Fairfield, Connecticut
Uncoway (The Place Beyond)
Town of Fairfield
Clockwise from top: Old Town Hall, Fairfield University Art Museum, Fairfield Community Theater, Fairfield Beach, Lake Mohegan
Clockwise from top: Old Town Hall, Fairfield University Art Museum, Fairfield Community Theater, Fairfield Beach, Lake Mohegan
Official seal of Fairfield, Connecticut
Nickname: 
The Field
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut
Location in Fairfield County and the state of Connecticut
Fairfield, Connecticut is located in the United States
Fairfield, Connecticut
Fairfield, Connecticut
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 41°10′33″N 73°16′19″W / 41.17583°N 73.27194°W / 41.17583; -73.27194Coordinates: 41°10′33″N 73°16′19″W / 41.17583°N 73.27194°W / 41.17583; -73.27194
Country United States
U.S. state Connecticut
CountyFairfield
RegionMetropolitan CT
Founded1639
Founded byRoger Ludlow
Government
 • TypeRTM
 • First selectwomanBrenda Kupchick (R)
 • SelectmanTom Flynn (R)
 • SelectwomanNancy Lefkowitz (D)
Area
 • Total31.38 sq mi (81.3 km2)
 • Land29.9 sq mi (77 km2)
 • Water1.48 sq mi (3.8 km2)
Elevation
59 ft (18 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total61,512
 • Density2,057.3/sq mi (794.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
06824, 06825, 06828
Area code(s)203/475
FIPS code09-26620
GNIS feature ID0213429
Major highwaysI-95.svg Merritt Pkwy Shield.svg
Websitewww.fairfieldct.org

Fairfield is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. It borders the city of Bridgeport and towns of Trumbull, Easton, Weston, and Westport along the Gold Coast of Connecticut. As of 2020 the town had a population of 61,512.[3]

History

Colonial era

In 1635, Puritans and Congregationalists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, were dissatisfied with the rate of Anglican reform, and sought to establish an ecclesiastical society subject to their own rules and regulations. The Massachusetts General Court granted them permission to settle in the towns of Windsor, Wethersfield, and Hartford which is an area now known as Connecticut.

On January 14, 1639, a set of legal and administrative regulations called the Fundamental Orders was adopted and established Connecticut as a self-ruling entity. By 1639, these settlers had started new towns in the surrounding areas. Roger Ludlowe, framer of the Fundamental Orders, purchased the land called Unquowa (presently called Fairfield), and established the name. The name "Fairfield" is commendatory.[4]

According to historian John M. Taylor:

Early in 1639, the General Court granted a commission to Ludlowe to begin a plantation at Pequannocke. He was on that errand, with a few others from Windsor, afterwards joined by immigrants from Watertown and Concord. He stole a large tract of land from the Pequannocke sachems – afterwards greatly enlarged by other purchases to the westward – and recalling the attractive region beyond (Unquowa), which he had personally seen on the second Pequot expedition, he also "set down" there, having purchased the territory embraced in the present town of Fairfield, to which he gave its name.[5]

Towns created from Fairfield

Fairfield was one of the two principal settlements of the Connecticut Colony in southwestern Connecticut (the other was Stratford). The town line with Stratford was set in May 1661 by John Banks, an early Fairfield settler, Richard Olmstead, and Lt. Joseph Judson, who were both appointed as a committee by the Colony of Connecticut.[6] The town line with Norwalk was not set until May 1685.[7]

Over time, it gave rise to several new towns that broke off and incorporated separately. The following is a list of towns created from parts of Fairfield.

Revolutionary War

See also: Burning of Fairfield (1779)

When the American Revolutionary War began in the 1770s, Fairfielders were caught in the crisis as much as, if not more than, the rest of their neighbors in Connecticut. In a predominantly Tory section of the colony, the people of Fairfield were early supporters of the cause for independence. Throughout the war, a constant battle was being fought across the Long Island Sound as Loyalists from British-controlled Long Island raided the coast in whaleboats and privateers. Gold Selleck Silliman, whose home still stands on Jennings Road, was put in charge of the coastal defenses.

