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Old Saybrook is a town in Middlesex Countymarker, Connecticutmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 10,367 at the 2000 census. It contains the incorporated borough of Fenwickmarker, as well as the census-designated places of Old Saybrook Centermarker and Saybrook Manormarker.


Shortly after constructing their first settlement on the island of Manhattan, Dutch explorers established a short-lived trading post at present day Old Saybrook. The post was named Kievits Hoek, meaning "Plover's Corner" in English. Kievits Hoek was soon abandoned as the Dutch began to focus more on their new trading post, Fort Goede Hoop (Huys de Goede Hoop), at present-day Hartford.

The Saybrook Colony was established in late 1635 at the mouth of the Connecticut River, in what is today Old Saybrook and environs. John Winthrop, the Younger, son of the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, was designated Governor by the group that claimed possession of the land via a deed of conveyance from the Earl of Warwick. Winthrop was aided by Colonel George Fenwick and Captain Lion Gardiner. As the principals of the group who had planned to settle the colony were supporters of Oliver Cromwell and remained in England during the English Civil War, the colony struggled. In 1644, Fenwick agreed to merge the colony with the more vibrant Connecticut Colony a few miles up river, which purchased the land and fort from him.

The design of the Flag of Connecticut comes from the seal of Saybrook Colony. The seal was brought from England by Colonel George Fenwick, and depicted 15 grapevines and a hand in the upper left corner with a scroll reading "Qui Sustinet Transtulit".

In 1659, settlers from Saybrook purchased land from Chief Uncas, leader of the Mohegan Native American tribe, to found Norwichmarker, Connecticutmarker.

On October 9, 1701 the Collegiate School of Connecticut was chartered in Old Saybrook. It moved to New Havenmarker in 1716, and was later renamed Yale Universitymarker.

The Turtle - the first American submarine - was invented in Westbrook Connecticut in 1775 by David Bushnell; a replica is housed at Old Saybrook Senior High School.

Recent developments

In early 2007, plans were established to return the former town hall building to its original use as a theater. The theatre was completed in 2009 and is named "Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center and Theater".

The town has committed spending almost $2 million on the renovation, and at least $810,000 is to be contributed by the state. A committee is attempting to raise another $2.5 million, partly for the renovation and to add two wings, but also for an endowment. The structure was originally built in 1901 and was a theater until the 1940s. After renovations, the theater will seat 250, and Hepburn memorabilia will be displayed there.

Notable residents

  • Vin Baker — Professional basketball player in the NBA (1993-2006)
  • Art Carney — Academy Award- and Emmy Award-winning American actor in film, stage, television and radio.
  • Katharine Houghton Hepburn — A four-time Academy Award-winning American star of film, television and stage, she lived in the borough of Fenwick.
  • John Clellon Holmes — American writer and poet associated with the "Beat Generation" crowd.
  • Ann Petry — African-American novelist, journalist and biographer.
  • Elmer Eric Schattschneider — A prominent political scientist and former president of the American Political Science Association from 1956 to 1957


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.6 square miles (56.0 km²), of which, 15.0 square miles (39.0 km²) of it is land and 6.6 square miles (17.0 km²) of it (30.45%) is water.

Principal communities

Minor Communities

  • Ayer's Point
  • Bell Air Manor
  • Chalker Beach
  • Fenwood/Fernwood
  • Ferry Point
  • Floral Park
  • Forest Glen
  • Great Hammock
  • Indian Town
  • Otter Cove
  • Oyster River
  • Plum Bank
  • Saybrook Ferry
  • Saybrook Heights
  • Saybrook Manor Beach


As of the census of 2000, there were 10,367 people, 4,184 households, and 2,920 families residing in the town. The population density was 689.5 people per square mile (266.1/km²). There were 5,357 housing units at an average density of 356.3/sq mi (137.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.75% White, 1.01% African American, 0.08% Native American, 1.72% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.45% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.87% of the population.

There were 4,184 households out of which 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.4% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 4.1% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 27.6% from 45 to 64, and 21.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $62,742, and the median income for a family was $72,868. Males had a median income of $48,527 versus $36,426 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,720. About 1.5% of families and 4.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.9% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.

National Register of Historic Places in Old Saybrook

See also


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