Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
|Region||South Western Region|
|• Type||Selectman-town meeting|
|• First selectman||William F. Brennan|
|• Total||27.4 sq mi (71.0 km2)|
|• Land||26.9 sq mi (69.8 km2)|
|• Water||0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)|
|Elevation||335 ft (102 m)|
|• Density||660/sq mi (250/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||Eastern (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0213535|
Wilton was officially recognized as a parish in 1726. The original 40 families of the parish began their own Congregational church and were allowed by Norwalk to hire a minister (Robert Sturgeon, who also became the town's first schoolmaster), open schools and build roads. During the Revolutionary War, in 1777 the British used Wilton as an escape route after their successful raid on Danbury. Several homes were burned, but the town remained intact. In 1802, Wilton was granted a Town Charter by the Connecticut General Assembly and became a political entity independent from Norwalk. With a strong anti-slavery sentiment by its residents, Wilton served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Today, Wilton, like many other Fairfield County towns, is an expensive residential community with open lands (a testament to its colonial farming roots), historic architecture and extensive town services. Residents commonly commute to New York City, Stamford, and Norwalk, although there are a number of office buildings in town. Wilton was rated one of CNN's top 25 towns to live, boasting an average household income of over $300,000 per family.
AIG Financial Products was headquartered in the town. Its trading in credit derivatives essentially bankrupted its parent company, AIG, and helped create the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. Wilton is also home to Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, Melissa & Doug, and the Blue Buffalo Company, (pet food manufacturer). Also, recent developments in town include the expansion of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, a multi-use trail that is designed to eventually run between Norwalk and Danbury.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Media
- 5 Education
- 6 Clubs and organizations
- 7 Events in town
- 8 Transportation
- 9 Notable residents
- 10 References
- 11 External links
For more information: History of Wilton, Connecticut
Wilton was classified as a "dry" town until 1993, when the local ordinance was altered to permit the sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurants. The town was then referred to as "damp". On November 5, 2009, a referendum proposal was passed to allow liquor stores. The town Board enacted an ordinance to allow liquor stores to sell alcoholic beverages in 2010, and several stores have since opened.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 27.4 square miles (71 km2), of which 27.0 square miles (70 km2) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), or 1.50%, is water, including the South Norwalk Reservoir. Wilton is bordered by Ridgefield to the Northwest, Norwalk to the South, New Canaan to the Southwest, Westport to the Southeast, and Weston and Redding to the Northeast. It is also bordered on the west by the hamlet of Vista in Lewisboro, Westchester County, New York.
The scenic Ridgefield Road offers a look at many historic homes, places, and sights.
The latitude of Wilton is 41.201 N. The longitude is -73.438 W.
Housing stock and land use
Wilton has, by some estimates, more than 500 restored 18th- and 19th-century homes, although demolitions of old houses have been problematic, as Marilyn Gould—Wilton's second selectman and director of the Wilton Historical Society—told the New York Times in 2005. "People aren't taking down historic houses but the more modest homes that were built in the '50s and '60s," she said. "What that's doing is changing the affordability of the town and the demographic of the town. Wilton used to have a wide demographic of people who worked with their hands - artisans, builders, mechanics. Now its management and upper management." Between 1999 to 2005, the town's voters endorsed spending $23 million through municipal bonds to preserve land.
South Norwalk Electric and Water (SNEW) has a reservoir on the western side of town with about 350 acres (1.4 km2) of land (along with another 25 acres (100,000 m2) adjacent in New Canaan). In the fall, hunters with bows and arrows — no more than 10 at a time — are allowed to hunt deer on the Wilton property in order to keep down the number of deer in the area.
Wilton's town center contains several local restaurants, boutiques, retail stores, a Starbucks, a Stop & Shop, and a four-screen movie theater owned by Bow-Tie Cinemas. These stores were added around 2000 next to the old Wilton Center, which consists of the Wilton Library, the Wilton Post Office, a CVS/Pharmacy, the Old Post Office Square, and the Village Market. In the southern part of town, US 7 contains a commercial section.
