Welcome New Neighbors!
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Welcome to New Fairfield, a beautiful New England town, located on the shores of Candlewood Lake. New Fairfield is known for its excellent schools, reasonable taxes and overall quality of life. Recreational activities range from water sports to programs for children and senior citizens alike. New Fairfield is known for its wonderful community spirit and there are groups for every interest. The generosity and involvement of these organizations enhance the quality of fife in our town.
New Fairfield is in an exciting time in its history with a detailed development and beautification plan to enhance the downtown area and provide services to New Fairfield residents. The school system has received distinction for its programs K-12 and the schools are all located along Gillotti Road, with the high school/ middle school campus located overlooking the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains.
The local government operates in a town meeting format where all taxpayers are entitled to participate. Day-to-day duties are performed by a First Selectman who is assisted by two other Selectmen forming the Board of Selectmen. The seat of government is the historic Town Hall which operates Tuesday through Friday 8:30-5:00, and on Saturday from 8:30 to noon. Visitors are always welcomed and we encourage you to visit us while you acquaint yourself with our area.
The first people in western Connecticut were Native Americans of the Mohican tribe. They moved from the Berkshire Mountains along the
river they named Pootatuck or "River of Falls". The first white settlers gave the general name of Pootatuck to all the Indians who lived
near the river. It has been said that all the tribes along the river lived in strict alliance and friendship. Pootatuck Council Cave,
west of Squantz Pond on the summit of Pond Mountain, is supposed to have been the place where the Indians met to hold their judgment
meetings. The "council rocks", located in Pootatuck State Forest, were known to all the western Connecticut Indians. It was also the
meeting place for other Indian tribes along the Housatonic River.
The first settlers migrated from Fairfield, Connecticut. In October 1707, the Connecticut General Assembly granted them an area on the western
border of the state for a township. In 1729 the tract of land was purchased from Squantz, Chief of the Schaghitcoke Indians, for sixty-five
pounds sterling. The parcel consisted of 49.9 square miles of wooded, hilly ground.
The town of New Fairfield was named and incorporated in 1740. The area, which was fourteen miles long, was referred to as the "upper seven"
and "lower seven". In 1742 the General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut granted permission to divide the to" into what is now Sherman and
New Fairfield. The town of Sherman was named after Roger Sherman, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, who lived in an area of
town known as "New Dilloway".
A long and bitter boundary dispute resulted in the cutting off of "the Oblong" between New York and Connecticut and the narrowing of the western
part of the area by several miles.
The area played an active role in the Revolutionary War, approving the formation of the Continental Congress. During the war, New Fairfield
organized an active militia and supplied critically needed provisions for the Continental Amy. In 1908 a monument was erected in the Beaver
Bog Cemetery dedicated to the memory of New Fairfield's Revolutionary War Soldiers.
The area began as an agricultural community. Along with dairy farming, corn, hay and tobacco were the main crops. Many new industries
arose in the 1800's including cariage and wagon shops, sawmills, gristmills, blacksmith shops and tanneries. Sherman provided an encampment
during the Civil War. Afterwards, the area became essentially a residential and fanning community.
A major change to the town occurred in the early 1900's when the Connecticut Light and Power Company converted a fifteen mile long and
three mile wide valley into a hydroelectric reservoir. Completed in 1928 the reservoir, now known as Candlewood Lake, became the largest
lake in Connecticut. Many homes, as well as several cemeteries, bridges and schools, became part of the "lake basin". The name Candlewood
came from the name given to the thin strips of wood from heart of pine trees used by early settlers to light their homes.
Except for summer increases due to the allure of the lake, the area population remained static until after WWII. It was then that the
town started to experience major growth.
New Fairfield and Sherman have now become quiet bedroom communitities serving Fairfield and Westchester Counties and New York City.
The Story of Candlewood Lake
Originally, Lake Candlewood was just a small stream called Rocky
River, a tributary of the Housatonic. The only purpose served by the river was to turn a mill wheel, now inundated. In 1926 the Connecticut Light and Power
Company developed a unique plan. the only one of its kind up to the time, calling for a huge reservoir, which would be filled not only by natural drainage
but also by bringing water up from the Housatonic into the take. A large pipe, some 13 feet in diameter, called a penstock, is visible adjacent to Route
7 north of New Milford center. It connects the lake to the Rocky River Power Plant and the pumps send water from the river up to the lake and from the lake
down to the river - a very practical scheme for generating power. Karl Y, Kitchen, writing in the New York Sun in 193 1, stated, "Unwittingly, one of the
most beautiful virgin lakes in American - and one of the five or six most beautiful in the world - was thus created." Although only fourteen miles long,
it has over 60 miles of shoreline, affording beautiful homesites for thousands of summer and permanent residents.
In the process of creating Candlewood Lake, the small, family-owned community of Jerusalem was immersed, more than 100 building were demolished or
removed and two cemeteries were excavated and transferred to other ground. As the work progressed over two years, nearby residents feared the lake
would become a large mudhole and property sold for as little as $50 an acre. After the lake was completed in 1928, lakefront prices soared to $1,000
an acre. In 1980 the lake's hydroelectric power plant was designated a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
Over the period of year, although meadows have given way to homes and developments, the original beauty of the lake is still preserved - in fact. enhanced.
by beautifully designed, well-kept, tastefully landscaped dwellings.