Farmington is a town in Hartford County in the Farmington Valley area of central Connecticut in the United States. The population was 25,340 at the 2010 census. It sits 10 miles west of Hartford at the hub of major I-84 interchanges, 20 miles south of Bradley International Airport and two hours by car from New York City and Boston. It is home to the world headquarters of several large corporations including Otis Elevator Company and Carvel. The northwestern section of Farmington is a suburban neighborhood called Unionville.
Eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
Farmington was originally inhabited by the Tunxis Indian tribe. In 1640, a community of English immigrants was established by residents of Hartford, making Farmington the oldest inland settlement west of the Connecticut River and the twelfth oldest community in the state. Settlers found the area ideal because of its rich soil, location along the floodplain of the Farmington River, and valley geography.
The town and river were given their present names in 1645, which is considered the incorporation year of the town. The town’s boundaries were later enlarged several times, making it the largest in the Connecticut Colony. The town was named “Farmington” on account of its location within a farming district.
Farmington has been called the “mother of towns” because its vast area was divided to produce nine other central Connecticut communities. The borough of Unionville, in Farmington’s northwest corner, was once home to many factories harnessing the water power of the Farmington River.
Farmington is steeped in New England history. Main Street, in the historic village section, is lined with colonial estates, some of which date back to the 17th century. During the Revolutionary War, George Washington passed through Farmington on several occasions and referred to the town as “the village of pretty houses.” In addition, French troops under General Rochambeau encamped in Farmington en route to Westchester County to offer crucial support to General Washington’s army.
The majority of Farmington residents were abolitionists and were active in aiding escaped slaves. Several homes in the town were “safe houses” on the Underground Railroad. The town became known as “Grand Central Station” among escaped slaves and their “guides”.
Farmington played an important role in the famous Amistad trial. In 1841, 38 Mende Africans and Cinqué, the leader of the revolt on the Amistad slave ship, were housed and educated in Farmington after the U.S. government refused to provide for their return to Africa following the trial. The Mende were educated in English and Christianity while funds were raised by residents for their return to Africa.
The Farmington Canal, connecting New Haven with Northampton, Massachusetts, passed through the Farmington River on its eastern bank and was in operation between 1828 and 1848. The canal’s right of way and towpath were eventually used for a railroad, portions of which were active up to the 1990s. Part of the canal and railroad line has now been converted to multi-use paved trails, called the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail and the Farmington River Trail, respectively.
Farmington Public Schools operates public schools.
Students in Farmington have access to public schools that consistently rank among the best[which?] in the nation. The town has seven main public schools. The four K–4 elementary schools are Union School, West District School, Noah Wallace School, and East Farms School. The recently built West Woods Upper Elementary School houses all of grades 5 and 6. Irving A. Robbins Middle School houses grades 7 and 8. Farmington High School serves grades 9–12 for the entire town. In 2005, Farmington High School was ranked 125 on Newsweek magazine’s list of the best schools in the United States, in 2006 Farmington was ranked 269 and in 2007, 298.
Miss Porter’s School, an exclusive college preparatory school for girls, is in Farmington. The school, whose buildings occupy much of the village center, is a significant historic and cultural institution in its own right. Founded in 1843 by educational reformer Sarah Porter, Miss Porter’s has long been one of the most selective preparatory schools for girls in the country. Famous alumni include Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Lilly Pulitzer and members of the Bush, Vanderbilt, and Rockefeller families.
Tunxis Community College is in the southwest part of the town.
As of the census of 2010, there were 25,340 people, 9,496 households, and 6,333 families residing in the town. The population density was 879.9 people per square mile (339.7/km2). There were 11,072 housing units at an average density of 351.2 per square mile (135.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 85.92% White, 2.21% African American, 0.04% Native American, 9.59% Asian, 0.49% from other races, and 2.43% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.98% of the population.
There were 10,522 households, out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.7% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% were non-families. Of all households, 29.6% were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 22.0% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.3 males.
In 2018, the median household income was $94,606 and the per capita income for the town was $56,571. About 3.1% of families and 5.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.