The southwest corner of town includes part of the Silvermine neighborhood (which also extends into New Canaan and Norwalk). Georgetown, which is primarily in Redding and partly in Weston, extends a bit into the northeast corner of town. Other neighborhoods in town are South Wilton, Wilton Center, Gilbert Corners, Cannondale, and North Wilton.
On the National Register of Historic Places
- Cannondale Historic District — Roughly bounded by Cannon, Danbury and Seeley Rds. (added December 12, 1992) Consists of authentic renovated 17th- and 18th-century buildings that were moved to the site. The train station is the only building at the site that was originally built at that location. The site itself does not hold any special historic value.
- David Lambert House — 150 Danbury Rd. (added August 24, 1992)
- Georgetown Historic District, located on the northeast of town.
- Hurlbutt Street School — 157 Hurlbutt St. (added August 25, 1996)
- Marvin Tavern — 405 Danbury Rd. (added May 26, 1984)
- Sloan-Raymond-Fitch House — 224 Danbury Rd. (added May 29, 1982)
- Weir Farm National Historic Site — 735 Nod Hill Road (added November, 1990) located in both Wilton and Ridgefield.
- Wilton Center Historic District — Roughly, area around jct. of Lovers Ln. and Belden Hill and Ridgefield Rds. (added September 19, 1992). The historic district includes 20 buildings and 1 structure over 240 acres (0.97 km2), including the Old Town Hall building and the Wilton Congregational Church buildings.
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,633 people, 5,923 households, and 4,874 families residing in the town. The population density was 654.3 people per square mile (252.6/km²). There were 6,113 housing units at an average density of 226.8 per square mile (87.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.55% White, 0.60% African American, 0.09% Native American, 2.69% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.53% of the population.
There were 5,923 households out of which 46.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 75.4% were married couples living together, 5.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 17.7% were non-families. 15.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.25.
The age distribution is 31.5% under the age of 18, 2.8% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $197,428, and the median income for a family was $217,415. Males had a median income of $190,000 versus $71,611 for females. The per capita income for the town was $65,806. About 1.3% of families and 2.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.
The Wilton Bulletin is a weekly newspaper published by Hersam Acorn Newspapers. Virgin Mobile Live, a 24-hour online radio service licensed by Virgin Radio, is based in Wilton. There is also the weekly Wilton Villager newspaper.
Modern facilities include elementary schools Miller-Driscoll School (pre-k-2) and Cider Mill School (3-5). There is one middle school named Middlebrook School (6-8) and one high school named Wilton High School, which features accelerated classes for gifted students, music and visual arts courses, and a well-appointed resource center. An innovative language laboratory encourages foreign language studies, including French, German, Spanish, and Latin; they are one of the only towns in the country that still offers Classical Greek.
The town of Wilton has 4,151 students who attend pre-K through 12th grade in the 4 schools. The second elementary school (Cider Mill School) teaches 3rd through 5th grade. (Previously, Cider Mill shared 3rd grade classes with Miller-Driscoll due to construction on the school buildings.) The two elementary schools have class sizes ranging from 18 to 22 and a 19 to 1 student/ teacher ratio. The middle school (Middlebrook) is for grades 6-8 and features interdisciplinary instruction teams in languages and science, mathematics, social studies, computers, art, and gifted student instruction. Class sizes range from 20 to 25 students with a student/teacher ratio of 13 to 1. In the past five years, over 91% of Wilton High School graduates have gone on to colleges and universities. The mean SAT scores at Wilton High School are 584 verbal and 598 math. The schools are supported by an active PTA organization.
Wilton's sports teams have won many FCIAC and state titles, and many individuals have been recognized on those levels as well.
There are three private elementary schools in town:
- Connecticut Friends School, a Quaker school, kindergarten through eighth grade
- Our Lady of Fatima, a Catholic school, preschool through eighth grade
- The Montessori School, preschool through eighth grade.
