The information in this section was compiled by Kathleen McWilliams, Aneri Pattani and Alex Putterman. It was gathered from sources including town officials, town web sites, town historical society web sites, connecticuthistory.org, and Hartford Courant archives.
 

Hartford County

Avon:

Yung Wing, the first Chinese student to graduate from an American university (Yale University, 1854), once lived in Avon.

One of the worst traffic accidents in Connecticut history occurred in Avon when a truck driver lost control on Route 44, struck a series of cars and killed four people in 2005.

Avon was first settled as a part of Farmington in 1645.

Berlin:

On July 28, 1863, the Soldiers Monument in the Kensington section of Berlin was dedicated. One of the state’s earliest monuments commemorating the Civil War, it was dedicated less than a month after the Battle of Gettysburg.

The geographic center of the state is located in Berlin.

Emma Hart Willard, a pioneer in women’s education during the early 19th century, was born in Berlin.

Bloomfield:

The largest non-denominational church in New England is First Cathedral in Bloomfield.

In 1660, what is now Bloomfield was settled as a part of Windsor.

Joe D’Ambrosio — voice of the UConn Huskies — resides in Bloomfield.

Bristol:

Bristol's nicknames include “Bell City,” thanks to its history manufacturing doorbells, and the “Mum City,” because it once led chrysanthemum production and still holds an annual Bristol Mum Festival.

Bristol’s Lake Compounce is the oldest continuously operating theme park in America.

The American Clock & Watch Museum in Bristol is one of only a few museums in the country dedicated solely to timekeeping and timekeepers.

Burlington:

Silas Brooks, an early American aeronaut who made many pioneering trips in balloon aircraft (filled with various chemical gases, not just hot air), was buried in Burlington.

The southern portion of Burlington is known as Whigville after a group of residents who belonged to the Whig Party (a forerunner of the Republican Party) proclaimed themselves “Whigville” residents at a convention in Hartford.

Ludella Peck, one of the first American women college educators, was born in Burlington.

Canton:

The Collins Axe Co. factory opened in Canton in 1826 and produced the first ready-to-use axes in the U.S.

Elisha Root invented the industrial technique of die casting — the process of shaping something by pouring molten metal into a die or mold and allowing it to harden — while working at the Collins Co.

William E. Simonds, who won a Congressional Medal of Honor for the Battle of Irish Bend during the Civil War, was born and raised in Canton.

East Granby:

East Granby is home to the Old Newgate Prison, a former copper mine turned prison used during the Revolutionary War to imprison British loyalists.

The author of the “I-Spy” childrens book series, Walter Wick, grew up in East Granby.

In 1995, American Airlines Flight 1572 flew too low over Peak Mountain in East Granby, brushing the tree tops and causing a fire, which forced the plane to make a quick landing at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

East Hartford:

Rentschler Field in East Hartford — home field of the UConn football team — was the former site of the Pratt & Whitney airfield.

East Hartford is home to a Coca Cola bottling plant.

The town was part of Hartford until its incorporation in 1783.

East Windsor:

Lorrin Andrews, a missionary to Hawaii who translated the Bible into the Hawaiian language, was born in East Windsor.

The Connecticut Trolley Museum and the Connecticut Fire Museum are located at Warehouse Point.

The northen half of East Windsor was annexed from Springfield, Mass., and the southern part from Windsor.

Enfield:

Enfield was founded in 1679 by settlers from Salem, Mass.

The Enfield Shaker community contributed to the town’s economy in the 19th century; in addition to furniture, their garden seeds sold throughout the U.S.

Enfield has two sister cities. One is Ronneby, Sweden, and the other is Jhongli City, Taiwan.

Farmington:

The Tunxis Native American tribe originated in Farmington.

In the 1800s, Farmington was known as “Grand Central Station” on the Underground Railroad in the state because of the town’s efforts to help slaves escape.

After the Amistad trial, the leaders of the revolt stayed in Farmington because the U.S. government refused to return them to Africa.

Glastonbury:

Glastonbury produced gunpowder during the Revolutionary War.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the town turned to shipbuilding.

The J.B. Williams Co.’s soap factory developed such products as ‘Lectric Shave and Aqua Velva.

Granby:

Granby has a distinctive shape due to a deep notch in its northern border with Massachusetts, the result of the resolution of a 150-year-old border dispute.

Joe Bouchard, bassist and occasional vocalist for rock band Blue Oyster Cult, lives in Granby with his wife Sara and two daughters.

The first unofficial coins in the American Colonies were minted in Granby in 1737.

Hartford:

Hartford’s nickname is the Insurance Capital of the World.

Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe lived next to each other in Hartford.

In the late 19th century, Hartford was the wealthiest city in the country.

Hartland:

Architect Asher Benjamin, whose work influenced the look of cities and towns in New England, was born in Hartland on June 15, 1773.

Hartland's Gaylord House is an example of mid-1800s architecture, when Greek Revival became a popular national style.

The East Hartland Volunteer Fire Department celebrated the 68th anniversary of its annual carnival fundraiser in July.

Manchester:

Geno Auriemma, head coach of the UConn women’s basketball team, lives in Manchester.

Manchester was a large industrial center in the 19th and 20th centuries, with glassworks, lumber and silk mills, including the Cheney Brothers Mill, which was the world’s largest silk operation.

Manchester has more than 1,000 acres of park lands.

New Britain:

Home to companies like Stanley Black & Decker and the American Hardware Corp., New Britain is nicknamed “The Hardware City.”

On June 13, 1910, New Britain native Charles Keeney Hamilton completed the first round-trip journey ever made between two large cities (New York and Philadelphia) in an airplane in the U.S.

New Britain is one of three Connecticut cities that was not incorporated until the 19th century (the others are Meriden and Bridgeport).

Newington:

Newington is home to Mill Pond Falls, at 16 feet the smallest natural waterfall in the state.

