The Unique Nature of Stratford’s Suffrage History

by David Wright, Editor of The Cupheag Corner

As we enter a year of remembrance celebrating the passage of the 19th Amendment on August 18, 1920, a look at how women’s suffrage originated, and evolved, in Stratford seems most noteworthy. Secretary of State, Denise Merrill, has established a Connecticut Suffrage Centennial website which you may view at Many towns are marking the centennial with special events and observances which are, or will be, posted to this website. In order to celebrate the centennial in Stratford, it’s important to recognize just how differently Stratford experienced the suffrage movement.

Unlike many other towns in the state and the nation, there is no sign of visible opposition to the suffrage movement in Stratford. There was no organized “anti” suffrage movement in town. The most prominent, powerful, politically connected, and wealthy women in Stratford all affiliated with the Stratford suffrage movement. It’s very possible, in the face of such powerful women suffrage supporters, that anti-suffrage women, if they existed, found it impossible to challenge the Stratford suffrage leaders.

Stratford’s suffrage movement also appears to have been supported by, or, at a minimum, not opposed by, the powerful men of the town. Businessmen, doctors, lawyers, political leaders, and land owners all had wives, sisters, and/or daughters active in Stratford’s suffrage movement.

Red Men’s Hall on Church Street was demolished in 1957 to make way for I-95.

Stratford’s first suffrage organizational meeting was held in Red Men’s Hall on October 16th, 1912. The Red Men’s Club (or tribe) was comprised of the most influential, powerful, and wealthy men in Stratford. The “Red Men’s” organization in America has a long history as a post-Revolutionary War successor to the original Sons of Liberty. Stratford’s Red Men’s club was founded in 1889. Red Men’s Hall was located on Church Street, behind the Congregational Church, and sat, basically, where I-95 crosses Church Street.

The first suffrage conference of Fairfield County was also held at Red Men’s Hall in June 1916. (Red Men’s Hall played a pivotal role in suffrage activities in Stratford. As a side note of interest, Red Men’s Hall became the Polka Dot Playhouse in 1954). Stratford suffrage leaders were well-known throughout the county, state, and nation which would have been one compelling reason for the Fairfield County suffrage association to conduct its first meeting in Stratford.

It seems ironic that the suffrage movement in Stratford would have been drawn to a meeting location so infused with “maleness” and, ordinarily, opposed to suffrage activities. In order for the suffragettes to feel comfortable at Red Men’s Hall, it would have required the tacit, if not implicit, support of the leading men of Stratford. The Stratford women frequently invited Stratford men to their monthly suffrage meetings as speakers and as participants.

Lastly, once women obtained the vote in 1920 in Stratford, they stood fairly united in voting to change Stratford’s form of government (in 1921) to a Manager-Council form. Without the support of the Stratford women, the vote to change government forms would have failed.

Stratford’s suffrage movement was indeed unique. Through the coming months, we’ll periodically revisit this topic by spotlighting Stratford suffrage leaders. In their stories resides the explanation as to why Stratford’s suffrage experience defied state and national trends. Once again, Stratford’s history proves to be a Connecticut standout.

Stratford Real Estate Market Leaps during Pandemic

By Osi Rosenberg, A to Z Realty, LLC

Location! Location! Location! Stratford is my dream hometown. Situated on the Metro North Train Line with a Forest at one end, and the Shore on the other, Stratford truly is the town for all seasons. The housing market has certainly proven that the time to be in Stratford is now!

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, homes on the market have been flying off the streets of Stratford at record prices. In July 2019, Stratford’s average price range was approximately $243,000, but spiked drastically between March and July 2020 to $258,000. This increased the price average per square feet values from $150 in July 2019 to $160 per square foot in July.

Many homeowners chose not to move out during the uncertain times of the pandemic, dropping the supply of new homes to a bare minimum. As a result of the low supply of homes, the Stratford market has been in a heat wave throughout the summer months. May 2019 Stratford had 1,218 new listings on the market compared to May 2020 only 963 new listings were available. There has been a slight uptick in July 2020 which saw 1,023 new listings.

It is no wonder it’s a seller’s market with the low inventory and high demand for suburban living that Stratford offers in abundance. Even a pandemic could not quash the American suburban dream in Stratford. I, for one, felt insulated and safe while still being able to take the kids for a stroll in the woods, or head to the beach to go kayaking or fishing. Friendly neighbors, active civic organizations, strong sense of community, proximity to major metropolises, and well-maintained beaches and parks. Many New York residents look to Stratford as an affordable option to escape while still staying tethered to the big city.

The average amount of time a home stays on the market is only 69 days, which from my experience, is slowed mostly by lenders that are overwhelmed by a backlog of loan applications and closings.

What does this mean for your property? Simple! Right now, most homes are selling at a premium. Your home may see an increase market value. Which is great news if you want to sell, refinance, or obtain a line of equity while interest rates are historically low.

*Note that the figures in this article are taken from InfoSparks statistics with the restriction of Stratford, CT/All Price Ranges/All Property Types/All Bedrooms/All Bathrooms/All Sizes.

A to Z Realty, LLC is Stratford based Real Estate Brokerage.