Fairfield, Connecticut

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Fairfield, Connecticut

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Town of Fairfield
Fairfield CT aerial Pine Creek.jpg
Aerial view of Fairfield
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Seal
Fairfield County Connecticut incorporated and unincorporated areas Fairfield highlighted.svg
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut
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Fairfield, Connecticut
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 41°10′33″N73°16′19″W / 41.17583°N 73.27194°W / 41.17583; -73.27194 Coordinates: 41°10′33″N73°16′19″W / 41.17583°N 73.27194°W / 41.17583; -73.27194
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
U.S. state Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut
County Fairfield
Metropolitan area Bridgeport-Stamford
Founded1639
Founded by Roger Ludlow
Government
[1]
  Type RTM
   1st Selectman Brenda Kupchick (R)
  SelectmanTom Flynn (R)
  SelectmanNancy Lefkowitz (D)
Area
[2]
  Total31.38 sq mi (81.3 km2)
  Land29.9 sq mi (77 km2)
  Water1.48 sq mi (3.8 km2)
Elevation
59 ft (18 m)
Population
 (2017) [3]
  Total62,105
  Density1,986.8/sq mi (767.1/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP codes
06824, 06825, 06828
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-26620
GNIS feature ID0213429
Website www.fairfieldct.org

Fairfield is an affluent town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It borders the city of Bridgeport and towns of Trumbull, Easton, Weston, and Westport along the Gold Coast of Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 59,404. [4] In September 2014, Money magazine ranked Fairfield the 44th best place to live in the United States and the best place to live in Connecticut. [5]

Contents

History

Colonial era

In 1635, Puritans and Congregationalists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, were dissatisfied with the rate of Anglican reform, and sought to establish an ecclesiastical society subject to their own rules and regulations. The Massachusetts General Court granted them permission to settle in the towns of Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford which is an area now known as Connecticut.

On January 14, 1639, a set of legal and administrative regulations called the Fundamental Orders was adopted, and established Connecticut as a self-ruling entity. By 1639 these settlers had started new towns in the surrounding areas. Roger Ludlowe, framer of the Fundamental Orders, purchased the land presently called Fairfield, and established the name. The name "Fairfield" is commendatory. [6]

According to historian John M. Taylor: "Early in 1639, the General Court granted a commission to Ludlowe to begin a plantation at Pequannocke. He was on that errand, with a few others from Windsor, afterwards joined by immigrants from Watertown and Concord. He stole a large tract of land from the Pequannocke sachems, – afterwards greatly enlarged by other purchases to the westward,- and recalling the attractive region beyond (Unquowa), which he had personally seen on the second Pequot expedition, he also “set down” there, having purchased the territory embraced in the present town of Fairfield, to which he gave its name. [7]

Towns created from Fairfield

Fairfield was one of the two principal settlements of the Connecticut Colony in southwestern Connecticut (the other was Stratford). The town line with Stratford was set in May 1661 by John Banks, an early Fairfield settler, Richard Olmstead, and Lt. Joseph Judson, who were both appointed as a committee by the Colony of Connecticut. [8] The town line with Norwalk was not set until May 1685. [9]

Over time, it gave rise to several new towns that broke off and incorporated separately. The following is a list of towns created from parts of Fairfield.

Revolutionary War

When the American Revolutionary War began in the 1770s, Fairfielders were caught in the crisis as much as, if not more than, the rest of their neighbors in Connecticut. In a predominantly Tory section of the colony, the people of Fairfield were early supporters of the cause for independence. Throughout the war, a constant battle was being fought across Long Island Sound as men from British-controlled Long Island raided the coast in whaleboats and privateers. Gold Selleck Silliman, whose home still stands on Jennings Road, was put in charge of the coastal defenses.