The Newington Junction Railroad Depot was built in 1870 by the Boston, Hartford and Erie Railroad.

Early names for Newington included West Farms and Pipestave Swamp.

Plainville:

Plainville native John Trumbull, who served as governor from 1925 to 1931, was known as the “Flying Governor” because he flew himself to gubernatorial functions.

Plainville hosts an annual hot air balloon festival – one of the last in the U.S. -- that draws up to 20,000 visitors.

Founded in 1911, Robertson Airport in Plainville is Connecticut’s oldest airport.

Rocky Hill:

The town is named for a trap rock ridge in the northeast section.

In 1966 hundreds of dinosaur tracks were discovered in Rocky Hill, and today are the site of Dinosaur State Park.

Rocky Hill was named one of CNN Money Magazine’s top 100 places to live in 2007.

Simsbury:

In 2013 Simsbury was Connecticut Magazine’s best place to live in Connecticut.

Simsbury was the site of the U.S’ first steel mill in 1728.

The first copper coins in the Colonies were minted in 1737 by Samuel Higley, who used ore from his Copper Hill Mine – which later became Old Newgate Prison.

South Windsor:

Three members of the rock band Toto — brothers Steve, Jeff and Mike Porcaro — were born in South Windsor.

Ulysses S. Grant once stayed at a home on Main Street in South Windsor.

Steamboat inventor John Fitch was a South Windsor resident.

Southington:

The first machine-made nuts and bolts were made in the mid-1800s in Southington by the Micah Rugg and Martin Barnes factory.

James Aparo, an illustrator at DC Comics for over 30 years who drew series like Aquaman and Green Arrow, and was most famous for Batman’s modern makeover, was a Southington resident.

Southington’s annual Apple Harvest Festival attracts approximately 100,000 visitors each year.

Suffield:

Suffield was originally spelled “Southfield” but pronounced “Suffield.”

The town’s early economy switched from fishing and shipbuilding to tobacco growing with the development of broadleaf tobacco. By the 1830s, the town was producing 14 million cigars a year.

The Farmington Canal, added to the National Reigster of Historic Places in 1985, begins in New Haven and ends in Suffield.

West Hartford:

Noah Webster was born in West Hartford in 1758.

West Hartford is the home of the American School for the Deaf, which will celebrate its 200th birthday in 2017.

In 2010, online magazine Travelandleisure.com listed West Hartford as one of the 10 “coolest” suburbs in the nation.

Wethersfield:

In 1781, George Washington and French Army General Rochambeau stayed at the Webb House as they prepared for the Battle of Yorktown.

Old Wethersfield, the historic part of town, boasts 150 buildings built before 1850.

Wethersfield is the setting for classic children’s novel “The Witch of Blackbird Pond.” The story tells the tale of a Puritan community and a young girl who befriends an ostracized old woman.

Windsor Locks:

Windsor Locks is almost exactly halfway between Hartford and Springfield, Mass.

Windsor Locks was home to oldest company on the New York Stock Exchange until 2000, when the Dexter Corp., which manufactured paper goods, split into three separate corporations.

The town is home to the New England Air Museum, which celebrates the region’s involvement in producing aircraft.

Windsor:

Both Windsor and Wethersfield claim to be the first incorporated towns in Connecticut.

The play and film “Arsenic and Old Lace” is based upon events that occurred in Windsor when a female proprietor of a nursing home poisoned several men in her care with arsenic.

In the 17th century Windsor was active in the West Indies trades.

Fairfield County:

Bethel:

Bethel takes its name from the Hebrew term meaning “House of God.”

Battery producer Duracell has its North American headquarters in Bethel.

P.T. Barnum, founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, was born in Bethel.

Bridgeport:

Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., George W. Bush and Barack Obama have all visited Bridgeport.

Many former Major League Baseball players have played (or managed, in the case of former all-star Tommy John) for the Bridgeport Bluefish after their MLB careers.

Several movies have been filmed in Bridgeport, including 2008's “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”

Brookfield:

Brookfield was originally called Newbury, a name derived from the three towns from which land was taken: New Milford, Newtown and Danbury. The name was changed in honor of the Reverend Thomas Brooks.

In 2013, Money Magazine ranked Brookfield the 26th best place to live in America.

Candlewood Lake, which is shared among Brookfield and surrounding towns, is the largest man-made lake in Connecticut. It is 16 miles long, 3.2 miles wide with an average depth of 40 feet, and covers a surface area of 8.4 square miles or 5,400 acres.

Danbury:

Danbury is known as the “Hat Capital of the World,” dating to a time in the late 1800s when the town was manufacturing five million hats a year.

The mineral danburite was originally discovered in Danbury and named after the town.

Danbury has been mentioned in the TV shows “Seinfeld,” “30 Rock,” “The Sopranos” and “Weeds.”

Darien:

Darien was home to one of America's first homes for military veterans, erected in 1864 by philanthropist Benjamin Fitch.

Stephen Mather, creator of the National Park Service, lived in Darien.

The 1981 movie “Cannonball Run” (and its sequels) were based on real 1970s road races, one of which began in Darien.

Easton:

In 1807, Easton was the site of the first recorded meteorite to land in the western hemisphere.

Helen Keller lived in Easton late in her life.

Easton originated as farming community, with many farms still operating today. The town's oldest farm has been operating for almost 300 years.

Fairfield:

Though the claim is widely disputed, aviator Gustave Whitehead reportedly piloted an aircraft in Fairfield in 1901, making his the first ever manned, powered flight.

On July 7, 1779, Fairfield was invaded by the British, who burned nearly the entire town.

Fairfield’s David N. Mullany invented the wiffle ball, first introduced in 1953.

Greenwich:

Matt Lauer, Steve Young, Truman Capote and George H.W. Bush are among the notable people to have grown up in Greenwich.

NBA star LeBron James' infamous “Decision” television special was shot in Greenwich to benefit the Greenwich Boys & Girls Club.

