Fairfield County CT, Gateway to New England

Fairfield County CT Town Map

 

Towns and Cities in Fairfield County, CT:
  • Norwalk
  • Redding
  • Ridgefield
  • Shelton
  • Sherman
  • Stamford
  • Stratford
  • Trumbull
  • Weston
  • Westport
  • Wilton
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

While Fairfield County is one of the wealthiest counties in the country because of small towns like New Canaan, it is also home to less affluent, working class areas such as Bridgeport. The city of Bridgeport is mostly home to minorities and is a perfect example of Connecticut’s famed “wealth gap,” as all other towns in Fairfield County are considered affluent by national standards.

The towns in Fairfield County bordering Long Island Sound are sometimes referred to as The Gold Coast. The county’s largest cities are Bridgeport, Stamford, Danbury, and Norwalk. Together these cities contain about 420,000 people – almost half the population of the county.

As is the case with all eight of Connecticut’s counties, there is no county government, and no county seat. In Connecticut, towns are responsible for all local government activities, including fire and rescue, snow removal and schools. In a few cases, neighboring towns will share certain resources. However, Fairfield County is merely a group of towns on a map, and has no particular authority.

Contents
Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,168 km? (837 mi?). 1,621 km? (626 mi?) of it is land and 547 km? (211 mi?) of it (25.23%) is water.

The terrain of the county trends from flat near the coast to hilly and higher near its northern extremity. The highest elevation is 1,290 feet (393 m) above sea level along the New York state line south of Branch Hill in the Town of Sherman; the lowest point is sea level itself.

Adjacent Counties
History

Fairfield County was the home of many small and unconnected Native American tribes prior to the coming of the Europeans. The first European settlers were Puritans from England. David Sherman Boardman was a prominent early lawyer and judge in this and neighboring Litchfield County.

Although it is often viewed as an extension of metro-New York City, Fairfield County has had much industry in its own right. Stamford, Connecticut is an example of edge city urbanization, with many large and important companies having offices there.

At the height of its influence in the 1920s, the Ku Klux Klan had a small presence in the county. The group was most active in Darien.[1] The Klan has since disappeared from the county.

Cities, towns, sections of towns and villages*

* Villages are census division, but have no separate corporate existence from the towns they are in.

Transportation

Mass transit

With the county’s major thoroughfares, Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway, increasingly clogged with traffic, state officials are looking toward mass transit to ease the traffic burden. In the 2005 and 2006 sessions of the Legislature, massive appropriations were made to buy more rail cars for the Metro-North New Haven Line and branch lines. Ferry lines for some commuters in and out of Stamford are also in development.

New office buildings are being concentrated near railroad stations in Stamford, Bridgeport and other municipalities in the county to allow for more rail commuting. Proximity to Stamford’s Metro-North train station was cited by the Royal Bank of Scotland as a key reason for locating its new U.S. headquarters building in downtown Stamford; construction on the office tower started in late 2006.

Rail

Commuter Rail is perhaps Fairfield County’s most important transportation artery, as it allows many of its affluent residents an efficient ride to Grand Central. Service is provided on Metro-North’s New Haven Line, and every town on the shoreline has at least one station. Connecting lines bring service to New Canaan from Stamford and to Danbury from South Norwalk. Many trains run express from New York to Stamford, making it an easy 35 minute ride. Stamford and Bridgeport are also served by Amtrak, and both cities see a significant number of boardings.

Bus service

Connecticut Transit (CTTRANSIT)[1] runs local and inter-city buses to all some parts of the county. Norwalk Wheels is a bus service for Norwalk. GBTA is for the Bridgeport Area and eastern Fairfield County.

Major roads

Boston Post Road

  • U.S. Route 1, known by various names along its length, most commonly “Boston Post Road”, is the oldest north-south route in the county, running through all of its shoreline cities and towns. Since the route runs along the East Coast, for uniformity’s sake, in Connecticut east is officially called “North” and west is officially “South”.

Also potentially confusing are the numerous names that Route 1 takes as it goes from town to town. In Greenwich, for instance, it is called Putnam Avenue. In Stamford it becomes Main Street or Tresser Boulevard. In Darien and Fairfield it is called Boston Post Road or “the Post Road”. In Norwalk it is known as Connecticut Avenue.

Interstate 95

  • Interstate 95, known within Connecticut as the Connecticut Turnpike or the Governor John Davis Lodge Turnpike, crosses the state approximately parallel to U.S. Route 1. The road is most commonly referred to as “I-95″. The highway is six lanes (sometimes eight lanes) throughout the county. It was completed in 1958 and is often clogged with traffic particularly during morning and evening rush hours.

With the cost of land so high along the Gold Coast, state lawmakers say they don’t consider widening the highway to be fiscally feasible, although occasional stretches between entrances and nearby exits are now sometimes connected with a fourth “operational improvement” lane (for instance, westbound between the Exit 10 interchange in Darien and Exit 8 in Stamford). Expect similar added lanes in Darien and elsewhere in the Fairfield County portion of the highway in the future, lawmakers and state Department of Transportation officials say.