Clubs and organizations
Clubs and civic organizations in town include a Newcomers Club, Wilton Women's club, League of Women Voters, Kiwanis Club, The Wilton Kiwanis youth coalition, senior meal delivery, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, the Wilton Land Conservation Trust, the Wilton Family Y and the Moms Club of Wilton . Cultural amenities include the Wilton Historical Society, a Library Association, an Arts Council, an Audubon Society, the Wilton Singers and the Wilton Playshop. Some church organizations at Our Lady of Fatima include the Knights of Columbus and the Columbiettes.
Wilton Little League
Wilton Little League organizes Little League baseball and softball leagues for boys and girls 5 to 12 years old, including T-ball, Coach Pitch, Machine Pitch, A, AA, AAA, and Majors leagues. Games are played at Miller and Driscoll Elementary Schools,Cider Mill Elementary School, Middlebrook Middle School, and the Wilton YMCA. In post-season summer play, Wilton all-star teams compete in the District 1 Little League tournaments. In 2012, Wilton’s 12-year-old team won their tournament and advanced to state sectionals.
Events in town
- Minks to Sinks is a large, twice-a-year flea market that benefits Family & Children's Agency , a not-for-profit family serving agency that supports people and families in crisis or transitional moments.
- Cannon Grange, "a kind of 4-H club for adults," hosts an annual fair.
- Ambler Farm Day, an annual fall event that spotlights farm activities such as hay rides, apple sling shots, and scarecrow-making contests.
- CNSW Pumpkin Festival, an annual fall festival run by the families of The Community Nursery School of Wilton. Launched in 1984, it features games, pony rides, and entertainment, and is the school's only public fundraiser for local scholarships.
- Relay for Life
There are several highways that crisscross the town, including U.S. Route 7 and Route 33, which form the main north-south roadways in town. While not passing through any part of Wilton, the Merritt Parkway (Route 15) also serves the town via the Route 33 exit (Exit 41) which is signed for Wilton, as well as the Route 7 exits (Exits 39B & 40B) which are signed for Danbury. Other state highways that run through Wilton are Route 53 and Route 106.
The town is served by "7 Link" bus route of the Norwalk Transit District that runs between Norwalk and Danbury along the Route 7 corridor. A commuter shuttle bus during rush hours is also available between southern Wilton and the South Norwalk railroad station on the New Haven Line.
- Linda Blair, actress
- Chance Browne, cartoonist of syndicated comic strip Hi and Lois
- Dave Brubeck, jazz musician
- David Canary, actor, All My Children
- Matt Davies, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist.
- Abby Elliott, actress/comedian
- Chris Elliott, actor/comedian
- Ace Frehley, rock guitarist, lived in Wilton in the early 1980s
- Charles Grodin, actor
- Johnny Gruelle, artist who created Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy
- June Havoc, actress, who also renovated buildings to create the Cannon Crossing center of small shops. Her sister Gypsy Rose Lee frequently visited her.
- Daryl Hawk, documentary photographer, explorer
- Sterling Hayden, actor
- Patty Hearst, now known as Patricia Hearst-Shaw, heiress and actress
- Lydia Hearst-Shaw, supermodel and heiress
- Richard C. Hottelet, broadcast journalist and commentator, last of the Murrow's Boys
- Ira Levin, writer, lived in Wilton in the 1960s and claimed in a March 27, 2007 letter to the New York Times that he based the fictional town of Stepford on Wilton.
- Kristine Lilly, US Olympic Soccer Team, holds world record for most professional soccer match appearances in history
- Jay Manuel, America's Next Top Model director of photo shoots
- Joe Pantoliano, actor
- Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, writers and illustrators of children's books
- Sarah Phillips, fashion designer
- Steve Phillips, former NY Mets General Manager and former ESPN baseball analyst
- Charles E. Pont, artist and Baptist minister, lived here from 1958 until his death in 1971.
- Jane Powell and Dickie Moore, actress and former child actor.
- Randy Rasmussen, former left guard of the New York Jets for 15 years (1967–1981), started in Super Bowl III
- John Scofield (not a current resident, but grew up in the town), jazz guitarist
- Frank Sesno, journalist and professor
- Zachary Cole Smith, frontman of DIIV, went to elementary and middle school growing up in the town.
