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.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 44.6 square miles (115.4 km2), of which 32.8 square miles (84.9 km2) is land and 11.8 square miles (30.5 km2), or 26.43%, is water. The town center CDP has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), all land. Waterford is bordered on the west by the Niantic River.
Other minor communities and geographic features are Dufree Hill, East Neck, Fog Plain, Gilead, Goshen, Great Neck, Harrisons, Lake's Pond, Logger Hill, Mago Point, Magonk, Mullen Hill, Oswegatchie, Pepperbox Road, Pleasure Beach, Ridgewood Park, Riverside Beach, Spithead, Strand, West Neck.
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.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
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, out of which 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 all households were made up of individuals, and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38, and the average family size was 2.91.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 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% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.1 years.
The median income for a household in the town was $73,156, and the median income for a family 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.
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, out of which 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 all households were made up of individuals, and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.80.
In the CDP the population was spread out, with 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% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.7 years.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $59,886, and the median income for a family 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.
Schooling in Waterford has had a long journey to get to where it is today. The transformation consisted of the construction of many new school buildings, additions to existing buildings, and many new students moving to the area every year. The first school that opened was the yellow-bricked Clark Lane School in 1953. The construction of this school marked a step towards all-town independence. Clark Lane School was a single-story non-district elementary school that had the town's first gymnasium and kindergarten classrooms with heated flooring. Additionally, the school housed the first purpose-built library. Later on, the library was replaced with a small cafeteria that was subsequently replaced in 1973 by one that was fourteen times larger. The school's first principal was Harold Goldberg, who served from 1964 to 1992. Students in kindergarten through sixth grade were brought from the four district schools to attend Clark Lane School.
The all-town junior high school later replaced the elementary classes in 1954. They began teaching French and Spanish in the year 1959 during this time period. Then, the all-town junior high school was replaced with a less derivative middle school. Sixth graders' recess was lost, but they, additionally, offered shop, living skills, music, and art in the specially equipped rooms.
Families began growing, and this resulted in the need of more schools to fit the growing children population. With the expanding children population, Waterford needed the addition of four new schools as well as fifteen new additions between the years of 1953 and 1982. The biggest change Waterford overcame was the building of the first high school in 1956. The high school had twenty four rooms and was located where it is today, 20 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford, Connecticut. It was completed in the year of 1957 and held grades seventh through ninth. During this time period, school had very strict discipline. For example, if girls' skirts were not below their knees, they were sent home. By 1957, the school day had added another hour, and Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Latin were added also. During this school year, there were 612 students between grades seventh and ninth. Waterford High School became a four-year, ninth through twelfth, school in 1959.
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.
1737 is the earliest mention of a schoolhouse in Waterford, known as the Jordan Schoolhouse. The Jordan Schoolhouse is located on the Jordan Green. The schoolhouse is known as the oldest public building still standing and the first documented school in Connecticut. 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.
Waterford's local government is structured using a Representative Town Meeting system. The legislative body has five representatives from each of the four districts, giving the Town Meeting a total of 20 elected members. In 2017, six Democrats, four Greens, and ten Republicans were elected to the body.
As of the 2017 election results, the Representatives of the Waterford Town Meeting are:
|3rd||Joshua Steele Kelly||GRN|
Waterford's economic center is predominantly retail chains, including a variety of mini-malls and the Crystal Mall. There are several family-owned delicatessens and restaurants. It is also home to Dominion's Millstone Nuclear Power Plant, consisting of three reactors, the first built between 1966 and 1970. While Millstone's first reactor is no longer in operation, the remaining two still provide power to a variety of towns in New England.
Pleasure Beach is one of the many beaches in Waterford, Connecticut. It is located at the end of Dock Road. Not only does Pleasure Beach have a beach, it is also the location of a public boat launch. Pleasure Beach is part private and part public. The membership cost for a family of four is $825.00, which includes the new member fee of $500.00; this is for the first 3 installments – total cost is $1,500.00; the assessment fee of $250.00; this includes 2 free badges per household, the extra badges fee of $50.00, and a $25.00 cost for each additional badge; children of eight and over are required to wear a badge, and the voting member fee, which is $25.00 for one person to vote. To become a member you have to live in certain boundaries. The private side membership includes attendance to all beach get-together and activities. Some activities in the past are cocktail parties, beach cleanup at the start of the season, sand castle contests, and an annual beach picnic. The public side is marked and is open to the public with a path down to the beach and a parking lot a short walk down.
The Waterford Police Department has 47 officers on active duty. "The Waterford Police Department, commanded by Chief Brett Mahoney, also has a Board of Police Commissioners. The rest of the department consists of Lieutenants, Sergeants, Patrol Officers, K-9 Officers, Detectives, Traffic Officer, Evidence/Court Officer, School Resource Officers and civilian Community Service Officers."
