Weston, Connecticut

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Weston, Connecticut
Town
The Onion Barn, where community bulletins are posted
The Onion Barn, where community bulletins are posted
Official seal of Weston, Connecticut
Seal
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°13′32″N 73°22′14″W / 41.22556°N 73.37056°W / 41.22556; -73.37056
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region South Western Region
Incorporated 1787
Government
 • Type Selectman-town meeting
 • First selectman Gayle M. Weinstein
 • Town administrator Tom Landry
Area
 • Total 20.7 sq mi (53.6 km2)
 • Land 19.8 sq mi (51.3 km2)
 • Water 0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)
Elevation 315 ft (96 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 10,179
 • Density 490/sq mi (190/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06883
Area code(s) 203, 475
FIPS code 09-83430
GNIS feature ID 0213531
Website http://www.weston-ct.com/

Weston is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut. The population was 10,179 at the 2010 census.[1] The town is served by Route 57 and Route 53, both of which run through the town center. About 19% of the town's workforce commutes to New York City, about 45 miles (72 km) to the southwest.[2]

Like many towns in southwestern Connecticut, Weston is among the most affluent communities in the United States. Data collected in 2011 showed that Weston had the highest median household income in Fairfield County, Connecticut, at US$205,173.[3]

In 2011 Connecticut Magazine named Weston as the number one town in Connecticut among towns with populations of 10,000–15,000. The rating considers education, crime, economy, cost and leisure.

Weston is bordered by Wilton to the west, Redding to the north, Easton to the east, Fairfield to the southeast, and Westport to the south.

Aside from a handful of stores that form the town’s center, Weston has little commercial development. Residential development is limited by two-acre zoning.[4] Most of Devil's Den Preserve, a 1,746-acre (707 ha) nature reserve, which gets 40,000 visits a year, is located in the town.

History[edit]

In the 17th century, Weston's first English settlers were mostly farmers living in the town of Fairfield, Connecticut, the boundaries of which extended to Weston until the late 18th century. The Norfield Parish was created in the area now occupied by the towns of Weston and Easton. In 1787, the area was formally incorporated as the Town of Weston. In 1845, the Town of Easton was split off from Weston.

A meteor exploded above the town December 14, 1807.[5] Six pieces, totaling 28 pounds (13 kg), were recovered and examined by scientists, who issued a report. This was the first time that people realized the nature of meteors.[6][7]

Despite rocky soil, farmers in town grew apples, onions, and potatoes. Grist, cider, lumber, and fulling mills were built. The town had nine manufacturers by 1850, but two decades later only the Bradley Edge Tool Company still thrived. That factory burned down in 1911.[8]

Unlike other nearby towns, Weston never had a railroad built through it, which stifled the development of non-agricultural businesses. Between the Civil War and the Great Depression, the town's population dropped from approximately 1,000 to a low of 670, by 1930. Artists, writers, and actors from New York became attracted to the community in the 30's and began settling in it. Construction of the Merritt Parkway, which arrived to the south of Weston in 1938, resulted in further population growth.[8]

Geography[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.7 square miles (54 km2), of which 19.8 square miles (51 km2) is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2), or 4.39%, is water.

The Saugatuck River begins to the north in Redding. It flows through the town and ends in Long Island Sound in neighboring Westport.

Weston is bordered by Westport to the south, Wilton to the west, Redding to the north, Easton to the east, and Fairfield to the southeast.

Principal communities[edit]

Other minor communities and geographic areas are Devil's Den, Norfield, Upper Parish, and Valley Forge.

Demographics[edit]

Town sign for Weston (front)

As of the census[9] of 2010, there were 10,025 people, 3,289 households, and 2,811 families residing in the town. The population density was 506.0 people per square mile (195.7/km²). There were 3,629 housing units at an average density of 178.4 per square mile (68.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.75% White, 0.88% African American, 0.11% Native American, 1.94% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.05% of the population.

There were 3,289 households out of which 49.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 78.4% were married couples living together, 5.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.1% were non-families. 11.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.03 and the average family size was 3.28.

In the town the population was spread out with 31% under the age of 18, 4% from 18 to 24, 31% from 25 to 49, 23% from 50 to 64, and 11% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $209,630. Males had a median income of $220,357 versus $95,455 for females. The per capita income for the town was $92,375. About 1.5% of the population were below the poverty line.[10]

Government[edit]

Entrance to Town Hall

Like many other New England towns, the government of Weston consists of the Town Meeting, and elective and appointive boards. First among the elective boards is the Board of Selectmen. Gayle Weinstein is the First Selectman. By charter, the First Selectman is the Chief Executive and Administrative Officer of the town. The town's legislative powers are divided between the Board of Selectmen and the Town Meeting. Among other elective boards are the Board of Education, the Board of Finance, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Board of Police Commissioners.[11]

Budget and taxes[edit]

