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Wilton, Connecticut

Town of Wilton
WiltonCTTownHallFront11112007.JPG
Official seal of Wilton, Connecticut
Seal
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut.
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Coordinates: 41°12′N 73°26′W / 41.200°N 73.433°W / 41.200; -73.433Coordinates: 41°12′N 73°26′W / 41.200°N 73.433°W / 41.200; -73.433
Country  United States
U.S. state  Connecticut
County Fairfield
Metropolitan area Bridgeport-Stamford
Incorporated 1802
Government
 • Type Selectman-town meeting
Area
 • Total 27.3 sq mi (71.0 km2)
 • Land 26.9 sq mi (69.8 km2)
 • Water 0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
Elevation
335 ft (102 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 18,062
 • Density 661.6/sq mi (254.39/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
06897
Area code(s) 203/475
FIPS code 09-86370
GNIS feature ID 0213535
Website http://www.wiltonct.org/

Wilton is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 18,062.

Officially recognized as a parish in 1726, Wilton today is a residential community with open lands, historic architecture such as the Round House, and many colonial homes. Many residents commute to nearby cities such as Stamford or New York City.

Wilton is home to many global corporations such as ASML, Deloitte, Breitling SA, Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, and Melissa & Doug. It is also home to AIG Financial Products, whose collapse played a pivotal role in the financial crisis of 2007–2008.

History

For more information: History of Wilton, Connecticut

The original 40 families of the parish began their own Congregational church and were allowed by Norwalk to hire a minister (Robert Sturgeon, who also became the town's first schoolmaster), open schools and build roads.

With a strong anti-slavery sentiment by its residents, Wilton served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Wilton was classified as a "dry" town until 1993, when the local ordinance was altered to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants. The town was then referred to as "damp". On November 5, 2009, a referendum proposal was passed to allow liquor stores. The town Board enacted an ordinance to allow liquor stores to sell alcoholic beverages in 2010, and several stores have since opened.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.4 square miles (71 km2), of which 27.0 square miles (70 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), or 1.50%, is water, including the South Norwalk Reservoir. Wilton is bordered by Ridgefield to the Northwest, Norwalk to the South, New Canaan to the Southwest, Westport to the Southeast, and Weston and Redding to the Northeast. It is also bordered on the west by the hamlet of Vista in Lewisboro, Westchester County, New York.

The scenic Ridgefield Road offers a look at many historic homes, places, and sights.

The latitude of Wilton is 41.201 N. The longitude is -73.438 W.

Housing and land use

WiltonCTPoliceStation11112007
Police station, behind Town Hall on Danbury Road

Wilton has, by some estimates, more than 500 restored 18th- and 19th-century homes, although some old houses have been demolished. In 2005, Marilyn Gould—Wilton's second selectman and director of the Wilton Historical Society—told the New York Times, "People aren't taking down historic houses but the more modest homes that were built in the '50s and '60s," she said. "What that's doing is changing the affordability of the town and the demographic of the town. Wilton used to have a wide demographic of people who worked with their hands - artisans, builders, mechanics. Now its management and upper management." Between 1999 and 2005, the town's voters endorsed spending $23 million through municipal bonds to preserve land.

South Norwalk Electric and Water (SNEW) has a reservoir on the western side of town with about 350 acres (1.4 km2) of land (along with another 25 acres (100,000 m2) adjacent in New Canaan). In the fall, hunters with bows and arrows—no more than 10 at a time—are allowed to hunt deer on the Wilton property in order to keep down the number of deer in the area.

Wilton's town center contains several local restaurants, boutiques, retail stores, a Starbucks, a Stop & Shop, and a four-screen movie theater owned by Bow-Tie Cinemas. These stores were added around 2000 next to the old Wilton Center, which consists of the Wilton Library, the Wilton Post Office, a CVS/Pharmacy, the Old Post Office Square, and the Village Market. In the southern part of town, US 7 contains a commercial section.

Recent nature access developments in town include the expansion of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, a multi-use trail that is designed to eventually run between Norwalk and Danbury.

Neighborhoods

The southwest corner of town includes part of the Silvermine neighborhood (which also extends into New Canaan and Norwalk). Georgetown, which is primarily in Redding and partly in Weston, extends a bit into the northeast corner of town. Other neighborhoods in town are South Wilton, Wilton Center, Gilbert Corners, Cannondale, and North Wilton.