In the spring of 1779, Silliman was kidnapped from his home by Loyalist raiders in preparation for a British raid on Fairfield County. His wife, Mary Silliman watched from their home as, on the morning of July 7, 1779, approximately 2,000 British troops landed on Fairfield Beach near Pine Creek Point and invaded the town; the force proceeded to burn Fairfield due to the town's support for Patriot cause. A decade later, President George Washington noted that after traveling through Fairfield that "the destructive evidence of British cruelty are yet visible both in Norwalk and Fairfield; as there are the chimneys of many burnt houses standing in them yet".[8]

Twentieth century

The First World War brought Fairfield out of its agrarian past by triggering an unprecedented economic boom in Bridgeport, which was the center of a large munitions industry at the time. The prosperity accompanied a temporary housing shortage in the city, and many of the workers looked to Fairfield to build their homes. The trolley and later the automobile made the countryside accessible to these newly rich members of the middle class, who brought with them new habits, new attitudes, and new modes of dress. The prosperity lasted throughout the twenties.

By the time of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, the population had increased to 17,000 from the 6,000 it had been just before the war. Even during the Depression, the town kept expanding.

The grounding of a barge with two crewmen on Penfield Reef in Fairfield during a gale led to the 1st civilian helicopter hoist rescue in history, on November 29, 1945. The helicopter flew from the nearby Sikorsky Aircraft plant in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Fairfield became the home of the corporate headquarters of General Electric (GE), one of the world's largest companies. On May 8, 2017, GE relocated to Boston, Massachusetts.

The opening of the Connecticut Turnpike in the 1950s brought another wave of development to Fairfield, and by the 1960s the town's residential, suburban character was firmly established.

Geography

The town is on the shore of the Long Island Sound. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 31.3 square miles (81 km2), of which 30.0 square miles (78 km2) is land and 3.4 square kilometres (1.3 sq mi), or 4.15%, is water. The Mill River, the waters of which feed Lake Mohegan, flows through the town.

Neighborhoods

Fairfield Center in a 1956 postcard
Fairfield Center in a 1956 postcard

Fairfield consists of many neighborhoods. The best known are wealthy Southport, where General Electric Chief Executive Officer Jack Welch lived for many years, and Greenfield Hill, with its large green areas, famous dogwood trees, and picturesque green with its white-spired Congregational church. Other neighborhoods include Stratfield, Tunxis Hill, the University area, Grasmere, Mill Plain, Knapp's Village, Melville Village, Holland Hill, Murray, and the Fairfield Beach area, which has recently undergone a renaissance with the construction of many new homes by residents wishing to live in proximity to the beach and downtown.[9] This has resulted in steadily rising property prices.[citation needed] Two shopping districts in town include the Post Road (U.S. 1) and Black Rock Turnpike.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
18204,151
18403,654
18503,614−1.1%
18604,37921.2%
18705,64528.9%
18803,748−33.6%
18903,8683.2%
19004,48916.1%
19106,13436.6%
192011,47587.1%
193017,21850.0%
194021,13522.7%
195030,48944.3%
196046,18351.5%
197056,48722.3%
198054,849−2.9%
199053,418−2.6%
200057,3407.3%
201059,4043.6%
202061,5123.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]

See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income

As of the census[11] of 2010, there were 59,404 people in the town, organized into 20,457 households and 14,846 families. The population density was 1,927 inhabitants per square mile (744/km2). There were 21,648 housing units at an average density of 703 per square mile (271/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.6% White, 3.7% Asian, 1.8% African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.2% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 5.0% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 20,457 households, out of which 38.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.6% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.1% 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 3.19.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.4% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 21.1% from 25 to 44, 27.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.6 males.

The median household income (in 2013 dollars) was $117,705[12] (these figures had risen to $103,352 and $121,749 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[13]). Males had a median income of $69,525 versus $44,837 for females. The per capita income for the city was $55,733. 2.9% of the population and 1.8% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 2.8% of those under the age of 18 and 3.6% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Economy

In May 2012, Moody's Investors Service revised the Town of Fairfield's $192 million general obligation bond debt from negative to stable.[14] In June 2012, Moody's awarded Fairfield with an AAA bond rating, which it maintains to this date.[when?]

Large and distinctive companies

Arts and culture

Fairfield Beach, in a 1921 postcard
Fairfield Beach, in a 1921 postcard
Post Road, in Fairfield Center, in a 1934 photo
Post Road, in Fairfield Center, in a 1934 photo
1910 postcard showing Fairfield Library
1910 postcard showing Fairfield Library
Fairfield Community Theater, shown in this 1938 postcard, was operated by the Fairfield Community Theatre Foundation.
Fairfield Community Theater, shown in this 1938 postcard, was operated by the Fairfield Community Theatre Foundation.

Historic sites

Events

Parks and recreation

Penfield Beach
Penfield Beach

Fairfield residents enjoy a wealth of recreational opportunities, many of which stem from Fairfield's enviable location on the Long Island Sound.