Greenwich's founding families purchased the land from Native Americans for 25 coats.

New Fairfield:

Clarissa Nevius, the first woman Republican elected to the General Assembly, represented New Fairfield from 1923 to 1953.

The Sculpture Barn in New Fairfield has an art gallery, a sculpture field and a studio for classes in metal, stone and wood sculpture.

Jennifer Rizzotti, a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and a former UConn star who coaches the University of Hartford team, grew up in New Fairfield.

Monroe:

Monroe's Annie Moss invented the dustpan in 1882.

Monroe became a town in 1823 and was named for James Monroe, the United States' fifth president.

Before marching to Yorktown to help force the British to surrender in the last major battle of the Revolutionary War, 600 French troops camped for three days around the Monroe Green.

New Canaan:

Conservative political commentator Ann Coulter was raised in New Canaan and graduated from New Canaan High School.

New Canaan is home to the Glass House, a glass-walled structure built in 1949 by architect Philip Johnson.

In 2011, CNN Money proclaimed New Canaan the eighth wealthiest town in the country (and first in the state), with a 2010 median household income of $231,957.

Newtown:

The board game “Scrabble” was named and developed in Newtown by James Brunot, who purchased the property in 1948.

Former Olympic decathlon gold medalist Bruce Jenner attended Newtown High School.

Newtown residents in large part aligned with the British during the Revolutionary War.

Norwalk:

Norwalk has one of the nation's largest collections of Works Progress Administration murals.

The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in Norwalk has been featured in the movies “The Stepford Wives” and “House of Dark Shadows.”

With up to 100,000 people attending each year, Norwalk's Oyster Festival is one of the largest volunteer-run events on the East Coast.

Redding:

Redding was the final home of Mark Twain, who died there in 1910.

Redding was originally named for John Read, the first white man to settle in the town.

Redding was home to three Revolutionary War encampments, established by General Israel Putnam during the winter of 1778-79.

Ridgefield:

In 1777, Benedict Arnold's American troops fought the British at the Battle of Ridgefield.

Ridgefield maintains land records and vital statistics dating back to 1709, including the document that conveyed the town from Native Americans to its first settlers.

Notable people (past and present) from Ridgefield include Maurice Sendak, Harvey Fierstein, Robert Vaughn, Alexander Julian and Stephen Schwartz.

Shelton:

Former UConn and NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky grew up in Shelton.

Parts of what is now Shelton has previously been called Corum, Ripton and Huntington before being incoprated as the city of Shelton in 1919.

Twice, in 2007 and 2013, a tree from Shelton has been used as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

Sherman:

Sherman was named after Roger Sherman, one of the nation’s founding fathers and the only American to sign four important historical documents: the Continental Association of 1774, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.

Naromiyocknowhusunkatankshunk Brook in Sherman means “water from the hills” in Native American.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Sherman’s tobacco leaf was considered to be of superior quality and tobacco became a large cash crop for the town.

Stratford:

Stratford is celebrating its 375th anniversary this year.

Stratford, like Fairfield, claims to have been home to Gustave Whitehead's historic 1901 flight.

Stratford's Boothe Memorial Park & Museum, built on the foundation of a 1663 house, is said to be the oldest homestead in America.

Stamford:

Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson lived in Stamford late in his life.

In 2014, TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” relocating to Stamford, joining an array of TV properties in the city.

Stamford Manufacturing Co.'s Cove Mills complex was a key part of the city's textile industry, before burning spectacularly in 1919.

Trumbull:

Trumbull won the Little League World Series in 1989, with a team that included future NHL hockey star Chris Drury.

Scenes from the 2008 movie “Revolutionary Road,” with Leonardi DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, were filmed in Trumbull.

In the late 19th century, Trumbull was home to Parlor Rock Amusement Park, one of the nation's first amusement parks.

Weston:

Signs of Native American life in Weston date back as far as 5,000 years.

This year, U.S. News and World Report ranked Weston High School the third best high school (and best non-magnet high school) in Connecticut.

In 2011, Connecticut Magazine rated Weston the best town (population 10,000-15,000), using criteria like education, crime and economy.

Westport:

On April 25, 1777, 1,850 British troops landed at Westport’s Compo Beach on their way to destroy Continental Army stores at Danbury.

For several decades after its incorporation in 1835, Westport was the nation’s top grower of onions.

Westport has been home to many artists, writers and actors, most prominently Paul Newman, who moved there in 1960.

Wilton:

Wilton was one of Connecticut's last dry towns, permitting sale of alcohol in restaurants in 1992 and in liquor stores in 2009.

Part of a King George III statue pulled down in New York was discoved decades later in Wilton swamps.

Wilton's bridge to Schenk's Island, paid for by the state in 1958, has been dubbed its “Bridge to Nowhere.”

Litchfield County:

Barkhamsted:

Lambert Hitchcock built the Hitchcock Chair Factory in 1825, which produced the famous Hitchcock “fancy” chairs in Riverton. The village was known as Hitchcocksville until the 1860s.

The Barkhamsted Reservoir took four years to fill completely and displaced 1,000 residents and eliminated four cemeteries and the 1,300 burials within those cemeteries.

Pleasant Valley Drive In Theater is one of the few drive-in theaters left in Connecticut. Located on a grass field beside the Farmington River, it has been in continuous operation since 1947.

Bethlehem:

Known as “Connecticut’s Christmas Town,” Bethlehem provides a special Christmas seal and Bethlehem postmark funded by the U.S. Postal Service for letters mailed in town in December. Special requests for the stamp come from all over the world.

Joseph Bellamy operated the first theological school in America out of his house in Bethlehem during the 18th century. The site today is called the Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden.

Bethlehem is home to the Abbey of Regina Laudis, a Benedict abbey that was the basis of the 1948 movie “Come to the Stable.”

Bridgewater:

Charles B. Thompson pioneered a mail-order toiletries business in Bridgewater in the 1800s that earned him the name “Mail Order King.”

