BRIEF HISTORY OF WILTON, CONNECTICUT
Fairfield County, Connecticut
Local Government Areas:
1640 Roger Ludlow and friends purchased much of what is Wilton today . It was originally a part of the town of Norwalk.
The first settlements were in the fertile lands of the Norwalk River valley, and on the ridges of Belden Hill, Chestnut Hill, and Ridgefield Road.
c. 1720 -- Raymond-Fitch house built by Elias Betts at 224 Danbury Road in Wilton. (It is used to house the Historical Society collection.)
1723 Merwin Falls was the site of Wilton's first grist mill.
1726 Wilton officially recognized as a parish. The original 40 families of the parish began their own Congregational Church. They hired Robert Sturgeon as their minister. Sturgeon was also the town's first schoolmaster.
1727 -- David Lambert I, built the Lambert House, now the oldest house in town, at 150 Danbury Road. Four generations of this prominent family occupied the house until the 1920s. The house is part of the historic Lambert Properties at Lambert Corners, the site of nine historic buildings adapted for commercial use.
By 1738 the first meetinghouse had become too small, so a second Congregational Church was built on the corner of Sharp Hill Road.
1740 Mathew Gregory House.
c. 1740 -- Betts-Sturges-Blackmar House built. The last owner, Dana Blackmar, willed the house and his extensive collection of New England antiques to the Wilton Historical Society.
1777 (April) during the Revolutionary war, the British used Wilton as an escape route after their attack on Danbury and their engagement in the Battle of Ridgefield. They burned several homes.
1790 a third Wilton Congregational Church built on Ridgefield Road where it still stands as the oldest church building in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
1790 -- the Cannon Store started.
1802 the Connecticut General Assembly granted a Town Charter to Wilton, thereby making it independent of Norwalk.
1810 the town population was 1,728.
1832 the original Town House or Town Hall first used.
1834 the Gilbert and Bennett Manufacturing Co. began producing wire sieves.
1834 -- the Hurlbutt Street Schoolhouse was built in 1834. It was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places and is now a private museum of early education. Tours and classes are available.
1836 St. Matthew's Episcopal Church. (Today it is home to the Wilton Baptist Church.)
Pre-Civil War period Wilton served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
1852 the town built its first railroad station. (It is located at the historic Cannondale Crossing next to an 1880s general store, post office and a Greek Revival one-room schoolhouse.)
1860 the town population was 2,208.
1860 to 1900 about 30% of the population was lost.
By 1900 only 1,598 people lived in Wilton.
1902 the grist mill at Merwin Falls was closed.
the 1910's New Yorkers discovered that Wiltons abandoned farms would make great summer homes.
1915 -- Samuel Miller received a cannon used in the Civil War battle of Galveston as a gift. It is now displayed at Cannondale Road.
1915 -- Samuel Miller got the name of Cannons Station changed to
Cannondale because of the constant confusion with Canaan, Connecticut.
the 1930's as Wilton moved from agriculture to commuting, there were noticeable stresses at Town Meetings between the "old-timers" and the "new people."
1931 new Town Hall built.
After World War II light industry began moving into town.
1950 -- death of Wilton Bulletin founder G.
Evans Hubbard who wrote Annals of Wilton: Wilton Village, A History,
history of the town up to the late 18th Century.
1950 to 1970 the population grew from 4,558 to 13,572.
Theodore Bikel, Sterling Hayden and Charles Grodin are a few of the prominent entertainment figures who have lived in Wilton.
Today the population is around 18,000.
The Town of Wilton, Connecticut: Wilton Town History. http://www.wiltonct.org/info_history.htm
Wilton Answer Book: History. http://www.acorn-online.com/answer/b-hist.htm
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