Bounded by water for more than 14 miles of coastline, Stratford boasts a diverse ecology, a tradition in the arts linked to the home of William Shakespeare, and an industrial history crucial to American history.

Stratford was founded in 1639.

It is bounded to the south by the Long Island Sound, to the east by the Housatonic River.

The Great Meadows Marsh has been designated an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, and an annual festival has been started to celebrate Stratford as a destination for bird watchers.

The sale of adjacent Long Beach West to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife was approved by voters in a 2008 referendum, then abandoned due to questions about the $10 million price noted on the referendum. Plans are to add the barrier beach to the Stewart McKinney National Wildlife Refuge, which also includes the Great Meadows Marsh. Work has begun to remove cottages on the beach, owners of which were evicted, and to restore the habitat.

Not far from the marsh is Sikorsky Memorial Airport, and across the street the former Army Engine Plant. During World War II, the Corsairs crucial to the war in the Pacific were built at the engine plant and rolled across Main Street to the runways.

Although entirely within Stratford, the airport is owned and operated by the City of Bridgeport.

The 76-acre engine plant is vacant, and the Department of Defense continues to try to find a buyer.

Also on the banks of the Housatonic, not far north of the engine plant, is the former Shakespeare Festival Theatre. Dark for some two decades, the replica of the Globe Theatre in Stratford-on-Avon, England, once hosted internationally known actors performing the Bard’s work. New efforts are afoot to bring life back to the stage.

Farther north, near the Shelton line, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation builds helicopters on land near where Igor Sikorsky perfected rotary-winged aircraft more than seven decades ago.

Sikorsky continues Stratford’s defense industry tradition, which also includes the former Army Engine Plant.

With a history of service to the country, Stratford honors veterans of all wars with a monument atop Academy Hill, in the heart of the Historic District. A Veterans of Foreign Wars post is gaining new members as a new generation returns from service.

Tradition and history can be found throughout the town, from a building across from Perry House to where George Washington is said to have met Lafayette, to small stone blocks that delineate the first Post Road, ordered when Benjamin Franklin established the Postal Service.

Just off Interstate 95, the modern day main route between New York and Boston, sits Perry House, the oldest house in Stratford.

Delegates to the Continental Congress, political leaders, war heroes and those who answered the country’s call at home come together to form the fabric of a hard-working town.