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Wethersfield, Connecticut

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wethersfield
Town of Wethersfield
Joseph Webb and Isaac Stevens houses
Joseph Webb and Isaac Stevens houses
Official seal of Wethersfield
Motto: 
Ye Most Auncient Towne in Connecticut[1]
Wethersfield's location within Hartford County and Connecticut
Map
Map
Map
Coordinates: 41°42′51″N 72°39′09″W / 41.71417°N 72.65250°W / 41.71417; -72.65250
Country United States
U.S. state Connecticut
CountyHartford
RegionCapitol Region
SettledOctober 1634
IncorporatedFebruary 21, 1637
Named forWethersfield, Essex
Government
 • TypeCouncil-manager
 • Town managerGary A. Evans
Town council
Area
 • Total13.1 sq mi (34.0 km2)
 • Land12.3 sq mi (31.9 km2)
 • Water0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
Elevation
43 ft (13 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total27,298
 • Density2,100/sq mi (800/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
06109
Area code(s)860/959
FIPS code09-84900
GNIS feature ID212042[2]
Interstates
U.S. Highways
State Routes
Websitewethersfieldct.gov

Wethersfield (/ˈwɛð.ərsfild/ WEH-thers-feeld) is a town located in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States.[2] It is located immediately south of Hartford along the Connecticut River. The town is part of the Capitol Planning Region. The population was 27,298 at the time of the 2020 census.[3]

Many records from colonial times spell the name "Weathersfield" and "Wythersfield", while Native Americans called it Pyquag.[4] "Watertown" is a variant name.[2]

The neighborhood known as Old Wethersfield is the state's largest historic district, spanning 2 sq mi (5.2 km2) and containing 1,100 buildings, dating to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. The town is primarily served by Interstate 91.

History

Flooding, 1936

Founded in 1634 by a Puritan settlement party of "10 Men", including John Oldham, Robert Seeley, Thomas Topping, and Nathaniel Foote, Wethersfield is arguably the oldest town in Connecticut,[5][6] depending on the interpretation of when a remote settlement qualifies as a "town". Along with Windsor and Hartford, Wethersfield is represented by one of the three grapevines on the Flag of Connecticut, signifying the state's three oldest English settlements.[7][8] The town was named by colonists for Wethersfield, a village in the English county of Essex.[9] The town was previously called "Watertown", named after Watertown, Massachusetts, until February 21, 1637, when it was incorporated as a town along with Windsor and Hartford. The town established the Old Wethersfield Village Cemetery as its first burying ground on Hungry Hill in 1638.

During the Pequot War, on April 23, 1637, Wangunk Chief Sequin, who had lived with the colonists in Wethersfield but had been forced out after a few years, attacked Wethersfield with Pequot help.[10] They killed six men and three women, a number of cattle and horses, and took two young girls captive. They were daughters of Abraham Swain or William Swaine (sources vary), and were later ransomed by Dutch traders.[11]

Four witch trials and three executions for witchcraft occurred in the town in the 17th century. Mary Johnson was convicted of witchcraft and executed in 1648, Joan and John Carrington in 1651.[12] In 1669, landowner Katherine Harrison was convicted, and although her conviction was reversed, she was banished and her property seized by her neighbors.[13][14]

From 1716 to 1718, the Collegiate School was briefly located in Wethersfield; it moved to New Haven and developed over the decades as Yale University.[15][16]

The Wethersfield elm, pictured in 1917, was the largest in New England at 27 ft (8.2 m) in circumference.[16]

Silas Deane, envoy to France during the American Revolutionary War, lived in the town. His house is now preserved and operated as part of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum. In May 1781, at the Webb House on Main Street, General George Washington and French Lt. Gen. Rochambeau planned the Siege of Yorktown, which culminated in the surrender of Britain and independence of the colonies.

The Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Department was chartered by the Connecticut Legislature on May 12, 1803, making it the first formally chartered fire department in the state. It is one of the oldest chartered volunteer fire department in continuous existence in the United States.[17]

Wethersfield was "for a century at least, the centre of the onion trade in New England", during the late 1700s and early to middle 1800s.[18] "Outsiders dubbed the Connecticut village 'Oniontown,' with a crosshatch of affection and derision, for this was home of the world-famous Wethersfield red onion."[19]

In addition, the town was home to William G. Comstock, a well-known 19th-century gardening expert and author of the era's most prominent gardening book, Order of Spring Work. In 1820, Comstock founded what would become Comstock, Ferre & Company,[20][21] America's oldest continuously operating seed company. It pioneered the commercial sale of sealed packets of seeds, as he had learned from the Amish. Other nationally prominent seed companies in and around the town developed from this agricultural past.[19][22]