In the spring of 1779, he was kidnapped from his home by Tory forces in preparation for a British raid on Fairfield County. His wife, Mary Silliman watched from their home as, on the morning of July 7, 1779, approximately 2,000 enemy troops landed on Fairfield Beach near Pine Creek Point and proceeded to invade the town. When they left the following evening, the entire town lay in ruins, burned to the ground as punishment for Fairfield's support of the rebel cause. 10 years later, President George Washington noted that after traveling through Fairfield that "the destructive evidence of British cruelty are yet visible both in Norwalk and Fairfield; as there are the chimneys of many burnt houses standing in them yet." [10]

Twentieth century

World War I brought Fairfield out of its agrarian past by triggering an unprecedented economic boom in Bridgeport, which was the center of a large munitions industry at the time. The prosperity created a housing shortage in the city, and many of the workers looked to Fairfield to build their homes. The trolley and later the automobile made the countryside accessible to these newly rich members of the middle class, who brought with them new habits, new attitudes, and new modes of dress. The prosperity lasted throughout the twenties.

By the time of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the population had increased to 17,000 from the 6,000 it had been just before the war. Even during the Depression, the town kept expanding.

The grounding of a barge with two crewmen on Penfield Reef in Fairfield during a gale led to the 1st civilian helicopter hoist rescue in history, on November 29, 1945. The helicopter flew from the nearby Sikorsky Aircraft plant in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Fairfield became the home of the corporate headquarters of General Electric (GE), one of the world's largest companies. On May 8, 2017, GE relocated to Boston, Massachusetts.

The opening of the Connecticut Turnpike in the 1950s brought another wave of development to Fairfield, and by the 1960s the town's residential, suburban character was firmly established.

Geography

The town is on the shore of Long Island Sound. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 31.3 square miles (81 km2), of which 30.0 square miles (78 km2) is land and 3.4 square kilometres (1.3 sq mi), or 4.15%, is water. The Mill River, the waters of which feed Lake Mohegan, flows through the town.

Fairfield consists of many neighborhoods. The best known are wealthy Southport, where General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch lived for many years, and Greenfield Hill, with its large green areas, famous dogwood trees, and picturesque green with its white-spired Congregational church. Other well established neighborhoods include Stratfield, Tunxis Hill, the University area, Grasmere, Mill Plain, Knapp's Village, Melville Village, Holland Hill, and the Fairfield Beach area, which has recently undergone a renaissance with the construction of many new homes by residents wishing to live in proximity to the beach and downtown. [11] This has resulted in steadily rising property prices.[ citation needed ] Two shopping districts in town include the Post Road (U.S. 1) and Black Rock Turnpike.

Neighborhoods

Fairfield Center in a 1956 postcard Fairfield Post Road 1956 Postcard.jpg
Fairfield Center in a 1956 postcard

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1820 4,151
1840 3,654
1850 3,614−1.1%
1860 4,37921.2%
1870 5,64528.9%
1880 3,748−33.6%
1890 3,8683.2%
1900 4,48916.1%
1910 6,13436.6%
1920 11,47587.1%
1930 17,21850.0%
1940 21,13522.7%
1950 30,48944.3%
1960 46,18351.5%
1970 56,48722.3%
1980 54,849−2.9%
1990 53,418−2.6%
2000 57,3407.3%
2010 59,4043.6%
Est. 201461,347 [12] 3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census [13]

As of the census [14] of 2010, there are 59,404 people in the town, organized into 20,457 households and 14,846 families. The population density is 1,927 people per square mile (744/km²). There are 21,648 housing units at an average density of 703 per square mile (277/km²). The racial makeup of the town is 91.6% White, 3.7% Asian, 1.8% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 5.0% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 20,457 households out of which 38.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.6% are married couples living together, 9.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% are non-families. 22.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 15.1% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.69 and the average family size is 3.19.

In the town, the population is spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 21.1% from 25 to 44, 27.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females, there are 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 85.6 males.

The median household income (in 2013 dollars) was $117,705 [15] (these figures had risen to $103,352 and $121,749 respectively as of a 2007 estimate [16] ). Males have a median income of $69,525 versus $44,837 for females. The per capita income for the city is $55,733. 2.9% of the population and 1.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 2.8% of those under the age of 18 and 3.6% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Fairfield is notable for, among other things, its very low crime rate. There have been only three murders in the last five years[ when? ] in town. Money magazine's 2006 Best Places to Live Survey ranked Fairfield as the second-safest municipality in the United States. [17]

In 2012, Fairfield was ranked 64th in Money magazine's Best Places to live. [18]