For the fiscal year of 2012–2013, the Town of Weston’s net budget was $62,240,792.[12] That year, about 73 percent of the town’s net budget was spent on the Weston Public Schools. Weston raised taxes on the basis of property value. With real estate assessed at 70 percent of market value, the mill rate evolved as follows:

Fiscal year Mill rate
2004–2005 19.66*
2005–2006 21.41*
2005–2007 22.09*
2007–2008 22.71*
2008–2009 23.35*
2009–2010 23.61
2010–2011 23.86
2011–2012 23.94
2012–2013 24.02
2013–2014 23.89

To show the evolution of the mill rate, the table's asterisked numbers have been adjusted to account for the revaluation of 2008–2009. The revaluation added 2.92 percent to Weston's grand list of properties.[13]

On the National Register of Historic Places[edit]

Education[edit]

Weston Intermediate School entrance

There are four public schools in the Weston Public Schools district,[14] all located on School Road:

  • Weston High School – grades 9–12, with about 800 students. Weston High School (WHS) seniors go on to attend selective colleges and universities. Recently the high school underwent a significant building expansion, which included construction of a new science department and new playing fields. The high school auditorium was also updated in 2008.
  • Weston Middle School (WMS) – grades 6–8, with about 600 students.
  • Weston Intermediate School (WIS) – grades 3–5, with about 600 students. The school opened in September 2005 as the town’s newest school.
  • Hurlbutt Elementary School (HES) – pre-kindergarten-grade 2, with about 600 students

In May 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked Weston High School as the third best high school in the state and 240th best high school in the country out of more than 22,000 high schools assessed throughout the country including public and private.[citation needed] Weston High School was awarded the Gold medal for its high level of student performance. The methodology of ranking the high schools is based on student performance on standardized tests as well as student participation in Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) programs. The AP exam participation rate is 60% of Weston High School students.

In June 2012, 24/7 Wall St. ranked Weston as the second wealthiest school district in the United States.[15]

The Connecticut State Department of Education has ranked the Weston schools in District Reference Group A (formerly the Educational Reference Group A), the nine most affluent and low-need-for-extra-assistance districts among the 162 school districts in Connecticut.[16]

Several pre-schools in town are run by various churches, including Emmanuel Nursery School and Norfield Nursery School.

Parks[edit]

The landscape of Weston is characterized by open spaces. Almost one quarter of the town is permanently devoted to open space use,[17] including:

  • Devil’s Den Preserve, with a wide variety of flora and fauna, and with a 20-mile (32 km) trail system that connects with the extended 70-mile (110 km) Saugatuck Valley Trails System;
  • Bisceglie Park, with baseball fields, a swimming hole, a two-mile (3 km) jogging trail and fitness stations, along the west branch of the Saugatuck River;[18]
  • Morehouse Farm Park, with eight, partially overlapping ball fields;[19]
  • Sixteen preserves of the Aspetuck Land Trust, for a total of 645 acres (2.61 km2), scattered all around town;[20]
  • Katherine Ordway Preserve, with 62 acres (250,000 m2) of woodland, three miles (5 km) of trails and an arboretum;[21]
  • Keene Park, with 6 acres (24,000 m2), along the each branch of the Saugatuck River;[21]
  • Open land around the Saugatuck Reservoir, with trails and opportunities for fishing.[22]

Notable residents[edit]

Historical
population of
Weston
[1][23]
1790 2,469
1800 2,680
1810 2,618
1820 2,767
1830 2,997
1840 2,561
1850 1,056
1860 1,117
1870 1,054
1880 918
1890 772
1900 840
1910 831
1920 703
1930 670
1940 1,053
1950 1,988
1960 4,039
1970 7,417
1980 8,284
1990 8,648
2000 10,037
2010 10,179