A meteorite fell on Wethersfield on November 8, 1982. It was the second meteorite to fall in the town in the span of 11 years, as the first crashed on April 8, 1971. It crashed through the roof of a house without injuring the occupants, as had been the case with the first meteorite as well.[23] The 1971 meteorite was sold to the Smithsonian, and the 1982 meteorite was taken up as part of a collection at the Yale Peabody Museum.[24][25]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.Note
18203,825
18403,824
18502,523−34.0%
18602,7057.2%
18702,693−0.4%
18802,173−19.3%
18902,2714.5%
19002,63716.1%
19103,14819.4%
19204,34237.9%
19307,51273.0%
19409,64428.4%
195012,53330.0%
196020,56164.1%
197026,66229.7%
198026,013−2.4%
199025,651−1.4%
200026,2712.4%
201026,6681.5%
202027,2982.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[26]

As of the 2000 census,[27] there were 26,268 people, 11,214 households, and 7,412 families residing in the town. The population density was 2,119.9 inhabitants per square mile (818.5/km2). There were 11,454 housing units at an average density of 924.3 per square mile (356.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 93.19% White, 2.09% Black or African American, 0.08% Native American, 1.58% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.82% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.19% of the population.

There were 11,214 households, out of which 25.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 9.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.9% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.89.

The town population was distributed with 20.1% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 23.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $53,289, and the median income for a family was $68,154. (These figures had risen to $66,044 and $86,432 respectively as of a 2007 estimate.)[28] Males had a median income of $43,998 versus $37,443 for females. The per capita income for the town was $28,930. About 2.4% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.8% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.

Economy

Top employers

Top employers in Wethersfield according to the town's 2021 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report[29]

# Employer # of Employees
1 State of Connecticut 810
2 Town of Wethersfield 753
3 Hartford Healthcare At Home 117
4 HomeGoods 108
5 Patient Care, Inc. 107
6 Qualidigm 101
7 DSG Yankee 79
8 Hooters 78
9 Corpus Christi School 55
10 Denny's 50

The Connecticut Department of Correction and the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles have their headquarters in Wethersfield.[30][31]

Due to its proximity to the state capital at Hartford, Wethersfield is the site of several State of Connecticut agencies:

  • The Department of Motor Vehicles office and testing location at 60 State Street.
  • The Department of Labor is headquartered at 200 Folly Brook Boulevard.
  • The Department of Correction is headquartered at 24 Wolcott Hill Road.
  • The Superior Court Operations Unit is located at 225 Spring Street.
  • The Court Support Services Division is located at 936 Silas Deane Highway.

The Wethersfield Chamber of Commerce has over 150 member institutions[32] and hosts community events throughout the year.[33]

Arts and culture

Landmarks and historic district

Three buildings in Wethersfield are designated as historic landmarks by the National Register of Historic Places:

In 1970, Old Wethersfield, the district bounded by Hartford, the railroad tracks, I-91 and Rocky Hill, was added to the National Register of Historic Places. This is the largest historic district in Connecticut, with two square miles containing 1,100 buildings, many dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries.[19]

Other points of interest

Wethersfield Cove

Music

The historic First Church of Christ, Wethersfield, is the home of the Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival [Wikidata].[39]

The Wethersfield Historical Society sponsors free outdoor concerts throughout the summer.[40]

Community events

Community Events
Event Time of Year Location Organizer
Cove Park Fireworks[33] Early June Cove Park Wethersfield Chamber of Commerce
Wethersfield Farmers Market[41] Summer Thursdays 220 Hartford Avenue Wethersfield EDIC & Tourism Commission
Wethersfield Cornfest[33] Mid-September Broad Street Green Wethersfield Chamber of Commerce
Scarecrows Along Main Street[33] Early Fall Main Street Wethersfield Chamber of Commerce
Cove Side Carnival[42] Mid-October Cove Park Keane Foundation
Holidays on Main[33] Early December Broad Street Green Wethersfield Chamber of Commerce

Sports

Running

The Old Wethersfield 5K & 10K is an annual road race that takes place in the Old Wethersfield section of town. Both races begin and end at Cove Park on Hartford Avenue.[43] The event is put on by the Hartford Marathon Foundation and typically takes place at the end of August. The 2017 edition of the 10K is the state championship race for the USATF Connecticut Grand Prix Series[44] as well as the final event of the HMF 10K Challenge Series.[45]

Education

The Wethersfield public school system encompasses Wethersfield High School, Silas Deane Middle School, and five elementary schools: Highcrest School, Charles Wright School, Emerson-Williams School, Alfred W. Hanmer School, and Samuel B. Webb School.

