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Chester, Connecticut
Official seal of Chester, Connecticut
Seal
Location within Middlesex County, Connecticut
Location within Middlesex County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°24′08″N 72°28′57″W / 41.40222°N 72.48250°W / 41.40222; -72.48250Coordinates: 41°24′08″N 72°28′57″W / 41.40222°N 72.48250°W / 41.40222; -72.48250
Country  United States
U.S. state  Connecticut
County Middlesex
Metropolitan area Hartford
Incorporated 1836
Government
 • Type Selectman-town meeting
Area
 • Total 16.8 sq mi (43.5 km2)
 • Land 16.0 sq mi (41.5 km2)
 • Water 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
Elevation
361 ft (110 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 3,994
 • Density 240/sq mi (92/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
06412
Area code(s) 860/959
FIPS code 09-14300
GNIS feature ID 0213407

Chester is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 3,994 at the 2010 census. The town center is defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place (CDP). The name is a transfer from Chester, in England.

History

The Wangunks, a river tribe of Native Americans, occupied the land called Pattaconk prior to English settlement of the area in 1692. The town was formed from the northern quarter of Saybrook and incorporated in 1836. Back in 1769, Jonathan Warner was granted permission to operate a ferry across the Connecticut River that became the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry, the second-oldest continuously operating ferry service in Connecticut. Its location is currently a state historical landmark.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.8 square miles (44 km2), of which, 16.0 square miles (41 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (4.75%) is water. The CDP has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) of which 1.46% is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 974
1850 992 1.8%
1860 1,015 2.3%
1870 1,094 7.8%
1880 1,177 7.6%
1890 1,301 10.5%
1900 1,328 2.1%
1910 1,419 6.9%
1920 1,675 18.0%
1930 1,463 −12.7%
1940 1,676 14.6%
1950 1,920 14.6%
1960 2,520 31.3%
1970 2,982 18.3%
1980 3,068 2.9%
1990 3,417 11.4%
2000 3,743 9.5%
2010 3,994 6.7%
2014 (est.) 4,316 8.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income

At the 2000 census there were 3,743 people, 1,510 households, and 1,005 families living in the town. The population density was 233.5 people per square mile (90.2/km2). There were 1,613 housing units at an average density of 100.6 per square mile (38.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.79% White, 0.85% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 1.71%.

Memorial Day ceremony 1990 Chester Connecticut
Memorial Day ceremony in Chester, 1990

Of the 1,510 households, 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 28.1% of households were one person, and 13.0% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.93.

The age distribution was 22.3% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 26.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% 65 or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.

The median household income was $65,156 and the median family income was $79,941. Males had a median income of $45,515 versus $40,444 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,191. None of the families and 1.3% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and 2.6% of those over 64.

CDP

At the 2000 census, there were 1,546 people, 632 households, and 401 families living in the Chester Center CDP. The population density was 762.1 inhabitants per square mile (294.0/km2). There were 669 housing units at an average density of 329.8 per square mile (127.2/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 96.31% White, 1.29% African American, 0.06% Native American, 1.36% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.29% of the population.

Of the 632 households, 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 30.5% of households were one person, and 10.1% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.91.

The age distribution was 21.9% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 26.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% 65 or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.

The median household income was $64,236 and the median family income was $71,250. Males had a median income of $38,900 versus $46,354 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $32,087. None of the families and 0.5% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 29, 2019
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Democratic 1,054 49 1,103 38.37%
Republican 560 24 584 20.31%
Unaffiliated 1,075 72 1,147 39.90%
Minor parties 37 4 41 1.42%
Total 2,726 149 2,875 100%
Presidential election results
Year Democratic Republican Third parties
2020 65.5% 1,701 32.9% 853 1.6% 42
2016 60.2% 1,365 34.4% 781 5.4% 123
2012 65.4% 1,380 33.5% 707 1.1% 22
2008 67.5% 1,527 31.4% 710 1.1% 25
2004 62.1% 1,375 35.9% 796 2.0% 43
2000 58.7% 1,207 34.1% 701 7.2% 149
1996 56.9% 1,089 28.0% 536 15.1% 289
1992 45.1% 924 26.0% 533 28.9% 593
1988 48.6% 821 49.6% 838 1.8% 31
1984 38.4% 637 61.1% 1,015 0.5% 8
1980 37.3% 578 47.0% 729 15.7% 244
1976 45.4% 671 54.2% 800 0.4% 6
1972 36.8% 552 62.1% 931 1.1% 17
1968 44.3% 549 51.5% 638 4.2% 53
1964 64.1% 802 35.9% 450 0.00% 0
1960 41.9% 544 58.1% 754 0.00% 0
1956 33.4% 413 66.6% 825 0.00% 0

Points of interest

  • The Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek synagogue is noted for the architecture of its "spectacular" building.
  • Goodspeed-at-Chester, Goodspeed Musicals' second theatre.
  • The Chester Museum at the Mill, a future museum of the Chester Historical Society
  • The Chester–Hadlyme Ferry is the second oldest continuously operating ferry service in the state of Connecticut and is a designated state historical landmark.
  • Camp Hazen YMCA

On the National Registered Historic Places

Transportation

Air

The Chester Airport is a privately owned local facility with one paved runway.

Ground

The Estuary Transit District provides public transportation throughout Chester and the surrounding towns through its 9 Town Transit Service. Services include connections to the Old Saybrook Train Station, served by Amtrak and Shoreline East railroads.

Pictures of Chester

Education

Chester, like the other two towns in the "tri-town area" (Essex and Deep River), is a member of Regional School District #4. John Winthrop Junior High School is on Warsaw Street in Deep River, and Valley Regional High School, is on Kelsey Hill in Deep River. They serve students finor grades 7-8 and 9-12, respectively. Each town in the area also has their own elementary school, serving grades K-6.

Notable people

  • Art Carney (1918–2003), actor; resident, died in town
  • Paul Hopkins (1904–2004), major league relief pitcher; born in town
  • Sol LeWitt (1928–2007), artist
  • Michael P. Price (1938–), theatre producer and artistic director
  • Richard Sachs (1953–), bicycle framebuilder and cyclist; lives in town
  • Morley Safer (1931–2016), CBS news correspondent and anchor on 60 Minutes
  • Max Showalter (1917–2000), film and television actor; retired to Chester
  • Washington F. Willcox (1834–1909), US Congressman; resident
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