Waterford, Connecticut

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Waterford, Connecticut
Town
Official seal of Waterford, Connecticut
Seal
Location in New London County, Connecticut
Location in New London County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°20′59″N 72°08′49″W / 41.34972°N 72.14694°W / 41.34972; -72.14694Coordinates: 41°20′59″N 72°08′49″W / 41.34972°N 72.14694°W / 41.34972; -72.14694
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Norwich-New London
Region Southeastern Connecticut
Incorporated 1801
Government
 • Type Representative town meeting
 • First selectman Daniel M. Steward
 • Town meeting moderator Thomas J. Dembek
Area
 • Total 44.6 sq mi (115.4 km2)
 • Land 32.8 sq mi (84.9 km2)
 • Water 11.8 sq mi (30.5 km2)
Elevation 46 ft (14 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 19,517
 • Density 440/sq mi (170/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06375, 06385
Area code(s) 860
FIPS code 09-80280
GNIS feature ID 0213526
Website www.waterfordct.org

Waterford is a town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. It is named after Waterford, Ireland. The population was 19,517 at the 2010 census.[1] The town center is listed as a census-designated place (CDP) and had a population of 2,887 at the 2010 census.[1]

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.6 square miles (115.4 km2), of which 32.8 square miles (84.9 km2) is land and 11.8 square miles (30.5 km2), or 26.43%, is water.[2] The town center CDP has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), all land. Waterford is bordered on the west by the Niantic River.

Principal communities[edit]

Other minor communities and geographic features are Dufree Hill, East Neck, Fog Plain, Gilead, Goshen, Great Neck, Harrisons, Lake's Pond, Logger Hill, Mago Point, Magonk, Mullen Hill, Oswegatchie, Pepperbox Road, Pleasure Beach, Ridgewood Park, Riverside Beach, Spithead, Strand, West Neck.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

The first people emigrated from England in 1637, and came to the New London and Waterford area (at the time, this land was called West Farms). One of the first people who set sail for this area was John Winthrop, Jr. Waterford got its name for its proximity to being in between two rivers. The residents of Waterford resided in wigwams until they dug up plots for 38 houses near the Great Neck area. John Winthrop was given several hundred acres of land, including Millstone Point and Alewife Cove. Various dams, mills, and ponds were constructed in these area. The only expansion of people in the Waterford-New London area were the growth of families and children. Later on, more people immigrated to Waterford, including the Welsh, Italian, Russian, Irish, and Scottish.

Waterford finally disbanded from New London on October 8, 1801. This happened after several farmers decided to hold a petition to separate them. The first town meeting was held in November, 1801 to appoint town officials; tax collectors, town surveyors, fence viewers, and first selectman. Only the first selectman got paid at the time.[3]

19th century[edit]

Waterford in the 19th century was a huge agriculture town. It had mostly sheep farms in which farmers would add symbols to the sheep's ear to identify ownership. Waterford was also widely known for its Granite industry that lasted from the late 19th century to the 1930s. This lead to a famous district in Waterford to be named Graniteville. The area today known as Crystal Mall was a famous area that was used to collect granite. Waterford's granite was used in many construction projects such as roads, the foundation for Fort Sumter, and the Statue of Liberty. Granite though was replaced by concrete which slowly shrunk the granite industry until the 1930s.[4]

20th century[edit]

During the 20th century, sheep farms were replaced by dairy farms. Between 1920 and 1960, there were about 100 dairy farms in Waterford. In addition, there were 10 to 100 heads of cattle. Waterford also obtained its town seal in 1946. It was made by Martin Branner who was a cartoonist who also made the famous comic, Winnie Winkle. After World War II, Waterford boomed with development. Many new roads and building were made. Also, Waterford's population increased by 10,000 between 1946 and the present time. In 1957, the first stop light was added in Waterford. In addition, the first retail center was built in 1978.[5]

Demographics[edit]

The town consists of a wide variety of rural and city living. As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 19,152 people, 7,542 households, and 5,219 families residing in the town. The population density was 584.7 people per square mile (225.8/km²). There were 7,986 housing units at an average density of 243.8 per square mile (94.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 92.41% White, 2.22% African American, 0.48% Native American, 2.51% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.74% from other races, and 1.62% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.40% of the population.

There were 7,542 households, out of which 28.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.6% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 26.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41, and the average family size was 2.91.

In the town the population was spread out, with 21.9% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 25.4% from 45 to 64, and 19.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $56,047, and the median income for a family was $65,659. Males had a median income of $47,312 versus $32,046 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,807. About 2.1% of families and 4.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.7% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.