In addition to traditional public schools, Wethersfield also offers parochial and magnet school choices. The CREC Discovery Academy is a Pre-Kindergarten through fifth grade magnet school designed with a focus on STEM education. The Corpus Christi School is a Catholic school of approximately 400 students from Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade. It was one of only fifty private schools named as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Secretary of Education, in the category of "Exemplary High Performing."[46]

Government

Federal

Congressional Representatives[47] [48]
Representative Chamber Party
Richard Blumenthal Senate Dem
Chris Murphy Senate Dem
John Larson House of Representatives Dem

State

General Assembly Representatives[48]
Representative Chamber District Party
John Fonfara Senate 1st Dem
Matthew Lesser Senate 9th Dem
Amy Morrin Bello House of Representatives 28th Dem
Kerry Wood House of Representatives 29th Dem

Municipal

Town Council Representatives [49]
Representative Position Party
Michael L. Rell Mayor Rep
Thomas Mazzarella Deputy Mayor Rep
Tyler Flanigan Council-member Rep
Patrick Pentalow Council-member Rep
Ryan Biggs Council-member Dem
Dan O'Connor Council-member Rep
Kevin Hill Council-member Dem
Matthew Forrest Council-member Dem
Mary Pelletier Council-member Rep

Infrastructure and services

Transportation

Bus

Greater Hartford's major system of public transportation is currently Connecticut Transit (CT Transit), a Connecticut Department of Transportation-owned bus service operating routes throughout the New Haven, Stamford, Hartford and other metro areas. Wethersfield is served by route numbers 43, 47, 53, 55, 61, and 91.[50]

Roads

Major roads include:

Rail

Hartford station is the nearest rail station. Wethersfield was once connected to Hartford by streetcar [51][52] and by passenger service on the Valley Railroad. Its tracks still provide a route for sporadic freight trains between Hartford and Old Saybrook.

Police

The Wethersfield Police Department is headquartered at 250 Silas Deane Highway. In addition to normal police service, the department maintains a Marine Patrol Unit, a Special Response Dive Team, a Special Response Tactics Team, a DARE youth drug awareness program, and a Police Explorer program.[53]

Fire services

The town has three volunteer fire stations.[54] The year 2003 marked the formal 200th Anniversary of the Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Department. Wethersfield has the oldest volunteer fire company in Connecticut, and in New England.

Postal services

The United States Postal Service operates the Wethersfield Post Office at 67 Beaver Rd. The Town zip code is 06109.[55] The Wethersfield Post Office is a fully trained United States Passport acceptance facility.[56]

Notable people

In popular culture

Wethersfield was the setting for the children's novel The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, as well as the setting of the one-act play The Valiant by Holworthy Hall and Robert Middlemas. https://www.thebooktrail.com/book-trails/the-witch-of-blackbird-pond/

Actor-turned-author Thomas Tryon used his native Wethersfield as the setting for his action/romance novels The Wings of the Morning and In the Fire of Spring, as well as a mystery/horror novel The Other and a film of the same name.

The short film Disneyland Dream features the Barstow family from Wethersfield, including footage of their neighborhood.

In the biography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley, Malcolm X recounts a car accident in which he is rear ended at a stop light while traveling through Wethersfield.

The novel Parrot and Olivier in America by two-time Booker Prize-winning Australian author Peter Carey was largely set in the town of Wethersfield. The novel touches on some hallmarks of its history including the predominance of onion farming and the old state prison.

