Waterford is a town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. It is named after Waterford, Ireland. The population was 19,517 at the 2010 census.
The town center is listed as a census-designated place (CDP) and had a population of 2,887 at the 2010 census.
The first people emigrated from England in 1637, and came to the New London and Waterford area (at the time, this land was called West Farms). One of the first people who set sail for this area was John Winthrop, Jr. Waterford got its name for its proximity to being in between two rivers. The residents of Waterford resided in wigwams until they dug up plots for 38 houses near the Great Neck area. John Winthrop was given several hundred acres of land, including Millstone Point and Alewife Cove. Various dams, mills, and ponds were constructed in these area. The only expansion of people in the Waterford-New London area were the growth of families and children. Later on, more people immigrated to Waterford, including the Welsh, Italian, Russian, Irish, and Scottish.
Waterford finally disbanded from New London on October 8, 1801. This happened after several farmers decided to hold a petition to separate them. The first town meeting was held in November, 1801 to appoint town officials; tax collectors, town surveyors, Fence Viewers, and First Selectman. Only the first selectman got paid at the time.
Waterford in the 19th century was a huge agricultural town, having mostly sheep farms. Waterford was also widely known for its granite industry that lasted from the late 19th century to the 1930s. Graniteville, a district in Waterford, is named after this industry. Although not part of Graniteville, the area today known as Crystal Mall was also home to granite quarries. Waterford’s granite was used in many construction projects such as roads, the foundation for Fort Sumter, and the Statue of Liberty. Granite though was replaced by concrete which slowly shrunk the granite industry until the 1930s.
During the 20th century, sheep farms were replaced by dairy farms. Between 1920 and 1960, there were about 100 dairy farms in Waterford. In addition, there were 10 to 100 heads of cattle. Waterford also obtained its town seal in 1946. It was made by Martin Branner who was a cartoonist who also made the famous comic, Winnie Winkle. After World War II, Waterford boomed with development. Many new roads and building were made. Also, Waterford’s population increased by 10,000 between 1946 and the present time. In 1957, the first stop light was added in Waterford. In addition, the first retail center was built in 1978.
Elementary schools appeared in 1915 when Quaker Hill School was built. Earlier, a lot was set aside for Quaker Hill in 1725 while the town was split into three districts: “Neck and Nehantick quarters,” “West,” and the “North East.” Each district would end up getting split into even more individual districts. Later on, a second schoolhouse was replaced, built in 1858. Cohanzie School was built in 1923. It replaced four schools: Gilead School, “Peter Baker” located on far northern Vauxhall Street, Lakes Pond brick building, and Cohanzie predecessor. Cohanzie was later closed in 2009 by the Town of Waterford. There has been discussions of renovating the remains of the building into a senior home.
1737 is the earliest mention of a schoolhouse in Waterford, known as the Jordan Schoolhouse, located on the Jordan Green. Farmers mainly wanted their children to be taught writing, reading, arithmetic, and religion. The Jordan School also influenced proper manners and obedience. Private lessons were of no need in Waterford, but were set up in the 19th century for those who had enough money to afford it. The Jordan School’s last day of teaching was in the year 1979 with a final assembly. The Jordan School is still used but is held as a museum to the public.
The town consists of a wide variety of rural and city living. At the 2010 census, there were 19,517 people in 8,005 households, including 5,335 families, in the town.
The population density was 584.7 people per square mile (225.8/km2). There were 7,986 housing units at an average density of 243.8 per square mile (94.2/km2).
The racial makeup of the town was 89.4% White, 2.5% African American, 0.5% Native American, 3.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.7% of the population.
There were 8,005 households, 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.0% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 28.0% of households were made up of individuals, and 9.8% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.38, and the average family size was 2.91.
The age distribution was 22.9% under the age of 20, 3.9% from 20 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 31.9% from 45 to 64, and 20.1% 65 or older. The median age was 46.1 years.
The median household income was $73,156 and the median family income was $93,933. The per capita income for the town was $114,645. About 3.1% of families and 5.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.
At the 2010 census, there were 2,887 people in 1,327 households, including 732 families, in the town center CDP.
The population density was 1,465.7 inhabitants per square mile (566.6/km2). There were 1,379 housing units at an average density of 688.6 per square mile (266.2/km2).
The racial makeup of the CDP was 87.8% White, 4.3% African American, 0.8% Native American, 2.9% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.5% of the population.
There were 1,327 households, 20.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.5% were married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.8% were non-families. 39.0% of households were made up of individuals, and 18.4% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.80.
The age distribution was 19.2% under the age of 20, 5.0% from 20 to 24, 4.1% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 23.9% 65 or older. The median age was 46.7 years.
The median household income was $59,886 and the median family income was $69,543. The per capita income for the CDP was $71,509. About 4.6% of families and 7.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.2% of those under age 18 and 20.4% of those age 65 or over.