Located in the rolling hills of northwestern Connecticut, Litchfield is an affluent summer resort community with a distinctive New England character and fascinating history less than two hours driving time from New York.
Founded in 1719, Litchfield has several homes on the National Register of Historic Places including the Oliver Wolcott House who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Articles of Confederation. Built in 1753, it is the oldest house in Litchfield and was the birthplace of several generations of Connecticut Governors.
In 1776, the Sons of Liberty pulled down the statue of King George III on horseback that stood on Bowling Green in New York City. The shattered pieces of the statue were sent to Litchfield, where the town’s women and children melted them to convert them to 42,000 bullets in the orchard behind Oliver Wolcott’s home.
During the Revolutionary War, with the Connecticut coastline under constant attack and New York occupied by the British, Litchfield prospered as a critical supply depot for the Continental Army with stores and munitions. It was considered a “Safe Town” to jail important Loyalists prisoners such as William Franklin, the royal Governor of New Jersey and son of Benjamin Franklin. David Matthews the mayor of New York City who was charged with an attempted kidnapping of George Washington was also held prisoner in this Continental Army stronghold on the strategic crossroads of northwestern Connecticut.
On the night of September 23, 1780, George Washington ate and slept at the Wolcott home during the Revolution and Lafayette was also a visitor to the house. The birthplace of Ethan Allen is another Revolutionary War hero’s historic home in Litchfield.
Litchfield was the county seat for many years and in 1784 Tapping Reeve created the Litchfield Law School which was of the first law schools in America offering a standardized curriculum so all students had access to the same body of legal knowledge. The town was also the site of one of the first women’s schools in America, Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Female Academy.
Litchfield’s early “Golden Age” over the next fifty years from 1784-1834 made it the center of Northwestern Connecticut’s intellectual, commercial, legal and cultural center with an unusually high number of college graduates and an intelligencia that made it stand out as a progressive New England community.
Litchfield’s economy suffered in the mid 19th Century industrial revolution because the community didn’t have a sufficient water supply and railroads to attract factories. This enabled it to retain its rural character and by the late 1800′s Litchfield became a resort community with weekend and summer vacation homes. Litchfield’s architecture is strongly influenced by the Colonial Revival style characterized with the community’s many white wood siding houses and black shutters.
Today, Litchfield is a relatively small town of approximately 8,000 people with carefully preserved 18th and 19th century homes along contemporary houses. Enjoy its architecture, restaurants, shops and scenic outdoor beauty that includes hiking, biking and boating at Litchfield’s Bantam Lake.
Bantam Lake at over 900 acres is the largest natural lake in Connecticut. The lake was a favorite hunting ground of the Pootatuck Indians and the large number of arrowheads on the north end of the lake suggest frequent skirmishes with the Mohawks coming from the Hudson River Valley to the west.
Bantam Lake offers some of the best fishing in Connecticut with the main species being Northern Pike, Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass, Yellow and White Perch. It also has as a very active sailing and ice boating community.
With its beautiful setting in the rolling hills of northwestern Connecticut that’s made it an ideal vacation home resort, together with its close proximity to New York and Hartford makes Litchfield one of Connecticut’s best cities for your home and family.