Hat-making was an important part of Bridgewater’s economy in the 1800s. The factory owned by the Sanford family was located on Hat Shop Hill.

The Sunny Valley Preserve, part of which is in Bridgewater, includes 1,850 acres of wetlands, meadows, woods and farmland on 19 parcels. It offers hiking and other recreation as well as education on land management and farming.

Canaan:

For over 100 years, Canaan was a major player in the iron industry. Its blast furnaces melted the iron ore mined from nearby Salisbury.

Canaan was sold at an auction in New London in 1738, with bids starting at 60 pounds per right, among the highest rate in Litchfield County.

Canaan is often called Falls Village after the Great Falls of the Housatonic River.

Colebrook:

Rock School in Colebrook, which functions as a schoolhouse museum, is the only Colonial-era school in Connecticut that has not been modernized in any way. It does not have electricity or indoor plumbing.

The famous New England portrait painter, Ammi Phillips, was born in Colebrook on April 24, 1788.

Colebrook's Robertsville Forge, which operated from 1770 until about 1811, produced some of the earliest steel in North America. Its products were used for cannons in George Washington's army.

Cornwall:

In the early 1800s, the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall recruited young men from indigenous cultures and educated them in return for their conversion to Christianity. The school caused a national scandal when two of the Cherokee students fell in love with and married local white women.

Artificial snow-making began in Cornwall, at Mohawk Mountain Ski Area, in 1950.

One of Cornwall's most famous locals is Major General John Sedgwick, who played important roles in the Civil War battles of Antietam, Gettysburg and the Wilderness, and who was the highest-ranking Union officer to be killed in the war.

Goshen:

In the early 19th century, Goshen was famous for its “Pineapple Cheese,” which was the shape and color of its namesake. Kraft Cheese Co. bought the cheese’s patent in 1918.

Ivan Lendl, the former top tennis player and winner of eight Grand Slam titles, owns a residence in Goshen, which was recently listed for $19.75 million.

Goshen will celebrate its 275th anniversary this year with a celebration on the Goshen farigrounds on Sept. 28.

Harwinton:

Harwinton was named in 1732 by combining syllables from Hartford and Windsor after a territorial dispute led to a division of land between the two towns. Hartford owned East Harwinton and Windsor owned West Harwinton.

Collis P. Huntington, a railroad magnate who made possible the first transcontinental railroad, was born in Harwinton in 1821.

In 1923, Harwinton annexed its largest populated area to the city of Torrington. Harwinton could no longer support the nearly 1,100 people that lived there, many of whom worked at the growing manufacturing factories in Torrington.

Kent:

Seth MacFarlane, creator of the cartoon TV series “Family Guy,” was born in Kent on Oct. 26, 1973.

Kent Falls State Park, a 200-acre parcel with a series of waterfalls, was donated to the state in 1919 by the White Memorial Foundation, which was created by Litchfield residents.

Henry Kissinger, former U.S. secretary of state and national security adviser, owns a residence in Kent.

Litchfield:

Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was born in Litchfield on June 14, 1811.

In 1784, Tapping Reeve, brother-in-law to Revolutionary War figure Aaron Burr, established the country’s first law school in Litchfield.

Sarah Pierce founded The Litchfield Female Academy, one of the nation’s first schools for young women, in Litchfield in 1792, where she helped educate future leaders, such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, for 41 years.

Morris:

The town of Morris is named after James Morris, a Revolutionary War figure and pioneer of co-education as the founder of Morris Academy.

Bantam Lake in Morris is the largest natural lake in Connecticut, with a surface area of 930 acres and a maximum depth of 23 feet.

Camp Columbia State Park in Morris served as a summer campus for Columbia University engineering students throughout the late 19th century and much of the 20th century.

New Hartford:

New Hartford's original land ownership was determined by a lottery for Hartford and Windsor taxpayers.

Elias Howe was working in New Hartford when he invented the “lock stitch” sewing machine.

World-renowned opera singers Teresa Stitch-Randall, Clara Louise Kellogg and Alma Gluck all owned homes in New Hartford.

New Milford:

With an area of over 60 square miles, New Milford is the largest town in Connecticut.

The Housatonic River Railroad Bridge in Milford was the first bridge built over the Housatonic River in 1737.

David Letterman and Jerry Seinfeld filmed a segment for Seinfeld’s online TV show at Green Granary restaurant in New Milford in April 2013.

Norfolk:

Norfolk is home to the Yale School of Music Chamber Music Festival, which attracts performers from around the world and hosts free concerts by the students in the summer.

Norfolk native Dr. William Welch was a founding member of Johns Hopkins University. He was the first director of the School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Leather-making was a significant industry in Norfolk throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, with tanneries located around town.

North Canaan:

The Beckley Blast Furnace in North Canaan, which used to produce iron for the manufacture of railroad car wheels, is on the National Register of Historic Places as one of the state's only industrial monuments.

North Canaan divided informally from its parent town, Canaan, in 1769 and formally in 1858. Locals call North Canaan by the name Canaan and the original town Falls Village.

The Canaan Union Station, completed in 1872 in North Canaan, is the oldest Union Station in continuous service in the U.S.

Plymouth:

Actor Ted Knight, famous for his roles on the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” and in the movie “Caddyshack,” was born in Plymouth.

The mascot of Terryville High School in Plymouth is a kangaroo, one of only seven kangaroo mascots in the U.S.

Plymouth is home to the Lock Museum of America, which contains an extensive lock collection including a 4,000-year-old Egyptian pin tumbler lock.

Roxbury:

Arthur Miller, the playwright known for “Death of a Salesman” and “The Crucible,” owned a residence in Roxbury, where he spent time with his wife, Marilyn Monroe.

Alexander Calder, one of the best-known sculptors of the 20th century, lived and worked in Roxbury for over 40 years.

