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New Milford, Connecticut

Town of New Milford
The town green
The town green
Flag of New Milford, Connecticut
Flag
Official seal of New Milford, Connecticut
Seal
Motto(s): 
"Gateway to Litchfield County"
Location in Litchfield County, Connecticut
Location in Litchfield County, Connecticut
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Coordinates: 41°34′37″N 73°24′30″W / 41.57694°N 73.40833°W / 41.57694; -73.40833Coordinates: 41°34′37″N 73°24′30″W / 41.57694°N 73.40833°W / 41.57694; -73.40833
Country  United States
U.S. state  Connecticut
County Litchfield
NECTA Danbury
Region Western CT
Settled 1707
Incorporated 1712
Government
 • Type Mayor-council
Area
 • Total 63.7 sq mi (165.0 km2)
 • Land 61.6 sq mi (159.5 km2)
 • Water 2.1 sq mi (5.5 km2)
Elevation
236 ft (72 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 28,142
 • Density 457/sq mi (176.5/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP codes
06755, 06776
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-52630
GNIS feature ID 209242

New Milford is a town in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The town is in western Connecticut, 14 miles (23 km) north of Danbury, on the banks of the Housatonic River. It is the largest town in the state in terms of land area at nearly 62 square miles (161 km2). The population was 28,142 according to the 2010 census, up from 27,121 at the 2000 census. The town center is listed as a census-designated place (CDP). The northern portion of the town is part of the region of northwestern Connecticut, and the far eastern portions are part of the Litchfield Hills region.

It is located roughly 50 miles (80 km) west of Hartford, 65 miles (105 km) southwest of Springfield, Massachusetts, 85 miles (137 km) southeast of Albany, New York, and 77 miles (124 km) northeast of New York City.

History

Native Americans

Weantinock were a sub-group of the Paugussett Nation who lived the area of modern New Milford both before and during the colonial era. They were a farming and fishing culture, cultivating corn, squash, beans and tobacco, and fishing in freshwater areas. They may have also travelled to the coast to fish in summer months.

Colonial times

In 1707, John Noble Sr., previously of Westfield, Massachusetts and his eight-year-old daughter Sarah Noble were the first Anglo-American settlers. (A public school was later named after Sarah Noble.) They were soon joined by others who had also bought land there.

On October 17, 1711, twelve families (including about 70 people) petitioned the General Assembly to create the town, together with the associated privilege of levying a tax to support a minister. With the legislature's approval, the town was organized the next year. The residents soon secured Daniel Boardman to preach and he was ordained as the minister of the Congregational Church on November 21, 1716.

American Revolution

Roger Sherman lived in New Milford before moving to New Haven in 1761. He later became a member of the Continental Congress and signed both the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution. The lot of his former house is the site of the present Town Hall.

During the American Revolution, the 7th Connecticut Regiment (also known as 19th Continental Regiment) was raised in town on September 16, 1776. The regiment, and the New Milford men in it, would see action in the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown and the Battle of Monmouth. In total, the town "sent 285 men to fight in the War out of a total population of 2,776."

The Boardman family

Ralph Earl - Elijah Boardman - WGA7452
Elijah Boardman, 1789, painted by Ralph Earl
  • David Sherman Boardman (1768–1864), was the youngest child of Deacon Sherman and Sarah (Bostwick) Boardman. He became a lawyer in town and later chief judge in Litchfield County Court. He served as judge of probate for the district of New Milford in 1805, and held the place by successive annual appointments for sixteen years. He was elected Representative to the General Assembly eight times.
  • Elijah Boardman (1760–1823) was a U.S. Senator representing Connecticut. Born in New Milford, he was educated by private tutors, and served in the American Revolutionary War.
  • William Whiting Boardman (1794–1871), a U.S. Representative born in town, was the son of Elijah Boardman. He was a Connecticut state senator in the fourth district, 1830–32, a member of the Connecticut State House of Representatives, 1836–39, 1845, and 1849–51; Speaker of the Connecticut State House of Representatives, 1836, 1839, and 1845; US Representative from Connecticut's second district, 1840-43. He died in New Haven, Connecticut, and is interred at Grove Street Cemetery in New Milford.

19th and 20th centuries

In the second half of the 19th century, many new industries came to town. The Water Witch Hose Company No. 2, local telephone and electricity companies, and newspapers were all founded. Factories in town made buttons, paint and varnish, hats, furniture, pottery, lime, dairy products and pasteboard, among other goods. Tobacco became the major crop in the area, and tobacco warehouses sprang up to handle its storage and processing before sales.