On the National Register of Historic Places

  • Cannondale Historic District: Roughly bounded by Cannon, Danbury and Seeley Rds. (added December 12, 1992) Consists of authentic renovated 17th- and 18th-century buildings that were moved to the site. The train station is the only building at the site that was originally built at that location. The site itself does not hold any special historic value.
  • David Lambert House: 150 Danbury Rd. (added August 24, 1992)
  • Georgetown Historic District, located on the northeast of town.
  • Hurlbutt Street School: 157 Hurlbutt St. (added August 25, 1996)
  • Marvin Tavern: 405 Danbury Rd. (added May 26, 1984)
  • Sloan-Raymond-Fitch House: 224 Danbury Rd. (added May 29, 1982)
  • Weir Farm National Historic Site: 735 Nod Hill Road (added November, 1990) located in both Wilton and Ridgefield.
  • Wilton Center Historic District: Roughly, area around jct. of Lovers Ln. and Belden Hill and Ridgefield Rds. (added September 19, 1992). The historic district includes 20 buildings and 1 structure over 240 acres (0.97 km2), including the Old Town Hall building and the Wilton Congregational Church buildings.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,818
1850 2,066
1860 2,208 6.9%
1870 1,994 −9.7%
1880 1,864 −6.5%
1890 1,722 −7.6%
1900 1,598 −7.2%
1910 1,706 6.8%
1920 1,284 −24.7%
1930 2,133 66.1%
1940 2,829 32.6%
1950 4,558 61.1%
1960 8,026 76.1%
1970 13,572 69.1%
1980 15,351 13.1%
1990 15,989 4.2%
2000 17,633 10.3%
2010 18,062 2.4%
2019 (est.) 18,343 1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income

As of the census of 2000, there were 17,633 people, 5,923 households, and 4,874 families residing in Wilton. The population density was 654.3 people per square mile (252.6/km2). There were 6,113 housing units at an average density of 226.8 per square mile (87.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.55% White, 0.60% African American, 0.09% Native American, 2.69% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.53% of the population.

There were 5,923 households, out of which 46.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.4% were married couples living together, 5.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.7% were non-families. Of all households 15.3% were made up of individuals, and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.25.

The age distribution is 31.5% under the age of 18, 2.8% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $197,428, and the median income for a family was $217,415. Males had a median income of $190,000 versus $71,611 for females. The per capita income for the town was $65,806. About 1.3% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.

Clubs and organizations

Clubs and civic organizations in town include a Newcomers Club, Wilton Women's club, League of Women Voters, Kiwanis Club, The Wilton Kiwanis youth coalition, senior meal delivery, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, the Wilton Land Conservation Trust, the Wilton Family Y and the Moms Club of Wilton. Cultural amenities include the Wilton Historical Society, a Library Association, an Arts Council, an Audubon Society, the Wilton Singers and the Wilton Playshop. Some church organizations at Our Lady of Fatima include the Knights of Columbus and the Columbiettes.

Parks and recreation

The Wilton Parks and Recreation Department offers a number of programs for all ages including pre-school programs, senior programs youth soccer and basketball. There are also many walking paths including part of the Norwalk River Valley Trail. Merwin Meadows is a picnic area for families with a pond, playground and athletic field.

Wilton Little League

Wilton Little League organizes Little League baseball and softball leagues for boys and girls 5 to 12 years old, including T-ball, Coach Pitch, Machine Pitch, A, AA, AAA, and Majors leagues. Games are played at Miller and Driscoll Elementary Schools,Cider Mill Elementary School, Middlebrook Middle School, and the Wilton YMCA. In post-season summer play, Wilton all-star teams compete in the District 1 Little League tournaments. In 2012, Wilton's 12-year-old team won their tournament and advanced to state sectionals.

Events in town

  • Relay for Life
  • Jazz in the Garden takes place at Weir Farm every September. It frequently features music that includes a number of Dave Brubeck classics, such as Take Five.

Transportation

Highways

There are several highways that crisscross the town, including U.S. Route 7 and Route 33, which form the main north-south roadways in town. While not passing through any part of Wilton, the Merritt Parkway (Route 15) also serves the town via the Route 33 exit (Exit 41) which is signed for Wilton, as well as the Route 7 exits (Exits 39B & 40B) which are signed for Danbury. Other state highways that run through Wilton are Route 53 and Route 106.

Railroad

The town has two railroad stations: Wilton in the town center and Cannondale (a sub-station where tickets are not sold), both part of the Danbury Line of Metro-North Railroad providing direct no-change high-speed, and WIFI-enabled commuter train service to Norwalk (8 mins), Stamford (15 mins), Greenwich (25mins), and NY City's Grand Central Station (70 mins) to the south; New Haven and Boston to the north. Connecting to Amtrak for the Boston to Washington, DC corridor is at the Stamford station. Executives and other professionals and commuters develop at-station and in-car professional and personal networks during the daily commute.

Buses

The town is served by "7 Link" bus route of the Norwalk Transit District that runs between Norwalk and Danbury along the Route 7 corridor. A commuter shuttle bus during rush hours is also available between southern Wilton and the South Norwalk railroad station on the New Haven Line.

Education

Public schools

Elementary schools include Miller-Driscoll School (Grades pre-K–2) and Cider Mill School (3–5). There is one middle school named Middlebrook School (6–8) and one high school named Wilton High School, which features accelerated classes for gifted students, music and visual arts courses, and a resource center. The language laboratory teaches six languages, including French, German, Spanish, Latin, Classical Greek, and American Sign Language.