- Christopher Walken, actor
- Marcy Walker, actress, lived in Wilton during the early 2000s.
- U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates
- "Race, Hispanic or Latino, Age, and Housing Occupancy: 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File (QT-PL), Wilton town, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder 2. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
- Reuters. March 18, 2009 http://blogs.reuters.com/reuters-dealzone/2009/03/18/the-pizza-guy-will-miss-aig-fps-business/. Missing or empty
- Behind Insurer’s Crisis, Blind Eye to a Web of Risk, New York Times, September 27, 2008.
- AIG Former Auditor Warned About Derivative Valuation in 2007, Bloomberg News, October 11, 2008.
-  The New York Times, "Living in/Wilton, Connecticut: A Playground For Preservationists," by Debra West, Dec. 4, 2005, Page accessed on 22 June 2006
-  Glavin, Kristiana, "Deer Hunt Plan Aims for Watershed by Fall", a news article in The New Canaan News Review, April 6, 2007
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Wilton Little League
- "Linda Blair faces drug charge", article in "The Victoria Advocate", March 12, 1979 .
- Seremet, Pat, "JAVA", article in The Hartford Courant, August 26, 2000 ("jazz great Dave Brubeck, who lives in Wilton")
- Stowe, Stacey (May 13, 2001). "Bringing Home a Daytime Emmy". The New York Times.
- Kaplan, Don (November 13, 2008). "TWO NEW AT 'SNL&apos". New York Post.
- Cox, Jeff (2007). "25 Top-Earning Towns." CNNMoney.com.
- Orshoski, Wes (September 3, 2003). "When Ace Frehley Said Farewell During Last Kiss Tour, He Meant It." Chicago Sun-Times.
- "Children's authors to sign at Just Books, Too", short notice in The Greenwich Post, Greenwich, Connecticut, October 16, 2003 ("Ms. Grodin, who lives in Wilton, with her actor husband Charles Grodin")
- Brown, Joe, "A trouper who cries not havoc", article in The Washington Post, May 22, 1987 ("She lives in Wilton, Connecticut at Cannon Crossings");  "Wilton Collects...Skip Heydt Delights in His Microcosmic World," by Nancy Maar, article in Wilton Magazine, Winter/Spring 2004; accessed on July 3, 2006
- "HEARST TO DO 'MONOLOGUES'", news brief, Mercury-News wire services, San Jose Mercury News, September 6, 2001, page 2A ("Patty Hearst will star in The Vagina Monologues when it plays Sept. 18 to 23 at the Shubert Theater in New Haven, Conn. She lives in Wilton, Conn., with her husband and two daughters.")
-  "Political Theater: A Banned Play on the War (5 Letters)," first letter by Ira Levin, accessed on March 27, 2007
-  Web page titled "Kristine Lilly" at USSoccer.com, "The official site of U.S. Soccer" ("Hometown: Wilton, Connecticut"), accessed November 11, 2007
- Stockel, Allison, "Pantoliano will lead screening of his new film, 'The Moguls'", article in The Wilton Bulletin, Wilton, Connecticut, December 15, 2005 ("Actor Joe Pantoliano, who lives in Wilton")
- Alyson Kreuger (July 31, 2013). "Reluctantly Returning to the Stage". New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2013.
- Associated Press story, "Divot yields Super find for former Jets player" as appeared in The New Haven Register, October 17, 1999 ("[...] put him in touch with Rasmussen at Rand Insurance in Greenwich where the Wilton resident is director of financial services.")
- Lewis, Christian, "A Stepford wife walks with stars", article in The Ridgefield Press, October 30, 2003 ("Christopher Walken, who lives in Wilton")
- COMISKEY, DEVIN. "From TV to church work - Soap star begins new role as children's ministry director." Wilton Bulletin, The (CT) 5 Aug. 2004, News: A001. NewsBank. Web. 11 Aug. 2013.