Newtown, Connecticut

Newtown, Connecticut
—  Town  —

Seal
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°23′54″N 73°17′35″W / 41.39833°N 73.29306°W / 41.39833; -73.29306Coordinates: 41°23′54″N 73°17′35″W / 41.39833°N 73.29306°W / 41.39833; -73.29306
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region Housatonic Valley
Incorporated 1711
Government
 - Type Selectman-town meeting
 - First selectman Patricia E. Llodra
Area
 - Total 59.1 sq mi (153.1 km2)
 - Land 57.8 sq mi (149.6 km2)
 - Water 1.3 sq mi (3.4 km2)
Elevation 397 ft (121 m)
Population (2010)
 - Total 27,560
 - Density 466.2/sq mi (180/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06470
Area code(s) 203
FIPS code 09-52980
GNIS feature ID 0213475
Website www.newtown-ct.gov

Newtown is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 27,560 at the 2010 census.[1] Newtown was founded in 1705 and incorporated in 1711.

Contents

Government

Elected to a two-year term, the Board of Selectmen supervise the administration of the affairs of the town, except those matters which by the General Statute or Town Charter are exclusively committed to the Board of Education or other departments. They are led by a First Selectman, who is the Chief Executive and Administrative Officer of the town. The Board of Selectmen with the assistance of the departments and boards and commission prepares the annual budget in February. The Legislative Council of 12 members (elected to the same two year terms) acts as the Board of Finance and passes ordinances. The Council recommends the annual education and general government budget to the towns people. The old fashion town meeting and referendum are used to pass the budget. These procedures are set forth in the Town Charter adopted and reviewed by the citizens.

The Borough of Newtown occupies about 1,252 acres (507 ha) (or roughly two square miles) in the central part of town. Incorporated in 1824 by an act of the Connecticut General Assembly, it is one of only nine boroughs in the state. The borough adopted zoning for the town center long before the rest of the community. The lot sizes are smaller than the minimum 1-acre (4,000 m2) lots of the rest of the community. The borough also has running public water provided by a small town water company. Much of the borough is sewered, and the rest of the town is mostly wells and septic systems.[2]

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 60.38 square miles (156.4 km2), of which 57.8 square miles (150 km2) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2), or 2.22%, is water.

Newtown is the state's fifth largest town in area and is bordered by Bethel, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Easton, Monroe, Oxford, Redding and Southbury.

Principal communities

  • Botsford (ZIP code 06404)
  • Dodgingtown
  • Hattertown
  • Hawleyville (ZIP code 06440)
  • Newtown Borough
  • Rocky Glen
  • Sandy Hook (ZIP code 06482) (including Berkshire, Riverside, Walnut Tree Hill, and Zoar communities)
  • Other minor communities include Head of Meadow, Hopewell, Huntingtown, Lands End, Middle Gate, Palestine, and Taunton.

History

The town of Newtown, originally known as Quanneapague, was purchased from the Pohtatuck Indians in 1705. Settled from Stratford and incorporated in 1711, Newtown was a stronghold of Tory sentiment during the early Revolutionary War. French General Rochambeau and his troops encamped here in 1781 during their celebrated march on their way to the siege of Yorktown, Virginia, which ended the Revolution. An important crossroads throughout its early history, the village of Hawleyville briefly emerged as a railroad center, and the town's population grew to over 4,000 circa 1881. In the following decades, the population dwindled to a low of 2,635 in 1930 before again growing.

Local industry has included the manufacture of furniture, tea bags, combs, fire hoses, folding boxes, buttons, and hats, as well as farming and mica and feldspar mining. The game of Scrabble was developed here by James Brunot.

Among notable residents have been James Purdy, an African American farmer who was part of the Underground Railroad, and Mary Elizabeth Hawley, Newtown's benefactress.

