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Woodbury, Connecticut
Official seal of Woodbury, Connecticut
Seal
Location in Litchfield County, Connecticut
Location in Litchfield County, Connecticut
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA None
Region Central Naugatuck Valley
Named 1673
Government
 • Type Selectman-town meeting
Area
 • Total 36.6 sq mi (94.9 km2)
 • Land 36.4 sq mi (94.3 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)
Elevation
243 ft (74 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 9,723
 • Density 267/sq mi (103.1/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (Eastern)
ZIP code
06798
Area code(s) 203/475 (203 Exchanges: 262,263,264,266,267,486)
FIPS code 09-87910
GNIS feature ID 0213540

Woodbury is a town in Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 9,723 at the 2020 census. The town center, comprising the adjacent villages of Woodbury and North Woodbury, is designated by the U.S. Census Bureau as the Woodbury Center census-designated place (CDP). Woodbury was founded in 1673.

The center of Woodbury is distinctive because, unlike many New England towns, it is not nucleated. In Woodbury, the older buildings are arrayed in linear fashion along both sides of a road that stretches for over a mile. The public buildings in the National Register Historic District include the First Congregational Church (1818), the Old Town Hall (1846), the United Methodist Church, the St. Paul's Episcopal Church (1785), and the North Congregational Church (1816).

The most notable of the public buildings is the Masonic Temple (1839). It is a modest, clapboard, Greek Revival temple, notable less for its architecture than for its dramatic location, situated atop a high cliff accessed by a long flight of steps (there is a modern road at the rear). It is visible from a distance and is especially dramatic at night, when it is illuminated by spotlights. The Woodbury Temple echoes the many temples of the Greek world that were perched at the edge of high places from which they could be seen from miles around and from far out at sea.

Originally, the many historic houses on the street were residential. In the late twentieth century they were occupied by a series of antique shops. Woodbury is often referred to as Connecticut's antiques capital.

Woodbury is one of the two towns in Litchfield County, along with Bethlehem, served by the area code 203/area code 475 overlay.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.7 square miles (95 km2), of which 36.5 square miles (95 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) of (0.74%) is water. The CDP has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), all land.

Woodbury lies in the Pomperaug River Valley, a tributary of the Housatonic River. The Pomperaug River is formed in Woodbury by the confluence of the Nonnewaug River and the Weekeepeemee River.

Principal communities

  • Hotchkissville
  • Minortown
  • Neufa
  • North Woodbury
  • Pomperaug
  • Woodbury Center

History

The founders of ancient Woodbury came from Stratford in the early 1670s. Ancient Woodbury consisted of the present towns of Woodbury, Southbury, Roxbury, Bethlehem, most of Washington and parts of Middlebury and Oxford.

Two groups of settlers came from Stratford. One, a group of religious dissidents unhappy with the church in Stratford, was led by Woodbury’s first minister, Reverend Zachariah Walker. The second group, led by Deacon Samuel Sherman, had been given approval by the general court to purchase land from local Native Americans in order establish a new settlement. The two groups, consisting of fifteen families (about fifty people), arrived in ancient Woodbury, known as “Pomperaug Plantation", early in 1673.

In 1673 these original settlers drew up an agreement called the “Fundamental Articles,” which proclaimed that as many settlers as could be accommodated would be welcomed to the new settlement. The Fundamental Articles stated that expenses of establishing the settlement would be shared by its inhabitants, and that no one was to be given more than twenty-five or less than ten acres of land. Other sections of the articles provided for common land, and for land saved to be divided up for future inhabitants of the settlement.

Signers of the Fundamental Articles:

  • Samuel Sherman, Sr.
  • Joshua Curtiss
  • Lt. Joseph Judson, Sr.
  • Titus Hinman
  • Israel Curtiss
  • David Jenkins
  • John Wheeler
  • John Judson
  • Roger Terill
  • Moses Johnson
  • John Wyatt
  • Samuel Munn
  • John Sherman
  • Samuel Stiles
  • John Minor
  • Eleazur Knowles
  • Thomas Fairchild

The settlement was named Woodbury, which means “dwelling place in the woods,” and was first recognized as a town in 1674. Deacon and captain John Minor was the first leader of the community during Woodbury’s early years. Minor was the first town clerk and along with Lieutenant Joseph Judson served as the first deputy to the Connecticut General Court from the town of Woodbury. On October 9, 1751, the town of Woodbury was transferred from Fairfield County at the formation of Litchfield County.

