Hamden is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. The town's nickname is "The Land of the Sleeping Giant". The population was 60,960 at the 2010 census.
Hamden was purchased by William Christopher Reilly and the Reverend John Davenport in 1638 from the local Quinnipiack Native American tribe. It was settled by Puritans as part of the town of New Haven. It remained a part of New Haven until 1786 when 1,400 local residents incorporated the area as a separate town, naming it after the English statesman John Hampden.
Largely developed as a nodal collection of village-like settlements (which remain distinct today), including Mount Carmel (home to Quinnipiac University), Whitneyville, Spring Glen, West Woods, and Highwood, Hamden has a long-standing industrial history. In 1798, four years after Eli Whitney began manufacturing the cotton gin in New Haven, he made arms for the U.S. government at a mill site in Hamden, where a waterfall provided a good source of power. At that site, Whitney introduced the modern era of mass production with the concept of interchangeable parts.
The major thoroughfare through Hamden is named Whitney Avenue in honor of Eli Whitney, and it runs past Whitney's old factory, now the Eli Whitney Museum.
Whitney constructed stone houses for his employees in the nearby area, which is still referred to as Whitneyville; this is believed to be the first example of employer-provided homes in U.S. history. In 1806, the dam that Eli Whitney built at the mill site was enlarged to create a reservoir, Lake Whitney.