Landmarks

Newtown has a number of local landmarks. Perhaps the most famous is the flagpole, first erected in 1876. The Newtown Bee, the local weekly newspaper, has been serving the area since 1877, and has been owned and operated by the Smith family since 1881. Another important building, located across from the flagpole, is Newtown Meeting House, which served as the town's Congregational church for many years. The rooster weather vane (a town symbol) located atop the meeting house is said to have been used as a target by French soldiers encamped here in 1781 during the Revolutionary War.

Hawley School is another landmark. Constructed in the 1920s, it has been used as a whole-town school, a high school, and an elementary school. It is currently an elementary school. Though it has served many different school functions, its original section has remained much the same. Two additions have been added since its construction.

Newtown is home to the "Fairfield Hills" Hospital, erected in the 1930s. It was closed in 1995. Fairfield Hills was used as the set of the juvenile facility in the film Sleepers in 1995. Newtown recently purchased the property, and, as of 2007, the town is considering a somewhat controversial plan for its usage. In 2008, the NYA (Newtown Youth Academy) was added, with a fitness section, basketball courts, and a turf field.

Edmond Town Hall

The building, completed in the 1930s, contains some town offices and has a variety of rooms for all occasions, including the Alexandria Room for weddings, parties and recitals; and a gymnasium for sports, parties and craft shows. Smaller meeting rooms are also present.

The Board of Managers is composed of six members serving six year terms. At each regular Town Election, two members are elected, both of whom may not be members of the same political party. According to Town Charter, the Board "shall have the exclusive care and maintenance of Edmond Town Hall and all grounds and buildings appurtenant thereto, together with all powers and duties prescribed for said Board by Special Act No. 98 of the 1931 session by which it was created, as amended by Special Act No. 517 of the 1953 session".

The architect for this building was Philip Sutherland, who also designed Cyrenius H. Booth Library.

The Edmond Town hall is notable for its cinema. The theater shows popular films shortly after they leave mainstream theaters, and is the only $2 film theater in Connecticut. It is a popular spot for middle school and high school students. The town hall was constructed for the community by a local benefactress Mary Elizabeth Hawley and dedicated in 1930. The building was named for Miss Hawley’s maternal great grandfather Judge William Edmond.

Cyrenius H. Booth Library

Newtown's public library was opened December 17, 1932, with a capacity for 25,000 volumes. The library is a posthumous gift of Mary Elizabeth Hawley and was named after her maternal grandfather, a doctor in town from 1820 until his death in 1871. Hawley's gift not only paid for construction of the building, but included a trust fund of about $250,000 which resulted in the town not financing the library until the 1980s.[3]

Cyrenius H. Booth Library, Newtown, Connecticut

Designed by Philip Sutherland, who also designed Newtown's Edmond Town Hall, the building was considered one of the most modern libraries of its time, with several innovative features. The building was fireproof, had cork floors and acoustic ceiling tiles to deaden sound, and had a built-in humidifying unit and a centralized vacuum cleaner.[3]

In January 1998 an addition to the rear of the building was completed and officially opened. The expansion doubled the available floor space and provides areas for meetings and displays of art and local historical artifacts from the library's large collection.[3]

On the National Register of Historic Places

  • Caleb Baldwin Tavern — 32 Main Street (added September 23, 2002)
  • Camps Nos. 10 and 41 of Rochambeau's Army (added June 6, 2002)
  • Glover House — 50 Main Street (added March 11, 1982)
  • Hattertown Historic District — Roughly, junction of Aunt Park Lane, Castle Meadow, Hattertown, and Hi Barlow roads (added 1996)
  • John Glover House — 53 Echo Valley Road (added September 17, 2001)
  • March Route of Rochambeau's Army: Reservoir Road — Junction of Reservoir Road and Mount Pleasant Road South (added February 8, 2003)
  • Nathan B. Lattin Farm — 22 Walker Hill Road (added June 24, 1990)
  • New York Belting and Packing Co. — 45-71 and 79-89 Glen Road (added July 2, 1982)
  • Newtown Borough Historic District — Roughly, Main Street from Hawley Road to Academy Lane (added 1996)
  • Nichols Satinet Mill Site (added March 23, 1996)

