Litchfield, Connecticut

Litchfield, Connecticut

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Litchfield is a town
New England town
The New England town is the basic unit of local government in each of the six New England states. Without a direct counterpart in most other U.S. states, New England towns are conceptually similar to civil townships in other states, but are incorporated, possessing powers like cities in other...

 in and former county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

 of Litchfield County
Litchfield County, Connecticut
Litchfield County is a county located in the northwestern corner of the U.S. state of Connecticut. Litchfield County has the lowest population density of any county in Connecticut but is geographically the state's largest county. As of 2010 the population was 189,927...

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and is known as an affluent summer resort. The population was 8,316 at the 2000 census. The borough
Borough (Connecticut)
In the U.S. state of Connecticut, a borough is an incorporated section of a town. Borough governments are not autonomous and are subordinate to the government of the town to which they belong...

s of Bantam
Bantam, Connecticut
Bantam is a borough in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 759 at the 2000 census.While separated for census and historic reasons, Bantam is governed as an integral part of the town of Litchfield...

 and Litchfield
Litchfield (borough), Connecticut
Litchfield is a borough in, and the village center of, the town of Litchfield in Litchfield County, Connecticut. The population was 1,328 at the 2000 census. The entire borough was designated a Connecticut historic district in 1959 by special act of the state General Assembly and is listed on the...

 are located within the town. There are also two unincorporated villages: Northfield and Milton.

History


Founded in 1719, Litchfield was designated the county seat in 1751, and by the 1790s the town had become the leading commercial, social, cultural and legal center of Northwestern Connecticut. Its population grew from 1,366 in 1756 to 2,544 in 1774, and by 1810 Litchfield was the fourth largest settlement in the state with a population of 4,639.

In October 1777, William Franklin
William Franklin
William Franklin was an American soldier and colonial administrator. He served as the last Colonial Governor of New Jersey. Franklin was a steadfast Loyalist throughout the American War of Independence, despite his father Benjamin Franklin's role as one of the most prominent Patriots during the...

, the son of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

, may have been jailed in the Litchfield jail because he was a Loyalist
Loyalist (American Revolution)
Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain during the American Revolutionary War. At the time they were often called Tories, Royalists, or King's Men. They were opposed by the Patriots, those who supported the revolution...

.

Beginning in 1784, Litchfield lawyer, Tapping Reeve, systematized his law lectures for young students, creating the Litchfield Law School
Litchfield Law School
The Litchfield Law School of Litchfield, Connecticut, was the first formal school offering training for the legal profession in the United States. It was established in 1784 by Tapping Reeve, who would later became the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court...

. Reeve was the first to develop a series of formal, regular lectures that insured that all students had access to the same body of knowledge. Among those who attended was David Sherman Boardman
David Sherman Boardman
David Sherman Boardman was an American lawyer, judge, and state assemblyman in the early United States.The youngest child of Deacon Sherman and Sarah Boardman, he lived for nearly his entire life in New Milford. He was born at a farm near Housatonic, and suffered severe illness...

, a prominent nineteenth-century lawyer and judge in the county.

Litchfield Law School
Litchfield Law School
The Litchfield Law School of Litchfield, Connecticut, was the first formal school offering training for the legal profession in the United States. It was established in 1784 by Tapping Reeve, who would later became the Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court...

 is believed to be the first Law School in the United States.

Established in 1792, Sarah Pierce
Sarah Pierce
Sarah Pierce was a teacher, educator and founder of one the earliest schools for girls in the United States, the Litchfield Female Academy in Litchfield, Connecticut. The school having been established in her house in 1792 became known as the Litchfield Female Academy in 1827...

's Litchfield Female Academy
Litchfield Female Academy
The Litchfield Female Academy, founded in 1792 by Sarah Pierce, was one of the most important institutions of female education in the United States. During the 30 years after its opening the school enrolled more than 2,000 students from 17 states and territories of the new republic, as well as...

 was one of the first major educational institutions for women
Women's colleges in the United States
Women's colleges in the United States are single-sex U.S. institutions of higher education that exclude or limit males from admission. They are often liberal arts colleges...

 in the United States.

Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom...

, Henry Ward Beecher
Henry Ward Beecher
Henry Ward Beecher was a prominent Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist, and speaker in the mid to late 19th century...

, Charles Beecher
Charles Beecher
Charles Beecher was an American minister, composer of religious hymns, and prolific author.Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Lyman Beecher, an abolitionist Congregationalist preacher from Boston and Roxana Foote Beecher...

, Edward Beecher
Edward Beecher
Edward Beecher was a noted theologian, the son of Lyman Beecher and the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe and Henry Ward Beecher. He was born August 27, 1803 in East Hampton, New York. He graduated from Yale College in 1822. After this he studied theology at Andover. In 1826, he became the pastor...

, Isabella Beecher Hooker
Isabella Beecher Hooker
Isabella Beecher Hooker was a leader in the women's suffrage movement and an author.-Biography:Born in Litchfield, Connecticut, she was a daughter of Reverend Lyman Beecher, a noted abolitionist. Among her half brothers and sisters were Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Beecher, Catharine Beecher, and...

, and Catharine Beecher
Catharine Beecher
Catharine Esther Beecher was an American educator known for her forthright opinions on women's education as well as her vehement support of the many benefits of the incorporation of kindergarten into children's education....

 all grew up in Litchfield where their father, Lyman Beecher
Lyman Beecher
Lyman Beecher was a Presbyterian minister, American Temperance Society co-founder and leader, and the father of 13 children, many of whom were noted leaders, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Beecher, Edward Beecher, Isabella Beecher Hooker, Catharine Beecher, and Thomas...

 was the minister.

During its "Golden Age" (1784–1834) Litchfield had an unusual number of college educated inhabitants. In 1791 Samuel Miles Hopkins, a student at the Litchfield Law School, described Litchfield in his journal as a town of "hard, active, reading, thinking, intelligent men who may probably be set forth as a pattern of the finest community on earth."

Litchfield's fortunes declined during the later years of the nineteenth century. The town did not have the ample water supply and rail transportation necessary to establish industry and the village became a sleepy backwater. Rediscovered as a resort community in the late nineteenth century Litchfield became a popular spot for vacation, weekend and summer homes. The town embraced the Colonial Revival movement and by the early Century many of the homes began to sport the white paint and black shutters seen today.

Geography


Located southwest of Torrington
Torrington, Connecticut
Torrington is the largest city in Litchfield County, Connecticut and the northwestern Connecticut region. It is also the core city of the largest micropolitan area in the United States. The city population was 36,383 according to the 2010 census....

, it also includes part of Bantam Lake. According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the town has a total area of 56.8 square miles (147.1 km²), of which, 56.1 square miles (145.2 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.9 km²) of it (1.27%) is water.

Litchfield is about 150 km (93.2 mi) from Central Park, New York, about 80 km (49.7 mi) from the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 valley, and about 60 km (37.3 mi) from the nearest sea coast, on Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound
Long Island Sound is an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, located in the United States between Connecticut to the north and Long Island, New York to the south. The mouth of the Connecticut River at Old Saybrook, Connecticut, empties into the sound. On its western end the sound is bounded by the Bronx...

.

Principal communities

  • Bantam
    Bantam, Connecticut
    Bantam is a borough in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 759 at the 2000 census.While separated for census and historic reasons, Bantam is governed as an integral part of the town of Litchfield...

     (borough)
  • East Litchfield
  • Litchfield
    Litchfield (borough), Connecticut
    Litchfield is a borough in, and the village center of, the town of Litchfield in Litchfield County, Connecticut. The population was 1,328 at the 2000 census. The entire borough was designated a Connecticut historic district in 1959 by special act of the state General Assembly and is listed on the...

