Town of Wilton
|• Type||Selectman-town meeting|
|• First selectman||Lynne Vanderslice (R)|
|• Selectmen||David Clune (U)|
Michael P. Kaelin (U)
Lori Bufano (R)
Deborah McFadden (D)
|• Total||27.3 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||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0213535|
Officially recognized as a parish in 1726, Wilton today is a residential community with open lands, historic architecture such as the Round House, and many colonial homes. Many residents commute to nearby cities such as Stamford or New York City.
Wilton is home to many global corporations such as ASML, Deloitte & Touche, Sun Products, Breitling SA, Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, and Melissa & Doug. It is also home to AIG Financial Products, whose collapse played a pivotal role in the financial crisis of 2007–2008.
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 along Ridgefield, Belden, Danbury, and Dudley roads, 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, primarily at the house of William Wakeman, "an earnest abolitionist and undergrounder for many years."
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 since then, 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.
Housing and land useEdit
Wilton has approximately 500 surviving 18th- and 19th-century homes. In 2005, Marilyn Gould, the director of the Wilton Historical Society said:
People aren't taking down historic houses but the more modest homes that were built in the '50s and '60s.... 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 it's management and upper management.
Between 1999 and 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 town center contains several local restaurants, boutiques, retail stores, including a Starbucks, and a Stop & Shop.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 business district.
Recent nature access developments in town include the expansion of the Norwalk River Valley Trail, a multi-use trail designed to run between Norwalk and Danbury.
The southwest corner of town includes part of the Silvermine neighborhood (which also extends into New Canaan and Norwalk). Georgetown, which is primarily within the town but also extends into Redding and partly into Weston, is in the northeast corner of town. Other neighborhoods in town are South Wilton, Wilton Center, Gilbert Corners, Cannondale, and North Wilton.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,633 people, 5,923 households, and 4,874 families residing in Wilton. 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. Of all households 15.3% 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.
Arts and cultureEdit
- Relay for Life
- Jazz in the Garden takes place at Weir Farm every September.
- Wilton Rocks for Food is an annual concert by Wilton-based musicians who send all the proceeds to the Wilton Food Pantry and the Connecticut Food bank.
- Wilton Farmers' Market is an outdoor farmers' market held at the Wilton Historical Society on Wednesdays from June through October.
- Wilton's annual Street Fair & Sidewalk Sale is an outdoor sales event in the town center that occurs in the summer.
Listings on the National Register of Historic PlacesEdit
Parks and recreationEdit
The Wilton Parks and Recreation Department offers a number of programs for all ages including pre-school programs, senior programs youth soccer and basketball. There are also many walking paths including part of the Norwalk River Valley Trail. Merwin Meadows is a picnic area for families with a pond, playground and athletic field.
Government and politicsEdit
|2020||65.59% 7,676||32.63% 3,819||1.86% 218|
|2016||58.27% 6,055||36.44% 3,786||5.29% 550|
|2012||45.37% 4,589||53.62% 5,424||1.01% 102|
|2008||53.41% 5,569||46.04% 4,801||0.55% 57|
|2004||46.57% 4,823||52.35% 5,422||1.08% 112|
|2000||41.90% 4,086||54.52% 5,316||3.58% 349|
|1996||38.75% 3,451||54.55% 4,859||6.70% 597|
|1992||33.95% 3,402||51.32% 5,143||14.74% 1,477|
|1988||31.85% 2,964||67.51% 6,283||0.64% 60|
|1984||27.23% 2,462||72.46% 6,553||0.31% 28|
|1980||23.73% 1,117||59.91% 2,820||16.36% 770|
|1976||31.63% 2,566||67.95% 5,513||0.42% 34|
|1972||31.38% 2,378||67.63% 5,124||0.99% 75|
|1968||32.69% 1,995||64.85% 3,957||2.46% 150|
|1964||52.58% 2,553||47.42% 2,302||0.00% 0|
|1960||26.10% 1,121||73.90% 3,174||0.00% 0|
|1956||18.19% 612||81.81% 2,753||0.00% 0|
Once a Republican bastion, Wilton has become increasingly Democratic in recent years. In 2008, Wilton voted for Barack Obama, who became the first Democrat candidate for U.S. President to carry the town since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The town flipped back in 2012, voting for Mitt Romney, a former governor of neighboring Massachusetts. In 2016, voters in Wilton delivered a 22-point margin of victory to Hillary Clinton, the best performance for a Democratic presidential nominee in the town since Johnson in 1964. In 2019, Republicans won the majority of local offices. In 2020, the town gave a 33-point margin to Joe Biden.
Wilton is a part of the 26th District of the Connecticut Senate. Represented by Will Haskell. Parts of Wilton are encompassed by the 125th District of the Connecticut House of Representatives. Represented by Tom O'Dea. Wilton is also apart of the 143rd District. Currently represented by Stephanie Thomas..
Since 2015, Wilton has been led by First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice, a Republican serving her second four-year term. Her term expires on November 30, 2023.
Elementary schools include Miller-Driscoll School (Grades 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 resource center. The language laboratory teaches six languages, including French, German, Spanish, Latin, Classical Greek, and American Sign Language.
The Town of Wilton has approximately 4,150 students who attend pre-K through 12th grade in the four schools. The two elementary schools have class sizes typically ranging from 18 to 22 and a 19 to 1 student/teacher ratio. Middlebrook 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.
There are four private schools in the town:
The Wilton Bulletin is a weekly newspaper published by Hearst Connecticut Media and formerly published by Hersam Acorn Newspapers. GOOD Morning Wilton is an online daily news website. 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.
