On the southeastern verge of the Litchfield Hills , the Naugatuck Valley was traditionally a major manufacturing center. Each of the small cities ranged along the river had their own specialty; the largest, Waterbury, established itself early in the 19th century as a major producer of brass, using know-how and even engineers imported from England. For a time, the city was known as “Brass City” for its prodigious output of buttons, buckles, and bullets. Another of the city’s claims to fame was as a manufacturer of pocket watches.
Alas, the Great Flood of 1955 that ravaged many Connecticut  cities hit Waterbury particularly hard, destroying much of its downtown industrial district. Since then the fourth-largest city in the state has struggled, ruddlerless, to come up with a new identity. The promotion of the city’s brass museum and opening of a new high-class mall have been a good start.
Up the valley from Waterbury, Bristol surpassed the larger city in the manufacture of clocks and watches, eventually becoming known as—say it with us—“Clock City.” Despite being Connecticut’s 11th-largest city, Bristol has retained an attractive character, the legacy of many parks donated by the rich industrialists. The city is also known as “Mum City” for its prominence in chrysanthemum production; it’s also headquarters to the cable sports network ESPN, which occupies a huge campus on the edge of town that almost seems like a city unto itself.