Government and politics

Fairfield town vote
by party in presidential elections [19]
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2016 57.18%18,04138.39% 12,1124.44% 1,400
2012 51.05%15,28347.95% 14,3571.00% 300
2008 56.44%17,23642.80% 13,0710.75% 230
2004 49.86%15,06848.66% 14,7061.48% 448
2000 49.62%14,21045.54% 13,0424.84% 1,387
1996 45.44%12,63944.28% 12,31410.28% 2,859
1992 37.67% 12,09943.49%13,96818.84% 6,053
1988 38.48% 11,33660.38%17,7861.14% 337
1984 30.80% 9,57368.84%21,3960.35% 110
1980 30.29% 9,16957.50%17,40612.22% 3,698
1976 39.64% 11,89559.70%17,9160.66% 198
1972 33.73% 10,36864.63%19,8661.65% 506
1968 40.23% 11,11053.65%14,8136.12% 1,690
1964 57.22%14,83742.78% 11,0950.00% 0
1960 44.30% 10,83655.70%13,6260.00% 0
1956 26.48% 5,52273.52%15,3350.00% 0
Voter registration and party enrollment as of November 5, 2018 [20]
PartyActive votersInactive votersTotal votersPercentage
Republican 10,6881,17311,86128.27%
Democratic 11,8581,34113,19931.45%
Unaffiliated15,0701,17316,24338.71%
Minor parties583766591.57%
Total38, 1793,76341,962100%

Economy

In May 2012, Moody's Investors Service revised the Town of Fairfield's $192 million general obligation bond debt from negative to stable. [21] In June 2012, Moody's awarded Fairfield with an AAA bond rating, which it maintains to this date.[ when? ]

Taxes

In 2005, the mill rate of Fairfield was 16.67. [22] The 2012–2013 taxes in Fairfield rose 4% to a mill rate of 23.37. [23] The 2013–2014 mill rate which went into effect on July 1 for fiscal year 2013–2014 also increased by 2.38% to 23.93. [24]

Large and distinctive companies

Points of interest

Fairfield Beach, in a 1921 postcard Fairfield Beach Connecticut Postcard c 1921.jpg
Fairfield Beach, in a 1921 postcard
Post Road, in Fairfield Center, in a 1934 photo 1934 Postcard showing Post Road in Fairfield, Connecticut.jpg
Post Road, in Fairfield Center, in a 1934 photo
1910 postcard showing Fairfield Library Fairfield Library Horse.jpg
1910 postcard showing Fairfield Library
Fairfield Community Theater, shown in this 1938 postcard, was operated by the Fairfield Community Theatre Foundation. Postcard of Fairfield, Connecticut c 1938 showing corner of Post Road and Old Post Road.jpg
Fairfield Community Theater, shown in this 1938 postcard, was operated by the Fairfield Community Theatre Foundation.

Historic sites

Arts, entertainment, and sports

Parks and recreation

Penfield Beach Penfield Beach II.jpg
Penfield Beach

Fairfield residents enjoy a wealth of recreational opportunities, many of which stem from Fairfield's enviable location on the Long Island Sound.

Other points of interest

Government

Fairfield's town hall FAIRFIELD TOWN HALL, FAIRFIELD, CT.jpg
Fairfield's town hall

The town government consists of the three-member Board of Selectmen, a Representative Town Meeting (RTM), the Board of Finance, a board of education, a Planning and Zoning Commission (TPZ), and many other politically appointed commissions, boards, and committees. The current First Selectman is Michael Tetreau (D). [31]

The town has no criminal or civil court system and all trials are held and handled by the Bridgeport Superior Court system. However, the town does also offer access to a Juvenile Review Board (JRB) for certain juvenile cases outlined by the Fairfield Police Department.

In the Connecticut General Assembly, Fairfield is represented by three Republicans, Sen. Tony Hwang, Rep. Brenda Kupchick, and Rep. Laura Devlin, and one Democrat, Cristin McCarthy-Vahey.

