Fairfield, Connecticut facts for kids

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Fairfield
Town
Aerial view of Fairfield
Aerial view of Fairfield
Official seal of Fairfield
Seal
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
Country United States
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region Greater Bridgeport
Settled 1639 (Roger Ludlowe)
Area
 • Total 31.3 sq mi (81.1 km2)
 • Land 30.0 sq mi (77.8 km2)
 • Water 1.3 sq mi (3.4 km2)
Elevation 59 ft (18 m)
Population (2013)
 • Total 60,855
 • Density 1,927/sq mi (744/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code

06824
06825
06828 (General Electric)
06890 (Southport)

(formerly 06430, 06432, 06431, 06490, respectively)
Area code(s) 203
FIPS code 09-26620
GNIS feature ID 0213429
Website www.fairfieldct.org

Fairfield is a town located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It borders the towns of Bridgeport, Trumbull, Easton, Weston, and Westport along the Gold Coast of Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, the town had a population of 59,404. In July 2006, Money magazine ranked Fairfield the ninth "best place to live" in the United States, and the best place to live in the Northeast.

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.

According to historian John M. Taylor: "Early in 1639 the General Court granted a commission to Ludlow 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 bought a large tract of land from the Pequannocke sachems, - afterwards greatly enlarged by other purchases to the westward,- and recalling the attractive region beyond (Uncoa), 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."

Towns created from Fairfield

Fairfield was one of the two principal settlements of the Connecticut Colony in southeastern 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. The town line with Norwalk was not set until May 1685.

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

See also: Burning of Fairfield (1779)

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 evidences of British cruelty are yet visible both in Norwalk and Fairfield; as there are the chimneys of many burnt houses standing in them yet."

Fairfield recovered slowly from the burning, but soon after the end of the war its houses and public buildings had all been rebuilt.

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.

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.

Views of Fairfield, Connecticut
Postcard from 1932 showing bathers at Fairfield Beach 
Historical Postcard of the Tide Mill Tavern 
Fairfield's Burr Homestead in a 1938 photo 
Pequot Library in Southport, 1966 
Southport Congregational Church, 1966 
Historical Woodcut from c1840 Showing Old Town Hall and Town Green 
Trinity Church in Southport, 1966 
Penfield Reef Lighthouse is located in Long Island Sound off the coast of Fairfield Beach 
Bellarmine Hall at Fairfield University 
The "1812 Sycamore" near Town Hall (cut down in 2013) 

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 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. Two shopping districts in town include the Post Road (U.S. 1) and Black Rock Turnpike.

Neighborhoods

Fairfield Post Road 1956 Postcard
Fairfield Center in a 1956 postcard
  • Fairfield Center/Downtown Fairfield
  • Fairfield Beach area
  • Grasmere
  • Greenfield Hill
  • Sasco Hill and Beach
  • Southport
  • Tunxis Hill

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 4,151
1840 3,654
1850 3,614 −1.1%
1860 4,379 21.2%
1870 5,645 28.9%
1880 3,748 −33.6%
1890 3,868 3.2%
1900 4,489 16.1%
1910 6,134 36.6%
1920 11,475 87.1%
1930 17,218 50.0%
1940 21,135 22.7%
1950 30,489 44.3%
1960 46,183 51.5%
1970 56,487 22.3%
1980 54,849 −2.9%
1990 53,418 −2.6%
2000 57,340 7.3%
2010 59,404 3.6%
Est. 2014 61,347 3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income

As of the census 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 (these figures had risen to $103,352 and $121,749 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). 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 in town. Money Magazine's 2006 Best Places to Live Survey ranks Fairfield as the second safest municipality in the United States.

