Southbury, Connecticut facts for kids

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Southbury, Connecticut
Town
Official seal of Southbury, Connecticut
Seal
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region Central Naugatuck Valley
Incorporated 1787
Area
 • Total 40.1 sq mi (103.8 km2)
 • Land 39.0 sq mi (101.0 km2)
 • Water 1.1 sq mi (2.8 km2)
Elevation 335 ft (102 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 19,904
 • Density 496.64/sq mi (191.75/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06488
Area code(s) 203
FIPS code 09-69640
GNIS feature ID 0213507
Website www.southbury-ct.org

Southbury is a town in western New Haven County, Connecticut, USA. Southbury is north of Oxford and Newtown, and east of Brookfield. Its population was 19,904 at the 2010 census.

Southbury comprises rural country areas, suburban neighborhoods, and historic districts. It is a short distance from major business and commercial centers, and is within 80 miles (130 km) of New York City and 40 miles (64 km) of Hartford; the latter the capital of Connecticut.

Southbury is the only community in the country with the name "Southbury", which is why the town seal reads Unica Unaque, meaning "The One and Only."

History

Southbury town history sign
Town historical sign on Main Street South

The town of Southbury was one of several towns formed out of a parcel of land purchased from the Paugussett Indians in 1659. Southbury was originally part of Woodbury, which was settled in 1673. A meetinghouse for the Southbury Ecclesiastical Society was built in 1733, and in 1845 the town of Southbury was incorporated. Although incorporated as part of Litchfield County, Southbury has been in New Haven County for most of its existence.

In the 1800s, water power became essential to the growth of Southbury's industries, which included mills, tanneries, and distilleries. The power for these industries came primarily from the Pomperaug River and the Housatonic River. As the industrial revolution progressed, many of these businesses left for Waterbury.

In the 1920s, Russian expatriates Count Ilya Tolstoy (son of author Leo Tolstoy) and George Grebentschikoff founded an artists' colony at one end of Main Street, known as Churaevka (or "Russian Village"). At its peak, Churaevka had a printing press used by Russian and Ukrainian scholars and novelists. Visitors to the colony included the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff. Most of its immigrant population is now gone; however, St. Sergius Chapel, designed by Nicholas Roerich and built in 1932-1933, remains. Churaevka is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In November 1937 residents of the farming outpost got word that a man by the name of Wolfgang Jung had purchased 178 acres (0.72 km2) in the town. Residents looking into his plans discovered that he was a member of the German American Bund, an organization of ethnic Germans living in the United States who supported Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Its leader, Fritz Kuhn, was considered the leading anti-Semite in the country. Word soon got out that they were in fact planning to build their largest training facility in the country. Residents objected by calling a town meeting and set up a zoning department with one simple rule, no military activity excluding the United States Army. The law was adopted December 14 and the Bund stopped work and eventually sold the land. In 2012 a documentary was created entitled 'Home of the Brave: When Southbury Said No to the Nazi s'

Southbury was a rural farming town for most of its history. However, with the development of the Interstate Highway System, that changed. With the opening of Interstate 84 through Southbury by 1963, the town gained easy access to New York and Hartford, also improving its access to Danbury and Waterbury. Heritage Village opened in 1967, on a 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) site. In 1987, IBM built an extensive office and research building in Southbury, employing over 2,500 workers. Southbury was no longer a small, rural town. Today, Southbury has approximately 17% open space, with a goal of 20%.

In the early 1990s, Southbury was the subject of a lawsuit by the Golden Hill Paugussett Indian Nation. The 100-member tribe sought to take the land of roughly 1,200 property holders in the town. The lawsuit was thrown out in 1993 based on the fact that the man who brought the suit was not a chieftain, contrary to his claims, and had no standing to bring the suit.

Geography

According to the US Census Bureau, Southbury has a total area of 40.1 square miles (103.8 km2), of which 39.0 square miles (101.0 km2) is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2), or 2.69%, is water.

Towns that border Southbury are Middlebury to the northeast, Oxford to the east and southeast, Newtown to the southwest, Bridgewater to the west, and Roxbury and Woodbury to the north.

South Britain and Southford are included in the incorporated township of Southbury.

