July 17, 2014
By ROSA CICCIO | Hartford Courant
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: For a series of locks at the lower end of the Enfield Falls Canal, built in 1829. The name was the suggestion of Alfred Smith, then president of the canal company.
ORIGINS: Originally part of Windsor and known as Pine Meadow, the area was for a time the only place in the colony where the Connecticut River could be forded, allowing it to be used by settlers moving from Massachusetts to the Hartford area. The town was incorporated in 1854.
INDUSTRY: Abundant water power was the catalyst for many early businesses. Many types of mills were established along the river and the town became a commercial hub. One of the earliest and most successful was the saw mill founded by Seth Dexter in 1767 which would become the international manufacturing conglomerate Dexter Corp. Until its break up and sale in 2000, Dexter Corp. was the oldest corporation listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
GOVERNOR GRASSO: The town is the birthplace of Ella T. Grasso, who in 1974 became the country's first woman governor elected in her own right. She was re-elected in 1978 but had to resign from once on December 31, 1980 due to illness. Grasso died February 5, 1981.
SOURCES: Hartford Courant; "Windsor Locks - Memorial History of Hartford County, CT (Osgood, 1886) Connecticut Place Names; bioguide.congress.gov; CT State Register and Manual