The town green features a memorial to Revolutionary War hero and Roxbury native Seth Warner, who was captain of the local regiment of the Green Mountain Boys, which was formed to resist New York authority over Vermont.

Salisbury:

Salisbury was famous for its iron ore. The iron was used to make the largest Civil War cannon, as well as muskets made by Eli Whitney and phonograph needles used by Thomas Edison.

The Scoville Library was the first publicly funded library in the country and continues to serve the Salisbury community over 200 years later.

Holley Manufacturing Co., famous for its pocket knives, was opened in Salisbury in 1844 by Alexander Hamilton Holley.

Sharon:

Actor Kevin Bacon and his actress wife, Kyra Sedgwick, have a house and live part-time in Sharon.

From the 1930s until about the early 1970s, Sharon fielded a team in the semi-pro Interstate Baseball League.

Including over 1,000 acres of forest, the Sharon Audubon Center features a raptor aviary with live birds of prey, an herb garden, a butterfly garden and a working sugar house.

Thomaston:

Thomaston is named after Seth Thomas, founder of the Seth Thomas Clock Co., which began manufacturing clocks in 1813.

The Thomaston Opera house, which was built in 1884, still puts on productions today and operates as a nonprofit organization.

Thomaston’s annual Main Street Cruise auto show started 16 years ago when Officer Terry Hawley came up with the idea to raise money for the Police Explorers program.

Torrington:

Abolitionist John Brown, who is best known for the Harpers Ferry raid, was born in Torrington.

Warner Theatre in Torrington, which now hosts stage shows, was built by Warner Brothers Studios and opened in 1931 as a movie palace.

Torringford, a section of Torrington, was a transportation hub for the Underground Railroad in the years before the Civil War.

Warren:

Warren was named after Revolutionary War hero Joseph Warren, who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Charles Grandison Finney, a Presbyterian minister, leader in the Second Great Awakening and second president of Oberlin College, was born in Warren in 1792.

The Brick School, which was built in 1784 and operated until 1924, has the longest record of continuous operation in Connecticut.

Washington:

Washington was named after George Washington, who traveled through town during the Revolutionary War.

Famous abolitionist and educator Frederick Gunn was born in Washington in 1816.

Early industries in Washington included ironworks, quarries, small mills and factories powered by water from the Shepaug and Aspetuck rivers.

Watertown:

John Trumbull, a poet from the Revolutionary War era, was born in Watertown in 1750.

Once known as Wooster-Westbury, the town was incorporated as Watertown in 1780.

Dairy farming was a large industry in Watertown for many years, with over 30 farms in operating in the early 1900s.

Winchester:

The William L. Gilbert Clock Corp. in Winchester was one of the few clock-making firms in Connecticut allowed to continue manufacturing during World War II because it made clock cases from papier-mache instead of metal, which was restricted for war use.

Highland Lake in Winchester is Connecticut’s second largest lake at 444 acres, and includes two public beaches and one state-owned boat launch.

Winchester is often called the Gateway to the Berkshire Mountains.

Woodbury:

Woodbury received its name, which means a “dwelling place in the woods,” in 1673.

Leroy Anderson, a popular composer of concert music in the 20th century best known for the instrumental “Sleigh Ride,” was a Woodbury resident.

Woodbury used to be called Pomperaug Plantation after the Native Americans who lived there.

Middlesex County

Chester:

Created in 1769, the Chester-Hadlyme Ferry is the second-oldest continuously operating ferry service in Connecticut.

Parts of the 1959 movie “It Happened to Jane” and the 1971 movie “Let's Scare Jessica to Death” were filmed in Chester.

The Whelen Engineering Corp., which produces lights and sirens for law enforcement and other vehicles, is headquartered in Chester.

Clinton:

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel) spent his summers at the beach in Clinton when he was young.

Clinton was named after New York Gov. DeWitt Clinton, who is best-known for having helped create the Erie Canal.

Clinton has been referred to as the “bluefish capital of the world.”

Cromwell:

Cromwell was named after Oliver Cromwell, an English military and political leader.

Andrew N. Pierson established A.N. Pierson’s Inc., the largest commercial rose-growing business in the country, in Cromwell.

J & E Stevens Co., which was formed in Cromwell in 1843, introduced the first firecracker pistol and became the largest maker of cast-iron toys in the U.S.

Deep River:

The annual Deep River Ancient Muster proclaims itself the largest fife and drum gathering in the world.

Alpheus S. Williams, a lawyer, congressman and Civil War general, was born in Deep River.

Deep River was called Saybrook until 1947.

Durham:

The Durham Fair, an entirely volunteer-run annual event, celebrated its 95th anniversary in September.

Durham's public library is the nation's second oldest lending library and the oldest in New England.

Durham was originally called Coginchaug, a Native American word for “long swamp.”

East Haddam:

Alexander Shaler, a Union Army general who was the founder of the National Rifle Association, was born in Haddam.

The Goodspeed Opera House, built in 1877 by William Goodspeed, is in East Haddam.

William Gillette, an actor and playwright in the late 1800s and early 1900s, built a castle in East Haddam that is today a state park.

East Hampton:

East Hampton resident Erin Brady was named Miss USA in 2013.

Despite its name, East Hampton is about 35 miles southwest of Hampton.

East Hampton-based Bevin Brothers Manufacturing Co. has been producing bells of all kinds since its founding in 1832.

Essex:

In 1814, Essex was the target of a large British raid in one of the most costly battles of the War of 1812.

Essex hosts an annual Groundhog Day parade, usually on the Sunday before Groundhog's Day.

The Griswold Inn in Essex, which opened in 1776, is one of the oldest continuously operated inns in the country.

Haddam:

Haddam is the only town in Connecticut divided by the Connecticut River.

Haddam was home to the Connecticut Yankee nuclear power plant, commissioned in 1968 and de-commissioned in 2004.

Haddam was mentioned in poet Wallace Stevens' “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.”

