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Bridgeport:: Tales from the Park City Paperback – March 1, 2009
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The beauty of reading this book is that I can open it up to a random chapter and step into a time long ago that foreshadows the Bridgeport of today. I can see beyond the abandoned factories and mansions turned multi-family dwellings and rooming houses to catch a glimpse of a city both genteel and earthy, bucolic and vibrant.
It's not your father's history book. It is the biography of a city. Lehman pieces together the squares of events to create a quilt of Bridgeport history that warms the heart of anyone familiar with the city.
Eric weaves the history of the past with the biographies of the rich and famous who created Bridgeport, taking the reader inside the city as first a colonial town, then a pillar and supporter of the union, then as an industrialization mecca, a thriving seaport, a town that housed a circus, and home to inventors who changed not only their hometown, but the face of a nation.
The city that we know today still retains certain elements of Eric's lovely vision. However, the romance of the beach as seen from Barnum's lovely home, the feeling of sea air - those things have been swept away by decaying neighborhoods that surround the sea. Even the beauty of Seaside Park can't erase the fact that much of Bridgeport is desperate for a makeover.
So thank you Eric Lehman for writing about the city in such a way that people might want to rekindle her, make her over, change her enough to make her a place that can once again play an important part in the history of our state and our country.