Town center[edit]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 2,935 people, 1,298 households, and 759 families residing in the town center CDP. The population density was 1,465.7 inhabitants per square mile (566.6/km²). There were 1,379 housing units at an average density of 688.6 per square mile (266.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 91.65% White, 2.66% African American, 0.41% Native American, 2.28% Asian, 1.33% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.93% of the population.

There were 1,298 households, out of which 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.5% were non-families. 36.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the CDP the population was spread out, with 20.2% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 22.1% from 45 to 64, and 23.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 88.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.3 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $42,409, and the median income for a family was $48,494. Males had a median income of $40,591 versus $29,015 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $22,083. About 5.9% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.3% of those under age 18 and 8.2% of those age 65 or over.

Education[edit]

It was a long journey to get to where schooling in Waterford is today. It consisted of many new school buildings, additions, and many students coming every year. The first school opened was a yellow-bricked Clark Lane School in 1953. Building this school marked a step towards an all-town independence. Clark Lane School was a one floor non-district elementary school with the town's first gymnasium and kindergarten classroom with heated flooring. Additionally, it housed the first purpose-built library. Later on, it was replaced with a small cafeteria but then replaced by one fourteen times larger in 1973. The first principal was Harold Goldberg from 1964 to 1992. Students between kindergarten and sixth grade were brought from the four district schools to Clark Lane.

The all-town junior high school later replaced the elementary classes in 1954. They began teaching French and Spanish in the year 1959 during this time period. Then, the all-town junior high school was replaced with a less derivative middle school. Sixth graders' recess was lost, but they, additionally, offered shop, living skills, music, and art in the specially equipped rooms.

Families began growing, and this resulted in the need of more schools to fit the growing children population. With the expanding children population, Waterford needed the addition of four new schools as well as fifteen new additions between the years of 1953 and 1982. The biggest change Waterford overcame was the building of the first high school in 1956. The high school had twenty four rooms and was located where it is today, 20 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford, Connecticut. It was completed in the year of 1957 and held grades seventh through ninth. During this time period, school had very strict discipline. For example, if girls' skirts were not below their knees, they were sent home. By 1957, the school day had added another hour, and Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Latin were added also. During this school year, there were 612 students between grades seventh and ninth. Waterford High School became a four-year, ninth through twelfth, school in 1959.

Elementary schools appeared in 1915 when Quaker Hill School was built. Earlier, a lot was set aside for Quaker Hill in 1725 while the town was split into three districts: "Neck and Nehantick quarters," "West," and the "North East." Each district would end up getting split into even more individual districts. Later on, a second schoolhouse was replaced, built in 1858. Cohanzie School was built in 1923. It replaced four schools: Gilead School, "Peter Baker" located on far northern Vauxhall Street, Lakes Pond brick building, and Cohanzie predecessor. [7] [8]

Jordan Schoolhouse[edit]

1737 is the earliest mention of a schoolhouse in Waterford, known as the Jordan Schoolhouse. The Jordan Schoolhouse is located on the Jordan Green. The schoolhouse is known as the oldest public building still standing and the first documented school in Connecticut. Farmers mainly wanted their children to be taught writing, reading, arithmetic, and religion. The Jordan School also influenced proper manners and obedience. Private lessons were of no need in Waterford, but were set up in the 19th century for those who had enough money to afford it. The Jordan School's last day of teaching was in the year 1979 with a final assembly. The Jordan School is still used but is held as a museum to the public.[9][10]

Economy[edit]

Waterford's economic center is predominantly retail chains, including a variety of mini-malls and the Crystal Mall. There are several family-owned delicatessens and restaurants. It is also home to Dominion's Millstone Nuclear Power Plant, consisting of three reactors, the first built between 1966 and 1970. While Millstone's first reactor is no longer in operation, the remaining two still provide power to a variety of towns in New England.

