Enfield is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States, founded by Reverend Zachary of Deer Run. The population was 44,654 at the 2010 census. It is bordered by Longmeadow, Massachusetts and East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, to the north, Somers to the east, East Windsor and Ellington to the south, and the Connecticut River (towns of Suffield and Windsor Locks) to the west.
Enfield was originally inhabited by the Pocomtuc tribe, and contained their two villages of Scitico and Nameroke. Though land grants were first granted in 1674, no one attempted to settle what is known as Enfield until 1679 when the Pease Brothers of Robert and John II, settlers from Salem, Massachusetts came in to settle the fertile lands. They dug a shelter into a hill and camped there for the winter until their families came to help them build houses. In 1675, a sawmill owned by William Pynchon II was burned in the wake of King Phillip’s War. The first town meeting was held on August 14, 1679 and a committee of five were appointed by men from Springfield as it was the parent town at the time. Enfield was incorporated in Massachusetts on May 16, 1683 as the Freshwater Plantation. The same day as the town of Stow, Massachusetts, making them the 52nd/53rd towns in the Colony. The namesake is the Freshwater Brook (Also known as the Asnuntuck Brook) that traverses the town. Five years later, on March 16, 1688, the townspeople purchased Enfield from a Podunk named Notatuck for 25 pounds Sterling. It is unclear what claim Notatuck actually had to the land, or whether he was selling the land or the rights to use it. Shortly around 1700, the town changed its name to Enfield after Enfield in Middlesex, and to go with the other fields in the area such as Springfield, Westfield, and Suffield.
In 1734, the eastern part of town separated into the town of Somers. In 1749, following the settlement of a lawsuit in which it was determined that a surveyor’s error placed a section of present-day Hartford County (including Enfield) within the boundaries of Massachusetts, the town seceded and became part of Connecticut.
Jonathan Edwards preached his famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”, in Enfield. It was part of the Great Awakening revival that struck New England in the mid-18th century and spread throughout Western North American civilization.
The modern town of Enfield was formed through the merging of Enfield, Thompsonville, and Hazardville, named for Colonel Augustus George Hazard (1802–1868), whose company manufactured gunpowder in the Powder Hollow area of the town from the 1830s to the 1910s. In the 1989 film Glory, boxes of gunpowder can be seen with the words Enfield, CT printed on the sides. In an episode in the 1970s police drama Hawaii Five-O, Jack Lord’s character Steve McGarrett traces explosives back to “The Hazard Gunpowder Company- Enfield, CT”. The capacity of the mill at the time of the Civil War was 1,200 pounds (540 kg) per day. Over 60 people died in explosions in Powder Hollow during the years when gunpowder was manufactured there. The mill blew up several times, but was set up so that if one building blew up, the rest would not follow in a chain reaction. The ruins of these buildings and the dams are open to the public. Powder Hollow is now home to baseball fields and hiking trails.
King’s Island in the Connecticut River, previously known as Terry Island (or Terry’s Island, or Great Island), was the location of pivotal meetings of Adventist Christians in 1872 and 1873.
In 1972, Asnuntuck Community College was established in Enfield as the twelfth institution in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system (CSCU). Classes began in 1972 with an initial enrollment of 251, and 12 Associate in Science degrees and 20 Associate of Art degrees were awarded to the first graduating class in 1974.
There are five sections of the town of Enfield. Enfield Village, Thompsonville, Hazardville, Scitico, and Sherwood Village.
Enfield Shaker village
In 1793, a historic Shaker village, Enfield Shaker village, one of nineteen scattered from Maine to Kentucky, was established in the town. The Utopian religious sect practiced celibate, communal living, and is today renowned for its simple architecture and furniture. Membership eventually dwindled, however, and the village disbanded. The property has since been redeveloped by the Enfield Correctional Institution, still located on Shaker Road.
Asnuntuck Community College is a two-year college in Enfield.
Enfield Public Schools operates the town’s public schools.
Enfield High School is the town’s sole high school. John F. Kennedy Middle School is the town’s middle school. The Enfield primary schools educate students in kindergarten through grade 2, the intermediate schools educate students from grade 3 through grade 5, the middle school grades 6 through grade 8, and the high school runs from grade 9 through grade 12.
Thomas G. Alcorn School was originally a high school until it was converted to an elementary school when the current high school (Enfield High School) was built in the 1960s. Alcorn School was closed in 2011 and its empty shell of a building is now used as office space. Enfield High School was later extensively renovated in 1993. Enrico Fermi High School was one of two high schools in town, which opened in 1972, but closed in 2016 as a result of the town’s high school consolidation into Enfield High School. The Fermi high school mascot was a falcon. The Fermi high school logo included an image of an atom and a distillation flask.
As of 2016, Enfield Public Schools educates approximately 5,000 students.
Capitol Region Education Council has its own magnet school in Enfield. The Public Safety Academy ranges from grade 6 through 12
Two Catholic parochial schools (Kindergarten through grade 8) serve the Enfield community, St. Bernard School and St. Martha’s School. Typically, these schools operate on the same academic calendar as the public schools.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 34.2 square miles (88.6 km2), of which 33.3 square miles (86.2 km2) is land and 0.93 square miles (2.4 km2), or 2.76%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 45,212 people, 16,418 households, and 11,394 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,354.3 people per square mile (523.0/km2). There were 17,043 housing units at an average density of 510.5 per square mile (197.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 89.74% White, 5.61% African American, 0.20% Native American, 1.34% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.57% from other races, and 1.54% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.74% of the population.
There were 16,418 households, out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.7% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 22.6% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 34.2% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 110.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $67,402, and the median income for a family was $77,554. Males had a median income of $42,335 versus $31,082 for females. The per capita income for the town was $29,340. About 2.8% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.