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c U.S. Census Bureau
  2. ^ CERC town profile for Weston (2008)
  3. ^ Town Profiles – Economic Data in Connecticut. CERC. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  4. ^ "Two acre residential and farming district". Zoning regulations. Town of Weston. June 12, 2008. pp. 9–14. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  5. ^ "The Weston Meteorite". 
  6. ^ Lerner, Edward M. (November 2009). "Rock! Bye-Bye, Baby". Analog (New York, NY: Dell Magazines). p. 43. 
  7. ^ The Weston Meteorite | Meteorites and Planetary Science : Collections : Yale Peabody Museum. Peabody.yale.edu. Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Radomsky, Rosalie R., "If You're Thinking of Living in: Weston", Real Estate section, The New York Times, March 15, 1992, accessed October 27, 2007
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ "American Fact Finder". U.S. Census Bureau. 
  11. ^ Town Charter, Town of Weston, Connecticut
  12. ^ "Budget History". Town of Weston. Retrieved June 21, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Because of revaluation, the grand list (the total assessed value of taxable property in town) will change by 3.67%. However, the 'normalized' grand list – what the change would have been if the town had not done a revaluation this year – is just a 0.75% increase." Source: The Weston Forum, 2009-02-05, Officials expect the mill rate to dip. The 2.92 percent adjustment is the difference between 3.67 percent and 0.75 percent. The unadjusted mill rates for the five periods were 20.25, 22.05, 22.75, 23.39, and 24.05, respectively.
  14. ^ Weston Public Schools website. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  15. ^ Liebeskind, Ken. "Weston Is Second Wealthiest U.S. School District". The Weston Daily Voice. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  16. ^ District Reference Groups Connecticut Voices for Children, June 2006. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  17. ^ "Forever Green". About Weston. Town of Weston. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  18. ^ "Map of Bisceglie Park". Town of Weston. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  19. ^ "Map of Morehouse Farm Park". Town of Weston. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  20. ^ "Weston Maps". Aspetuck Land Trust. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  21. ^ a b Radomsky, Rosalie (March 15, 1992). "If You’re Thinking of Living in: Weston". The New York Times. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  22. ^ "Recreation Program". Aquarion. February 1, 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  23. ^ Office of the Secretary of the State: State of Connecticut
  24. ^ Dannatt, Adrian, "Obituary: Paul Cadmus" The Independent of London, February 4, 2000 ("Paul Cadmus, artist: born New York December 17, 1904; died Weston, Connecticut December 19, 1999")
  25. ^ "John J. Curran, 59". WestportNow. 2013-07-08. Retrieved 2013-07-31. 
  26. ^ a b c d Elder, Janet, "If you're thinking of living in: Weston, Connecticut", article, The New York Times Real Estate section, July 7, 1985, ("Perhaps it is Weston's discreet anonymity that has attracted such entertainment figures as Robert Redford, Bette Davis, Rodney Dangerfield and Brent Musburger, as well as Erica Jong") accessed March 30, 2008
  27. ^ Google cache of Home page, "News Around Our Town" feature, Town of Weston website("World-renowned guitarist, composer, singer, and long-time Weston resident, Jose Feliciano, will perform a benefit concert Sunday"), accessed September 25, 2007
  28. ^ Yarbrough, Tinsley E., "John Marshall Harlan, Great Dissenter of the Warren Court" Oxford University Press, 1992
  29. ^ Kelly, Kevin, "Mariette Hartley takes a turn at Center Stage", article in The Boston Globe, January 23, 1994 ("Hartley was born in Weston, Conn., on June 20, 1940")
  30. ^ "Transitions: Passings", feature in The San Diego Union-Tribune, July 10, 2005 ("EVAN HUNTER, 78: Also writing under the name Ed McBain, [...]died Wednesday at his home in Weston, Conn."), accessed September 24, 2007
  31. ^ Chamoff, Lisa, "Eartha Kitt no stranger to local stages", The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, December 26, 2008, retrieved same day ("Eartha Kitt, who moved to Weston in 2002"); Thomas, Jack, "The importance of being Eartha", article, The Boston Globe, August 11, 2005 ("WESTON, Conn. – Waiting for Eartha Kitt in her living room [...]"), accessed September 24, 2007
  32. ^ Google Books page for Sagolla, Lisa Jo, The Girl Who Fell Down: A Biography of Joan McCracken, published 2003, UPNE, ISBN 1-55553-573-9 page 160 ("[...] Lawrence Langner and his wife, Armina Marshall. Residing in the nearby town of Weston, Connecticut, Langner and Marshall purchased [...]"), accessed September 25, 2007
  33. ^ Klein, Alvin, "THEATER; Solo Act, Jeep Voice As Well", article, The New York Times, June 14, 1998 ("Mr. Naughton, who has been living in Weston for 22 years"), accessed September 25, 2007
  34. ^ "Devil's Den: a Personal Legacy". 25 Deals that Led the Way. The Nature Conservancy. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  35. ^ Klein, Alvin, "Council for arts getting new home", article in The New York Times, November 11, 1984 ("The actor Christopher Plummer, a former Darien resident who now lives in Weston"), accessed September 24, 2007
  36. ^ [1][dead link]
  37. ^ "Record of sale". Land records. Town of Weston. June 15, 1998. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  38. ^ Fritz Reiner: A Biography
  39. ^ Landman, Beth, "Johnny Depp: Suburbanite? Weston, ho!" brief article in New York Magazine, November 14, 2005 ("Weston’s top-ranked schools attracted Depp [...] Depp apparently fell in love with the town when he was visiting Keith Richards"), accessed September 24, 2007
  40. ^ "People & Places" column, Business section, The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut, July 22, 2008, p A7 (both Stamford and Norwalk editions; Greenwich Time newspaper publishes the same business section: "John Seigenthaler of Weston has joined Seigenthaler Public Relations Inc. [...]"

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°13′32″N 73°22′14″W / 41.22556°N 73.37056°W / 41.22556; -73.37056