The Town of Wilton has approximately 4,150 students who attend pre-K through 12th grade in the four schools. The two elementary schools have class sizes typically ranging from 18 to 22 and a 19 to 1 student/teacher ratio. Middlebrook features interdisciplinary instruction teams in languages and science, mathematics, social studies, computers, art, and gifted student instruction. Class sizes range from 20 to 25 students with a student/teacher ratio of 13 to 1.

Private schools

There are four private schools in the town:

  • Connecticut Friends School, a Quaker preschool
  • Our Lady of Fatima, a Catholic school, preschool through eighth grade
  • The Montessori School, preschool through sixth grade
  • The Goddard School, a preschool.

Infrastructure

Transportation

Highways

There are several roads and highways that crisscross the town, including U.S. Route 7 and Route 33, which form the main north-south roadways in town. Although not passing through any part of Wilton, the Merritt Parkway (Route 15) also serves the town via the Route 33 exit (Exit 41) which is signed for Wilton/Westport, as well as the Route 7 exits (Exits 39B & 40B) which are signed for Danbury. Other state highways that run through Wilton are Route 53 and Route 106.

Railroad

The town has two railroad stations: Wilton near the town center and Cannondale. Both are served by Metro-North Railroad's Danbury Branch, which provides direct commuter train service south to Norwalk (15 minutes), Stamford (25 minutes), Danbury (33 Minutes), and New York City's Grand Central Station (90 minutes); and north to New Haven and Boston. Previously, Wilton was also home to a third station. Known as South Wilton (1852–1971) and Kent Road (1976–1994). The town was also formerly served by the Georgetown station from 1852-1970.

Buses

The town is served by the 7 Link bus route of the Norwalk Transit District that runs between Norwalk and Danbury along the Route 7 corridor. A commuter shuttle bus during rush hours is also available between South Wilton and the South Norwalk railroad station on the New Haven Line.

Notable people

  • Theodore Bikel (1924–2015), actor, long-time resident.
  • Jeremy Black, actor
  • Linda Blair, actress
  • Chance Browne, cartoonist of syndicated comic strip Hi and Lois
  • Dik Browne (1917–1989), cartoonist, creator of Hägar the Horrible and Hi and Lois.
  • Dave Brubeck, Prominent jazz musician
  • David Canary (1938–2015), actor, All My Children and Bonanza
  • Paul Dano, actor, 2002 graduate of Wilton High School.
  • Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, Richest person in Connecticut, resident in late 20th century
  • Matt Davies, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist.
  • Abby Elliott, actress/comedian, daughter of Chris Elliott
  • Chris Elliott, actor/comedian
  • Ace Frehley, guitarist for Kiss, lived in Wilton from 1980-1986.
  • Charles Grodin, 1935-2021,actor
  • Johnny Gruelle, artist who created Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy
  • June Havoc, actress, who also renovated buildings to create the Cannon Crossing center of small shops. Her sister Gypsy Rose Lee frequently visited her.
  • Daryl Hawk, documentary photographer, explorer
  • Sterling Hayden, actor
  • Patty Hearst, known as Patricia Hearst-Shaw, heiress and actress
  • Lydia Hearst-Shaw, supermodel and heiress
  • Russell Hoban, writer; Lillian Hoban, writer and illustrator; and their daughter Phoebe Hoban, journalist and biographer.
  • Richard C. Hottelet, broadcast journalist and commentator, last of the Murrow's Boys
  • Ira Levin, writer, lived in Wilton in the 1960s and claimed in a March 27, 2007 letter to the New York Times that he based the fictional town of Stepford from his 1972 novel The Stepford Wives on Wilton.
  • Kristine Lilly, US Olympic Soccer Team, holds the world record for most professional soccer match appearances in history
  • Katherine Maher, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation
  • Jay Manuel, America's Next Top Model director of photo shoots
  • Joe Pantoliano, actor
  • Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, writers and illustrators of children's books
  • Aldo Parisot, Cellist
  • Dean Parisot, film and television director
  • Sarah Phillips, fashion designer
  • Steve Phillips, former NY Mets General Manager and former ESPN baseball analyst
  • Charles E. Pont, artist and Baptist minister, lived here from 1958 until his death in 1971.
  • Jane Powell and Dickie Moore, actress and former child actor.
  • Randy Rasmussen, former left guard of the New York Jets for 15 years (1967–1981), started in Super Bowl III
  • Vicki Sue Robinson, actress and singer
  • John Scofield Grew up in Wilton, jazz guitarist
  • Frank Sesno, journalist and professor
  • Zachary Cole Smith, frontman of DIIV, went to elementary and middle school growing up in the town.
  • Donald B. Verrilli Jr., U.S. solicitor general from 2011 to 2016, Graduated Wilton High School in 1975.
  • Christopher Walken, actor
  • Marcy Walker, actress, lived in Wilton during the early 2000s.
  • Cathie Wood, founder of ARK Investment Management
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