Litchfield, Connecticut
Town of Litchfield
Commercial blocks on West Street
Commercial blocks on West Street
Official seal of Litchfield, Connecticut
Unitas Sub Lege (Latin)
"Unity Under the Law"
Litchfield's location within Litchfield County and Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°44′50″N 73°11′23″W / 41.74722°N 73.18972°W / 41.74722; -73.18972
Country United States
U.S. state Connecticut
RegionNorthwest Hills
 • TypeSelectman-town meeting
 • First SelectmanDenise Raap (D)
 • SelectmenJodiAnn Tenney (D)
Christine Harding (R)
Jonathan E. Torrant (R)
Jeffrey J. Zullo (D)
 • Total56.8 sq mi (147.1 km2)
 • Land56.1 sq mi (145.3 km2)
 • Water0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2)
1,080 ft (329 m)
 • Total8,192
 • Density146/sq mi (56.4/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
06750 [Bantam], 06759 [Litchfield], 06778 [Northfield]
Area code(s)860/959
FIPS code09-43370
GNIS feature ID0213452
Major highways

Litchfield is a town in and former county seat of Litchfield County, Connecticut, United States.[3] The population was 8,192 at the 2020 census.[4] The town is part of the Northwest Hills Planning Region. The boroughs of Bantam and Litchfield are located within the town. There are also three unincorporated villages: East Litchfield, Milton, and Northfield. Northfield, located in the southeastern corner of Litchfield, is home to a high percentage of the Litchfield population.


Originally called Bantam township, Litchfield incorporated in 1719.[5] The town derives its name from Lichfield, in England.[5][6]

In 1751 it became the county-seat of Litchfield county, and at the same time the borough of Litchfield (incorporated in 1879) was laid out. From 1776 to 1780 two depots for military stores and a workshop for the Continental army were maintained, and the leaden statue of George III., erected in Bowling Green (New York City), in 1770, and torn down by citizens on the 9th of July 1776, was cut up and taken to Litchfield, where, in the house of Oliver Wolcott it was melted into bullets for the American army by Wolcott's daughter and sister.[5]

During the American Revolutionary War several prominent Loyalists were held prisoner in the town, including William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin,[7] and David Mathews, Mayor of New York City.[8]

In 1784, the first law school in the United States, the so-named Litchfield Law School, was established by judge and legal scholar Tapping Reeve. Prior to its establishment Reeve had accepted several legal apprentices since he had settled there in 1773, but saw such demand for his expertise that he formally opened the one-room school within a decade.[9][10] During the school's fifty year history it would accept more than 1,100 students, including Aaron Burr, Jr., Horace Mann, and Levi Woodbury, the first justice of the US Supreme Court to attend law school.[11]

Litchfield was also home to a pioneering institution of young women's education, the Litchfield Female Academy, founded in 1792 by Sarah Pierce.

Litchfield has a very rich history. The Litchfield Historical Society, located in the center of town, contains a wide variety of items with historical importance to the town.[12]


Located southwest of Torrington, Litchfield also includes part of Bantam Lake. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 56.8 square miles (147.1 km2), of which, 56.1 square miles (145.2 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.9 km2) of it (1.3%) is water.

Litchfield is about 95 mi (153 km) from Central Park in New York, about 50 mi (80 km) from the Hudson River Valley, and about 40 mi (64 km) from the nearest sea coast, on Long Island Sound.

Principal communities


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

See also: List of Connecticut locations by per capita income

As of the census[14] of 2000, there were 8,316 people, 3,310 households, and 2,303 families residing in the town. The population density was 148.4 inhabitants per square mile (57.3/km2). There were 3,629 housing units at an average density of 64.7 per square mile (25.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.99% White, 0.75% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.56% of the population.

There were 3,310 households, out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.9% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.2% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 28.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,418, and the median income for a family was $70,594. Males had a median income of $50,284 versus $31,787 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,096. About 2.8% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 25, 2005[15]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
Republican 2,044 90 2,134 33.59%
Democratic 1,384 67 1,451 22.84%
Unaffiliated 2,596 165 2,761 43.45%
Minor Parties 8 0 8 0.13%
Total 6,032 322 6,354 100%

Government and infrastructure

Litchfield County Jail, 1907

The 1812 Litchfield County Jail, the town's oldest public building, is in Litchfield.[16] While controlled by the Connecticut state government, the facility historically held inmates convicted of minor offenses.[17] Governor of Connecticut Lowell P. Weicker Jr. ordered the facility closed for financial reasons in 1993. It was converted into the McAuliffe Manor, a substance abuse treatment center for women operated by Naugatuck Valley HELP Inc.,[17] but in 2009 the contract between Naugatuck Valley HELP Inc. and the state expired, leading to the closure of McAuliffe Manor.[18]


U.S. Route 202 is the main east-west road connecting Bantam and Litchfield center to the city of Torrington and New Milford, Connecticut. Route 63 runs north-south through the town center. The Route 8 expressway runs along the town line with Harwinton. It can be accessed from the town center via Route 118. The town is also served by buses from the Northwestern Connecticut Transit District connecting to the city of Torrington. The Shepaug Valley Railroad opened a Litchfield terminal in 1872, but passenger service ended in 1930 and freight service in 1948.[19]


Litchfield Public Schools operates public schools. Litchfield High School is the area high school. Students may also attend Wamogo Regional Six to study agriculture, located in Litchfield, or Oliver Wolcott Technical School, located in Torrington, Connecticut.