Killingworth:

In 2004, a 100-foot high tree from Killingworth became the biggest Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center history.

Killingworth was the subject of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem “The Birds of Killingworth.”

Former Houston Astros all-star Jeff Bagwell grew up in Killingworth and Jonathan Bush Sr., brother of President George H.W. Bush, lives there now.

Marlborough:

Sadler's Ordinary in Marlborough was a popular rest stop for Colonial-era travelers.

Marlborough is the birthplace of an Olympic gold medalist, hockey player Gretchen Ulian, who scored a goal in the Gold Medal game at the 1998 Olympic Games.

Marlborough is the southeastern-most town in Hartford County.

Middlefield:

The first members of the Lyman family bought land in the town in the mid-1700s. Seven generations later, Lymans still play an important role in the town, although they are best known for the Lyman Orchards farm.

Middlefield is home to two mountains, Higby and Besek.

Middlefield got its name because it is halfway between Middletown and Durham, and Middletown and Meriden.

Middletown:

Incorporated as a town in 1650 under its original Native American name of Mattabeseck, Middletown received its present name in 1653.

In the early 1900s, Middletown was home to the Noiseless Typewriter Co., which produced up to 12,000 typewriters per year.

William C. Redfield, a noted American meteorologist, was born in Middletown on March 26, 1789.

Old Saybrook:

Actress Katharine Hepburn lived in Old Saybrook, where she died in 2003.

Old Saybrook was named for Lorde Saye and Sele and Lord Brooke.

The design on the Connecticut state flag is an adaptation of the seal of the former Saybrook colony.

Portland:

The town includes part of the Meshomasic State Forest, the first state forest in Connecticut.

Portland brownstone was used in row houses in Manhattan and Brooklyn, mansions in San Francisco, Hartford’s Old State house, Wesleyan University campus buildings, and monuments and gravestones across the state.

The Arrigoni Bridge’s two 600-foot steel arches are the longest of their kind in Connecticut.

Westbrook:

The first-ever submarine, the Turtle, was invented by Westbrook native David Bushnell in the 1776.

Westbrook includes several largely uninhabited islands in Long Island Sound.

Academy Award-winning actor Art Carney lived in Westbrook late in his life.

New Haven County:

Ansonia:

Ansonia High School's 18 CIAC football state titles are the most in Connecticut history.

Revolutionary War Colonel David Humphreys was born in Ansonia.

Ansonia was known as “Copper City” for its production of the metal.

Beacon Falls:

Founded in 1898, the Beacon Falls Rubber Shoe Co. was a substantial part of the town's economy.

Canoeing and kayaking on the Naugatuck River is one of Beacon Falls' biggest attractions.

The Beacon Falls area was orginally known as Nyumps.

Bethany:

All of Beacon Falls and some of Naugatuck were part of Bethany until the mid-1800s.

Built in 1923, Bethany Airport was one of New England's first airports. The town now plans to turn the landmark into a community center.

Bethany's first traffic light was installed in 1955, its second in 1976 and its third in 2002.

Branford:

Branford has 20 miles of coastline, among the most of any Connecticut town.

U.S. presidents Benjamin Harrison and William Taft spent summers in Branford.

Yale University (originally called the Collegiate School) was conceived in Branford in 1701.

Cheshire:

Roaring Brook Falls in Cheshire is Connecticut's highest single-drop waterfall.

Cheshire is known as the “Bedding Plant Capital of Connecticut.”

In 2013, Money Magazine ranked Cheshire 39th on its list of best places to live in America.

Derby:

Caroline Street is Derby's last cobblestone street and one of the few remaining in Connecticut.

Derby is believed to be the birthplace of Isaac Hull, naval hero of the War of 1812.

Derby is Connecticut's smallest town.

East Haven:

The Branford Electric Railway, operated by The Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, is America's oldest continuously running suburban trolley line.

Both British and revolutionary troops camped in East Haven during the Revolutionary War.

East Haven soda company Foxon Park Beverages has become a town landmark, using the same recipe since its founding in 1922.

Guilford:

The Henry Whitfield House in Guilford, built by founder Henry Whitfield in 1639, is Connecticut's oldest house and the oldest stone house in New England.

American Cruise Lines is headquartered in Guilford.

On May 23, 1777, Guilford residents raided the British provisions at Sag Harbor on Long Island for a key Revolutionary War victory.

Hamden:

An airport opened in Hamden in November 1929, only to close a few years later.

Hamden was once home to cotton gin inventor Eli Whitney, who established an armory in the town.

Quinnipiac University, home of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, is located in Hamden.

Madison:

Both the 2010 movie “Harvest” and the 2009 movie “Once More with Feeling” were filmed in Madison.

Madison has an annual commercial harvest of 5,000 bushels of top-grade oysters.

Former UConn basketball coach Jim Calhoun owns a house in Madison.

Meriden:

The town is named for Meriden, England.

Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted helped design Hubbard Park.

The inventor of FM radio, Edwin Howard Armstrong, used West Peak in 1939 as the location of one of his first broadcasts.

Middlebury:

In 1781, 6,000 French Revolutionary War troops commanded by General Comte de Rochambeau camped at Breakneck Hill in Middlebury.

Middlebury's Quassy Amusement Park is celebrating 106 years in 2014.

The Westover School in Middlebury was designed in 1909 by Theodate Pope Riddle, one of the nation's first female architects.

Milford:

The Subway restaurants and Schick shaving products companies are both headquartered in Milford.

The towns of Woodbridge, Bethany, Orange and West Haven all include land that once belonged to Milford.

Two-time Stanley Cup-winning hockey goalie Jonathan Quick was born in Milford.

Naugatuck:

Naugatuck is home to the Peter Paul Candy Manufacturing company, producer of Mounds and Almond Joy.

Charles Goodyear created the world's first vulcanized rubber shoe company in Naugatuck during the 1840s.

Naugatuck has Connecticut's largest cluster of buildings designed by famous early 20th-century architectural company McKim, Mead and White.

