Class of 2008

A legendary coach, a diplomat, an author and a visionary entrepreneur are the newest members of the Derby Hall of Fame being announced to coincide with Derby’s annual Derby Day celebration. They will officially join eleven others inducted in to the Hall of Fame in 2007. The Hall of Fame is located at the Division Street entrance to the Derby Greenway on the National Humane Alliance Fountain Plaza. Members of the Hall of Fame have special bricks listing their name and achievements as part of the plaza which contains more than 200 memorial bricks. Biographies of all members can be found here.

2008 Inductees:

Leo F. "Nuggy" Ryan coached all three major sports at Derby High School at the same time. A graduate of Derby High School where he was also captain of the football team, he graduated from the Catholic University of America where he also played football in 1925 and returned to Derby as a teacher and coach. He became head football coach in 1926 and head basketball coach in 1931. His football teams won state championships in 1937 and 1940, and the 1937 team was even invited to play in a post season game in Florida. He won Housatonic League championships in 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1940 and 1946.
His basketball teams were outstanding - especially the "Moxie Gang" in 1938 which played in the state's Class "A" tournament and made it to the semi-finals before losing to a Manchester team that went on to win both the state and New England championships.
The athletic complex in Derby is named after him.

Henry Shelton Sanford served as America's Minister to Belgium during the Civil War and helped secure armaments needed for the Union victory. He was also a very successful lawyer and businessman. After the war, he moved to Florida where he founded a city that now bears his name. He was credited with helping to develop the citrus industry in Florida. In 1877 he was one of the founders of the International African association (now the Independent state of the Congo), and became a member of the executive committee, representing on it the English-speaking races. As its ambassador at Washington he secured its recognition by the United States in April, 1884, and he was sent as a delegate of the United States government to the Berlin Congo conference of 1885-'6.

quiz13.jpg (7254 bytes)Edward Nelson Shelton was the president of the Ousatonic Water Company, but is better known because the present day city of Shelton is named after him. As head of the Water Company, he was one of the visionary leaders of the effort to build the Ousatonic Dam across the Housatonic River between Derby and Shelton. When the Dam was opened and cheap water power created a thriving manufacturing industry on the other side of the Housatonic River, that area of town came to be known as Shelton. Years later, when the area was incorporated as a city, the name Shelton replaced the older Huntington.

Jane DeForest Shelton (1843-1914) was one of six children of Edward Nelson Shelton and Mary Jane DeForest. Jane grew up in Derby and lived in the famous Shelton family mansion - "Graystone" built by her father and now the site of the Irving School. She was also independent and wealthy. However she chose a career as a journalist, historian and author rather than a life of leisure. She wrote articles for the "Magazine of American History" in New York and earned quite a reputation as both a local and national historian. She also wrote for "Harper's Monthly Magazine."

However, it was her description of the family's roots in the Huntington area of Shelton which served as the basis for her most famous work - The Salt-Box House: 18th-century Life in a New England Hill Town -published in 1900. The story is an account of the Shelton family, of Derby, and of neighboring towns up to the early nineteenth century. She used family papers owned by the family as the basis for her beloved and historically accurate account of life through the colonial period of American History. It still makes great reading today, and you can find a copy at the Derby Public Library!

For the full listing of Hall of Fame members, click here.

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