At the junction of Rte. 53 and Rte 302, bear left onto Rte. 302 east, passing the Sycamore Diner. Bethel, once a parish of Danbury was named in 1759; and had four hat factories as early as 1793. Bethel like Danbury and Ridgefield took an active part in the Revolutionary War. When Tyron's British force marched through on April 26, 1777 en route to raid the military stores in Danbury, a local patriot made a single handed attempt to stop their progress and almost succeeded in stampeding them when he shouted orders to an imaginary force in a roadside woodlot.
Bethel's most illustrious son is PT Barnum, one of the founders of The Barnum and Bailey Circus who was considered to be the premier showman of his day. Barnum, born and raised at 55 Greenwoods Ave. lived here until he was 24. He never forgot his roots and in later years he donated a beautiful fountain to Bethel that was melted down for the WWII effort. A large bronze statue will be unveiled in Sept. 2010 in front of the Library in honor of his 200th birthday.