Town of Wilton
|• Type||Selectman-town meeting|
|• First selectman||Lynne Vanderslice (R)|
|• Selectmen||David Clune (U)|
Michael P. Kaelin (U)
Lori A. Bufano (R)
Deborah McFadden (D)
|• 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||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0213535|
Officially recognized as a parish in 1726, Wilton is today, like many other Fairfield County towns, an expensive residential community with open lands (a testament to its colonial farming roots), historic architecture such as the Round House and antique colonial homes, as well as extensive town services. Many residents commute to Stamford or New York City.
Wilton is home to global corporations such as ASML, Deloitte & Touche, Sun Products, Breitling SA, Cannondale Bicycle Corporation, and Melissa & Doug. Many Fortune 500 companies are headquartered within a 30-minute commute.
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 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 and land use
Wilton has approximately 500 surviving 18th- and 19th-century homes. In 2005, Marilyn Gould—director of the Wilton Historical Society—told the New York Times, "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 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, 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.
Recent nature access 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.
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.
- 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.
|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.
Government and politics
|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 voted in 2008 for Barack Obama, who became the first Democrat to carry the town since Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964. The town flipped back in 2012, voting for to Mitt Romney, a former governor of neighboring Massachusetts. In 2016, voters in Wilton delivered a 22-point margin of victory to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the best performance for a Democratic presidential nominee in the town since Johnson.
The Wilton Bulletin is a weekly newspaper 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.
In 2016-2017, the Wilton Economic Development Commission, a town commission tasked with promoting the Town of Wilton to prospective residents and visitors, put out two videos to promote the town:
Elementary schools include 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 resource center. The language laboratory encourages foreign language studies, including French, German, Spanish, Latin and Classical Greek.
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 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 this town:
- Connecticut Friends School, a Quaker preschool (formerly preschool through grade 8)
- Our Lady of Fatima, a Catholic school, preschool through eighth grade
- The Montessori School, preschool through sixth grade
- The Goddard School, a preschool.
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, Girl Scouts, 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.
Parks and recreation
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.
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 twice-a-year flea market that benefits Family & Children's Agency, a not-for-profit 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 since 1984 by the families of the Community Nursery School of Wilton, raises funds for scholarships.
- 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.
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 has two railroad stations: Wilton in the town center and Cannondale (a sub-station where tickets are not sold). Both are served by Metro-North Railroad's Danbury Line, which provides direct commuter train service south to Norwalk (15 mins), Stamford (25 mins), and New York City's Grand Central Station (90 mins); and north to New Haven and Boston. A connection to Amtrak's Boston-to-Washington, D.C. Northeast Corridor line is available at the Stamford station.
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.
- 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, 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, 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, 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
- 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 world the 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 (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.
- Donald B. Verrilli Jr., U.S. solicitor general from 2011 to 2016, 1975 Wilton High School graduate.
- Christopher Walken, actor
- Marcy Walker, actress, lived in Wilton during the early 2000s.
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