New Haven:

Some historians consider New Haven to be America's first planned city.

Before Hartford was installed as Connecticut's full-time capital in 1871, the General Assembly met alternately there and in New Haven.

In 2013, USA Today named the white clam pizza at New Haven restaraunt Frank Pepe's the best pizza in America.

North Branford:

North Branford was once home to a Silly Putty factory, established by Silly Putty inventor Peter Hodgson.

Northford — the northern section of North Branford — was once known as “The Christmas Card Captial of the World.”

Erected in 1866, Soldiers' Monument in North Branford is one of America's oldest Civil War memorials.

North Haven:

In 1790 people in North Haven were out-numbered by sheep, 1,620 to 1,236.

Prominent NBA agent Dan Fegan was raised in North Haven.

Health care products company Covidien operates a plant in North Haven.

Orange:

Orange was named after England's King William III, the Prince of Orange.

The Pez candy company's factory and museum are located in Orange.

Orange lost to McLean, Va., in the final of the 2005 Little League Softball World Series.

Oxford:

A 2009 UConn study found that Oxford had Connecticut's highest rate of economic development between 1985 and 2006.

In November 2001, 94-year-old Oxford resident Ottilie W. Lundgren died of anthrax poisoning, becoming the country's fifth recent anthrax casualty.

Oxford's Washband Tavern is said to have been a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Prospect:

Prospect Mayor Robert J. Chatfield was first elected in 1977 and is now the longest-serving chief elected officer in Connecticut.

Located at a high elevation, Prospect is named for the views it presents.

The 75 men Prospect sent to fight in the Civil War comprised one-sixth of the town's population.

Seymour:

The 1991 movie “Other People's Money” starring Gregory Peck was inspired by Seymour Specialty Co. and partially filmed in Seymour.

Seymour is named after former Connecticut governor Thomas A. Seymour, who was U.S. minister to Russia under President Franklin Pierce.

Connecticut's Flood of 1955 destroyed much of Seymour, wiping away bridges, buildings and trees.

Southbury:

In 1937 Southbury rejected Nazi camps, inspiring the 2012 documentary “Home of the Brave.”

In 2011, a piece of petrified wood led to the discovery of a new genus of conifer that grew 200 million years ago in Southbury.

Southbury is the only town in America called “Southbury.” Its town seal says “unica unaque,” Latin for “the one and only.”

Wallingford:

Wallingford was the site of one of the last witch trials in New England, in 1697.

In the TV show “Gilmore Girls” the fictional town of Stars Hollow has the same zip code (06492) as real-life Wallingford.

Famed fighter pilot and World War I hero Raoul Lufbery briefly lived in Wallingford.

Waterbury:

Waterbury was once the center of America's brass industry.

Knights of Columbus founder Michael J. McGivney grew up in Waterbury.

James Thurber's famous short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (turned into a movie in 2013) was set in Waterbury.

West Haven:

Incorporated as a town in 1922 and a city in 1961, West Haven is Connecticut's youngest city despite being one of the state's oldest settlements.

Constructed in the late 19th century, West Haven's Savin Rock Park was known as “Connecticut's Coney Island” before closing in 1966.

A West Haven monument commemorates William Campbell, a British adjutant who spared the life of a local minister during the Revolutionary War.

Wolcott:

Wolcott is the birthplace of Amos Bronson Alcott, a educator, philosopher and poet and father of Louisa May Alcott.

Wolcott is also the birthplace of clockmaking pioneer Seth Thomas, who made his first clocks there.

Wolcott is named after Oliver Wolcott, the lieutenant governor and later, governor, who broke a General Assembly tie to give the town independence from Waterbury and Farmington.

Woodbridge:

Several of the regicides who plotted to kill King Charles II hid in Woodbridge in 1661.

Samuel Beecher and Thomas Sanford invented the sulfur match in Woodbridge in 1835.

The director of “Terminator 3,” Jonathan Mostow, was born in Woodbridge.

Tolland County

Andover:

The town sold all of its school buses in 1986 in favor of using a private transportation company.

In 1927 Andover Lake was created by damning the sluiceway of Cheney Hollow, a swampy area in town.

In 1880 the Andover train station was set on fire by an ember from a passing train.

Bolton:

In 1781 George Washington spent the night at a home in Bolton.

Bolton’s early economy was centered around quarries.

French Army General Comte de Rochambeau stayed with his troops at Rose’s Farm in 1781. They were on their way to join Washington at the Battle of Yorktown.

Columbia:

Columbia used to be a part of neighboring town Lebanon and was called Lebanon’s Crank until it separated in 1804.

Eleazor Wheelock, the founder of Dartmouth College, founded Moor’s Charity School in 1754 in Columbia to give Native American men a Christian education in the hopes that they might become missionaries.

Coventry:

Coventry is the birthplace of Connecticut Revolutionary War figure Nathan Hale.

Coventry is home to 10 National Historic Places, including the Nathan Hale Homestead, Brigham's Tavern and the Elias Sprague house.

Benoni Irwin, an American portrait artist, drowned in Coventry Lake in 1896. He owned a home on the lake and drowned after slipping off a boat.

Ellington:

Ellington’s representative at the adoption of the Constitution, Ebenezer Nash, voted against ratification.

Crystal Lake in eastern Ellington is a popular vacation spot for Connecticut residents.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Ellington became a destination for Jewish immigrant farmers. The synagogue they built is on the National Register of Historic places.

Hebron:

In 2010 Hebron was ranked the sixth best town to live in by Connecticut Magazine.

Hebron is the hometown of A.J Pollock, outfielder for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Hebron’s historical district is often noted for its varied displays of colonial and Victorian architecture.

Mansfield:

Mansfield is home to the Mansfield Training School, a former institution for the mentally ill. It has been featured on TV shows because of its reputation as one Connecticut's most haunted places.

