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Hotchkiss Memorial Library
Location in Litchfield County, Connecticut
|• Type||Selectman-town meeting|
|• First selectman||Robert John Loucks|
|• Total||59.6 sq mi (154.4 km2)|
|• Land||58.7 sq mi (152.0 km2)|
|• Water||0.9 sq mi (2.2 km2)|
|Elevation||1,135 ft (346 m)|
|• Density||52/sq mi (20/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
Sharon is a town located in Litchfield County, Connecticut, in the northwest corner of the state. It is bounded on the north by Salisbury, on the east by the Housatonic River, on the south by Kent, and on the west by Dutchess County, New York. At the time of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 2,782, roughly a third more than it had had 230 years earlier.
The first inhabitants of the area they called Poconnuck were the Mattabesec Indians. These were part of what became known as the Wappinger confederacy which in turn belonged to the loose Algonquian confederacy.
- 1739: Sharon is incorporated. It is named after the Plain of Sharon.
- 1765: John Cotton Smith, a prominent Connecticut politician, is born in Sharon.
- 1782: The population of Sharon grows to over 2,230 people.
- 1960: Young Americans for Freedom is founded at the estate of William F. Buckley, Jr. in Sharon. The founding statement of this group will thus be known as the Sharon Statement.
Sharon in 1919
This is a village of rural loveliness which attracts many summer boarders. The Street, 200 feet [actually 12 rods] wide and two miles long, is bordered by grand old elms forming a natural arbor. The Soldiers' Monument with a stone cannon, and a stone clock tower are the modern features of the village. The Governor John Cotton Smith House, a fine specimen of Georgian architecture, is still perfectly preserved. The fine old George King brick house (1800) is at the head of the street. The C. C. Tiffany house (1757) is perhaps the oldest in the town. The old Pardee brick house (James Pardee House) (1782) stands by the Stone Bridge. The Prindle house is a spacious gambrel roof dwelling on Gay St. near the charming lakelet which furnishes a natural reservoir for the village water supply. The picturesque old Gay House has the builder's initials "M. G. 1765" on a stone in the gable.
In the early days Sharon was a place of busy and varied industries. Iron was manufactured here as early as 1743, and continued an important industry up to fifty years ago. During the Civil War munitions were made here, and it was then in the shops of the Hotchkiss Company in this village that the Hotchkiss explosive shell for rifled guns was invented, which led to the expansion of the company and its removal to Bridgeport.
To the north of the village is Mudge Pond, or Crystal Lake, and beyond, Indian Mountain (1200 ft). At the western foot of the mountain, on the [New York] State line, lies Indian Pond, now called Wequagnock Lake. On the edge of this lake was an Indian village where the Moravians early established a mission that did great work among the Indians. To the Moravians it was known as " Gnadensee," the Lake of Grace.
From Sharon the route runs northward past Lake Wononpakook and Lake Wononskopomuc, the latter an Indian word meaning "sparkling water." Between the lakes, as the road forks right, is situated the widely known Hotchkiss School. On the right, half a mile from Lakeville, is the residence of Hon. Wm. Travers Jerome, formerly District Attorney of New York City.
Sharon has 6 sites listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places:
- Ebenezer Gay House, Main St., Sharon
- George King House, 12 N. Main St., Sharon
- Gov. Smith Homestead, South Main St., Sharon
- James Pardee House, 129 N. Main St., Sharon
- Sharon Historic District, roughly Main St. from Low Rd. to its junction with Mitchelltown, Amenia Union, and W. Woods Rds., Sharon
- Sharon Valley Historic District
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 59.6 square miles (154.3 km²), of which, 58.7 square miles (152.0 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.2 km²) of it is water. The total area is 1.44% water. Sharon is part of the Northwest Highlands of Connecticut, a region in and around the watershed of the Housatonic River. The Appalachian Trail passes through a few miles east of Sharon, near West Cornwall and U.S. Route 7.
- Amenia Union
- Sharon center
- Sharon Valley
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,968 people, 1,246 households, and 775 families residing in the town. The population density was 50.6 per square mile (19.5/km²). There were 1,617 housing units at an average density of 27.5 per square mile (10.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.87% White, 0.94% African American, 0.57% Asian, 0.44% Native American, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.95% of the population.
There were 1,246 households of which 25.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 31.1% 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 2.26 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the town the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 4.2% from 18 to 24, 24.4% from 25 to 44, 29.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.2 males.
The median household income was $53,000, and the median family income for a family was $71,458. Males had a median income of $42,841 versus $31,375 for females. The per capita income for the town was $45,418. About 3.9% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under the age of 18 and none of those 65 and older.
Notable residents and natives
- Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick have a house and live part-time in Sharon.
- William F. Buckley Jr. grew up in Sharon, at the Buckley family home ("Great Elm").
- Jane Curtin, actress and comedienne, resides in Sharon.
- Michael J. Fox and his wife Tracy Pollan have a house and live part-time in Sharon.
- Arthur Getz (1913-1996), illustrator best known as the most prolific cover artist of The New Yorker magazine, lived in Sharon.
- Frank Grimes, who founded the Independent Grocers Association in Sharon in 1926.
- Benjamin B. Hotchkiss, a leading 19th century American ordnance engineer. His widow Maria Bissell Hotchkiss founded the Hotchkiss Library in Sharon in her husband's memory.
- Jasper Johns currently resides in Sharon.
- Elijah Juckett, soldier in the Continental Army.
- Sam Posey, a retired American racecar driver and sports broadcast journalist, resides in Sharon.
- Campbell Scott lives in Sharon.
- Ansel Sterling was a US Congressman from Connecticut.
- Bradley Whitford and his wife Jane Kaczmarek had a house and occasionally spent time in Sharon, but after their divorce they stopped returning to the area.
- Tyler Gore and his wife Leigh Gore reportedly spent time in Sharon.
- Angela Starita and her husband David Winner frequently summer in Sharon.
- According to recent published Associated Press news reports, former Witchblade actress, Yancy Butler currently resides in Sharon.
The presence of Sharon Hospital, a sizeable regional hospital, has led to Sharon being birthplace to several people who did not live in the town:
- Samuel Berger, U.S. National Security Advisor to President Bill Clinton. Born in Sharon on October 28, 1945, but raised in nearby Millerton, New York.
- Michael Cole (born Michael Shawn Coulthard), announcer on WWE Raw and former journalist with CBS Radio. Born in Sharon on December 8, 1966, but raised in nearby Amenia, New York.
- Philip Amelio, 1980s child actor. Born in Sharon on November 3, 1977, but raised in nearby Pine Plains, New York.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sharon, Connecticut.|
- Sharon Historical Society
- Historic USGS map including Sharon, in the southwest corner of the quadrangle
- 1935 Description of Sharon
- Housatonic Meadows State Park in Sharon, along the Housatonic River
- Mudge Pond, a 206 acre (834,000 m²) lake located in Sharon
- Sharon Audubon Center
- Northwest Connecticut Arts Council
- Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau
- Northwestern Connecticut Community College in Winsted