Westport, Connecticut

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Westport, Connecticut

Town of Westport
Westport Town Hall, Myrtle Avenue.jpg
Westport Town Hall
Westport CT flag.jpg
Flag
WestportCTseal.gif
Seal
Fairfield County Connecticut incorporated and unincorporated areas Westport highlighted.svg
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
Coordinates: 41°07′24″N73°20′49″W / 41.12333°N 73.34694°W / 41.12333; -73.34694 Coordinates: 41°07′24″N73°20′49″W / 41.12333°N 73.34694°W / 41.12333; -73.34694
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
U.S. state Flag of Connecticut.svg  Connecticut
County Fairfield
Metropolitan area Bridgeport-Stamford
Established1835
IncorporatedMay 28, 1835
Founded by Bankside Farmers
Government
[1]
  Type RTM
   1st selectman Jim Marpe (R)
  2nd selectwomanJennifer Tooker (R)
  3rd selectwomanMelissa Kane (D)
Area
[2]
  Total33.45 sq mi (86.6 km2)
  Land19.96 sq mi (51.7 km2)
  Water13.49 sq mi (34.9 km2)
Elevation
26 ft (8 m)
Population
 (2010) [3] [4]
  Total26,391
  Density1,322.2/sq mi (510.5/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
06880
PO Boxes
06881
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-83500
GNIS feature ID0213532
Website Westport, Connecticut

Westport is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States, along the Long Island Sound within Connecticut's Gold Coast. It is 52 miles (84 km) northeast of New York City. The town had a population of 26,391 according to the 2010 U.S. Census, and is ranked 19th among America's 100 Richest Places [5] as well as third [5] in Connecticut, with populations between 20,000 and 65,000. [6] [7]

Contents

History

Old map of Westport Old Map of Westport, CT.jpg
Old map of Westport

The earliest known inhabitants of the Westport area as identified through archaeological finds date back 7,500 years. [8] Records from the first white settlers report the Pequot Indians living in the area which they called Machamux translated by the colonialists as beautiful land. [9] Settlement by colonialists dates back to the five Bankside Farmers ; whose families grew and prospered into a community that continued expanding. The settlers arrived in 1693, having followed cattle to the isolated area. [9] The community had its own ecclesiastical society, supported by independent civil and religious elements, enabling it to be independent from the Town of Fairfield. [10] As the settlement expanded its name changed: it was briefly known as "Bankside" in 1693, officially named Green's Farm in 1732 in honor of Bankside Farmer John Green and in 1835 incorporated as the Town of Westport. [8] [11]

Minutemen Statue on Compo Beach Minuteman, Westport CT.jpg
Minutemen Statue on Compo Beach

During the revolutionary war—on April 25, 1777, a British force of 1,850 under the command of the Royal Governor of the Province of New York, Major General William Tryon landed on Compo Beach to destroy the Continental Army’s military supplies in Danbury. [12] Minutemen from Westport and the surrounding areas crouched hiding while Tryon's troops passed and then launched an offensive from their rear. A statue on Compo beach commemorates this plan of attack with a crouching Minuteman facing away from the beach, looking onto what would have been the rear of the troops. [13] A sign on Post Road East also commemorates this event. [14]

The Town of Westport was officially incorporated on May 28, 1835, with lands from Fairfield, Weston and Norwalk. [8] [15] Daniel Nash led 130 people of Westport in the petitioning of the Town of Fairfield for Westport’s incorporation. The driving force behind the petition was to assist their seaport’s economic viability that was being undermined by neighboring towns’ seaports. [16] For several decades after that, Westport was a prosperous agricultural community distinguishing itself as the leading onion-growing center in the U.S. [17] Blight caused the collapse of Westport's onion industry, leading to mills and factories replacing agriculture as the town's economic engine. [10]

Agriculture was Westport's first major industry. By the 19th century, Westport had become a shipping center in part to transport onions to market.

