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Sharon, Connecticut
Hotchkiss Memorial Library
Hotchkiss Memorial Library
Location in Litchfield County, Connecticut
Location in Litchfield County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°52′N 73°27′W / 41.867°N 73.450°W / 41.867; -73.450Coordinates: 41°52′N 73°27′W / 41.867°N 73.450°W / 41.867; -73.450
Country  United States
U.S. state  Connecticut
County Litchfield
Region Northwest Hills
Incorporated 1739
Government
 • Type Selectman-town meeting
Area
 • Total 59.6 sq mi (154.3 km2)
 • Land 58.8 sq mi (152.2 km2)
 • Water 0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)
Elevation
1,135 ft (346 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 2,782
 • Density 47/sq mi (18.3/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
06069
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-005-67960
GNIS feature ID 213503

Sharon is a town in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States, in the northwest corner of the state. At the time of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 2,782, roughly a third more than it had had 230 years earlier. The ZIP code for Sharon is 06069. The urban center of the town is the Sharon census-designated place, with a population of 729 at the 2010 census.

History

The first inhabitants of the area they called Poconnuck were the Mattabesec Indians. These were part of what became known as the Wappinger confederacy which in turn belonged to the loose Algonquian confederacy.

  • 1739: Sharon is incorporated. It is named after the Plain of Sharon.
  • 1765: John Cotton Smith, a prominent Connecticut politician, is born in Sharon.
  • 1782: The population of Sharon grows to over 2,230 people.
  • 1960: Young Americans for Freedom is founded at the estate of William F. Buckley, Jr. in Sharon. The founding statement of this group will thus be known as the Sharon Statement.

Sharon in 1919

The following is a description of Sharon and its surroundings from a 1919 guide book to New England travel:

This is a village of rural loveliness which attracts many summer boarders. The Street, 200 feet [actually 12 rods] wide and two miles long, is bordered by grand old elms forming a natural arbor. The Soldiers' Monument with a stone cannon, and a stone clock tower are the modern features of the village. The Governor John Cotton Smith House, a fine specimen of Georgian architecture, is still perfectly preserved. The fine old George King brick house (1800) is at the head of the street. The C. C. Tiffany house (1757) is perhaps the oldest in the town. The old Pardee brick house (James Pardee House) (1782) stands by the Stone Bridge. The Prindle house is a spacious gambrel roof dwelling on Gay St. near the charming lakelet which furnishes a natural reservoir for the village water supply. The picturesque old Gay House has the builder's initials "M. G. 1765" on a stone in the gable.

In the early days Sharon was a place of busy and varied industries. Iron was manufactured here as early as 1743, and continued an important industry up to fifty years ago. During the Civil War munitions were made here, and it was then in the shops of the Hotchkiss Company in this village that the Hotchkiss explosive shell for rifled guns was invented, which led to the expansion of the company and its removal to Bridgeport.

To the north of the village is Mudge Pond, or Crystal Lake, and beyond, Indian Mountain (1200 ft). At the western foot of the mountain, on the [New York] State line, lies Indian Pond, now called Wequagnock Lake. On the edge of this lake was an Indian village where the Moravians early established a mission that did great work among the Indians. To the Moravians it was known as " Gnadensee," the Lake of Grace.

From Sharon the route runs northward past Lake Wononpakook and Lake Wononskopomuc, the latter an Indian word meaning "sparkling water." Between the lakes, as the road forks right, is situated the widely known Hotchkiss School. On the right, half a mile from Lakeville, is the residence of Hon. Wm. Travers Jerome, formerly District Attorney of New York City.

Historic sites

Sharon has 6 sites listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places:

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 59.6 square miles (154.3 km²), of which, 58.7 square miles (152.0 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.2 km²) of it is water. The total area is 1.44% water. Sharon is part of the Northwest Highlands of Connecticut, a region in and around the watershed of the Housatonic River. The Appalachian Trail passes through a few miles east of Sharon, near West Cornwall and U.S. Route 7.

Principal communities

  • Amenia Union
  • Ellsworth
  • Sharon center
  • Sharon Valley
  • Main Street & Green
  • West Woods

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 2,573
1850 2,507
1860 2,556 2.0%
1870 2,441 −4.5%
1880 2,580 5.7%
1890 2,149 −16.7%
1900 1,982 −7.8%
1910 1,880 −5.1%
1920 1,585 −15.7%
1930 1,710 7.9%
1940 1,611 −5.8%
1950 1,889 17.3%
1960 2,141 13.3%
1970 2,491 16.3%
1980 2,623 5.3%
1990 2,928 11.6%
2000 2,968 1.4%
2010 2,782 −6.3%
2014 (est.) 2,725 −2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,968 people, 1,246 households, and 775 families residing in the town. The population density was 50.6 per square mile (19.5/km2). There were 1,617 housing units at an average density of 27.5 per square mile (10.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.87% White, 0.94% African American, 0.57% Asian, 0.44% Native American, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.95% of the population.

There were 1,246 households, of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 21.3% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 29.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.

The median household income was $53,000, and the median family income for a family was $71,458. Males had a median income of $42,841 versus $31,375 for females. The per capita income for the town was $45,418. About 3.9% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under the age of 18 and none of those 65 and older.

Transportation

The town is served by state highways Route 4, Route 41, Route 343, and Route 361.

Education

Sharon is a member of Regional School District 01, which also includes the towns of Canaan, Cornwall, Kent, North Canaan, and Salisbury. Public school students attend Sharon Center School from grades K-8 and Housatonic Valley Regional High School from grades 9-12.

Notable residents and natives

  • Kevin Bacon (1958-) and his wife Kyra Sedgwick (1965-), actors
  • Patricia Buckley Bozell (1927-2008), author and editor; reared in Sharon with her brother William at the Buckley family home, "Great Elm"
  • William F. Buckley Jr. (1925-2008), public intellectual, founder of National Review
  • Yancy Butler (1970-), former Witchblade actress
  • William Coley (1862-1936), prominent New York bone surgeon and inventor of "Coley's toxins", an early form of cancer immunotherapy
  • Helen Coley Nauts (1907-2001), daughter of William Coley and co-founder of the Cancer Research Institute
  • Jane Curtin (1947-), actress and comedian
  • Michael J. Fox (1961-) and his wife Tracy Pollan (1960-), actors
  • Frank R. Fratellenico (1951-1970), Medal of Honor recipient, Vietnam War
  • Arthur Getz (1913-1996), illustrator for The New Yorker magazine
  • Tom Goldenberg (1948-), artist
  • Thomas Hart (1877-1971), U.S. Navy admiral and U.S. senator
  • Benjamin B. Hotchkiss (1826-1885), ordnance engineer, husband of Maria Bissell Hotchkiss
  • Maria Bissell Hotchkiss (1827-1901), educator, wife of Benjamin B. Hotchkiss
  • Jasper Johns (1930-), artist
  • Elijah Juckett (1760-1839), soldier in the Continental Army
  • Sam Posey (1944-), retired racecar driver and sports broadcast journalist
  • Campbell Scott (1961-), actor
  • Ansel Sterling (1782-1853), congressman from Connecticut
  • Bradley Whitford (1959-) and his wife Jane Kaczmarek (1955-), actors

The presence of Sharon Hospital, a sizeable regional hospital, has led to Sharon being birthplace to several people who did not live in the town:

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