Simsbury, Connecticut

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Simsbury, Connecticut
The Farmington River in Simsbury
Simsbury CT lg.PNG
Coordinates: 41°52′14″N72°49′31″W / 41.87056°N 72.82528°W / 41.87056; -72.82528 Coordinates: 41°52′14″N72°49′31″W / 41.87056°N 72.82528°W / 41.87056; -72.82528
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
U.S. state Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut
County Hartford
Metropolitan area Hartford
  Type Town Manager/Board of Selectmen
  First selectmanEric Wellman (D)
  SelectmenSean P. Askham (R)
Jackie Battos (R)
Michael Paine (R)
Christopher Peterson (D)
Wendy Mackstutis (D)
  Total34.3 sq mi (88.8 km2)
  Land33.9 sq mi (87.9 km2)
  Water0.4 sq mi (1.0 km2)
233 ft (71 m)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
06070, 06081, 06089, 06092
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-68940
GNIS feature ID0213506

Simsbury is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 23,511 at the 2010 census. [1] The town was incorporated as Connecticut's 21st town in May 1670.



Early history

At the beginning of the 17th century, the area today known as Simsbury was inhabited by indigenous peoples. The Wappinger were one of these groups, composed of eighteen bands, organized not as formally as a tribe, but more of an association, like the Delaware. These bands lived between the Hudson and Connecticut rivers. The Wappingers were one of the Algonquian peoples, a linguistic grouping which includes hundreds of tribes. [2] One of the Wappinger bands, the Massaco, lived near, but mostly west of what is now called the Farmington River, the area now known as Simsbury and Canton. [3] The river was called the Massaco by the native inhabitants. The term Massaco (pronounced Mas-saco) may refer to the indigenous peoples, the river itself, the village occupied by the indigenous peoples, and the land adjacent to the river. [4]

In 1633, Windsor was the second town in Connecticut settled by Europeans and the first English settlement (the first European settlement being Huys de Goede Hoop, established by the Dutch in the Hartford area as a frontier settlement for the New Netherland Colony ten years earlier). For some time, the area of Massaco was considered "an appendix to the towne of Windsor. [5] " Settlers in Windsor forested and farmed in the area, but did not come to Massaco permanently for a number of years. In 1642, the General Court [of the colony of Connecticut] ordered that: [6]

the Governor and Mr. Heynes shall have liberty to dispose of the ground uppon that parte of Tunxis River cauled Mossocowe, to such inhabitants of Wyndsor as they shall see cause.

Despite this order, there is no record that any settlements ensued immediately. Five years later the General Court issued another order: [7]

The Court thinks fitt that Massacoe be purchased by the Country, and that ther be a Committee chosen to dispose of yt to such inhabitants of Wyndsor as by the shalbe judged meet to make improuement therof...

but there is no record of grants of land arising from this order. [8]

In 1643, John Griffin and Michael Humphrey started a tar and turpentine business in Windsor. A few years later, a Massaco Indian named Manahanoose started a fire which destroyed tar belonging to Griffin. The Court ordered the payment of "five hundred fathom of wampum" as compensation. Instead of cash payment, Manahanoose delivered a deed to the land at Massacoe. The deed was agreed to by Manahanoose as well as other Indians, identified as "the proprietors of Massaco". [9] In 1653, the General Court granted 50 acres (200,000 m2) of meadowland to Lieutenant Aaron Cook, 60 acres (240,000 m2) to John Bissell and 50 acres (200,000 m2) to Thomas Ford, all in Massacoe. [10]

Settlers did not build permanent settlements until the following decade. Aaron Cook built one of the early homes in the area now known as Terry's Plain, and John Griffin built a home, possibly in 1664, the date associated with a deed to land in Massacoe. [11] The settlement of Massacoe continued in the late 1660s. The General Court awarded a land grant to John Griffin of two hundred acres in 1663. In 1664, a deed description indicated he had become a permanent inhabitant. By 1669, a survey revealed that there were thirteen permanent residents of Massacoe. One of those residents, John Case, was appointed to the position of constable. [12] This is the first recorded civil office held by residents of the area. [9]


In 1670, Case, along with Joshua Holcomb & Thomas Barber, presented a petition to the General Court, requesting that Massacoe become a town of the colony of Connecticut. [13] On May 12, 1670, the General Court granted the petition, and ordered that the plantation should be called "Simmsbury". The boundaries at that time were Farmington on the south and Windsor on the east, with the extent of Simsbury running 10 miles (16 km) north of Farmington and 10 miles west of Windsor, although the northern border, subject to dispute with Massachusetts, would be resolved later. [14] This extent covers what is present-day Simsbury as well as Granby and Canton.

