These lands were settled in 1702 by Samuel Hickox, Jr. of Mattatuck, now called Waterbury. Eight years later he began operation of a fulling mill, the first of many and diverse industries to follow. The earliest school was built in 1731 and the first meeting house, or church, was erected in 1781. As Salem Society, the area remained tied to Waterbury until 1844, when its first governing body was elected by the freemen at the initial town meeting on The Green. In 1893 the borough charter was approved by the General Assembly. This charter incorporating the Town and Borough, was ratified by freemen's vote in 1895. Over the years, products manufactured in Naugatuck have found area, national, and world-wide markets. They include rubber footwear, synthetic rubber, plastics, chemical products, iron castings, candy, cutlery, clocks, metal stampings, buttons, cosmetic cases, household hardware, fabricated glass components, and aircraft instruments.
Inventions and patents of Charles Goodyear were instrumental in pioneer operations of Uniroyal, Incorporated. Several prominent buildings in the downtown area were designed and executed at the turn of the 20th century under supervision by the famed architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White, including the Congregational Church, Salem School, Hillside School, and the Whittemore Memorial Library, as well as the drinking fountain on The Green. In the 1700's and up to the mid-1800's Naugatuck had several stagecoach stops on the New Haven, Waterbury and Hartford line. These stops included the Collins Hotel, which was located on New Haven Road near the Bethany town line; the Beecher Tavern, which stood at North Water and Church Streets; and the Porter Inn, now located on Woodbine Street. The coming of the railroads at mid-century soon ended stagecoach travel here, as it did in other parts of the State and the Nation.