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Guilford, Connecticut
Town of Guilford
Guilford Square
Guilford Square
Official seal of Guilford, Connecticut
"Discover A Piece Of Connecticut History"
Guilford's location within New Haven County and Connecticut New Haven County and Connecticut
Guilford's location within the South Central Connecticut Planning Region and the state of Connecticut South Central Connecticut Planning Region and Connecticut
Country  United States
U.S. state  Connecticut
County New Haven
Region South Central CT
Settled May 19, 1639
Established October 15, 1644
Named for Guildford, Surrey
 • Type Selectman-town meeting
 • Total 49.7 sq mi (128.7 km2)
 • Land 47.1 sq mi (121.9 km2)
 • Water 2.7 sq mi (6.9 km2)
56 ft (17 m)
 • Total 22,073
 • Density 444.1/sq mi (171.51/km2)
 • Demonym
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-34950
GNIS feature ID 0213438

Guilford is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, that borders Madison, Branford, North Branford and Durham, and is situated on I-95 and the Connecticut seacoast. The town is part of the South Central Connecticut Planning Region. The population was 22,073 at the 2020 census.


Gilford, Conn. ca. 1900
Guilford, c. 1900

Guilford was named after the town of Guildford, in England, the native home of a share of its first settlers. In early maps of the Connecticut Colony, the town is seen on several maps as Gilford.

First settled by Europeans in 1639 after a treaty with the “Sachem Squaw” Shaumpishuh. Guilford is considered by some to have the third largest collection of historic homes in New England, with important buildings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. There are five historic house museums, including Dudley Farm and the Henry Whitfield House (1639), the oldest dwelling house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house built by English settlers in North America. The Comfort Starr House (1695) is one of the oldest wooden framed private dwellings in Connecticut, and one of the few houses remaining of the original signers who settled Guilford.

In June 1781, during the American Revolution, a skirmish was fought on Leete's Island between the Associated Loyalists and local militia under Captain Peter Vail.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 49.7 square miles (129 km2), of which 47.0 square miles (122 km2) is land and 2.7 square miles (6.9 km2 or 5.39%) is water.

The primary settlement in Guilford, known as Guilford Center, is located in the southern part of town around the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and Connecticut Route 77. It is served by three exits of Interstate 95, which passes just north of the town center. The Guilford Center census-designated place had a population of 2,597 at the 2010 census.

The northwest side of Guilford is flanked by the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous trap rock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border. Important features of the Metacomet ridge in Guilford include Totoket Mountain; its most notable peak, Bluff Head; and two eastern high points on the Totoket Mountain ridge named East Sugarloaf and West Sugarloaf. The 50-mile (80 km) Mattabesett Trail traverses Bluff Head; a shorter network of trails criss-cross the Sugarloaves. Guilford also contains the Westwoods Trail System which covers 39 miles (63 km) of trails on 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) of land.


Guilford station at sunset, December 2013
Guilford train station is served by Shore Line East

The Shore Line East train stops at Guilford station with service to Branford, East Haven, New Haven and New London, and the Connecticut Transit S bus travels between Guilford and New Haven several times each day.

Principal communities

  • Guilford Center (Guilford's Green)
  • Leetes Island
  • North Guilford
  • Nut Plains
  • Shell beach
  • Sachems Head

Other minor communities and geographic features in Guilford are Guilford Lakes, Indian Cove, and Old Quarry.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 4,131
1850 2,653
1860 2,624 −1.1%
1870 2,576 −1.8%
1880 2,782 8.0%
1890 2,780 −0.1%
1900 2,785 0.2%
1910 3,001 7.8%
1920 2,803 −6.6%
1930 3,117 11.2%
1940 3,544 13.7%
1950 5,092 43.7%
1960 7,913 55.4%
1970 12,033 52.1%
1980 17,375 44.4%
1990 19,848 14.2%
2000 21,398 7.8%
2010 22,375 4.6%
2020 22,073 −1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 21,398 people, 8,151 households, and 6,039 families residing in the town. The population density was 454.8 inhabitants per square mile (175.6/km2). There were 8,724 housing units at an average density of 185.4 per square mile (71.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.04% White, 0.93% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.65% Asian, 0.41% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.13% of the population.