There are several roads and highways that crisscross the town, including U.S. Route 7 and Route 33, which form the main north-south roadways in town. Although 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/Westport, 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 has two railroad stations: Wilton near the town center and Cannondale. Both are served by Metro-North Railroad's Danbury Branch, which provides direct commuter train service south to Norwalk (15 minutes), Stamford (25 minutes), Danbury (33 Minutes), and New York City's Grand Central Station (90 minutes); and north to New Haven and Boston. Previously, Wilton was also home to a third station. Known as South Wilton (1852–1971) and Kent Road (1976–1994). The town was also formerly served by the Georgetown station from 1852-1970.
The town is served by the 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 South Wilton and the South Norwalk railroad station on the New Haven Line.
- Theodore Bikel (1924–2015), actor, long-time resident.
- Jeremy Black, actor
- Linda Blair, actress
- Chance Browne, cartoonist of syndicated comic strip Hi and Lois
- Dik Browne (1917–1989), cartoonist, creator of Hägar the Horrible and Hi and Lois.
- Dave Brubeck, Prominent jazz musician
- David Canary (1938–2015), actor, All My Children and Bonanza
- Paul Dano, actor, 2002 graduate of Wilton High School.
- Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, Richest person in Connecticut, resident in late 20th century
- Matt Davies, Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist.
- Abby Elliott, actress/comedian, daughter of Chris Elliott
- Chris Elliott, actor/comedian
- Ace Frehley, guitarist for Kiss, lived in Wilton from 1980-1986.
- Charles Grodin, 1935-2021,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, known as Patricia Hearst-Shaw, heiress and actress
- Lydia Hearst-Shaw, supermodel and heiress
- Russell Hoban, writer; Lillian Hoban, writer and illustrator; and their daughter Phoebe Hoban, journalist and biographer.
- 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 from his 1972 novel The Stepford Wives on Wilton.
- Kristine Lilly, US Olympic Soccer Team, holds the world record for most professional soccer match appearances in history
- Katherine Maher, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation
- 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
- Aldo Parisot, Cellist
- Dean Parisot, film and television director
- 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 Grew up in Wilton, jazz guitarist
- Frank Sesno, journalist and professor
- Zachary Cole Smith, frontman of DIIV, went to elementary and middle school growing up in the town.
- Donald B. Verrilli Jr., U.S. solicitor general from 2011 to 2016, Graduated Wilton High School in 1975.
- Christopher Walken, actor
- Marcy Walker, actress, lived in Wilton during the early 2000s.
- Cathie Wood, founder of ARK Investment Management
- . 15 October 2006 https://web.archive.org/web/20061015003016/http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/files/SUB-EST2005_9.csv. Archived from the original on 15 October 2006. Missing or empty
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- "Race, Hispanic or Latino, Age, and Housing Occupancy: 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File (QT-PL), Wilton town, Connecticut". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
- "The Round House | Wilton Connecticut".
- "Gregory family donates 19th century road cart | Wilton Bulletin". Wilton Bulletin. 2017-09-06. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
- Behind Insurer’s Crisis, Blind Eye to a Web of Risk, New York Times, September 27, 2008.
- Hampson, Rick (March 21, 2009). "AIG office flies under radar of Conn. town". USA Today. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- De La Merced, Michael J. (August 5, 2011). "A.I.G. Unit at Center of Financial Crisis Is Wound Down". New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- "The Town of Wilton, Connecticut – Official Website". www.wiltonct.org. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
- Barone, Meg (2018-10-10). "On the Market / 'The red house with the big window' hits the market". The Hour. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- Francis Carr Jr (2015-07-09). "Historians address inaccuracies about the Battle of Norwalk on its (supposed) anniversary". The Hour. Retrieved 2019-03-10.
- The Connecticut Magazine: An Illustrated Monthly. Connecticut Magazine Company. 1903. p. 335.
- Strother, Horatio T. (1962). The Underground railroad in Connecticut. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press. p. 121.
- "Did You Know? Three Facts About Every Connecticut Town". Hartford Courant. 2014-08-27.
- West, Debra (December 4, 2005). "A Playground for Preservationists". New York Times. Archived from the original on January 30, 2013.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-04-14.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Glavin, Kristiana, "Deer Hunt Plan Aims for Watershed by Fall", a news article in The New Canaan News Review, April 6, 2007
- "Welcome to Wilton Library - Wilton Library". www.wiltonlibrary.org.
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- Wilton, Mailing Address: 735 Nod Hill Road; Us, CT 06897 Phone:834-1896 x0 Contact. "19th Annual Jazz in the Garden Concert - Weir Farm National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service)". www.nps.gov. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
- "Wilton Rocks for Food Fundraiser". wilton-rocks. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
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- "Wilton Farmers' Market". Wilton Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
- "Wilton Street Fair and Sidewalk Sale". Wilton Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
- "Town of Wilton, CT, Parks & Recreation". wiltonparksandrec.org.
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- "Our Lady Of Fatima School". www.fatimaschoolwilton.org.
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- Wilton Bulletin
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- MacKenzie, Chris (13 March 1978). "A Clone No More, Jeremy Black Is Back". The Hour. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Meyers, Joe (19 May 2002). "Heavenly Role for Black: Wilton Native plays Jesus in New York Production" (PDF). Connecticut Post. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- "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.
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- "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"); "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-05-21. Retrieved 2006-07-04.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "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
-  Archived 2008-08-28 at the Wayback Machine Web page titled "Kristine Lilly" at USSoccer.com, "The official site of U.S. Soccer" ("Hometown: Wilton, Connecticut"), accessed November 11, 2007
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- 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.")
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- 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." The Wilton Bulletin, (CT) 5 Aug. 2004, News: A001. NewsBank. Web. 11 Aug. 2013.
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