. Studies of the town's unique and colorful past have been somewhat neglected until recently. With Bethel, town historian Patrick Wild brings to life the people, places, industries, and institutions of the independent town from the 1860s through the 1950s.

The Bethel Historical Society,
the Art Young Gallery, and Seraphemera Books, announce the long-overdue return of illustrator and visionary Art Young with TYPES OF THE OLD HOME TOWN - the never-before published, lost for 50+ years, manuscript of Art Young, Dean of American Cartoonists, who lived and had an art gallery here in Bethel from 1904 - 1942.
Learn more, see more
of the illustrations and texts, at:


Bethel, Connecticut, was settled as early as 1700 in the rolling hills of northern Fairfield County. Rooted in hat manufacturing, the town offered many residents employment in the factories of Hickocks, Judds and Benedicts. Bethel is also the birthplace of celebrated showman P. T. Barnum, who became an international celebrity yet never forgot his hometown.

bethel historic tales
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Benj Hoyt's Book
A Diary written in BETHEL, 1830

Selected Letters of P.T. Barnum
Signed by the author -
A. H. Saxon

History of
BETHEL 1759 - 1976
Memories of a Danbury, Connecticut man who was born in 1778, heard first hand accounts about the burning of Danbury by the British, saw the New Hampshire troops stationed there during the winter of '79, and remembers the return of the French troops from Yorktown, as well as recollections of his school days in the Bethel parish.

As the author, A. H. Saxon,  indicates, P.T. Barnum has the paradoxical distinction of being one of America's best known, least understood phenomena.  As the reader moves through his letters from 1810 to 1891, one will discover a man who was full of ideas, a humorist, a social critic and a very
complicated man.
Sold Out
Bethel, Connecticut, until 1855, when the town of Bethel was incorporated, is a history of Bethel as a part of Danbury and is accordingly incomplete, since the records were burned by the British during the Revolutionary War in the raid on Danbury.

P.T. Barnum Fountain
Pewter Medallion

P.T. Barnum House c: 1790
Pewter Medallion

Seal - Bethel Historical Society
Pewter Medallion

P.T. Barnum Fountain, presented by P.T. Barnum to Bethel in 1881, was an 18-foot high baroque Triton with a basin that was 30 feet in diameter.  It was disassembled and moved away in 1924.




P.T. Barnum House c: 1790
P.T. Barnum was born in this house July 5, 1810.  A fire in the 1840's destroyed the front portion of the home, leaving only the kitchen and woodhouse.  The house was renovated and Barnum's mother continued to reside there until her death on March 14, 1868.  The P.T. Barnum house continues to
stand today.


The Meeting House, pictured at the top of the seal, was copied from an old wood cut.  
The structure was built in 1760.  
The hat factory depicted in the seal once stood on P.T. Barnum Square.  At that time, hatmaking was the Town's principal occupation.  
The cows and rail fence are a reminder of the "milking yard" where the first settlers went to milk their cows.  


  P.T. Barnum Statue -  Commissioned by the Bethel Historical Society, working with sculptor David Gesualdi, the statue depicts Barnum stepping out, hat held high, to meet his next challenge.  The statue was dedicated to the Town of Bethel on September 26, 2010 and stands in front of the Bethel Public Library.


P.T. Barnum Statue
Pewter Medallion

Each P.T. Barnum Pewter Medallion is $10..........Buy the set of 3 for $25

P.T. Barnum Pewter Medallion Set of 3


Note Cards
Set of 6 Note Cards, 2 of each picture $10.00

a little history of Bethel...Journals

Six different blank-book/journals with a love of Bethel's past and a
clean slate to pen your very own history of the future.

200 pages of high-quality linen paper, each section of the journal is wrapped with 2 (for a total of 12) vintage photographs/images from the Archives of the Bethel Historical Society reproduced in amazing color/sepiatone/black&white.  All books are hand-stitched & hand-made by local artisans seraphemera books

Books are $30 ea. or purchase the set of six for $150 (+ shipping charges)

Books are available locally in Bethel at

Byrd’s Books (125 Greenwood Ave) & Gift Cottage (154 Greenwood Ave)

1. The Barnum of Barnums

2. Bailey 1879 Bethel Map

3. Hatters Amongst Us

Containing images including a woodcut of Barnum's childhood home, a woodcut of the museum that never was, Barnum as a Hum-Bug, an image from his trip to Yosemite and more.

The front cover is a painting held in the museum of the Bethel Historical Society, the back cover is the statue dedicated by BHS, at the Bethel Public Library, for Barnum's 200th birthday.

Containing images from the hand-drawn aerial map of Bethel as made by O.H. Bailey. Buildings identified include a number of schools, churches and hat factories.

The front cover shows Main Street and the then Town Hall (now Bethel Historical Society) the back cover shows the fanciful map logo over the hills leading toward Danbury.

Containing images including hatters working in a Bethel hat factory, a group photograph of the fur trimmers of the Edwin Short factory, and images from Judd & Andrews, Cole & Abler and more...

The front cover is the "Gold Mine" hat factory, named for its extraordinary sales output, the back cover is an unidentified worker from the Barton Rough Hat Factory.


4. Railroading Through Bethel

5. Buildings 'Round Town

6. The People We Knew

Containing images including the engine Bethel at the South Street crossing in Danbury, the only known photo of the trestle over Wooster St and also a foldout map showing the path of the railroad through the
downtown area.

The front and back covers show Engine #15 of the Housatonic line at the Bethel Depot in 1889.

Containing images including the Squires Stationary Store, Mullaney's Newsstand, the Davey Brothers Store and other landmarks that stood in the downtown area.

The front cover is from a panoramic image c. 1935 and the back cover shows the home of one of Bethel's wealthiest hatmakers, Orrin Benedict.

Containing images including the Alert Hose Company, the Knights of King Arthur,
Bethel Baseball and Basketball teams from the early 1900s and more.

The front cover shows the First Congregational Church as it looked in the 1940s, while the back cover shows the view of Elgin Street around the same era.


Purchase the set of six
Special Historical Society Pricing Only: purchase a set of six for the price of five


OLD BURYING GROUNDS 1765. For anyone who wishes
to commune with those who came before us and helped give us the
town we have today, there is no better place to be than in one of our
old burying grounds, 1765

The truly ancient stones
are often adorned with winged angel heads or weeping
willows standing close alongside funeral urns;
those that date from the latter half of the nineteenth century are often topped by a downcast woman in a Grecian gown, or in the case
of a small child, the figure of a lamb is often employed to symbolize death that came before its time.

29 Pages



Proceeds go to the upkeep and restoration of the Bethel Museum and the historic 1842 Second Meeting House

The act of recording stories is one of our oldest traditions.
Even before language and paper, paintings on cave walls recounted events,
recorded dates, expressed dreams.

And so, within "a little history of Bethel" not only do the photographs throughout give us a
glimpse of the past, but they entwine with the present -
the words we write - that minute by minute, year by year, lifetime by lifetime,
become a part of history - recounted, recorded, expressed - as well.

Here, in blank pages, we leave traces and faces for those
who come after us to read about, to learn from, to remember.
When we remember, our stories continue to grow
and never become just a part of the past.
This journal is a hope for our tales to walk with us
every day so they might last forever.