     (borough / town center)
  • Milton
  • Northfield
    Northfield (Litchfield)
    Northfield is an unincorporated village in the town of Litchfield, Litchfield County, Connecticut.The village of Northfield resides in the southeastern corner of Litchfield. Northfield shares an indefinite northern boundary with the rest of Litchfield proper, this boundary is roughly co-terminus...


Demographics

Historical population of
Litchfield
http://www.sots.ct.gov/RegisterManual/SectionVII/Population1830.htm http://www.sots.ct.gov/RegisterManual/SectionVII/Population1900.htm http://www.sots.ct.gov/RegisterManual/SectionVII/Population1970.htm
1830 4,456
1840 4,038
1850 3,953
1860 3,200
1870 3,113
1880 3,410
1890 3,304
1900 3,214
1910 3,005
1920 3,180
1930 3,574
1940 4,029
1950 4,964
1960 6,264
1970 7,399
1980 7,605
1990 8,365
2000 8,316


As of the census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 8,316 people, 3,310 households, and 2,303 families residing in the town. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 148.4 people per square mile (57.3/km²). There were 3,629 housing units at an average density of 64.7 per square mile (25.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.99% White, 0.75% Black or African American
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, 0.23% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.56% of the population.

There were 3,310 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.9% were married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the town the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 28.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,418, and the median income for a family was $70,594. Males had a median income of $50,284 versus $31,787 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the town was $30,096. About 2.8% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

2,044 90 2,134 33.59%
Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

1,384 67 1,451 22.84%
Unaffiliated 2,596 165 2,761 43.45%
Minor Parties 8 0 8 0.13%
Total 6,032 322 6,354 100%

Transportation


Route 202 is the main east-west road connecting Bantam and Litchfield center to the city of Torrington
Torrington, Connecticut
Torrington is the largest city in Litchfield County, Connecticut and the northwestern Connecticut region. It is also the core city of the largest micropolitan area in the United States. The city population was 36,383 according to the 2010 census....

. Route 63
Route 63 (Connecticut)
Route 63 is a secondary state highway in the U.S. state of Connecticut, from New Haven up to Canaan, running for . It connects the Greater New Haven area to Northwestern Connecticut via the western suburbs of Waterbury.-Route description:...

 runs north-south through the town center. The Route 8
Route 8 (Connecticut)
Route 8 is the portion of the multistate New England Route 8 within the state of Connecticut. It is a state highway running north–south from Bridgeport, through Waterbury, all the way to the Massachusetts state line where it continues as Route 8...

 expressway runs along the town line with Harwinton
Harwinton, Connecticut
Harwinton is a town in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 5,283 at the 2000 census. The name of the town is a portmanteau of Hartford and Windsor, which is where its settlers came from.-Geography:...

. It can be accessed from the town center via Route 118. The town is also served by buses from the Northwestern Connecticut Transit District connecting to the city of Torrington
Torrington, Connecticut
Torrington is the largest city in Litchfield County, Connecticut and the northwestern Connecticut region. It is also the core city of the largest micropolitan area in the United States. The city population was 36,383 according to the 2010 census....

.

Notable residents

  • Ethan Allen
    Ethan Allen
    Ethan Allen was a farmer, businessman, land speculator, philosopher, writer, and American Revolutionary War patriot, hero, and politician. He is best known as one of the founders of the U.S...

  • Andrew Adams
    Andrew Adams (congressman)
    Andrew Adams was an American lawyer, jurist, and political leader in Litchfield, Connecticut, during the American Revolutionary War. He was a delegate for Connecticut to the Continental Congress and later Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court.Adams was born in Stratford, the son of Samuel...

  • Henry Ward Beecher
    Henry Ward Beecher
    Henry Ward Beecher was a prominent Congregationalist clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist, and speaker in the mid to late 19th century...

  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
    Harriet Beecher Stowe
    Harriet Beecher Stowe was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was a depiction of life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom...

  • F. Norton Goddard
    F. Norton Goddard
    Frederick Norton Goddard was a Republican Party politician from New York City.-Biography:...

