July 17, 2014
By ROSA CICCIO | Hartford Courant
HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: Originally called Saybrook, it changed its name to that of its most prominent section in 1947 to avoid confusion with the separate town of Old Saybrook.
ORIGINS: Settled in the 1630s as an independent colony. Saybrook Colony gave up its independence when it joined the Connecticut Colony in 1644. Saybrook would eventually splinter, giving rise to a several individual towns beginning with Lyme in 1667, followed by Chester, Westbrook, Old Saybrook and Essex.
EARLY INDUSTRY: Ivory would become the town's main industry after 1798 when Phineas Pratt invented a special saw that, using wind or water power, would cut ivory. By the latter part of the 19th century, his invention had helped Pratt, Read & Co. become a world leader in the manufacture of ivory products from combs and ornaments to piano keys.
DID YOU KNOW? The annual Deep River Ancient Muster, established in 1953, is the largest fife and drum event in Connecticut and one of the largest in the country.
NOTABLE RESIDENTS: David Bushnell, inventor of the world's first functioning submarine; Civil War Gen. Alpheus S. Williams; Major League baseball pitcher Paul Hopkins; actress Gretchen Mol; and musical performer Ryan Driscoll.
SOURCES: The Hartford Courant, nytimes.com, web.mit.edu, rja.org, csginc.org, deepriverct.com, Connecticut Place Names, CT State Register and Manual.