The precise origin of the name of the town is not known for certain. The town records covering the first ten years after incorporation were accidentally burned in 1680 and 1681. One possibility is that the name of Simsbury comes from the English town of Symondsbury. [15] Holcomb, one of the petitioners, originally came from Symondsbury. Another possibility is that the name was derived from Simon Wolcott. He was known familiarly as "Sim", and he was considered one of the prominent men of the town. [13]

King Philip's War

In 1675, rumors of unrest among the indigenous peoples began to surface. The rumors proved accurate, and in the summer, King Philip's War began, a war between a number of tribes and the New England settlers. The war extended through parts of four colonies, with Simsbury on the western edge of the conflict. At the time, it was seen as a frontier settlement. [16] The conflict was largely over by August 1676, although it did not formally end until a treaty was signed in 1678.

The colony formed a Council of War. In the days leading up to the war, they ordered settlers to keep night watches, and to work in the fields in armed groups of at least six. [17] By the time of the colony's General Court meeting of October 14, 1675, the situation was considered serious enough that the court ordered the residents of Simsbury to move to safety in Windsor. The order read:

This Court orders, that the people of Simsbury shall have a week's time to secure themselves and their corn there, and at the end of the week from this date, the souldiers, now in garrison at Simsbury, shall be released their attendance there.

Colony of Connecticut General Court [18]

In March 1676, the town of Simsbury was first pillaged, then burned to the ground. This destruction is described as the most extensive of any event of any Indian War in New England. [19] The settlers remained in Windsor until the spring of 1677, at which time most moved back to Simsbury, although some never returned. [20]

Daniel Hayes

In 1707, Daniel Hayes, then aged twenty-two, was captured by the indigenous people and carried off to Canada. The capture was witnessed, and a rescue party raised, but the group did not catch up with the captors. He was tied up each night, and bound to saplings. It took thirty days to reach Canada, where Hayes was forced to run the gauntlet. Near the end of the gauntlet, he hid in a wigwam to avoid an attempted blow by a club. The woman in the wigwam declared that the house was sacred, and having lost a husband and son to a war, adopted Hayes as her son. He remained for several years, attending to the woman. Eventually, he was sold to a Frenchman, who learned that Hayes had skill as a weaver, so put him to work in that business. Hayes managed to earn enough to buy his freedom after two years. He then returned to Simsbury, settled down on a farm and married. He became prominent, both in civil affairs as well as the church at Salmon Brook (now Granby). [21]

From 1750 to 1865

Main Street in 1921 PostcardMainStSimsburyCT1921.jpg
Main Street in 1921

On Tuesday, December 20, 1859 the two-story Patent Safety Fuse factory - located near the center of town - exploded, killing seven women and one man. The blast also injured several other people, including the factory owner. The factory made cord fast-burning fuses used for blasting, which resulted in the explosion. Two days later, on Thursday, December 22, 1859, the New York Times ran a story about the explosion.


Talcott Mountain ridgeline Penwood State park.jpg
Talcott Mountain ridgeline

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 34.3 square miles (88.8 km2), of which 33.9 square miles (87.9 km2) is land and 0.39 square miles (1.0 km2), or 1.09%, is water. [1]

Simsbury lies in the northern end of the Farmington Valley. The east side of Simsbury is flanked by Talcott Mountain, part of the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous trap rock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border. Notable features of the Metacomet Ridge in Simsbury include Heublein Tower, Talcott Mountain State Park, Penwood State Park, and the Tariffville Gorge of the Farmington River. The 51-mile-long (82 km) Metacomet Trail traverses the ridge. At the western foot of the mountain, near the Farmington River, grows the Pinchot Sycamore, the largest tree in Connecticut. Simsbury also has some patches of old growth; Belden Forest, a 40-acre site with public hiking trails near the center of town, was inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network in October 2019. [22]

The town is often considered a bedroom community for the nearby city of Hartford, Connecticut, a 20 to 25 minute drive from Simsbury Center, however many residents also commute to other towns and cities within the west-central Connecticut region.

Principal communities

After the complete destruction of the town in 1676 during King Philip's War, there were three late 17th to early 18th century nucleated resettlement communities: East Weatogue (also called East Simsbury), Simsbury Center and Terry's Plain.

There are four census-designated places in Simsbury: Simsbury Center, Tariffville, Weatogue, and West Simsbury.