There were 8,151 households, out of which 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.4% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. Of all households 21.6% were made up of individuals, and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.4% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $76,843, and the median income for a family was $87,045 (these figures had risen to $90,026 and $104,852 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $60,623 versus $40,307 for females. The per capita income for the town was $37,161. About 2.3% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 30, 2014
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Democratic 4,743 551 5,294 33.05%
Republican 3,183 333 3,516 21.95%
Unaffiliated 5,995 1113 7,108 44.38%
Minor parties 94 5 99 0.62%
Total 14,015 2,002 16,017 100%

In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 61.02% of the town vote, against 38.06% for Republican John McCain. In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the town with 59.2% over Republican Donald Trump with 37.1%.


American Cruise Lines has its headquarters in Guilford. There are many small businesses throughout the town, including the shops on the Guilford Green.

List of town parks

The town government operates these parks:

  • Bittner Park: 123 acres (0.50 km2) of woodlands and 15 acres (61,000 m2) of playground, a lighted softball field (Cash Mitchell Field), baseball and soccer fields, jogging/walking path; trout trail; roller sports complex with a skate park, roller hockey and roller blading. Ice skating available in winter.
  • Chaffinch Island: Picnic areas, short walking trails, salt marsh.
  • Chittenden Park: Softball and soccer fields, bocce courts, picnicking, unsupervised beach area
  • Jacobs Beach: Public swimming (salt water), playground, volleyball courts, picnicking; nonresidents may use the beach, but are charged a daily fee at the gate.
  • Lake Quonnipaug: Public swimming, picnic area, small craft launch.
  • Long Hill: 8-acre (32,000 m2) park with playing fields for baseball, football, soccer/lacrosse and field hockey
  • Mill Pond: Lighted, supervised ice skating in winter; fishing
  • Nut Plains: Lacrosse/soccer field
  • Town Green: available for special events

Notable locations

Guilford, Connecticut is noted for its rolling farmland, its avoidance of the density and sprawl that has occurred from land use regulations of its neighboring communities, and its numerous historic homes and sites.

  • Bishop's Orchards
  • Guilford Green
  • Rothberg Institute For Childhood Diseases
  • Westwoods Trails: conservation area managed by the Guilford Land Conservation Trust

National Historic Places and other historic sites

Comfort Starr House
The Comfort Starr House
Henry Whitfield House
The Henry Whitfield House, built in 1639, is the oldest stone house in New England

Historic sites in or near Guilford, which may be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, include:

Notable people

  • Jeffrey Ambroziak, cartographer, inventor, and attorney
  • Jamie Arentzen (born 1970), American guitarist, musician; member of various rock bands including Sky Heroes, American Hi-Fi, Dream Club
  • Humbert Allen Astredo (1929–2016), American stage, film, and television actor best known for the numerous roles he performed on the daytime Gothic horror soap opera Dark Shadows, most notably that of the warlock Nicholas Blair
  • Abraham Baldwin (1754–1807), minister, patriot, politician, and founding father
  • Thom Brooks, political and legal philosopher
  • Benjamin Chan, American scientist at Yale University
  • Mickey Curry, Drummer for Bryan Adams
  • Robert Elliott De Forest (1845–1924), Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut, member of the Connecticut Senate and Connecticut House of Representatives, born in Guilford
  • David DeMille, physicist and Professor of Physics at University of Chicago.
  • Ronald Duman (1954–2020), neuroscientist died in Guilford
  • Joe Flood, musician and songwriter
  • Nick Fradiani (born 1985), American Idol season 14 winner, born in Guilford
  • Moses Gunn (1929–1993), American actor, resided in Guilford since the 1970s
  • Fitz-Greene Halleck (1790–1867), American poet and author
  • Samuel Johnson (1696-1772), American colonial intellectual and educator; first president of King's College (now Columbia University)
  • Samuel Johnson Jun'r (1757–1836), schoolmaster and teacher of Fitz-Greene Halleck; as the compiler of A School Dictionary (1798), the first American lexicographer
  • Edward Ruggles Landon, Connecticut politician
  • William Leete (c. 1612–1683), Governor of the Colony of Connecticut, 1676 to 1683
  • Leonard C. Lewin (1916–1999), author of The Report from Iron Mountain
  • Timothy Mellon, heir
  • Frank Modell (1917–2016), cartoonist, died in Guilford
  • Becki Newton, actress in Ugly Betty and How I Met Your Mother, grew up in Guilford and is a Guilford High School Alumna
  • Aldo Parisot (1918–2018), Brazilian-born American cellist and cello teacher
  • David Allen Sibley, ornithologist, author, and illustrator
  • Lavinia Stoddard (1787–1820), poet, school founder
  • Jennifer Westfeldt, actress and screenwriter known for Kissing Jessica Stein, born in Guilford
  • Carl Zimmer, science writer

See also

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