Hotel Barnum

Known Name(s)

Hotel Barnum (Primary)
Hotel Beach (Secondary)


150 Fairfield Ave. Bridgeport, CT (Primary) (1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966)
140 Fairfield Ave. Bridgeport, CT (Modern Address)

Establishment Type(s)


Physical Status






Detailed History

The Hotel Barnum, a downtown Art Deco landmark, was in business for many years before being listed in The Green Book, having opened in 1929 as Hotel Beach. Its first appearance, in 1957, coincided with the imminent opening of the newly built Greenwich-Killingly Turnpike (later Connecticut Turnpike and I-95), making it a convenient stopover for travelers. It was within easy walking distance of stores and shops, advertised its own restaurant and bar, and offered special rates for families.

Urban renewal projects in the early- and mid-1960s demolished housing and small commercial buildings in Bridgeport to make way for highways, industry and commercial high-rises. White residents and immigrants had already begun to leave the city for new suburban homes through programs such as the GI Bill. Connecticut's first enclosed mall, Trumbull Shopping Park, built just outside the city limits, drew traffic away from downtown businesses.

Although Bridgeport's population declined after 1950, the African American population of Fairfield County, primarily in its urban cores, doubled between 1950 to 1960. All of these factors, together with the state's 1953 legislation to prevent discrimination in commercial businesses, may explain why Hotel Barnum, as well as the downtown Stratfield and Arcade hotels, newly within reach of highway travelers, sought customers through The Green Book.

Listed individually and in the Downtown North National Register Historic District

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