The Danbury City Council is set to take up a $50,000 allocation for a monument honoring Danbury's hatting past, now that a location has been determined. As part of an upcoming street scaping project around City Hall, the statue could be worked into the landscaping design. Plans call for some tree on Deer Hill Avenue to be taken down, which could make way for the monument.
A small-scale statue shows a hatter and his tools. The sculpture may have hats on the side of the structure, with names of those who donate large sums. The price tag is estimated at between $125,000 and $140,000. A local bank has promised a $50,000 donation, if Danbury offers a dollar for dollar match. The Hat City Committee will fundraise to make up the balance. The committee hopes to have this in place by mid to late July.
City Center officials say this would tie into the "Museum in the Streets" and walk celebrating the history and cultural arts of Danbury. There are 33 panels describing Danbury's history along Deer Hill Avenue, down Wooster Street and along Main Street.
Hat City Danbury Day takes place the first week in December.
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.