According to 2012 statistics, the crime rate in Waterford is below average compared to most cities in the United States.
The murder rate for Waterford is 5.1 per 100,000 with one murder occurring in 2012. 6 robberies occurred as well as 38 assaults. In 2012, 55 burglaries, 451 thefts and 9 auto thefts occurred.
Due to the Dominion Millstone nuclear power plant, large-scale shopping areas, two railways and two interstate highways, there are numerous preparations in place in Waterford for a terrorist attack.
The Town of Waterford is protected by a combination volunteer and career fire service, consisting of five fire companies located throughout the town. Eight career firefighters staff three of the five stations Monday through Friday, six career firefighters work from 6am to 4pm and two from 4pm to 2am. The town also employs a fire administrator, fire marshal and a fire inspector. Aside from career staff the departments staff part-time firefighters on during the day and on nights and weekends. Residents whom volunteer as firefighters also staff the stations and respond to emergencies day and night. Applications to volunteer are available at each of the fire companies. Waterford Fire Marshal's Office is located in the civic triangle at 204 Boston Post Road. The fire administrator, fire marshal and fire inspector are based at this location, as well the town's police and fire dispatch center is located in this building.
The current fire service in the Town of Waterford began in 1921 with the incorporation of Waterford Fire Co. No. 1, Jordan Fire Company. After Jordan Fire Co. was incorporated four other fire companies were soon organized: Quaker Hill Fire Co. in 1927, Goshen Fire Engine Co. 1 (now Goshen Fire Department) in 1928, Oswegatchie Fire Co. in 1932, and Cohanzie Fire Co. in 1941.
Jordan Fire Co. purchased the first motorized fire apparatus in 1923, a Ford Model T delivery truck that was retrofitted to become a chemical fire engine. Goshen Fire Department, then Goshen Fire Engine Co. 1, purchased the first pumper in town, a 1928 Ford La France. The first diesel fire engine, a Mack Model C, was purchased by Oswegatchie Fire Co. in 1967.
The fire service in Waterford remained completely volunteer until 1961 when the first full-time paid firefighter was hired to staff the Jordan Fire Co. The town of Waterford is currently served by seven full-time paid firefighters who staff the five fire stations, as well as two fire inspectors, a fire marshal and a fire administrator. The career firefighters in Waterford are an organized local of the I.A.F.F., International Association of Firefighters.
There has not been an increase in full-time firemen in the past twenty years. The past ten years have shown a decrease in volunteer firemen, necessitating the full-time firefighters. In recent budget meetings with the Board of Finance, Fire Administrator Bruce Miller and First Selectman Dan Steward have stated there are staffing issues related to the volunteers. All five fire companies are constantly accepting new members into the ranks, membership applications are available at each station. No training is required to join, the fire companies send new and current members to fire school and fire academy courses to become certified firefighters.
Throughout the history of the Town of Waterford there has been several major fires. The Jordan mill was devastated by fire at least twice, once in 1905 and again in 1942. Summer mansions where Harkness State Park now stands, have been destroyed by fire. Two fire houses have also been consumed by fire in Waterford, the Jordan fire house in 1936 and the Goshen fire house in 1945.
The fire that destroyed the Goshen fire house on the morning of December 26, 1945 also took the life of Firefighter Frank E. King, the department's secretary and treasurer. Mr. King is believed to be the only firefighter to be killed in the line of duty in the Town of Waterford.
In the past ten years, there has been only one account of a fire-related death in the Town of Waterford. In the past twenty years, major home fires have destroyed homes. In ten years, there have been four accounts of fires committed by arsonists.
In the event of a terrorist attack or any major fires, the Waterford Fire Department has ongoing training so they can be prepared to face what is happening at that moment.
|Station||Engine Company||Truck Company||Ambulance||Special Unit||Address||Phone|
|Waterford Fire Engine Co. 1||Engine 11||Ladder 15||Ambulance 100||89 Rope Ferry Road||(860)442-5332|
|Quaker Hill Fire Co.||Engine 21. Truck 25||Ambulance 200||Fire Boat 92||17 Old Colchester Road||(860)447-3333|
|Goshen Fire Dept.||Engine 31 Engine 32||Ambulance 300||Fire Boat 93||63 Goshen Road||(860)443-6260|
|Oswegatchie Fire Co. 4||Engine 41 Engine 42||Ambulance 400||Support Unit 94||441 Boston Post Road||(860)442-0666|
|Cohanzie Fire Co. 5||Engine 51||Tower 55||Ambulance 500||Rescue 57||53 Dayton Road||(860)442-0455|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Waterford, Connecticut.|