Emergency services

Police Department

The Fairfield Police Department was created in 1926, approximately 287 years after the town was founded. [32]

Fire Department

The town of Fairfield is protected by the 95 career firefighters of the Fairfield Fire Department (FFD), and volunteer firefighters of the Southport Volunteer Fire Department and Stratfield Volunteer Fire Department. The career Fairfield Fire Department operates five fire stations, located throughout the town, and uses a fire apparatus fleet of five engine companies, one ladder company, one rescue company, three fireboats, and 1 Shift Commander's Unit, as well as many special support, and reserve units. [33] The Southport Volunteer Fire Department has served the community since 1895. [34] The Stratfield Volunteer Fire Department has several stations and has served the community since 1920. [35]

Education

Main entrance to Fairfield University Fairfield Entrance.JPG
Main entrance to Fairfield University

Fairfield has two public high schools, Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe; three public middle schools, Roger Ludlowe, Tomlinson, and Fairfield Woods Middle School; and eleven public elementary schools. [36]

Fairfield has several Catholic schools, including two high schools, Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame, and two primary schools, St. Thomas Aquinas and Our Lady of the Assumption. A third Catholic primary school, Holy Family, was closed by the Diocese of Bridgeport at the end of the 2009–2010 academic year.

Non-religious private schools include Fairfield Country Day School and the Unquowa School.

Fairfield is also home to two post-secondary institutions, Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University.

Media

Transportation

Fairfield is traversed by U.S. 1, Interstate 95, and the Merritt Parkway. It has three Metro-North Railroad stations, Fairfield Metro, Fairfield and Southport. The town is served by several public bus lines of the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority.

Places of worship

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

Fairfield County, Connecticut County of Connecticut in Connecticut

Fairfield County is a county in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 916,829, estimated to have increased by 3.6% to 949,921 in 2017, and decreased to 943,823 in 2018. The most populous county in the state, the county population represents a little over 25% of Connecticut's overall population and is one of its fastest-growing counties. The closest to the center of the New York megacity, the county contains four of the state's largest cities–Bridgeport (1st), Stamford (3rd), Norwalk (6th), and Danbury (7th)–whose combined population of 433,368 is nearly half the county's total population.

Monroe, Connecticut Town in Connecticut, United States

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Milford, Connecticut City in Connecticut, United States

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Trumbull is a town located in Fairfield County, Connecticut. It borders on the cities of Bridgeport and Shelton and the towns of Stratford, Fairfield, Easton and Monroe. The population was 36,018 during the 2010 census. Trumbull was the home of the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation for thousands of years before the English settlement was made in 1639. The town was named after Jonathan Trumbull (1710–1785), a merchant, patriot, and statesman when it was incorporated in 1797. Aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky lived in Trumbull during his active years when he designed, built, and flew fixed-wing aircraft and put the helicopter into mass production for the first time.

Southport, Connecticut Census-designated place in Connecticut, United States

Southport is an affluent former borough in the town of Fairfield, Connecticut, and also a census-designated place. It is located along Long Island Sound between Mill River and Sasco Brook, where it borders Westport. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 1,585. Settled in 1639, Southport center has been designated a local historic district since 1967, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 as the Southport Historic District.

Greenfield Hill is an affluent historic neighborhood in Fairfield, Connecticut roughly bounded by Easton to the North, southern Burr Street/northern Black Rock Turnpike to the East, and Southport and Westport to the South and West respectively. The core of the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as the Greenfield Hill Historic District.

Black Rock, Bridgeport Neighborhood of Bridgeport in Greater Bridgeport, Bridgeport-Stamford, City of Bridgeport

Black Rock is a neighborhood in the southwestern section of the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Currently the home of Ormsbee Bros Real Estate Trust. It was part of the Town of Fairfield before the State of Connecticut granted the land to Bridgeport. It borders Fairfield and the Ash Creek tidal estuary on the west, the West Side/West End of Bridgeport on the north and east, and Black Rock Harbor and Long Island Sound on the south.

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Southport Historic District (Fairfield, Connecticut) United States historic place

The Southport Historic District in the town of Fairfield, Connecticut is a 225-acre (91 ha) area historic district that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. It preserves a portion of the modern neighborhood and former borough of Southport, Connecticut. Since the British burnt almost all of Southport's structures in 1779, there is only one home built prior to that date, the Meeker House at 824 Harbor Road, which survives.

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Long Hill, Trumbull, Connecticut human settlement in United States of America

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George W. Longstaff 19th century American architect

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