Coventry, Connecticut

Coventry, Connecticut
—  Town  —

Location in Tolland County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°47′04″N 72°20′20″W / 41.78444°N 72.33889°W / 41.78444; -72.33889Coordinates: 41°47′04″N 72°20′20″W / 41.78444°N 72.33889°W / 41.78444; -72.33889
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Hartford
Region Windham Region
Incorporated 1712
 - Type Council-manager
 - Town manager John A. Elsesser
 - Town council Julia A. Blanchard, Chm.
Phyllis P. Chicoine
Thomas V. Pope
Brendan R. Putman
Donald A. Scussel
Elizabeth A. Woolf
William J. Zenko
 - Total 38.4 sq mi (99.5 km2)
 - Land 37.7 sq mi (97.7 km2)
 - Water 0.6 sq mi (1.7 km2)
Elevation 656 ft (200 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 11,504
 - Density 305.0/sq mi (117.8/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06238
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-17800
GNIS feature ID 0213413

Coventry is a town in Tolland County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 11,504 at the 2000 census. The birthplace of Captain Nathan Hale, Coventry is home to the Nathan Hale Homestead, which is now a museum open to the public.

Coventry was incorporated in May 1712.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 38.4 square miles (99 km2) of which 37.7 square miles (98 km2) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km2) (1.67%) is water.

Principal communities


Coventry was named in October 1711, the first town in the colonies to be named "Coventry" for Coventry in the West Midlands, United Kingdom.

Settlement and founding

The first house in Coventry was said[by whom?] to have been built near the shore of Lake Wangumbaug by Nathaniel Rust, a Hartford, Connecticut, man, originally from Northampton, Massachusetts. The entire Rust family is said to have made their final move to Coventry from Massachusetts in a group of a dozen families in 1709. Along with Nathaniel Rust, the names of some of the earliest settlers were David Lee, Thomas Root, Samuel Gurley, Ebenezer Searl, Joseph Petty, Benjamin James and Benjamin Carpenter. Four other settlers were also from Northampton and two from Reading.[1]

The land was said[by whom?] to have originally been given to men from Hartford by Joshua, Indian sachem. The Connecticut General Assembly, held in Hartford in 1706, appointed William Pitkin, Joseph Tallcot, William Whiting and Richard Lord, as a committee with full power to lay out the bounds of the town and divisions of the land, to admit inhabitants. A 1711 revision added Nathaniel Rust to the committee and the task of procuring a minister of the gospel.[2] The first church was established in October 1714.

To the present

The old center of the town is in South Coventry, near the intersection of Main Street (Route 31) and Stonehouse Road (Route 275). In the 19th century, there was a small industrial center including mills powered by the water from Coventry Lake Brook as it flowed towards the Willimantic River. South Coventry Village, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, also includes several Victorian houses, a museum, the main branch of the public library and the Bidwell Tavern, a bar/restaurant established in 1822. The Bidwell used to keep Coventry's town records in the "vault" area behind the bar, as well as hosting town meetings.[3] A few doors away is the W.L Wellwood General Store, which under new ownership has been renamed "Coventry Country Store". The general store was originally built in 1787 making it one of, if not the oldest General Store in America (a past owner claimed to have not found an older store). In all, the area has over 100 historical buildings on the national register.

North Coventry's settlement is less dense, and its housing and businesses are of more recent construction. In the 18th century, this section of the town was largely used for dairy and vegetable farming. As the United States expanded westward, many farming families left the rocky fields of Connecticut for the more fertile land of the Ohio River valley. Most of the farms in North Coventry were abandoned, and the land reclaimed by second-growth forest. In the 1960s and 1970s, tract housing developments were built on some of this land, mainly raised ranch or split-level houses on one acre (4,000 m²) lots. Development slowed from the mid-1970s through the 1990s, but several new developments were constructed in North Coventry after 1990. These tend to feature larger houses on two acre (8,000 m²) lots.

Places of interest

  • Wangumbaug Lake, also known as Coventry Lake, covers 373 acres (1.51 km2). The lake is fed by springs, and has one natural outlet, known as Coventry Lake Brook. The brook flows towards South Coventry center and ultimately into the Willimantic River. Patriots Park, located on Wangumbaug Lake, contains a guarded beach, playground, picnic area, lodge facilities, Community Center, and band shell for summer concerts. It is also home of the Coventry Lake Water Ski Team and UConn Men and Women’s Crew Teams. The boat launch is run by the State of Connecticut. Occasionally, during the winter months, the lake will freeze over and residents have the opportunity to skate or fish on the ice.
  • Nathan Hale Homestead, first established around 1740 by Deacon Richard Hale (1717–1802), the present structure has been standing since 1776 and was built to house the combined family of Deacon Hale and his second wife Abigail (Cobb) Adams. The original house, birthplace of Nathan Hale in 1755, is said to have been on the property, just southeast of the 1776 house. The original 450 acres (1.8 km2) of the Hale farm now make up a large portion of the Nathan Hale State Forest. Today the Hale’s family home, located on South Street, is a museum open seasonally for tours and education programs. [3]
  • The Strong-Porter Museum, circa 1730, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as the Coventry Historical Society's museum. Five rooms of the house, as well as several outbuildings, including a carpenter shop, carriage sheds, and barn are open to the public.
  • The Brick Schoolhouse, second construction completed in 1825 after original burned, it is one of the four remaining district schoolhouses in Coventry and was used until 1954.
  • Caprilands Herb Farm, c.1740 colonial farmstead, home for over 65 years to the late famed herbalist and author, Adelma Grenier Simmons, an herbal mecca open to the public. Visitors can enjoy one of many themed herbal and floral gardens, including the Cook's Garden, Saint's Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Medieval Garden and Bride's Garden.
  • Hytone Farm, owned and operated by the Peracchio family since the early 1940s and a fully operational dairy farm since 1960, they raise all their own Holstein cows, currently have 165 young stock and use over 350 acres (1.4 km2) of corn and grass for silage. Hytone Farm has received many Distinguished Farming awards through their years.
  • Museum of Connecticut Glass is a new museum focusing on glassmaking in the state.[4]

