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South Windsor is a town in Hartford Countymarker, Connecticutmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 24,412 at the 2000 census.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.7 square miles (74.2 km²), of which, 28.0 square miles (72.4 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km²) of it (2.44%) is water.

History

In 1659, Thomas Burnham (1617 - 1688) purchased the tract of land now covered by the towns of South Windsor and East Hartfordmarker from Tantinomo, Chief sachem of the Podunk Indians. Burnham lived on the land and later willed it to his nine children. Beginning in the middle of the 17th Century, a few of the settlers of Windsormarker, Connecticutmarker, began using land on the east bank of the Connecticut River for grazing and farming purposes. By 1700, a number of families had made their homes in this area, now known as South Windsor. In 1768, the residents of the area were allowed to incorporate as the separate town of East Windsormarker, though the area was informally referred to as East Windsor before this time, which then included all of East Windsor, South Windsor and Ellingtonmarker. Known for its agriculture and ship building, the town supplied more than 200 volunteers during the American Revolution. In 1786, Ellington became an independent town. South Windsor itself was incorporated as a town in 1845. Tobacco was a major crop grown in South Windsor since its founding. However, the town has industrialized and commercialized more over time.

(Old) Main Street, located near the Connecticut River and running North to South from the border of East Hartfordmarker to that of East Windsor, is the center of the town's historical district. Wood Memorial Library, Ellsworth School, and the nation's oldest continually operating Post Office are located on the street. Minister Timothy Edwards is buried in a cemetery located on Main Street and the town's middle school is named for him. In 1698, Edwards became the first minister for the settlers on the east side of the river and his church was built on Main Street (in present day South Windsor). His son, theologian Jonathan Edwards, was born in South Windsor (at the time still part of Windsor). Ulysses S. Grant stayed at a home on the street.

The town has become less and less agricultural/rural since 1950. This former farming community has been transformed into a suburban town with industrial and commercial districts. The town's population more than tripled between 1950 and 2000. In the early 1990s, residents mobilized against a proposed nuclear waste dump located near the East Windsor town line. They were successful in their drive to keep the town nuclear-free.

Currently, the town is at a crossroads trying to reconcile the town's rural history and character with exploding residential and now even commercial development.

On the National Register of Historic Places

  • East Windsor Hill Historic District — Roughly bounded by the Scantic River, John Fitch Boulevard, Sullivan Avenue, and the Connecticut River (added June 30, 1986)
  • Elmore Houses — 78 and 87 Long Hill Road (added September 23, 1985)
  • Windsor Farms Historic District — Roughly bounded by Strong Road, U.S. Route 5, Interstate 291, and the Connecticut River (added May 11, 1986)


Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 24,412 people, 8,905 households, and 6,767 families residing in the town. The population density was 873.1 people per square mile (337.1/km²). There were 9,071 housing units at an average density of 324.4/sq mi (125.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 91.50% White, 2.95% African American, 0.18% Native American, 3.71% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.66% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.27% of the population.

There were 8,905 households out of which 38.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.7% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.0% were non-families. 19.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.16.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.4% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 26.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $73,990, and the median income for a family was $82,807. Males had a median income of $55,703 versus $38,665 for females. The per capita income for the town was $30,966. About 1.5% of families and 1.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.8% of those under age 18 and 4.6% of those age 65 or over.

Education

Children attending the public school systems in South Windsor begin at the elementary school level (Kindergarten through Grade 5) at one of five elementary schools: Eli Terry, Orchard Hill, Philip R. Smith, Pleasant Valley and Wapping. Students then graduate to Timothy Edwards Middle School, for grades 6-8. They also have the choice to go to a magnet school, Two Rivers in East Hartford. They then finish up their schooling at South Windsor High Schoolmarker. Over 140 students in the 2004, 2005, and 2006 classes have been admitted to the University of Connecticutmarker in Storrs, CT.

Economy and Commercial Development

South Windsor has recently seen an increase in commercial development, a major shift from the town's industrial and agricultural origins. At the same time, the town has seen an over-reliance on residential property taxes to fund the town's budget and services. Many argue that commercial development is necessary. However, some disagree and favor open space, preservation, and regulations limiting commercial as well as further residential developments.

Single and multi-family residential development has lately been discouraged by the town in favor of senior housing complexes, whose residents require fewer town services and do not add children to the school system.

Yet the town borders Manchestermarker, which is home to the Shoppes at Buckland Hills and other stores part of a huge commercial area that serves the entire state. South Windsor had in the past received significant traffic but no taxes from these stores. Thus the town approved Evergreen Walk, a 1.2 million square foot non-enclosed retail development, with some 60 outlets. In recent years, the Buckland commercial zone bordering Manchester has been greatly developed and the town now receives significant taxes from the retail sector.

Development continues on Buckland Road, with former tobacco fields and barns giving way to various retail and office projects. The town also plans to develop the I-291 Gateway Zone, located at the southern end of John Fitch Boulevard (U.S. Route 5). Other areas of development include Rye Street and the construction of an Aldi distribution center.

Side Notes

Famous People Born In South Windsor Include:

Brett Burnham (Minor League Baseball player), Gary Burnham (Minor League Baseball player), Chris Clark (NHL hockey player), Harry F. Farnham (politician - 1879), Oliver Wolcott (Signer of the Declaration of Independence), John Fitch (inventor - 1743), Jonathan Edwards (theologian - 1703)

Well-Known Residents (Past & Present) Include:

Will Friedle (Television Star), Major Michael Donnelly (Gulf War Veteran, Activist), Timothy Edwards (Minister, Father of Jonathan Edwards), Houman Younessi (Scientist), Jeff Porcaro, Steve Porcaro, and Mike Porcaro (members of rock band Toto), Chris Clark (NHL Player), Marcus Camby (NBA Player), John Buccigross (ESPN Analyst), Rachna Khanna (Community Activist)

References



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