Litchfield Center School hosts children in grades K–3 with a Pre-K program available. Students then move on to Litchfield Intermediate School where they will remain through sixth grade. Students then finish their Litchfield Public School career at Litchfield High School.

Litchfield is also home to Forman School, a private boarding school for students in grades 9–12/PG with learning differences such as ADD/ADHD and dyslexia.[20]

Notable people

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On the National Register of Historic Places

Ethan Allen birthplace in Litchfield

See also


  1. ^ "Litchfield Connecticut". Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Litchfield town, Litchfield County, Connecticut". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 17, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Litchfield" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 783.
  6. ^ The Connecticut Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly. Connecticut Magazine Company. 1903. p. 332.
  7. ^ A LITCHFIELD JAIL FOR BEN FRANKLIN'S SON Retrieved January 30, 2019
  8. ^ Dictionary of Canadian Biography - Mathews, David Retrieved January 30, 2019
  9. ^ Bulkeley, Alice Talcott (1907). Historic Litchfield, 1721-1907. The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company. p. 15.
  10. ^ Oman, Nate (August 15, 2006). "The Oldest Law School". Concurring Opinions. Archived from the original on February 19, 2018.
  11. ^ Catalogue of the Litchfield Law School. Hartford, CT: Press of Case, Tiffany and Company. 1849.
  12. ^ "Litchfield Historical Society". Litchfield Historical Society. Retrieved August 2, 2020.
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  14. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  15. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 23, 2006. Retrieved October 2, 2006.
  16. ^ Cooper, Anneliese (June 6, 2014). "'Orange Is the New Black's Prison Location Isn't Real, But It's Not Entirely Fictional Either". Bustle. Retrieved August 4, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Ryan, Bill (October 16, 1994). "Litchfield's Jail Begins Another Era With Women Hoping for New Lives". The New York Times. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  18. ^ Taylor, Alex (May 22, 2009). "Rehab center closing: McCauliffe Manor's contract expires". The Register Citizen. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  19. ^ Alfred S. Dillistin (June 1949). "Shepaug Epic". The Lure of the Litchfield Hills. Retrieved April 30, 2014.
  20. ^ [ "Forman School - Private School for Students with ADHD & Dyslexia"]. Retrieved April 6, 2022. ((cite web)): Check |url= value (help)
  21. ^ "ADAMS, Andrew, (1736–1797)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  22. ^ Pallastrelli, Gottardo (2018). Ritratto di signora in viaggio : un'americana cosmopolita nel mondo di Henry James [Portrait of a Travelling Lady] (eBook) (in Italian). Roma: Donzelli editore. ISBN 978-88-6843-7770.
  23. ^ Skinner, Charles. "Bell Casting in Troy". Meneeley Bell Online Museum. Archived from the original on June 30, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  24. ^ "HOLMES, Uriel, (1764–1827)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  25. ^ "Isabella Beecher Hooker". Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  26. ^ "Susan Saint James". Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved May 23, 2014.
  27. ^ "Madeleine L'Engle". IMDb. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  28. ^ "MINER, Phineas, (1777–1839)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  29. ^ History of Texas, together with a biographical history of the cities of Houston and Galveston. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company. 1895. pp. 393–396.
  30. ^ "PHELPS, Samuel Shethar, (1793–1855)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  31. ^ Ullery, Jacob G. (1894). Men of Vermont Illustrated. Brattleboro, VT: Transcript Publishing Company. pp. 183–184.
  32. ^ Men of Vermont Illustrated.
  33. ^ "Mary L. Ripley, Smithsonian Leader". The Washington Times. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
  34. ^ "Biography, Richard Skinner". The Ledger: A Database of Students of the Litchfield Law School and the Litchfield Female Academy. Litchfield, CT: Litchfield Historical Society. 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2017.
  35. ^ *Johnson, Crisfield (1878). History of Washington Co., New York. Everts & Ensign: Philadelphia, PA. p. 118.
  36. ^ "TALLMADGE, Benjamin, (1754–1835)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved November 4, 2012.
  37. ^ "Connecticut Governor Oliver Wolcott Jr.publisher=National Governors Association". Retrieved November 4, 2012.

Further reading