Starting around 1910 the town experienced a cultural expansion. [8] [18] During this period artists, musicians, and authors such as F. Scott Fitzgerald moved to Westport to be free from the commuting demands experienced by business people. [19] The roots of Westport's reputation as an arts center can be traced back to this period during which it was known as a "creative heaven." [8]

In the 20th century, a combination of industrialization and popularity among New Yorkers attracted to fashionable Westport—which had attracted many artists and writers—resulted in farmers selling off their land. Westport changed from a community of farmers to a suburban development. [20] [21]

In the 1950s through to the 1970s, New Yorkers relocating from the city to the suburbs discovered Westport's culture of artists, musicians and authors. [18] The population grew rapidly, assisted by the ease of commuting to New York City and back again to rolling hills and the "natural beauty of the town." [8] [22] By this time Westport had "chic New York-type fashion shopping" [23] [24] and a school system with a good reputation, both factors contributing to the growth. [18] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

By the 21st century, Westport had developed into a center for finance and insurance, as well as professional, scientific and technical services. Many kids here go to the University of Pennsylvania for their undergrad studies, returning after graduation. [27] [ failed verification ]

Geography and environment

According to a publication by the 2010 Census, [28] Westport has a total area of 33.45 square miles (86.6 km2) of which 19.96 square miles (51.7 km2) (59.67%) is land with the remaining area of 13.49 square miles (34.9 km2) (40.20%) water.

Westport is bordered by Norwalk on the west, Weston to the north, Wilton to the northwest, Fairfield to the east and Long Island Sound to the south.

Climate

Climate data for Westport, Connecticut
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)68
(20)
71
(22)
79
(26)
95
(35)
97
(36)
97
(36)
102
(39)
97
(36)
99
(37)
89
(32)
77
(25)
66
(19)
102
(39)
Average high °F (°C)37
(3)
39
(4)
48
(9)
60
(16)
70
(21)
79
(26)
84
(29)
82
(28)
75
(24)
64
(18)
52
(11)
42
(6)
61
(16)
Average low °F (°C)19
(−7)
21
(−6)
29
(−2)
38
(3)
47
(8)
57
(14)
62
(17)
61
(16)
53
(12)
40
(4)
33
(1)
24
(−4)
40
(5)
Record low °F (°C)−15
(−26)
−7
(−22)
−2
(−19)
17
(−8)
21
(−6)
34
(1)
45
(7)
41
(5)
31
(−1)
17
(−8)
14
(−10)
−9
(−23)
−15
(−26)
Average precipitation inches (mm)4.2
(110)
3.15
(80)
4.33
(110)
4.37
(111)
4.36
(111)
3.94
(100)
3.83
(97)
3.89
(99)
4.54
(115)
3.89
(99)
4.04
(103)
3.96
(101)
48.5
(1,236)
Average snowfall inches (cm)7.6
(19)
7.8
(20)
4.9
(12)
0.7
(1.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.6
(1.5)
4.6
(12)
26.2
(66.3)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)6.35.96.87.37.77.16.66.56.35.76.46.378.9
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)3.52.91.200000000.11.49.1
Source 1: The Weather Company Record Low & High Data & Average Low & High Data & Average Precipitation Data [29]
Source 2: USA.com Average snowfall inches & Average precipitation days & Average snowy days [30]

Topology

Both the train station and a total of 26 percent of town residents live within the 100-year floodplain. [31] The floodplain was breached in 1992 and 1996 resulting in damage to private property, the 1992 flooding of the train station parking lot and the implementation of flood mitigation measures that include town regulations that affect renovations and additions to building within the floodplain zone. [ citation needed ]

Neighborhoods

Neighborhoods of Westport, CT Neighborhoods of Westport, CT.svg
Neighborhoods of Westport, CT
View from Saugatuck Bridge, Westport, CT, USA - 2012.jpg
Panorama looking northward from Saugatuck Cribari Bridge Bridge St., Westport, CT, taken in 2012.