The first silk mill in the U.S. was built in Mansfield, where silk manufacturing was the prime industry.

Wilbur Cross, Democratic governor of Connecticut from 1931-1939, was born in Mansfield.

Union:

According to the 2010 census, Union is the least populated town in the state, with 854 people.

Union was the last town east of the Connecticut River to be settled, in 1727.

Alonzo Horton, the founder of California city San Diego, was born in Union.

Willington:

The television show show “Fringe” featured Willington in the ninth episode of the fifth season.

Willington’s main industry was glass-making, and manufacturers used water from the Willimantic River to power the factories.

Jared Sparks, president of Harvard from 1849 to 1953, was born in Willington.

Vernon:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Gene Pitney grew up in Vernon.

Vernon was once known for its booming textile industry, which shrank after World War II when the area became more suburban.

Talcottville, a village in Vernon, is known for its Greek revival architecture and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Tolland:

Tolland will celebrate its 300th anniversary in 2015.

Tolland still maintains and uses its original town green that was created in Colonial times.

Connecticut’s lieutenant governor, Nancy Wyman, lives in Tolland.

Somers:

Somers is home to two prisons, Northern Correctional Institute and Osborn Correctional Institute.

Bald Mountain, the highest point in Somers, is also the highest point in the Connecticut River Valley.

Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson’s favorite horse “Little Sorrel” was born at a farm in Somers.

Stafford:

Stafford is Connecticut’s third largest town in terms of area.

John Adams is said to have vacationed in Stafford for the soothing powers of the town’s mineral springs.

During the Civil War the town’s factories made cannonballs.

Windham County:

Ashford:

The largest Boy Scout camp in Connecticut, the June Norcross Webster Scout Reservation, is located in Ashford.

Actor Paul Newman was a seasonal resident of Ashford after the opening of his Hole in the Wall Gang Camp there.

George Washington spent the night at Perkin’s Tavern in Ashford on his national tour in 1789.

Brooklyn:

Brooklyn hosts America's oldest continually operating agricultural fair.

The trial of Prudence Crandall, a schoolteacher accused of educating black students, was held in Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is the final resting place of Major General Israel Putnam, who fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Canterbury:

In 1831, Prudence Crandall opened a school to educate young women. But when she focused exclusively on educating African-American women, the town protested and eventually shut the school down in 1834.

Canterbury was settled in 1680 as a part of Norwich called Peagscomsuck.

Canterbury was the 38th town to be founded in Connecticut.

Chaplin:

Chaplin was a prominent silk manufacturing site during the Industrial Revolution.

Chaplin was formed on part of land that was deeded to English colonists by a Mohegan chief.

Chaplin was incorporated as an ecclesiastical society — meaning it was founded around a new church.

Eastford:

Eastford separated from Ashford in 1847.

The first general from the Union Army to be killed in the Civil War was Nathaniel Lyon, from Eastford.

East Windsor was named “Eastford” until the 18th century, when it was learned that there were two towns of the same name in the state.

Hampton:

The Hampton Hill Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places for its early Colonial construction.

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and naturalist Edwin Way Teale lived in Hampton until his death in 1980 and is responsible for much of the town's preserved land.

Annie Withey invented Annie's Homegrown — a natural food company — and Smartfood popcorn while living in Hampton.

Killingly:

Throughout the 17th century, Killingly was populated almost entirely by Native Americans.

Known for its textile mills and cotton producing industries, Killingly was named the curtain capital of the world in the 1930s.

Charles Lewis Tiffany, founder of jewelry store Tiffany & Co., was born in Killingly.

Plainfield:

Plainfield was originally named Quinebaug, and was renamed Plainfield in 1700.

Four railways — from New York, Boston, Providence and Hartford — intersected within the town, which gave the small town an uncharacteristically large commerce center.

The town was a booming industrial center in the 19th century.

Pomfret:

In 2002, the Coca Cola Company introduced Vanilla Coke at Pomfret restaurant The Vanilla Bean Café.

According to urban legend, the Wolf Den parcel in Mashamoquet Brook State Park is the site where Israel Putnam killed the last wolf in Connecticut.

Jim Calhoun, former UConn basketball coach, lives in Pomfret.

Putnam:

Putnam was a main provider of clothing to Civil War soldiers.

In the late 1990s, the town turned empty mills and under-used downtown commercial buildings into a large antique center.

Putnam is named after Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam.

Scotland:

Samuel Huntington, one of the four Connecticut men who signed the Declaration of Independence, was born in Scotland.

The town was settled in 1700 by Isaac Magoon, an immigrant from Scotland who purchased 1,950 acres and named the settlement after his original home.

The D'Elia Antique Tool Museum, which houses more than 1,200 antique woodworking planes dating to the mid-18th century, is in Scotland.

Sterling:

Charles Dow, journalist and co-founder of the Dow Jones Co., was born in Sterling.

In December 2009, a cow was born in Sterling with a white cross marking on its forehead. The story gathered national attention and the calf was called “Holy Cow.”

During the Revolutionary War French General Comte de Rochambeau’s army camped in Sterling on their way to R.I.

Thompson:

The Wilsonville Fault was created during the breakup of the supercontinent Pangaea around 200 million years ago.

One of the worst railway collisions in U.S. history — and the only one to involve four trains — happened in Thompson in 1891.

Thompson International Speedway has the highest-banked racetrack in New England.

Windham:

The town was named after Wyndham in England.

In 1907 the Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy founded a hospital to treat people with low incomes, especially mill workers who were maimed in accidents. It was the town’s first hospital, now known as Windham Hospital.

In 1877, The Willimantic Enterprise was founded. The newspaper, which later became The Willimantic Chronicle, has been published by the same family for five generations.

Woodstock:

When the town was first settled in 1686 it was called New Roxbury and was the first town in Windham County.

Woodstock was originally settled as part of Massachusetts by 30 families.

Woodstock is the second largest town by area in Connecticut, after New Milford.