In 2012, Fairfield was ranked #64 in Money Magazine's Best Places to live.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of February 2, 2017
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Republican 11,630 399 12,029 28.45%
Democratic 12,107 432 12,539 29.65%
Unaffiliated 16,324 815 17,139 40.53%
Minor parties 551 26 577 1.36%
Total 40,612 1,672 42,284 100%

Points of interest

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

Historic sites

  • Connecticut Audubon Society Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary — 314 Unquowa Road (added 1982)
  • Bronson Windmill — 3015 Bronson Road (added 1971)
  • David Ogden House — 1520 Bronson Road (added 1979)
  • Fairfield Historic District — Old Post Road from Post Road to Turney Road (added 1971). This is the old town center of Fairfield, roughly along Old Post Road between U.S. Route 1 and Turney Road. The area contains Fairfield's town hall, public library, and houses dating from the late 18th century.
  • Fairfield Railroad Stations — Carter Henry Drive (added 1989)
  • Greenfield Hill Historic District — Roughly bounded by Meeting House Lane, Hillside Road, Verna Hill Road and Bronson Road (added 1971)
  • John Osborne House — 909 King's Highway West (added 1987)
  • Jonathan Sturges House — 449 Mill Plain Road (added 1984)
  • Pine Creek Park Bridge — North of Old Dam Road, over Pine Circle (added 1992)
  • Southport Historic District — Roughly bounded by Southport Harbor, railroad tracks, Old South Road, and Rose Hill Road (added 1971)
  • Southport Railroad Stations — 96 Station St. and 100 Center St. (added 1989)

Arts, entertainment, and sports

  • The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on the campus of Fairfield University opened in 1990. Its busy schedule of events includes popular and classical music, dance, theatre, programs for young audiences, and the noted Open VISIONS Forum lecture series which feature eminent opinion-makers, artists, authors, political commentators, and learned contributors to the humanities and sciences. The Quick Center houses the 740-seat Kelley Theatre, the 150-seat Lawrence A. Wien Experimental Theatre, and the Thomas J. Walsh, Jr. Art Gallery. The Quick Center has become known as one of the finest concert halls in the country and was recognized as the "cultural epicenter of Fairfield County" by Westport Magazine.
  • The PepsiCo Theatre, a renovated 1922 carriage house on the campus of Fairfield University, is the home to the Theatre Program of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts and Theater Fairfield, the resident production company of the University. The PepsiCo Theatre also hosts experimental productions by students, faculty and local professionals.
  • The Bellarmine Museum of Art on the campus of Fairfield University host shows by regional artists and touring exhibitions as well as a permanent collection.
  • The Gazebo on Sherman Town Green is home to concerts during the summer in the afternoon hours. Free to listen, along with free food and drinks it is an ideal place for entertainment. Many concerts are directed toward an older audience.
  • WSHU-FM Public Radio operated by Sacred Heart University
  • WVOF, student-run radio at Fairfield University
  • Fairfield University hosts collegiate athletic competitions open to the public including basketball, baseball, cross-country, field hockey, lacrosse, rowing, soccer, swimming, tennis, and volleyball.

Parks and recreation

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

  • The town's 5 miles (8 km) of Long Island Sound coastline include five town beaches which are staffed by lifeguards during the summer, and miles of privately owned beach which are open to the public below the high tide mark.
  • South Benson Marina is a town-owned facility providing 600 boat slips which residents can rent for the summer.
  • Lake Mohegan, which includes waterfalls called The Cascades, is a popular destination for hiking, as are the Fairfield Audubon Society and the Bird Sanctuary.
  • Ye Yacht Yard, a town-owned facility on picturesque Southport Harbor, provides boat launch services to residents, and access to moorings in Southport Harbor. Ye Yacht Yard is also the location of Community Sailing of Fairfield, whose members share use of two 18-foot sailboats.
  • The "SportsPlex" is located in downtown Fairfield and offers athletic activities such as; ice skating, indoor climbing, Indoor soccer and gymnastics.

Other points of interest

  • Connecticut Audubon Society Center at Fairfield (separate from the Birdcraft Museum and Sanctuary) – 6 miles (10 km) of boardwalk nature trails in a wildlife sanctuary of 160 acres (0.65 km2) with a nature center
  • Fairfield Museum and History Center – displays on local history, art and decorative arts, and a library on local history
  • Gallery of Contemporary Art at Sacred Heart University – holds five exhibitions each year
  • Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University
Penfield Beach II
Penfield Beach

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

Images for kids


Fairfield, Connecticut Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.