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1840 1,803
1850 2,65147.0%
1860 3,29324.2%
1870 3,3612.1%
1880 3,4773.5%
1890 3,7156.8%
1900 4,0178.1%
1910 4,2596.0%
1920 5,11420.1%
1930 6,07318.8%
1940 8,25836.0%
1950 11,66741.3%
1960 20,95579.6%
1970 27,31830.4%
1980 25,290−7.4%
1990 24,410−3.5%
2000 25,7495.5%
2010 26,3912.5%
2017 (est.)27,777 5.3%
CT.gov

The 2010 US Census counted the total number of households in Westport being 9,573 of which 7,233 (75.6%) were family households. [37] The population density was 1,322.2 inhabitants per square mile (510.5/km2). There were 10,065 housing units at an average density of 503.0 per square mile (194.2/km2).

According to the 2010 Census, the population of Westport was 92.6% White, 4.0% Asian, 1.2% Black or African American, and 0.1% American Indian. Individuals from other races made up 0.6% of Westport's population while individuals from two or more races made up 1.6%. [38] In addition, Latinos of any race made up 3.5% of Westport's population. About 29.8% of Westport residents were younger than age 18 as of 2010; higher than the U.S. average of 24%.

According to the 2000 Census, there were 9,586 households, of which 38.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.1% were married couples living together, 6.8% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 25.2% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 27.9% under the age of 18, 2.7% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 28.0% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the town was $147,391, and the median income for a family was $176,740. As of the 2000 Census, males had a median income of $100,000 versus $53,269 for females. The per capita income for the town was $73,664. 2.6% of the population and 1.5% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 2.7% are under the age of 18 and 2.1% are 65 or older.

In July 2008, Westport was named the fifth top-earning city in the US, with a median family income of $193,540 and median home price of $1,200,000. [39] In 2018, data from the American Community Survey revealed that Westport was the 9th wealthiest city in the United States. [40]

Government

Westport town vote
by party in presidential elections [41]
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2016 68.99%10,65526.99% 4,1694.01% 620
2012 56.45%8,49542.79% 6,4390.76% 114
2008 65.05%10,06734.52% 5,3420.43% 66
2004 59.47%9,11539.56% 6,0630.98% 150
2000 57.35%8,30438.61% 5,5904.05% 586
1996 51.61%7,33140.73% 5,7857.67% 1,089
1992 48.10%7,79938.02% 6,16613.88% 2,251
1988 44.32% 6,51954.73%8,0510.95% 140
1984 38.58% 5,77461.21%9,1620.21% 31
1980 30.26% 4,38153.95%7,81015.79% 2,285
1976 40.97% 6,05358.73%8,6770.30% 44
1972 40.23% 5,93758.98%8,7050.79% 116
1968 42.34% 5,43554.82%7,0372.84% 365
1964 59.54%6,93940.46% 4,7160.00% 0
1960 35.86% 3,82564.14%6,8420.00% 0
1956 24.60% 2,23275.40%6,8420.00% 0

Westport, like Connecticut as a whole, is heavily Democratic. Hillary Rodham Clinton outscored Donald J. Trump by 42 points in 2016, marking the best performance for a Democratic presidential nominee in the town in over 60 years.

Westport was one of five towns in Connecticut that backed former Governor John Kasich over Donald J. Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. Kasich received 1,098 votes (46.19 percent) ahead of Trump who garnered 1,053 votes (44.30 percent). U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas finished third with 165 votes (6.94 percent). [42]

The town switched to a Representative Town Meeting style governance in 1949. The government consists of a three-member Board of Selectmen, a Representative Town Meeting (RTM), a Board of Finance, a Board of Education, a Planning and Zoning Commission, and various other commissions, boards, and committees.

Taxes

As of 2019, the current mill rate of Westport is 16.86. [43]

Police department

As of 2020, the Westport Police Department has a full-time complement of 64 sworn police officers that serve the Town of Westport. [44] This department is one of few Police Departments in the country to invest in electric and hybrid fleets. [45]


Fire department

The town of Westport is protected by the paid, full-time firefighters of the Westport Fire Department (WFD). Established in 1929, the Westport Fire Department currently operates out of 4 fire stations, located throughout the town, and maintains a fire apparatus fleet of 6 Engines, (4 first line and 2 reserve) 1 truck, 1 rescue, 1 fireboat, 1 High Water Unit, 1 utility unit and 1 Shift Commander's unit. The fire department also holds the Fairfield County Hazardous Materials Truck, housed at Westport Fire Headquarters. The Westport Fire Department responds to, on average, approximately 4,000 emergency calls annually. [46]

Below is a complete listing of all fire station locations and apparatus in the town of Westport.