Attractions[edit]

  • Mago Point, Waterford, Connecticut is an area in Waterford that is home to many marine businesses such as The Dock Restaurant, the Sunbeam Fleet, Mago Point Marina, Hillyers Bait and Tackle, the Mijoy 747 fishing boat, Sunset Ribs, Mago Point Packy, and the Niantic Bay Boat Valet[11] It is a large tourist site, attracting people from all around the North East to Waterford.
  • The Connecticut College Arboretum is a 750-acre (3.0 km2) arboretum and botanical garden which lies partially within Quaker Hill, a neighborhood of Waterford.
  • The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center is located in Waterford.
  • Waterford Beach
  • Harkness Memorial State Park is a recreational area that provides a picturesque view of Long Island Sound. The park features the former mansion, gardens and grounds of Edward Harkness, who bought the property in 1907. Activities include fishing, formal gardening, golf, and tours of the mansion, known as Eolia. The Harkness estate is also open for formal occasions including weddings, and is often used for group photography.
  • Adjacent to the Harkness Memorial State Park is Camp Harkness for the Handicapped, a summer facility for children and adults with physical and/or mental disabilities. Most of what is now Camp Harkness for the Handicapped was once a golf course, but there is no longer a trace of this golf course in evidence.
  • The Waterford Speedbowl is a racetrack recognized under NASCAR's Whelen All-American Series sanction. It holds touring events throughout the year, including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, Valenti Modified Racing Series, International Super Modified Association and North Eastern Midget Association among many others. The track holds weekly NASCAR events every Saturday from April thru mid-October. The popular Wild N' Wacky Wednesday series runs from May to Labor Day. Recently they have added Friday Night Sho N' Go drag races during the summer.[12]
  • In 2009, Waterford was the home of the game show Deal or No Deal, which was filmed at Sonalyst Studios.
  • The Seaside Sanatorium continues to be considered prime real estate in Waterford, Connecticut, being a 36-acre (0.15 km2) shoreline property, located on the original parcel of 11 Magonk Pt. The property was designed by the renowned architect, Cass Gilbert. The Sanatorium opened in 1934 to treat patients suffering from tuberculosis by using heliotherapy, until 1958 when patients relocated to Uncas on the Thames and it later became a Geriatric Hospital, which opened in 1959-1961. Later in 1961, the Sanatorium opened to serve people with Developmental Disabilities, staying open until 1996.[13][14][15]

Pleasure Beach[edit]

Pleasure Beach is one of the many beaches in Waterford, Connecticut. It is located at the end of Dock Road. Not only does Pleasure Beach have a beach, it is also the location of a public boat launch. Pleasure beach is part private and part public. The membership cost for a family of four is $825.00, which includes the new member fee of $500.00; this is for the first 3 installments – total cost is $1,500.00; the assessment fee of $250.00; this includes 2 free badges per household, the extra badges fee of $50.00, and a $25.00 cost for each additional badge; children of eight and over are required to wear a badge, and the voting member fee, which is $25.00 for one person to vote. To become a member you have to live in certain boundaries. The private side membership includes attendance to all beach get-togethers and activities. Some activities in the past are cocktail parties, beach cleanup at the start of the season, sand castle contests, and an annual beach picnic. The public side is marked and is open to the public with a path down to the beach and a parking lot a short walk down.

Police Department[edit]

The Waterford Police Department has 47 officers on active duty. "The Waterford Police Department, commanded by Chief Murray Pendleton, also has a Board of Police Commissioners. The rest of the department consists of Lieutenants, Sergeants, Patrol Officers, K-9 Officers, Detectives, Traffic Officer, Evidence/Court Officer, School Resource Officers and civilian Community Service Officers."[16]

Crime[edit]

The town of Waterford ranks very low in the rate of homicides each year, only having about one every two years.

Preparations for major events[edit]

Due to the Dominion Millstone nuclear power plant, large-scale shopping areas, two railways and two interstate highways, there are numerous preparations in place in Waterford for a terrorist attack.

Fire Service[edit]

The Town of Waterford is protected by a combination volunteer and career fire service, consisting of five fire companies located throughout the town. Seven career firefighters staff the five stations Monday through Friday during the day from 6 am to 5 pm. The town also employs a fire administrator, fire marshal and two fire inspectors. Aside from career staff the departments staff part-time firefighters on nights and weekends as well as a residents whom volunteer as firefighters. Applications to volunteer are available at each of the fire companies. Waterford Fire Marshal's Office is located in the civic triangle at 204 Boston Post Road. The fire administrator, fire marshal and two fire inspectors are based at this location, as well as the town's police and fire dispatch center is located in this building.

History of the Waterford Fire Service[edit]

The current fire service in the Town of Waterford began in 1921 with the incorporation of Waterford Fire Co. No. 1, Jordan Fire Company. After Jordan Fire Co. was incorporated four other fire companies were soon organized; Quaker Hill Fire Co. in 1927, Goshen Fire Engine Co. 1 (now Goshen Fire Department) in 1928, Oswegatchie Fire Co. in 1932, and Cohanzie Fire Co. in 1941.