Demographics

See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income
Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1800 1,757 —    
1850 1,484 −15.5%
1900 1,238 −16.6%
1950 3,828 +209.2%
1960 5,186 +35.5%
1970 7,852 +51.4%
1980 14,156 +80.3%
1990 15,818 +11.7%
2000 18,567 +17.4%
2010 19,904 +7.2%

As of the 2000 census, there were 18,567 people comprising 7,225 households, including 4,833 families residing in Southbury. The population density was 475.4 people per square mile (183.5/km²). There were 7,799 housing units at an average density of 199.7 per square mile (77.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.34% White, 0.45% African American, 0.08% Native American, 1.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, and 0.62% from multiple races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.59% of the population.

Of Southbury's 7,225 households, 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.8% were married couples living together, 5.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. About 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 21.4% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.41, and the average family size was 3.02.

Southbury's population consisted of 22.8% under the age of 18, 3.3% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 26.1% who were 65 or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in Southbury is $75,970 in 2007, compared to $61,919 in 1999; the median income for a family in 1999 was $81,109. In 1999, males had a median income of $87,365 versus $68,657 for females. The per capita income for the town was $62,731. About 1.9% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 5.0% of those 65 or over. The median home value was $532,650.

In July 2008, it was estimated that there were 19,702 (+6.1% from 2000) people in Southbury. The estimated median household income was $75,970 (+22.7% from 2000). The estimated median home (or condominium) value was to $374,178 (+92.6% from 2000).

Heritage Village

Southbury is home to a variety of retirement facilities, including Heritage Village, New England's largest retirement community. and includes approximately 2,580 homes with 4,000 people. It is billed as being an "active retirement" community, offering many activities. Heritage Village was planned in the 1960s, as I-84 was completed in the area. Potential Heritage Village residents must be 55 years of age or older.

By 2013, about 30% of the population of Southbury is expected to be 60 years of age or older. By 2020, about 40% will be 60 or older. Southbury has developed a three-phase plan to increase services for the services. The former Southbury Library was converted into a senior center; it also houses the new home of the area Parks & Recreations Department.

In addition to the "active living" area of Heritage Village, Southbury contains several "assisted living facilities", including:

  • Kensington Green
  • Lutheran Home of Southbury
  • River Glen Health Care Center

Other "active senior living" options that provide independent living, assisted living, and memory care in Southbury include:

  • Pomperaug Woods
  • Watermark at East Hill

Recreation

The Southbury Parks & Recreations Department moved into the old Southbury Library in 2007. Southbury town sports include:

  • Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken baseball
  • Basketball
  • Pop Warner football
  • Soccer
  • Lacrosse

Controversy has arisen over town sports since the Parks and Recreation department began enforcing a policy banning out-of-town players from participating in town-sanctioned sports in 2006. This policy stems from the fact of overcrowding at town fields, a problem which is plaguing Southbury.

Notable features

Southbury Audubon Society V
Audubon Center Bent of the River trail
Southbury Audubon Society VII
Audubon Center Bent of the River

National Historic Registry

  • Aaron Bronson House – 846 Southford Rd.
  • Adin Wheeler House and Theodore F. Wheeler Wheelwright Shop – 125 Quaker Farms Rd.
  • Bullet Hill School – Main St. and Seymour Rd.
  • Hurley Road Historic District – 6 and 17 Hurley Rd.
  • Little Pootatuck Brook Archeological Site
  • Plaster House – 117 Plaster House Rd.
  • Reuben Curtiss House – 1770 Bucks Hill Rd.
  • Russian Village Historic District – Roughly Kiev Dr. and Russian Village Rd. between US 6 and the Pomperaug River
  • Sanford Road Historic District – 480 and 487 Sanford Rd.
  • South Britain Historic District – E. Flat Hill, Hawkins, Library, and Middle Rds., and 497-864 S. Britain Rd.
  • Southbury Historic District No. 1 – Main St. from Woodbury Town Line to Old Waterbury Rd.
  • Southbury Training School – 1484 S. Britain Rd., a 1,600-acre (6.5 km2) section of Southbury developed as a facility for mentally handicapped adults.
  • William Hurd House – 327 Hulls Hill Rd.
Temple II
B'ani Israel. Southbury, CT.
Temple I
Overview of the B'ani Israel Temple. 444 Main St N, Southbury, CT.
Church of the Epiphany, Southbury, CT
Church of the Epiphany

Southbury Public Library

The Southbury Public Library is a department of the town, with its own 9-member Board of Directors. On May 1, 2006 Southbury officially opened its new library (its 3rd, though no two have ever been in use concurrently) at 100 Poverty Road. This $6 million project was the first public building constructed in Southbury in 30 years. It is a 32,000-square-foot (3,000 m2), 2 floor, state-of-the-art facility. It contains around 90,000 books. It has computers, audiobooks, DVDs, recording rooms for recording books for the blind, meeting rooms, internet, a fireplace and a coffee bar. Selections recorded for the blind at the Southbury Public Library become part of the National Library Service catalog.