Engine companySpecial unitAddressNeighborhood
Engine 2Rescue 3, Fireboat, High Water Unit, Utility Unit515 Post Rd. E.Downtown
Engine 4555 Riverside Ave.Saugatuck
Engine 566 Center St. Greens Farms
Engine 6FireBoat61 Easton Rd.Coleytown

Education

Schools

Public schools

View of Staples High School, December 2011 Staples High School, Westport, CT.jpg
View of Staples High School, December 2011

Staples High School is Westport's only public high school. Staples High School was ranked No. 4 for best high schools in Connecticut and 279th best nationwide." [47]

The district has two middle schools, Bedford Middle School and Coleytown Middle School, the latter being down for renovations due to mold issues. [48] In September 2009, Bedford Middle School was awarded the government-honored Blue Ribbon Award. In 2020, Bedford Middle and Coleytown Middle schools were ranked No. 3 and No. 7 in the state, respectively. [49]

There are five elementary schools with a total of 2,556 students:

There are numerous preschools in Westport, including Stepping Stones Pre-school, Greens Farms Nursery School, Saugatuck Nursery School, Earthplace Nursery School and the YMCA Childcare. [55] [56] [57] [58]

For the 2020–21 fiscal year, the school district's adopted budget is $121.9 million. [59] The school district had an estimated $109.1 million budget for the 2009–10 fiscal year, giving it an average per pupil expenditure of $16,266. [60] The average 2010 class size for kindergarten through first grade was 22 students and 25 students for second through fifth grade. [61]

Private schools

Greens Farms Academy, located in the 1920s Vanderbilt estate overlooking Long Island Sound, is a K-12 private preparatory school located in the Greens Farms section of town. Pierrepont School, opened in 2002 on Sylvan Road, is a private K-12 school for gifted students.

The Westport Library taken from the opposite side of the Saugatuck River. Westport Public Library.jpg
The Westport Library taken from the opposite side of the Saugatuck River.

Scientific institutions

The Rolnick Observatory, operated by the Westport Astronomical Society, is open to the public for free on clear Wednesday and Thursday evenings. The observatory is located at 182 Bayberry Lane, on a former Nike missile site. [62] [63]

Earthplace, The Nature Discovery Center, is a natural history museum, nature center and wildlife sanctuary located at 10 Woodside Lane. The organization is dedicated to the promotion of public environmental education, preservation and conservation. Activities include maintaining a 62-acre (250,000 m2) open space wildlife sanctuary with trails, presenting public nature education programs, a water quality monitoring program, an interactive nature discovery area, a nursery school and summer camp.

Media

Westport's first newspaper dates back to the printing and publication of the first issue of The Saugatuck Journal on December 26, 1828. [19] [64]

Westport is served by both English-language newspapers and news websites including Westport News [65] and WestportNow. [66] The town is also home to a monthly magazine Westport.

Economy

Commerce and industry

The financial services sector employs 7,171 in Westport; half of whom commute daily to Westport. [27] The financial services industry is a major segment of the local economy. The major financial services companies in Westport now are Bridgewater Associates, a global investment manager and Westport's largest employer, Canaan Partners, an early stage venture capital firm focusing on IT and life sciences, and BNY Mellon. [67] Professional, scientific, and technical services companies include Terex, a Fortune 500 company manufacturing industrial equipment and offering professional and technical services around those products, and dLife, a multimedia diabetes education (and marketing) company.

Nonprofits

Westport Country Playhouse Westport Country Playhouse.jpg
Westport Country Playhouse

Attractions

Parks and recreation

Comprising 234 acres (0.95 km2), Sherwood Island State Park is located on Long Island Sound and includes beach access. Compo Beach and Burying Hill Beach are municipal beaches that are open to out-of-town visitors in the summer for a fee. The state's 9/11 memorial was put in Sherwood Island State Park in Westport; on a clear day the New York City skyline can be seen. [71]

In 1960, Westport purchased Longshore Club Park.

