Darien, CT, located in lower Fairfield County, was originally the Middlesex Parish area of the town of Stamford until it was incorporated into its own town in May 1820. It is located directly on the shore of Long Island Sound and was named after the eastern end of the Isthmus of Panama.
History And Early Settlers
Settlement had begun about 1700 when the first roads were cut “in the woods.” In 1703 a school district was set up in Noroton. Five years later Scofield’s Mill was built on Good Wife’s River.
By 1744 a meetinghouse was completed and the Reverend Moses Mather became first minister. During the American Revolution, Middlesex Parish was frequently raided by local Tories who had fled to Lloyd’s neck on Long Island. They disrupted services at the meetinghouse on July 22, 1781, captured Dr. Mather and forty-seven other men, and transported them across the Sound. Dr. Mather with twenty-six of his parishioners suffered five months in foul British prisons in New York City before those who survived their confinement were exchanged and returned to their homes.
Until the advent of the railroad in 1848, Darien remained a small rural community of about one thousand farmers, shoemakers, fishermen, and merchants engaged in coastal trading. A gradual increase in population then occurred with the arrival of emigrants who came from Ireland and later from Italy.
In 1864 during the Civil War, the first home in the United States for disabled veterans and for soldiers’ orphans was built at Noroton Heights. It was named in recognition of its founder Benjamin Fitch of Darien. Following the war, Darien became a popular resort for prosperous New Yorkers who built summer homes in Tokeneke, Long Neck Point, and Noroton. A few daily commuters to New York City then were forerunners of the many who have settled here and changed Darien into a residential suburb of metropolitan New York.
Darien is located in Fairfield County, Connecticut. It is 14.9 square miles, has a population of 20,732, and has 6 voting districts. The population is 92 percent White, 0 percent Black, 4 percent Asian and 0 percent Native American or Native Hawaiian. 1 percent identify as another race or ethnicity, or two or more races. 2 percent of residents are of Hispanic or Latino origin. The median income is $199,444 and the median home value is $1,000,000.
Darien is mainly a residential community with very little industry. It serves as a bedroom community to NYC commuters as well as being the home to workers in Stamford and Greenwich.
Noteworthy And Interesting Facts About Darien
Darien was home to one of America’s first homes for military veterans, erected in 1864 by philanthropist Benjamin Fitch.
Stephen Mather, creator of the National Park Service, lived in Darien.
The 1981 movie “Cannonball Run” were based on real 1970s road races, one of which began in Darien.