In 1931 Housatonic Valley Insurance Agency was established, and became one of the founding members of the New Milford Chamber of Commerce later that year. Today Housatonic Valley Insurance Agency is still located on the New Milford Green in a charming historic building built in 1795, directly next door to the Town Hall.

In 1942 Buck's Rock Camp was founded off of Bucks Rock Road, and has remained in operation ever since.

The population of New Milford was 4,804 in 1900; by 1910, the population had grown to 5,010. As of 2002, the town had a population of approximately 28,000.

21st century

The town has constructed a 1,000,000 gallon sewer plant expansion on West Street, sewer pump station on Boardman Road, reconstruction of the Rte. 67/ Grove Street Intersection, and ambulance facility on Scovill Street.

The town has additionally added a skate park at Young's Field (2006), reconstructed the Tennis and Basketball Courts at Young's Field (2010), reconstructed the Basketball Court at Williamson Park in Gaylordsville (2010), and several streetscape projects were completed by the Department of Public Works (DPW) with Grant money on Church Street, Whittlesey Avenue and the west side of East Street (2009/2010). Candlewoof Dog Park is completed on Pickett District Road. A bocce ball court was constructed at the Senior Center by Boy Scout Troop 66 (2012).

Geography

New Milford is located on the northeastern shore of Lake Candlewood. The Aspetuck River, Still River and Housatonic River flow through the town.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 63.7 square miles (165 km2), making it the largest town in Connecticut. 61.6 square miles (160 km2) of it is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) of it (3.31%) is water. The CDP corresponding to the town center has a total area of 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2). 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (0.88%) is water.

Principal communities

Public Library, New Milford, CT
A portcard drawing of the Public library, built in 1897-1898, as it appeared c. 1905
  • Gaylordsville (06755)
  • Boardman Bridge
  • Lower Merryall
  • Merwinsville
  • New Milford Center
  • Northville
  • Park Lane
  • Still River
  • Upper Merryall
  • Lanesville
  • Downtown
  • Candlewood Hills
  • Sunny Valley
  • SouthSide

Demographics

See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income
Historical
population
1756 1,137
1774 2,776
1782 3,015
1790 3,167
1800 3,221
1810 3,537
Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 3,830
1850 4,508
1860 3,535 −21.6%
1870 3,586 1.4%
1880 3,907 9.0%
1890 3,917 0.3%
1900 4,804 22.6%
1910 5,010 4.3%
1920 4,781 −4.6%
1930 4,700 −1.7%
1940 5,559 18.3%
1950 5,799 4.3%
1960 8,318 43.4%
1970 14,601 75.5%
1980 19,420 33.0%
1990 23,629 21.7%
2000 27,121 14.8%
2010 28,142 3.8%
2017 (est.) 27,380 −2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 28,142 people, 10,618 households, and 7,503 families residing in the town. The population density was 456.9 people per square mile (176.4/km2). There were 11,731 housing units at an average density of 190.4 per square mile (73.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.71% White, 1.72% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 2.77% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.65% from other races, and 1.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race was 6.02% of the population.

Of the 10,618 households, 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.0% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.3% were non-families. 23.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the town, the population had 24.30% under the age of 18, 6.87% from 18 to 24, 24.90% from 25 to 44, 31.75% from 45 to 64, and 12.18% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.4 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.6 males.

As of the 2000 Census the median income for a household in the town was $65,354, and the median income for a family was $75,775. Males had a median income of $50,523 versus $34,089 for females. The per capita income for the town was $29,630. About 2.1% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.7% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation

As a suburb of Danbury, New Milford is served by fixed-bus routes of the Housatonic Area Regional Transit. The main highways of the town are Route 7 and Route 202. There is a proposal to electrify and extend the Danbury Branch of the Metro-North Railroad north of Danbury to New Milford.

The long-awaited completion of Super 7 happened in November 2009. The realignment of Grove Street and Prospect Hill Road (Rte. 67) was completed in the Fall of 2010. The Department of Public Works (DPW) awarded Stimulus ARRA Project 95-249 Grove Street (south of Anderson Ave) and Boardman Road (west of O+G Quarry). This was completed in the fall of 2010.