References

  1. ^ Official Web Site of the Town of Wethersfield
  2. ^ a b c "Wethersfield". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  3. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Wethersfield town, Hartford County, Connecticut". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 23, 2021.
  4. ^ Connecticut Towns in the Order of their Establishment[permanent dead link], Secretary of the State of Connecticut. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  5. ^ Clark, George Larkin (1914). A History of Connecticut: Its People and Institutions. G.P. Putnam's Sons.
  6. ^ Town Profile: Wethersfield. The Connecticut Economic Digest, Connecticut Department of Labor, January 2004
  7. ^ Virtual Tour of the Connecticut Supreme Court Courtroom. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  8. ^ Historically Speaking: Stonington-born woman helped create flag, The Bulletin, August 27, 2008
  9. ^ The Connecticut Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly. Connecticut Magazine Company. 1903. p. 335.
  10. ^ DeForest, John. History of the Indians of Connecticut from the Earliest Known Period to 1850.
  11. ^ Konstantin, Phil (2002). This Day in North American Indian History. Da Capo Press, pp. 99-100.
  12. ^ List of New England witchcraft cases
  13. ^ "Another list of New England witchcraft cases". Archived from the original on December 25, 2005. Retrieved November 30, 2005.
  14. ^ Brief summary of Katherine Harrison case[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ Kingsley, William Lathrop (1879). Yale College: A Sketch of Its History. Vol. 1. H. Holt. pp. 29, 47.
  16. ^ a b Johnson, Clifton (1917). New England; A Human Interest Geographical Reader. Macmillan. pp. 163, 186.
  17. ^ Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Dept
  18. ^ "A Great Trade Vanished. How Connecticut's Onion Monopoly Was Lost", New York Times, June 2, 1889
  19. ^ a b c "Wethersfield, CT, and Onions", Yankee Magazine, August 1993
  20. ^ Connecticut seed company Comstock, Ferre & Co. returns to its roots, Boston Globe, October 16, 2011
  21. ^ "Comstock, Ferre & Co". Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  22. ^ Wethersfield: The Cradle of American Seed Companies[permanent dead link], Wethersfield Historical Society, January 23, 2012
  23. ^ Robert E. Tomasson (November 10, 1982). "Meteorite Crashes into House in Connecticut". The New York Times. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  24. ^ The Wethersfield Meteorite, Yale Peabody Museum. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  25. ^ The Wethersfield Meteorites[permanent dead link], Wethersfield Historical Society, October 24, 2011
  26. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  27. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  28. ^ American FactFinder. Factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  29. ^ "Town of Wethersfield Comprehensive Annual Financial Report For the Fiscal Year July 1, 2020- June 30, 2021" (PDF). Town of West Hartford. Retrieved January 28, 2023.
  30. ^ Contact Us. Connecticut Department of Correction, 24 Wolcott Hill Road, Wethersfield, CT 06109. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  31. ^ Contact Information. Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, 60 State Street, Wethersfield, CT 06161. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  32. ^ "WCC Member List". Wethersfield Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  33. ^ a b c d e "WCC Events Calendar". Wethersfield Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  34. ^ Great Meadows Conservation Trust, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill and Glastonbury CT
  35. ^ Introduction to Heritage Way Archived June 28, 2006, at the Wayback Machine, Wethersfield CT
  36. ^ Keeney Memorial Culture Center[permanent dead link], Wethersfield CT
  37. ^ Wethersfield Historical Society[permanent dead link], Wethersfield CT
  38. ^ Eleanor Buck Wolf  Nature Center[permanent dead link], Wethersfield CT
  39. ^ "Albert Schweitzer Organ Festival". Archived from the original on March 13, 2016.
  40. ^ "Home". wethersfieldhistory.org.
  41. ^ "Wethersfield Farmers Market". Wethersfield Farmers Market. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  42. ^ "Cove Side Carnival". Keane Foundation. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  43. ^ "Old Wethersfield 5K". Old Wethersfield 5K & 10K. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  44. ^ "Old Wethersfield 10K selected to be the USATF-CT 10K championship". USATF Connecticut. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  45. ^ "HMF 10K Challenge". HMF Challenge Series. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  46. ^ Corpus Christi School, Wethersfield CT
  47. ^ "Connecticut Senators". United States Senate. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  48. ^ a b "Representative Districts by Town". CT General Assembly. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  49. ^ "Wethersfield Town Council Contact Information". Town of Wethersfield. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  50. ^ Routes & Schedules, Connecticut Transit. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  51. ^ A Revolution in Horse Power, ConnecticutHistory.org. Retrieved December 16, 2013.
  52. ^ They Even Survived Rocks on the Track[permanent dead link], Wethersfield Historical Society, August 23, 2012
  53. ^ "WPD". Wethersfield Division of Police. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  54. ^ "Department History". Wethersfield Fire Department. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  55. ^ Location Details. United States Postal Service, 67 Beaver Road, Wethersfield, CT 06109. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  56. ^ "US Passport Acceptance Facilities". U.S. State Department. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  57. ^ Foote, Abram W. (1907). Foote Family, Comprising the Genealogy and History of Nathaniel Foote of Wethersfield, Conn., and his Descendants. Marble City Press.
  58. ^ Nathaniel Foote, New England Families. Retrieved December 22, 2013.

External links

This page was last edited on 19 May 2024, at 06:27
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