Merritt Parkway

The Merritt Parkway, also known as “The Merritt” or Connecticut Route 15, is a truck-free scenic parkway that runs through the county parallel and generally several miles north of Interstate 95. Like I-95, the route typically slows down during rush hours, but rarely stops.

The interchange between the Merritt Parkway and Route 7 in Norwalk was completed around the year 2000. The project was held up in a lawsuit won by preservationists concerned about the historic Merritt Parkway bridges. It is now exit 39 off the Merritt, and exit 16 off I-95.

Interstate 84

Interstate 84, which runs through Danbury, is scheduled to be widened to a six-lane highway at all points between Danbury and Waterbury. State officials say they hope the widening will not only benefit drivers regularly on the route but also entice some cars from the more crowded Interstate 95, which is roughly parallel to it. Heavier trucks are unlikely to use Interstate 84 more often, however, because the route is much hillier than I-95 according to a state Department of Transportation official.

U.S. Route 7

With its southern terminus at Interstate 95 in central Norwalk, U.S. Route 7 heads north through Wilton, Ridgefield, and Danbury to points north. In Danbury and almost all of Norwalk, the route is a highway (known as “Super 7″ in the Danbury area or “The Connector” in Norwalk) but it becomes a four-lane road just south of the Wilton-Norwalk border and up to Danbury. There is significant opposition to making the route a limited access highway for the entire length by residents of Wilton and Ridgefield.

Connecticut Route 8

Route 8 terminates (or starts) in Downtown Bridgeport from I 95 with Connecticut Route 25 and goes north. It splits from Connecticut Route 25 at the Bridgeport/ Trumbull town line and continues north into southeastern Trumbull and Shelton, then beyond the county through some of “The Valley” towns of the Naugatuck River Valley to Waterbury and beyond. Construction of the route provided some impetus for the creation of office parks in Shelton and home construction there and in other parts of The Valley.

Connecticut Route 25

Route 25 Starts in Downtown Bridgeport from I 95 with Route 8 and goes north. It splits from Connecticut Route 8 at the Bridgeport/ Trumbull town line and continues into Trumbull (expressway Ends in northern Trumbull, but still continues into Monroe, Newtown then continues to Brookfield.

Hospitals in the county
References

1. DiGiovanni, the Rev. (now Monsignior) Stephen M., The Catholic Church in Fairfield County: 1666-1961, 1987, William Mulvey Inc., New Canaan, Chapter II: The New Catholic Immigrants, 1880-1930; subchapter: “The True American: White, Protestant, Non-Alcoholic,” pp. 81-82; DiGiovanni, in turn, cites (Footnote 209, page 258) Jackson, Kenneth T., The Ku Klux Klan in the City, 1915-1930 (New York, 1981), p. 239

2. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09/09001.html

Daily newspapers covering the county
Colleges
Culture and the arts

Music: Orchestras in the county

  • Greater Bridgeport Symphony. Founded in 1945, its concerts are held at Klien Memorial Auditorium in Bridgeport. The orchestra offers a free outdoors pops concert in the summer at Fairfield University. Gustav Meier has been with the GBSO for 35 years.
  • Connecticut Grand Opera, a not-for-profit, professional opera company founded in 1993 and based in Stamford, where it performs at the Palace Theatre. On its web site, the CGO claims to offer “the most ambitious opera season of any company between New York and Boston.”
  • Danbury Symphony Orchestra. This orchestra does not have its own Web site and only part of a web page at the Danbury Music Center web site is devoted to it.
  • Greenwich Symphony Orchestra.Begun in 1958 as the Greenwich Philharmonia, the orchestra has grown to 90 members who perform at the Dickerman Hollister Auditorium at Greenwich High School. It also performs a pops concert in the summer. David Gilbert has been music director and conductor since 1975.
  • Norwalk Symphony Orchestra.Its concerts take place in a graceful, large “Norwalk Concert Hall” auditorium of Norwalk City Hall. Founded in 1939, the NSO remained primarily a community orchestra of volunteers. In 1956, the Norwalk Youth Symphony was created, and younger musicians often were invited to be part of the orchestra. Diane Wittry has been music director and conductor since 2002. For the past eight years she has held the same title at the Allentown (Pennsylvania) Symphony.
  • Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra Annually, the RSO presents four subscription concerts at the Anne S. Richardson Auditorium at Ridgefield High School, and two chamber music concerts at the Ridgefield Playhouse for the Performing Arts (only one is scheduled in the 2006-07 season), along with an annual “family concert” and performances in Ridgefield schools.
  • Stamford Symphony Orchestra The SSO typically gives five pairs of classical concerts and three pops concerts a season at the 1,586-seat Palace Theatre. It also performs a concet for elementary school students and a family concert series.
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