Hat City Day has been marked in Danbury to celebrate the city's hatting past. During a ceremony Tuesday night, Councilman Andrew Wetmore said this stemmed in part from his unsuccessful advocating for a Hat Day in high school. He says he is proud to be among those who brought the day to all residents, noting that pays tribute to Danbury's roots and celebrates where the City is going.
A small-scale statue was presented at the ceremony of a hatter and his tools.
The committee will be fundraising privately for this throughout the year and hope to have a monument unveiling in the early spring of 2016. The sculpture may have hats on the side of the structure, with names of those who donate large sums.
Committee chairman John Jowdy says in his travels he went to Pittsburgh, the Steel City and Detroit, the Motor City. He wanted to bring the same name recognition to Danbury.
No location has been determined. Mayor Mark Boughton says areas like the green, Kennedy Park or somewhere along the Main Street median have been discussed as possible locations.
City Council President Joe Cavo, Councilman Warren Levy, Councilman Andrew Wetmore
Danbury schools have been provided with historical background information about the day, and encouraged to use slide shows, puzzles, word searches and activity suggestions from the Danbury Museum and Historical Society.
Danbury once known as "The Hat Capital of the World"; and lived by its motto: "Danbury crowns them all"; In the 19th Century hats were a staple in every man’s wardrobe, men wouldn’t leave their house without one, and the Hatting industry in Danbury began to thrive, partly because of our large supply of water and fur.
By 1800, Danbury was producing more hats than any place else in the United States. By 1887, some 30 factories were manufacturing 5 million hats a year. After decades, things began to slow down, by 1923 only six hat manufacturers were left in Danbury. Costly labor disputes, changing fashion trends, and less profit resulted in many factories closing or moving, and the last hat factory in Danbury closed in the 1980’s.
City officials say even though the hatting industry in Danbury has completely vanished, its impact on the City’s history will last forever.