Tolland was named in May, 1715, and incorporated in May, 1722. According to some, the town derives its name from being a toll station on the old road between Boston and New York. Alternatively, its name could have been taken after Tolland in Somerset, England. Today Interstate 84, the main highway connecting New York City, Hartford, Connecticut and Boston, bisects Tolland, but the town retains a charming village feel. Tolland Green is the informal center of the community, and a national historic district. The Green's features include an old-fashioned penny candy and antiques store known to locals as the 'Red and White'; the town's original 19th-century town hall, now an arts center; the 'Old Tolland Jail' museum; the 'Tolland Inn' bed and breakfast; and the Hicks-Stearns Museum, a restored Victorian house. The architectural styles on display, including the white steeples of several churches, are reminiscent of a picture-postcard New England scene. The town is also home to the supposedly haunted 'Benton Homestead'.
Many of the town's adults work in Hartford, located about 25 minutes away, often at one of the city's many insurance companies, or for the neighbouring University of Connecticut in Storrs to the south. A family-oriented town, the landscape of Tolland is primarily composed of large houses, and mansions on plots of around two acres. Undeveloped, forested land covers the area between the town's many residential developments. Containing two state forests and several municipal parks, the town retains a relatively rural character.
In September 2006 Tolland opened the new Tolland High School to support the growing number of students. The town is also expanding with new commercial and residential developments.
Tolland is an affluent town, and has ranked among "Best places to live in America" by CNN/Money magazine in the "small town" category several times:
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 40.3 sq mi (104.4 km2), of which 39.7 sq mi (102.8 km2) is land and 0.58 sq mi (1.5 km2) (1.46%) is water.
|Climate data for Tolland, Connecticut|
|Average high °F (°C)||33
|Average low °F (°C)||18
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||3.79
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,146 people, 4,586 households, and 3,788 families residing in the town. The population density was 331.0 people per square mile (127.8/km²). There were 4,665 housing units at an average density of 117.5 per square mile (45.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.36% White, 0.57% African American, 0.08% Native American, 1.19% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.39% from other races, and 0.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were .75% of the population.
There were 4,586 households out of which 42.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 74.4% were married couples living together, 1.9% had a female householder, and 17.4% were non-families. 13.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.3% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 99.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.1 males. The median income for a household in the town was $135,398 as of Census 2000, and, according to CNN/Money magazine's 2009 "Best Places to Live", the median income for a family in 2009 was $136,772. Males had a median income of $91,659 versus $57,795 for females. The per capita income for the town was $54,571. About .6% of families and .7% of the population were below the poverty line, including .5% of those under age 18 and .2% of those age 65 or over.
Tolland was governed by town meeting until November 1973, when it adopted a new charter. The principal governing body of Tolland is the elected Town Council, which is responsible for making policy and major decisions about the town's future. The day-to-day operations of the town are handled by a Town Manager, a paid professional appointed by the Council and charged with implementing and executing Council policy and decisions.
The Council consists of seven unpaid members elected in a general election in the town every two years. Currently, the Council consists of five Republicans and two Democrats, and was elected in November 2017. The council selects its own chairman and vice-chairman, with the chairman traditionally being the highest vote-getter among the four majority-party members and the vice-chairman the highest among the minority party members, though the council is not under obligation to follow this pattern. Except for Executive Sessions (which are held to renegotiate contracts with Town employees, among other reasons) meetings are open to the public and contain a time for citizens to address the Council from the floor. As of December 2005, meetings were held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month at 7:30pm in the 6th floor Council Chambers, the Hicks Municipal Building at 21 Tolland Green.
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