  • Uriel Holmes
    Uriel Holmes
    Uriel Holmes was a United States Representative from Connecticut. He was born in East Haddam, Connecticut, and then moved with his parents to Hartland, Connecticut. He attended the common schools and graduated from Yale College in 1784...

  • Phineas Miner
    Phineas Miner
    Phineas Miner was a United States Representative from Connecticut. He was born in Winchester, Connecticut where he completed preparatory studies. Later, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1797. He commenced his practice in Winchester.Miner was elected justice of the peace in 1809...

  • Dick Ebersol
    Dick Ebersol
    Duncan "Dick" Ebersol is an American television executive and a senior adviser for . He had previously been the chairman of NBC Sports, producing large scale television events such as the Olympic Games and National Football League broadcasts....

  • Samuel S. Phelps
    Samuel S. Phelps
    Samuel Shethar Phelps was a United States Senator from Vermont. He was a member of the Whig Party.Phelps was born in Litchfield, Connecticut. He studied at Yale University and served as a military paymaster during the War of 1812. He then settled in Middlebury, Vermont and became a lawyer, soon...

  • Oliver Wolcott, Sr.
  • Admiral Charles B. McVay III
    Charles B. McVay III
    Rear Admiral Charles Butler McVay III was the Commanding Officer of the when it was lost in action in 1945, resulting in massive loss of life. After years of mental health problems he committed suicide...

  • Madeleine L'Engle
    Madeleine L'Engle
    Madeleine L'Engle was an American writer best known for her young-adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time...

  • Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
    Oliver Wolcott, Jr.
    Oliver Wolcott, Jr. was United States Secretary of the Treasury from 1795 to 1800 and the 24th Governor of Connecticut from 1817 to 1827.-Youth and education:...

  • Elizabeth Gilbert
    Elizabeth Gilbert
    Elizabeth M. Gilbert is an American author, essayist, short story writer, biographer, novelist and memoirist. She is best known for her 2006 memoirs, Eat, Pray, Love, which as of December 2010, has spent 199 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and was also made into a film by the same...

  • Jerome Fuller
    Jerome Fuller
    Jerome Fuller was a lawyer and chief justice of Minnesota Territorial Supreme Court from 1851 to 1852.Fuller was born in Litchfield, Connecticut in 1808, but details are scarce about his early years. At some point he moved to Brockport, New York, and was a 27th District member of the New York...

  • Benjamin Tallmadge
    Benjamin Tallmadge
    Benjamin Tallmadge was a member of the United States House of Representatives. His birth date is alternately listed as February 25, 1754....


On the National Register of Historic Places


  • Capt. William Bull Tavern — CT 202 (added July 30, 1983)
  • Henry B. Bissell House — 202 Maple St. (added October 7, 1990)
  • J. Howard Catlin House — 14 Knife Shop Rd. (added September 6, 1993) (Since demolished)
  • Litchfield Historic District
    Litchfield Historic District
    Litchfield Historic District, in Litchfield, Connecticut, is a National Historic Landmark historic district designated in 1968 as a notable example of a typical late 18th century New England village...

    — Roughly both sides of North and South Sts. between Gallows Lane and Prospect St. (added December 24, 1968)
  • Milton Historic District (added March 14, 1978)
  • Northfield Knife Company Site (added May 8, 1997)
  • Oliver Wolcott House
    Oliver Wolcott House
    The Oliver Wolcott House is a historic colonial home in Litchfield, Connecticut. Built in 1753 by Oliver Wolcott Sr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation, it is the oldest house in the borough....

    — South St. (added December 11, 1971)
  • Rye House — 122-132 Old Mount Tom Rd. (added September 10, 2000)
  • Tapping Reeve House and Law School — South St. (added November 15, 1966)
  • Topsmead — 25 and 46 Chase Rd. (added December 19, 1993)

See also



See also: List of newspapers in Connecticut in the 18th-century: Litchfield

External links