By ROSA CICCIO | Hartford Courant HOW IT GOT ITS NAME: From Cheshire, England ORIGINS: Originally part of Wallingford, the area was settled in 1694. First called West Farms on Mill River, it took on the name of New Cheshire when it was granted parish rights in 1724. It was incorporated as a town in May 1780. INDUSTRY: While manufacturing and commercial enterprises have been an important part of the town's growth, agriculture has historically given the town its identity. Cheshire has been designated the "Bedding Plant Capital of Connecticut" by the General Assembly because of its large number of plant growers. AIR TRAGEDY: Cheshire was the site of what was at the time the worst air disaster in the state when an Eastern Airlines transport plane flying from Miami to Boston caught fire and crashed on farmland only a couple of miles from the town's center in January 1946. All 17 people on board were killed. DID YOU KNOW?: Cheshire made Money magazine's Top 100 Places To Live list in 2009, coming in at Number 72. FAMOUS RESIDENTS: Actors Jay Bontatibus, Ron Palillo and James Van Der Beek; politicians Samuel A. Foot and Seabury Ford; former NHL player Brian Leetch; former major league baseball player Brad Ausmus; UConn football coach Paul Pasqualoni; influential artist John Frederick Kensett; and novelist Justin Tussing.
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