Government

Fairfield's town hall
Fairfield's town hall

The town government consists of the three-member Board of Selectmen, a Representative Town Meeting (RTM), a Board of Finance, a Board of Education, a Town Planning and Zoning Commission (TPZ), and many other politically appointed commissions, boards, and committees. The current First Selectman is Brenda Kupchick (R).[20]

Board of Selectmen

Republican controlled 2–1[21]

Member Term
Brenda Kupchick (R) 2019–2023
Thomas Flynn (R) 2019–2023
Nancy Lefkowitz (D) 2019–2023

The town has no criminal or civil court system and all trials are held and handled by the Bridgeport Superior Court system. However, the town does also offer access to a Juvenile Review Board (JRB) for certain juvenile cases outlined by the Fairfield Police Department.

In the Connecticut General Assembly, Fairfield is represented by two Republicans, Sen. Tony Hwang and Rep. Laura Devlin (CT-134), and two Democrats, Rep. Cristin McCarthy-Vahey (CT-133) and Jennifer Leeper (CT-132).[21]

Fairfield town vote
by party in presidential elections[22][23]
Year Democratic Republican Third Parties
2020 64.55% 22,861 34.03% 12,052 1.42% 501
2016 57.18% 18,041 38.39% 12,112 4.44% 1,400
2012 51.05% 15,283 47.95% 14,357 1.00% 300
2008 56.44% 17,236 42.80% 13,071 0.75% 230
2004 49.86% 15,068 48.66% 14,706 1.48% 448
2000 49.62% 14,210 45.54% 13,042 4.84% 1,387
1996 45.44% 12,639 44.28% 12,314 10.28% 2,859
1992 37.67% 12,099 43.49% 13,968 18.84% 6,053
1988 38.48% 11,336 60.38% 17,786 1.14% 337
1984 30.80% 9,573 68.84% 21,396 0.35% 110
1980 30.29% 9,169 57.50% 17,406 12.22% 3,698
1976 39.64% 11,895 59.70% 17,916 0.66% 198
1972 33.73% 10,368 64.63% 19,866 1.65% 506
1968 40.23% 11,110 53.65% 14,813 6.12% 1,690
1964 57.22% 14,837 42.78% 11,095 0.00% 0
1960 44.30% 10,836 55.70% 13,626 0.00% 0
1956 26.48% 5,522 73.52% 15,335 0.00% 0
1952[24] 32.47% 6,242[24] 63.58% 12,221[24] 3.95% 759[24]
Voter registration as of July 1, 2021[25]
Party Registered Voters Percentage
Republican 10,026 24.4%
Democratic 13,995 34.1%
Unaffiliated 16,374 39.9%
Minor parties 687 1.7%
Total 41,082 100%

Education

Main entrance to Fairfield University
Main entrance to Fairfield University

Main article: Education in Fairfield, Connecticut

Fairfield has two public high schools, Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe; three public middle schools, Roger Ludlowe, Tomlinson, and Fairfield Woods Middle School; and eleven public elementary schools.[26]

Fairfield has several Catholic schools, including two high schools, Fairfield Prep and Notre Dame, and two primary schools, St. Thomas Aquinas and Our Lady of the Assumption. A third Catholic primary school, Holy Family, was closed by the Diocese of Bridgeport at the end of the 2009–2010 academic year.

Non-religious private schools include Fairfield Country Day School and the Unquowa School.

Fairfield is also home to two post-secondary institutions, Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University.

Media

Infrastructure

The Fairfield Metro-North station platform, tracks, and overpass
The Fairfield Metro-North station platform, tracks, and overpass

Transportation

Fairfield is traversed by U.S. 1, Interstate 95, and the Merritt Parkway. It has three Metro-North Railroad stations, Fairfield Metro, Fairfield and Southport. The town is served by several public bus lines of the Greater Bridgeport Transit Authority.

Emergency services

The Fairfield Police Department was created in 1926, approximately 287 years after the town was founded.[32]

The town of Fairfield is protected by the 95 career firefighters of the Fairfield Fire Department (FFD), and volunteer firefighters of the Southport Volunteer Fire Department and Stratfield Volunteer Fire Department. The career Fairfield Fire Department operates five fire stations, located throughout the town, and uses a fire apparatus fleet of five engine companies, one ladder company, one rescue company, three fireboats, and 1 Shift Commander's Unit, as well as many special support, and reserve units.[33] The Southport Volunteer Fire Department has served the community since 1895.[34] The Stratfield Volunteer Fire Department has several stations and has served the community since 1920.[35]

Notable people

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See also

References

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