Climate data for Simsbury, Connecticut
Record high °F (°C)72
Average high °F (°C)34
Average low °F (°C)18
Record low °F (°C)−26
Average precipitation inches (mm)3.23
Source: [23]


Historical population
1820 1,875
1850 2,737
1860 2,410−11.9%
1870 2,051−14.9%
1880 1,830−10.8%
1890 1,8742.4%
1900 2,09411.7%
1910 2,53721.2%
1920 2,95816.6%
1930 3,62522.5%
1940 3,9418.7%
1950 4,82222.4%
1960 10,138110.2%
1970 17,47572.4%
1980 21,16121.1%
1990 22,0234.1%
2000 23,2345.5%
2010 23,5111.2%
2014 (est.)23,975 [24] 2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census [25]
A. E. Lathrop's Drug Store, about 1905 PostcardSimsburyCTAELathropsDrugStoreCirca1905.jpg
A. E. Lathrop's Drug Store, about 1905

As of the census [26] of 2000, there were 23,234 people, 8,527 households, and 6,591 families residing in the town. The population density was 685.7 people per square mile (264.8/km2). There were 8,739 housing units at an average density of 257.9 per square mile (99.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.3% White, 1.17% African American, 0.09% Native American, 2.12% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 1.54% of the population. The ethnic make-up of the town in terms of percentage of total residents (the five most common, ordered from most-reported to least) is Irish (23.0%), English (17.4%), German (15.6%), Italian (13.7%), and Polish (7.6%). [27]

There were 8,527 households, out of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.1% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.7% were non-families. 19.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 29.5% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.3 males.

In 2018, the median household income was $119,588 and the per capita income for the town was $60,453. [28] About 1.0% of families and 2.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.6% of those under age 18 and 4.3% of those age 65 or over.


Top employers

According to Simsbury's 2015 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, [29] the top employers in the city are:

#Employer# of employees
1Simsbury Board of Education643
2The New McLean450
3 Chubb 417
4 Ensign-Bickford Aerospace and Defense 226
5Hoffman Auto Group197
6 Super Stop & Shop 164
7Town of Simsbury157
8Mitchell Auto Group102
9Hopmeadow Country Club100


On the National Register of Historic Places

Drake Hill Road Bridge (1892) Drake Hill Road Bridge.JPG
Drake Hill Road Bridge (1892)
Eno Memorial Hall Eno Memorial Hall.JPG
Eno Memorial Hall
John Humphrey House John Humphrey House.JPG
John Humphrey House


Public high schools

Private high schools

Public primary/middle schools

Private primary/middle schools

Notable people


Sasha Cohen Sasha Cohen 2009 SOI Halifax Spiral.jpg
Sasha Cohen


Sister cities

See also


  1. 1 2 "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Simsbury town, Hartford County, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved November 28, 2012.
  2. Trelease, p. 4–9.
  3. "New York Indian Tribes". Access Archived from the original on December 3, 2010. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  4. "Phelps Family History in America". Phelps Family History. Retrieved September 30, 2010.
  5. Connecticut 1852, p. 97.
  6. Connecticut 1850, p. 71.
  7. Connecticut 1850, p. 161.
  8. Phelps, p. 10.
  9. 1 2 Trumbull, p. 342.
  10. Connecticut 1850, p. 247.
  11. Phelps, p. 12.
  12. Connecticut 1852, p. 118.
  13. 1 2 Trumbull, p. 343.
  14. Connecticut 1852, p. 127.
  15. Fry, CR. "Simsbury, USA, and Symondsbury, Dorset: Holcomb and Wolcott Connections? The Greenwood Tree. Vol.32, No.3, 2007
  16. Phelps, p. 21.
  17. Phelps, p. 20.
  18. Connecticut 1852, p. 269.
  19. Phelps, p. 24.
  20. Phelps, p. 25.
  21. Phelps, p. 37–44.
  22. "Forest Dedication: Belden Forest - Our First Connecticut Forest!". Old-Growth Forest Network. Retrieved 17 January 2021.
  23. "Monthly Averages for Simsbury, CT (06070)". Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  24. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Archived from the original on May 23, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  25. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  26. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  27. "Simsbury, Connecticut". City-Data. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  28. "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Simsbury town, Hartford County, Connecticut". Retrieved 2020-07-08.
  29. "Town of Simsbury CAFR" (PDF).
  30. "Drake Hill Road Bridge". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  31. "John Humphrey House". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  32. "Simsbury Townhouse". National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  33. 1 2 3 Rabinovitz, Jonathan (February 2, 1997). "When Olympic Champions Moved In, They Put Simsbury on the World Map". The New York Times. Simsbury, Connecticut. Retrieved January 4, 2011.
  34. "BARBER, Levi (1777 - 1833)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  35. James, Edward T., et al. Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, vol. 2, p. 86.
  36. King, Martin Luther Jr. (1998). "Chapter 1: Early Years". In Carson, Clayborne (ed.). The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. New York City: Warner Books. p. 11. ISBN   9780446524124 . Retrieved September 19, 2020 via Stanford University | Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.
  37. "McLEAN, George Payne (1857 - 1932)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  38. "PHELPS, Elisha (1779 - 1847)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  39. "* Pennsylvania Governor Gifford Pinchot". National Governors Association. Retrieved January 24, 2013.

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