Parks and recreation

The town of Newtown offers many programs for area residents, and there are numerous parks and fields offering playgrounds, swimming, tennis, softball, baseball, volleyball, lacrosse, soccer, as well as a nature center and trails. Prominent Newtown parks include Treadwell Park, Dickinson Park, and Collis P. Huntington State Park. Treadwell Park, named after former selectman Timothy Treadwell, contains recreation facilities and the town pool. Dickinson park used to contain a swimming pool (really more like a swimming "pond"), which was a large asphalt-lined bowl-shaped depression surrounded by a grass "beach". It was a uniquely safe design for children because there was no "deep end" anywhere around the periphery of the pool/pond. Unfortunately, it lacked a formal filtration system and required attendants to periodically row out and manually add chlorine to the water. It was removed and filled in in 2006.

Demographics

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 25,031 people, 8,325 households, and 6,776 families residing in the town. The population density was 433.4 people per square mile (167.3/km²). There were 8,601 housing units at an average density of 148.9 per square mile (57.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.14% White, 1.75% Black or African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.40% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 0.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.36% of the population.

There were 8,325 households out of which 44.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.3% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.6% were non-families. 14.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.90 and the average family size was 3.24.

In the town the population was spread out with 29.3% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 32.5% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 104.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $90,193, and the median income for a family was $99,192 (these figures had risen to $101,937 and $119,175 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[5]). Males had a median income of $68,965 versus $42,217 for females. The per capita income for the town was $37,786. About 2.2% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.0% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.

Education

The Newtown Public school system operates four elementary schools (the Hawley School, Head O'Meadow School, Middle Gate School, and Sandy Hook School) that serve grades K-4, an intermediate school (Reed Intermediate School) serving grades 5-6, Newtown Middle School (serving grades 7-8), and Newtown High School serving grades 9-12.

Newtown also has several private and parochial schools, including St. Rose of Lima School, the Fraser-Woods School, and the Housatonic Valley Waldorf School.

Notable residents, past and present

Among notable residents have been James Purdy, who helped slaves escape to Canada in the 1850s and ministered to smallpox victims during the American Civil War; Mary Elizabeth Hawley, Newtown's benefactress; Joseph F. Engelberger, an engineer and entrepreneur who is often credited with being the "Father of Robotics" - the Robotics Industries Association annually presents the Joseph F. Engelberger Awards to "persons who have contributed outstandingly to the furtherance of the science and practice of robotics."; actor Anthony Edwards, known for his roles in Top Gun, Gotcha!, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise and the television series ER, lives in Sandy Hook; and Bruce Jenner, 1976 Summer Olympics decathlon gold medalist, attended Newtown High School.

Other notable residents (in alphabetical order):

Notes

  1. ^ "Race, Hispanic or Latino, Age, and Housing Occupancy: 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File (QT-PL), Newtown town, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder 2. http://factfinder2.census.gov. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ [1] Web page titled "Welcome to the Town of Newtown!", town government Web site, accessed March 28, 2007
  3. ^ a b c [2] Cruson, Daniel, "The Cyrenius H. Booth Library History", Cyrenius H. Booth Library website, accessed March 28, 2007
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ADPTable?_bm=y&-context=adp&-qr_name=ACS_2007_3YR_G00_DP3YR3&-ds_name=ACS_2007_3YR_G00_&-tree_id=3307&-redoLog=false&-_caller=geoselect&-geo_id=06000US0900152980&-format=&-_lang=en
  6. ^ [3]"About the Author" section of a Web page titled "Chicken Little by Steven Kellogg" at Powell's Books Web site ("Steven Kellogg lives in Sandy Hook, Connecticut."), accessed March 28, 2007

External links


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