Population

Historical
population of
New Milford
[1]
1756 1,137
1774 2,776
1782 3,015
1790 3,167
1800 3,221
1810 3,537
1820 3,830
1830 3,979
1840 3,974
1850 4,058
1860 3,535
1870 3,586
1880 3,907
1890 3,917
1900 4,804
1910 5,010
1920 4,781
1930 4,700
1940 5,559
1950 5,799
1960 8,318
1970 14,601
1980 19,420
1990 23,629
2000 27,121
2010 28,142

National Register of Historic Sites

Education

Elementary schools

  • Northville Elementary School
  • Hill & Plain Elementary School

Intermediate schools

  • Sarah Noble Intermediate School
  • Schaghticoke Middle School

High schools

  • New Milford High School

Private schools

  • Canterbury School
    • New Milford is home to the Canterbury School, a well-known Roman Catholic boarding school. The school's Chapel of Our Lady features the Jose M. Ferrer Memorial Carillon. The house that inspired the 1946 novel and 1948 film, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, still stands in the Merryall section of town.
  • Faith Preparatory
  • Education without Walls

Sports

GMS Rowing Center 042
GMS Rowing Center

New Milford is home to the GMS Rowing Center. Founded in 2003, it manages a US Rowing Training Center Program. It has a highly successful Middle and High School (Junior) Program which competes at Youth National Championships, Junior National Team Trials, The "Royal Canadian Henley" and has sent rowers to the Junior World Rowing Championships. In 2011 GMS also had rowers representing the US at the Under 23 World Championships in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and at the World Rowing Championships at Bled, Slovenia.

Infrastructure

Transportation

New Milford is served by fixed-bus routes of the Housatonic Area Regional Transit. The main highways of the town are U.S. Route 7 and U.S. Route 202. There has been continued talk about a proposal to electrify and extend the Danbury Branch of the Metro-North Railroad north of Danbury to New Milford, including a Rail Study in 2008. and proposed state legislation in 2017.

The long-awaited completion of Super 7 happened in November 2009. The realignment of Grove Street and Prospect Hill Road (Rte. 67) was completed in the fall of 2010. The Department of Public Works (DPW) awarded Stimulus ARRA Project 95-249 Grove Street (south of Anderson Ave) and Boardman Road (west of O+G Quarry). This was completed in the fall of 2010.

Notable people

Notable residents include:

  • Léonie Fuller Adams (1899-1988), poetry consultant to the Library of Congress (now titled poet laureate)
  • Charles A. Beard (1874-1948), historian, activist
  • Mary R. Beard (1876-1958), historian, activist
  • Elizabeth Bentley (1908-1963), spy
  • David Sherman Boardman (1768-1864), lawyer, judge and politician
  • Elijah Boardman (1760-1823), U.S. senator
  • William Whiting Boardman (1794-1871), U.S. congressman
  • Emily Sophie Brown (1881-1985), one of the first women to serve in the Connecticut House of Representatives
  • Kenny Coolbeth (1977-), motorcycling champion
  • Fortunato Depero (1892-1960), painter, writer, sculptor and graphic designer
  • Jack Douglas (1908-1989), writer
  • Florence Eldridge (1901-1988), stage and screen actress
  • Diane von Fürstenberg (1946-), fashion designer, who plans to be buried at her 100-acre (0.40 km2) farm in town
  • Lillian Hellman (1905-1984), playwright
  • Skitch Henderson (1918-2005), pianist, composer and conductor
  • Eric Hodgins (1899-1971), author
  • Ian Hunter (1939-), English singer-songwriter
  • Keith Kane, guitarist and founding member of Vertical Horizon
  • Eartha Kitt (1927-2008), singer, actress, author
  • Columbia Lancaster (1803-1893), U.S. congressman
  • Max Lowenthal (1888–1971), lawyer and civil servant
  • Fredric March (1897-1975), film and stage actor
  • Hap Moran (1901-1994), football player
  • Dhan Gopal Mukerji (1890–1936), writer, author, Newbery Medal recipient 1928
  • William H. Noble (1788-1850), U.S. congressman
  • M. Scott Peck (1936-2005), psychiatrist and self-help author
  • Natacha Rambova (1897-1966), costume and set designer, dancer, actress, academic, former wife of Rudolph Valentino
  • Thomas Riley, US ambassador to Morocco 2003-2009
  • Joan Rivers (1933-2014), comedian, actress, writer, producer
  • Roger Sherman (1721-1793), signer of Declaration of Independence and Constitution
  • Jean Simmons (1929-2010), British actress
  • Eric Sloane (1905-1985), artist
  • Walker Todd (1786-1840), lawyer, member of the New York State Senate (2nd D.) and Inspector of Mount Pleasant State Prison
  • Solmous Wakeley (1794-1867), pioneer Wisconsin legislator
  • Joseph J. Went (1930-), general
  • Horace Wheaton (1803-1882), U.S. congressman
  • Theodore White (1915-1986), political author of the 1960s–1970s
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