Planning for the library began in 1998, with an original projected bond issue of $7.35m. The planning committee solicited donations from the public, which resulted in two single donations of $100,000 or more, and five more of between $25,000 and $99,000, in addition to smaller donations.

The old library building, at 561 Main Street South, has been converted to hold offices for the Parks and Recreation department, as well as a new senior center. The old library was built in 1969, and expanded in 1979.

The oldest library building was located in South Britain (a section and Historic District of Southbury) and was replaced in 1969. It was built in 1904 and contained approximately 1,000 volumes.

Shepaug Dam and eagle observation area

The Shepaug Dam on the Housatonic River is part of a hydroelectric power plant, operated by FirstLight Power Resources, capable of a peak power output of 42,600 kW. This dam is a popular nesting and feeding ground for wintering eagles and hawks, including bald eagles. Near the power station, FirstLight also operates an eagle observation area first opened by the utility's predecessor, Northeast Utilities, in the mid-1980s. Access is free, and some telescopes are provided. Utility company employees and volunteers from the Connecticut Audubon Society and other groups are at the observation area to assist visitors. Advanced reservations are required. Eagles are attracted to the spot because the water churning through the dam's hydroelectric turbine keeps the surface from icing over, allowing the birds to fish. Red-tailed hawks, goshawks, great blue herons and other waterfowl are also attracted to the spot. The dam flooded an area now known as Lake Lillinonah.

FirstLight Power Resources has submitted a plan to the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control to build a new peak-power plant next to the existing hydroelectric facility.

Parks

Southford Falls
Southford Falls
  • Kettletown State Park, a state park on the Housatonic River that includes campgrounds located off I-84 Exit 15
  • Southford Falls State Park, a state park off I-84 Exit 15 and I-84 Exit 16
  • George Waldo State Park, a state park located on the Housatonic River, off Purchase Brook Road
  • Ballentine Park, a town park with fields, basketball courts and a public pool (town residents only)
  • George Ewald Park, a town park consisting of little league baseball fields
  • Audubon Center at Bent of the River, a 700-acre (2.8 km2) nature sanctuary with about 15 miles (24 km) of hiking trails, an extensive nature library, and a bird-watching balcony
  • Community House, a park consisting of newly renovated basketball courts, soccer field, football field, baseball field and multiple tennis courts

Community organizations

Southbury Volunteer Firemen's Association

The Southbury Volunteer Firemen's Association, Inc. is a private, member governed corporation, operating as a non-profit organization and is chartered for the purpose of providing emergency service to the community. Serving a rural territory which includes several miles of Interstate 84, single family homes, industrial, heavy commercial, institutional, and some multi-family occupancies. Founded in 1932, they operate out of 4 facilities, with 16 specialty fire vehicles, and 107 department members. They provide services including Fire Suppression, Motor Vehicle Extrication, Operations level HAZMAT, Confined Space and Water Rescue to the community.

Southbury Ambulance Association

The Southbury Ambulance Association was started as a volunteer organization in 1953 by the Southbury Lions Club, handling both Southbury and Woodbury. The SAA had some of the first EMT's in the state in the 1970s. Until 1978, only SLC members were allowed to join the SAA, which caused difficulties in finding sufficient crew for the ambulance service. As of 1997, the SAA was responding to more than 1,500 service calls a year. Today, the SAA still operates as a volunteer organization which receives zero funding from the town. It currently operates three ambulances.

Southbury Land Trust

The Southbury Land Trust is a "private nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of Southbury Connecticut's natural resources for the enjoyment and benefit of all present and future generations." Basically, the SLT purchases or is gifted with land which it places development restrictions on. They currently control more than 800 acres (3.2 km2) of land in Southbury. Much of this land is open to the public.

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