In 2011, Paul Newman's estate gave land to Westport to be managed by the Aspetuck Land Trust. [72]

In 2010, the historic Wakeman Farm was reopened to the public as the Wakeman Town Farm and Sustainability Center. The town's website describes as an "organic demonstration homestead open to the public. The Farm is a model facility created to educate the community with local healthy food production, responsible land stewardship, sustainable practices and community service orientation." [73]

Panorama, Compo Beach, Westport, CT 01.JPG
Panorama of Compo Beach, Westport, CT, in 2012.

Transportation

Westport train station WestportCTTrainStation09302007.jpg
Westport train station

Interstate 95, the Merritt Parkway, and U.S. 1, as well as the Saugatuck River, run through Westport.

Westport has two train stations, Green's Farms and Westport on the Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Line, which serves Stamford and Grand Central Terminal in New York City or New Haven-Union Station. This line is shared with Amtrak trains as it is part of the Northeast Corridor, but no Amtrak services stop at Green's Farms or Westport. The nearest Amtrak stations are at Bridgeport (10 miles) and Stamford (12 miles).

"Main to Train" study

A recent initiative by residents of the Town of Westport, Connecticut, culminating in a 2019 report. [74] It is part of a greater interest to improve pedestrian and cyclist options from the major places of interest in town: downtown Westport to the Westport Train Station. This approximate two-mile stretch of road is most directly accessible via Post Road East (U.S. Route 1) to Riverside Avenue. The third iteration of the study will more specifically address ways in which this path can be improved for people not traveling by car; the first report considered the conditional state of the path and the second analyzed traffic conditions.

The Westport Planning and Zoning Commission [75] is interested in offering more sustainable and accessible transit options: in 2017 the Commission released a report on alternate transit options, [76] complete with surveys of town residents and maps of current sidewalks and bike paths. The lack of sidewalks on some two-way arterial and many collector streets may increase the potential for accidents. This is occurring in tandem with the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s notable laws which support users of all transit forms: the Complete Streets Law of 2009, [77] the 2014 Vulnerable User Law, [78] and the 2015 Bike Bill. [79] A true application of change in the post-Complete Streets law is the restriping of road shoulders by the DOT across the state, including the many, already narrow, two-way streets. The narrowing of roads [80] is known to encourage slower, safer driving, which protects pedestrians and cyclists, as well as auto users. This form of traffic calming is thus in line with Vision Zero, an interest by New Urbanists and city planners focused on reducing traffic-caused injuries and fatalities.

The Norwalk Transit District, with several routes available for Westporters due to support by the Town of Westport, offers another form of transit for mainly commuting use.

Notable people

Among the many actors, singers and other entertainers who have lived in town is Paul Newman who resided in Westport from 1960 until his death in 2008. His wife, Joanne Woodward, still resides in town. [90] [91] Fala (1940–1952), President Franklin D. Roosevelt's dog, was an early Christmas gift from Mrs. Augustus G. Kellogg, a town resident. [92] Actress Grace Carney moved to Westport in 1979, when she became president of United Tool and Die, a company started by her father. [93] She died in the city in 2009. [94] Actress Gene Tierney grew up in Greens Farms. [95] Adult film star Marilyn Chambers grew up in Westport under her given name Marilyn Briggs. Martha Stewart also lived in Westport at her historic estate of Turkey Hill. [96] Jean Donovan, a lay Roman Catholic missioner martyred in El Salvador in 1980 grew up in Westport and graduated from Staples High School. She is honored on the litany of saints by the Lutheran World Federation and by The Anglican Communion. Academy Award winner Sandy Dennis lived in Westport until her death in 1992. Actor Christopher Walken lives in Westport. Former FDA chief Dr. Scott Gottlieb is a resident of Westport. [97]

Sister cities

As of 2020, Westport has three sister cities: [98]

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References

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