On the National Register of Historic Places

Strong-Porter House
  • Brigham's Tavern — 12 Boston Tpke. (added April 25, 1982)
  • Capron-Phillips House — 1129 Main St. (added May 27, 1982)
  • Captain Nathan Hale Monument — 120 Lake St. (added February 28, 2002)
  • Coventry Glass Factory Historic District — US 44 and N. River Rd. (added September 27, 1987)
  • Elias Sprague House — 2187 South St. (added December 2, 1987)
  • Loomis-Pomeroy House — 1747 Boston Tpk. (added May 26, 1994)
  • Nathan Hale Homestead — 229 South St. (added November 22, 1970)
  • Parker-Hutchinson Farm — Parker Bridge Rd. (added May 29, 1982)
  • South Coventry Historic District — Roughly, Main St. and adjacent streets from Armstrong Rd. to Lake St. and Lake from High St. to Main (added June 6, 1991)
  • Strong-Porter House — 2382 South St. (added February 15, 1988)

Miscellaneous information

  • The center of North Coventry is at the intersection of Main Street (CT Route 31) and U.S. Route 44 (section officially known as the Boston Turnpike, but usually referred to simply as "Route 44"). Near this intersection are two shopping plazas. The first contains a large Highland Park Market. One can buy most any type of common foodstuffs here, as well as freshly baked bread in the morning. This plaza also contains the Meadow Brook Package Store and the Coventry office of Rockville Bank. The second plaza had a NewAlliance Bank now a First Niagara Bank, as well as a CVS and a Dunkin' Donuts. Recently a Wallgreens was added across the street from CVS
  • American portrait painter Benoni Irwin (1840–1896) drowned in Coventry Lake. Irwin, a Yonkers, New York resident, had a summer home on the shore of Coventry Lake. On the evening of August 26, 1896, Irwin lost his balance and fell from a boat while trying to adjust the focus on his camera. He had been taking photographs of the lake at sunset. His head hit the edge of the boat as he fell, knocking him unconscious. His body was immediately recovered. He is buried in Nathan Hale Cemetery with his wife, Adela, and daughter, Edith.

Twinned cities

City State Country Year
Coventry England West Midlands United Kingdom United Kingdom 1962
Coventry New York New York United States United States
Coventry Rhode Island Rhode Island United States United States

Annual events

Memorial Day-Memorial Day Parade—Capt. Nathan Hale is recognized along with members of the Armed Forces

  • CoventryFest -- with fireworks, food and live music. Held at Patriot's Park on the lake.
  • June 6 -- Captain Hale's Birthday Party -- held at the Hale Homestead
  • Early July -- Coventry Fest-- July—fireworks over Coventry Lake
  • July -- Colonial Encampment and Muster -- July—held by the Nathan Hale Ancient Fife & Drums at the Hale Homestead.
  • December--"Old-Fashioned Christmas in Coventry". Main Street first Saturday in December.


Town of Coventry
Population by year[5]

1790   2,130
1800   2,021
1810   1,938
1820   2,058
1830   2,119
1840   2,081
1850   1,984
1860   2,085
1870   2,057
1880   2,043
1890   1,875
1900   1,632
1910   1,606
1920   1,582
1930   1,554
1940   2,102
1950   4,043
1960   6,358
1970   8,140
1980   8,895
1990 10,063
2000 11,504

At the 2000 census[6], there were 11,504 people, 4,261 households and 3,191 families residing in the town. The population density was 305.0 per square mile (117.8/km²). There were 4,486 housing units at an average density of 118.9 per square mile (45.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.95% White, 0.57% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.40% from other races, and 1.21% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.72% of the population.

There were 4,261 households which 37.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.0% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.1% were non-families. 18.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.09.

27.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.9% from 18 to 24, 33.7% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 8.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 102.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.8 males.

The median household income was $64,680, and the median family income was $72,674. Males had a median income of $48,164 versus $36,514 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,143. About 2.0% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.9% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005[7]
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
  Democratic 2,045 59 2,104 26.66%
  Republican 1,481 37 1,518 19.23%
  Unaffiliated 4,128 132 4,260 53.98%
  Minor Parties 9 1 10 0.13%
Total 7,663 229 7,892 100%


  • Coventry Grammar School, K - Grade 2
  • G. H. Robertson Intermediate School, Grade 3 - Grade 5
  • Capt. Nathan Hale Middle School, Grade 6 - Grade 8
  • Coventry High School, Grade 9 - Grade 12

Notable people, past and present



  • Cole, J. R., History of Tolland County, Connecticut W.W. Preston and Co., 1888
  • Philips, David E., Legendary Connecticut / ISBN 1-880684-05-5 /

External links

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