On March 25, 1783, a meeting of ten Episcopal clergy in Woodbury, Connecticut, elected Samuel Seabury (1729–1796) the first American Episcopal bishop, the second presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA, and the first bishop of Connecticut.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,885
1850 2,150
1860 2,037 −5.3%
1870 1,931 −5.2%
1880 2,149 11.3%
1890 1,815 −15.5%
1900 1,988 9.5%
1910 1,860 −6.4%
1920 1,698 −8.7%
1930 1,744 2.7%
1940 1,998 14.6%
1950 2,564 28.3%
1960 3,910 52.5%
1970 5,869 50.1%
1980 6,942 18.3%
1990 8,131 17.1%
2000 9,198 13.1%
2010 9,975 8.4%
2020 9,723 −2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income

At the 2010 census there were 9,984 people, 4,219 households, and 2,772 families in the town. The population density was 252.2 people per square mile (97.4/km2). There were 3,869 housing units at an average density of 106.1 per square mile (41.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 97.25% White, 0.53% African American, 0.22% Native American, 1.15% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.22% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.65%.

Of the 3,715 households 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 25.4% of households were one person and 8.7% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.99.

The age distribution was 24.0% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 29.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% 65 or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.

The median household income was $68,322 and the median family income was $82,641. Males had a median income of $53,246 versus $35,298 for females. The per capita income for the town was $37,903. About 2.3% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

CDP

At the 2000 census, there were x people, 618 households, and 336 families in the CDP. The population density was 668.8 inhabitants per square mile (258.3/km2). There were 644 housing units at an average density of 331.8 per square mile (128.2/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 98.07% White, 0.85% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.31% from other races, and 0.23% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.16% of the population.

Of the 618 households 25.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.5% were non-families. 39.3% of households were one person and 15.7% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.82.

The age distribution was 20.6% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 28.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.9% 65 or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.1 males.

The median household income was $51,136 and the median family income was $65,227. Males had a median income of $50,625 versus $40,729 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $30,277. None of the families and 4.6% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and 8.9% of those over 64.

Infrastructure

Transportation

U.S. Route 6 is the main thoroughfare in the town, leading northeast 7 miles (11 km) to Watertown and south 5 miles (8 km) to Southbury. Connecticut Route 64 is a main highway leading east five miles to Middlebury and 10 miles (16 km) to Waterbury. Other highways in the town include Route 47, leading northwest to Washington; Route 61, leading north from the eastern part of town to Bethlehem; Route 132, leading north from the center of Woodbury to Bethlehem; and Route 317, leading west to Roxbury.

Notable locations

PostcardWoodburyCTTownHall1907
Town Hall, about 1907

Notable people

  • Leroy Anderson (1908–1975), composer ("Sleigh Ride" and many other works); lived in Woodbury from 1948 until his death in 1975. His widow Eleanor Anderson (1918–2014) lived in Woodbury from 1948 until her death.
  • Mac Baldrige (1922-1987), 26th United States Secretary of Commerce; lived in Woodbury until his death in 1987
  • Joe Beck (1945–2008), jazz guitarist; lived in Woodbury until his death in 2008
  • Hayden Carruth (1921–2008), poet and critic; grew up in the town
  • Santino Ferrucci, racing driver; born in the town in 1998
  • Alexander Hamilton (1847–1928), rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
  • Kay Sage (1898–1963), surrealist painter; lived in Woodbury from 1940 until her death
  • Henry Shelton Sanford (1823–1891), diplomat and the founder of Sanford, Florida; born in Woodbury
  • Yves Tanguy (1900–1955), surrealist painter; lived in Woodbury from 1940 until his death
  • William Robert Taylor (1820–1909), governor of Wisconsin; born in Woodbury
  • Robert Templeton (1929–1991), presidential portraitist and civil rights artist; lived in Woodbury and maintained his studio there from 1965 until his death
  • Rob Zombie, musician and movie director; moved to the town in January 2009 with his spouse Sheri Moon

The Woodbury Songbook

Cover Noten Woodbury-Songbook Hanns-Eisler LWS1731
Cover of a library copy the "Woodbury Songbook" with spelling error of the place's name

The German composer Hanns Eisler, who had taken asylum in the USA, fleeing from the Nazi rule in Germany, spent three and a half months (from June 15 to September 30, 1941) in Woodbury as guest of another German refugee, Dr. Joachim Schumacher, and his wife Sylvia. Joachim Schumacher taught classes in art history, musicology, philosophy, and other subjects at the Westover School in Middlebury. Sylvia Schumacher taught piano at Westover School and privately in her home. Joachim Schumacher enticed Eisler to compose 20 songs on 16 US child verses or nursery rhymes and four texts in German language by Goethe, Eduard Mörike and Ignazio Silone. The songs were composed for female voices and suitable for a school chorus. This was published as "The Woodbury Songbook", or, in German, "Das Woodbury Liederbüchlein" with the lyrics in English and German, unfortunately with a wrong spelling of Woodbury with two "r"s. The German translations are by Wieland Herzfelde.

Education

Woodbury is part of the Region 14 School District consisting of Nonnewaug High School, Woodbury Middle School, Bethlehem Elementary School, Mitchell Elementary School, and STAR Preschool Program.

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