Jordan Fire Co. purchased the first motorized fire apparatus in 1923, this apparatus was a Ford Model T delivery truck which was retrofitted to become a chemical fire engine. Goshen Fire Department, then Goshen Fire Engine Co. 1, purchased the first pumper in town, a 1938 Buffalo Fire Appliance fire engine. The first diesel fire engine, a Mack Model C, was purchased by Oswegatchie Fire Co. in 1967. All three of these apparatus are still owned by their respective fire company, and can often be seen during local parades.

The fire service in Waterford remained completely volunteer until 1961 when the first full time paid firefighter was hired to staff the Jordan Fire Co. The town of Waterford is currently served by seven full time paid firefighters who staff the five fire stations, as well as two fire inspectors, a fire marshal and a fire administrator. The career firefighters in Waterford are an organized local of the I.A.F.F., International Association of Firefighters.

There has not been an increase in full-time firemen in the past twenty years. The past ten years have shown a decrease in volunteer firemen, necessitating the full time firefighters. In recent budget meetings with the Board of Finance, Fire Administrator Bruce Miller and First Selectman Dan Steward have stated there are staffing issues related to the volunteers. All five fire companies are constantly accepting new members into the ranks, membership applications are available at each station. No training is required to join, the fire companies send new and current members to fire school and fire academy courses to become certified firefighters.

History of Fires[edit]

Throughout the history of the Town of Waterford there has been several major fires. The Jordan mill was devastated by fire at least twice, once in 1905 and again in 1942. Summer mansions where Harkness State Park now stands, have been destroyed by fire. Two fire houses have also been consumed by fire in Waterford, the Jordan fire house in 1936 and the Goshen fire house in 1945.

The fire that destroyed the Goshen fire house on the morning of December 26, 1945 also took the life of Firefighter Frank E. King, the department's secretary and treasurer. Mr. King is believed to be the only firefighter to be killed in the line of duty in the Town of Waterford.

In the past ten years, there has been only one account of a fire-related death in the Town of Waterford. In the past twenty years, major home fires have destroyed homes. In ten years, there have been four accounts of fires committed by arsonists.

Preparations[edit]

In the event of a terrorist attack or any major fires, the Waterford Fire Department has ongoing training so they can be prepared to face what is happening at that moment.

Fire Station Locations and Apparatus[edit]

Station Engine Company Truck Company Ambulance Special Unit Address Phone
Waterford Fire Engine Co. 1 Engine 11 Ladder 15 Ambulance 100 89 Rope Ferry Road (860)442-5332
Quaker Hill Fire Co. Engine 21 Engine 25 Ambulance 200 Fire Boat 92 17 Old Colchester Road (860)447-3333
Goshen Fire Dept. Engine 31 Engine 32 Ambulance 300 Fire Boat 93 63 Goshen Road (860)443-6260
Oswegatchie Fire Co. 4 Engine 41 Engine 42 Ambulance 400 Support Unit 94 441 Boston Post Road (860)442-0666
Cohanzie Fire Co. 5 Engine 51 Tower 55 Ambulance 500 Rescue 57 53 Dayton Road (860)442-0455

Notable residents[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Waterford town, New London County, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Waterford town, New London County, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  3. ^ Bachman, Robert (2000). An Illustrated History of Waterford. Waterford, Connecticut: Bicentennial Committee. 
  4. ^ Nye, Bob.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Nye, Bob.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ Bachman, Robert L. (1967, 2000). An Illustrated History of Waterford Connecticut.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Bachman, Robert L. (1977). TOEING THE MARK In A Colonial Waterford School. Waterford, Connecticut. 
  9. ^ Bachman, Robert (1975). Waterford And Independence 1776-1976. Town of Waterford: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee. 
  10. ^ Bachman, Robert (1967, 2000). An Illustrated History Of Waterford Connecticut.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  11. ^ "Mago Point Park". D.E.E.P. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  12. ^ "History of the Track". Archived from the original on 2006-08-19. Retrieved 2006-11-07. 
  13. ^ Michalski, Kim (5 Sep 1995). "Seaside's history, architecture recognized". The Day. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "Big State Sanatorium Project to be Located in Waterford". The Day. 4 Aug 1931. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  15. ^ "Vet promising plan for Seaside funding". The Day. 18 May 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  16. ^ "Waterford Police Department, Waterford, CT". Waterford Police Department. Retrieved 12 August 2013.