Location within Middlesex County, Connecticut
|Region||Connecticut River Estuary|
|• Type||Selectman-town meeting|
|• First selectman||Edmund Meehan|
|• Total||16.8 sq mi (43.5 km2)|
|• Land||16.0 sq mi (41.5 km2)|
|• Water||0.8 sq mi (2.1 km2)|
|Elevation||361 ft (110 m)|
|• Density||240/sq mi (92/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0213407|
Chester is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 3,743 at the 2000 census. The town center is also defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place (CDP).
The Wangunks, a river tribe of Native Americans, occupied the land called Pattaconk prior to English settlement of the area in 1692. The town was formed from the northern quarter of Saybrook and incorporated in 1836. Back in 1769, Jonathan Warner was granted permission to operate a ferry across the Connecticut River that became the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry, the second-oldest continuously operating ferry service in Connecticut. Its location is currently a state historical landmark.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 16.8 square miles (44 km2), of which, 16.0 square miles (41 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (4.75%) is water. The CDP has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) of which 1.46% is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,743 people, 1,510 households, and 1,005 families residing in the town. The population density was 233.5 people per square mile (90.2/km²). There were 1,613 housing units at an average density of 100.6 per square mile (38.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.79% White, 0.85% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.71% of the population.
There were 1,510 households out of which 29.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.9% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the town the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 26.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 91.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $65,156, and the median income for a family was $79,941. Males had a median income of $45,515 versus $40,444 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,191. None of the families and 1.3% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and 2.6% of those over 64.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,546 people, 632 households, and 401 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 762.1 inhabitants per square mile (294.0/km²). There were 669 housing units at an average density of 329.8 per square mile (127.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 96.31% White, 1.29% African American, 0.06% Native American, 1.36% Asian, 0.06% from other races, and 0.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.29% of the population.
There were 632 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 21.9% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 31.8% from 25 to 44, 26.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $64,236, and the median income for a family was $71,250. Males had a median income of $38,900 versus $46,354 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $32,087. None of the families and 0.5% of the population were living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and none of those over 64.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 25, 2005|
|Party||Active Voters||Inactive Voters||Total Voters||Percentage|
Chester, like the other two towns in the "tri-town area" (Essex and Deep River), is a member of Regional School District #4. John Winthrop Junior High School is on Warsaw Street in Deep River where as Valley Regional High School, is on Kelsey Hill in Deep River. They serve students for grades 7-8 and 9-12, respectively. There are elementary schools in the "tri-town area" each town has one they serve from grades K-6.
The 1959 film It Happened to Jane, starring Doris Day and Jack Lemmon, was filmed in Chester. Portions of the 1971 horror film Let's Scare Jessica to Death were filmed in Chester, including the Chester–Hadlyme Ferry.
Points of interest
- The Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek synagogue is noted for the architecture of its "spectacular" building.
- Goodspeed-at-Chester, Goodspeed Musicals' second theatre.
- The Chester Museum at the Mill, a future museum of the Chester Historical Society
- The Chester–Hadlyme Ferry is the second oldest continuously operating ferry service in the state of Connecticut and is a designated state historical landmark.
- Camp Hazen YMCA
On the National Registered Historic Places
- Charles Daniels House — 43 Liberty St. (added March 19, 1988)
- Dr. Ambrose Pratt House — Pratt St. (added December 9, 1972)
- Jonathan Warner House — 47 Kings Hwy. (added 1978)
- Old Town Hall — On the green between Liberty St. and Goose Hill Rd. (added March 23, 1972)
- Villa Bella Vista — 7 Old Depot Rd. (added 2000)
The Whelen Engineering Corporation, a major designer and distributor of public service warning equipment (warning lights, sirens, etc.) in North America, is headquartered in Chester.
The Chester Airport is a privately owned local facility with one paved runway.
The Estuary Transit District provides public transportation throughout Chester and the surrounding towns through its 9 Town Transit Service. Services include connections to the Old Saybrook Train Station, served by Amtrak and Shoreline East railroads.
- Art Carney (1918–2003), actor was a resident and died in town.
- Paul Hopkins (1904–2004), major league relief pitcher was born in town.
- Sol LeWitt (1928–2007), artist.
- Michael P. Price (1938–), theatre producer and artistic director.
- Richard Sachs (1953–), bicycle framebuilder and cyclist lives in town.
- Morley Safer (1931–2016), CBS news correspondent and anchor on "60 Minutes"
- Max Showalter (1917–2000), film and television actor retired to Chester.
- Washington F. Willcox (1834–1909), US Congressman was a resident.
Pictures of Chester
- "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 25, 2005" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of State. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-23. Retrieved 2006-10-02.
- Columbia Daily Spectator, April 10, 2007 , Small-town Artist With a Big-time Legacy by Ginia Sweeney 
- Maker, Elizabeth, "Suddenly, Balls in Every Court", The New York Times, June 1, 2003, retrieved January 27, 2010