Farmington is among the most desirable, picturesque and posh towns in Connecticut. One of Hartford’s suburbs, its history and location in the Farmington Valley, the important businesses headquartered there, highly-rated educational systems and other amenities, all contribute to its attractiveness.
The original inhabitants were the Tunxis Indian tribe. In 1640, Farmington became the first white inland settlement west of the Connecticut River, when some residents of Hartford moved into the area. Settlers prospered off its fertile farmlands, situated along the floodplain of the Farmington River and its relatively mild climate.
With its incorporation in 1645, the town and river took on their current name. The boundaries kept expanding making it the largest colony in Connecticut, until its unwieldy size was ultimately partitioned into nine central Connecticut communities. Hence its nickname – “the mother of towns.”
Farmington is redolent of over three centuries of New England settlers‘ lifestyles. The historic village district has maintained charming, stately homes, colonial estates and quaint lodgings, several dating back to the 17thC. Quite a few today house museums, restaurants, shops and galleries.
During the Revolutionary War, George Washington passed through Farmington several times and remembered it as “the village of pretty houses”. French troops under General Rochambeau encamped here en route to Westchester County to join General Washington’s army.
Farmington residents were forward-thinking abolitionists. The town became known as “Grand Central Station” along the Underground Railroad, with safe houses for escaped slaves and their “guides.” Farmington also played an important role in the famous Amistad trial of 1841, providing food, education, ministry and fund-raising for the Mendi Africans awaiting repatriation.
History is amply on display in the buildings that appear on the National Register of Historic Places:
•Austin F. Williams Carriage house and House — 127 Main Street
•Farmington Historic District — Porter and Mountain Rds., Main and Garden Streets., Hatter’s and Hillstead Lanes and Farmington Ave.
•First Church of Christ – 1652 Main St.
•Gen. George Cowles House — 130 Main St.
•Gridley-Parsons-Staples Homestead — 1554 Farmington Ave.
•Hill-Stead Museum — 35 Mountain Rd
•Pequabuck Bridge — Meadow Rd. at Pequabuck River
•Shade Swamp Shelter — US 6 E of New Britain Ave.
•Stanley-Whitman House — 37 High St.
•West End Library — 15 School St., Unionville
Outdoor adventures in all seasons are plentiful through parks and recreation areas and in its neighboring towns of Bristol, New Britain, Collinsville, Canton and New Hartford:
Batterson Park Pond, Yodkins-Morin Memorial Park, kaBoom, Farmington Valley Greenway & Farmington River Trail, Farmington Canal, Lake Compounce and Stanley Quarter Pond.
Along with its six other “cousins” (towns) in the peaceful, meandering river valley, Farmington offers every element of a successful visit: antiques shops, accommodations, innovative restaurants, history, art and industrial museums, historic homes and outdoor activities.
All four seasons offer their own charms, the gentle spring, mild summers, dramatic fall colors and the pristine snows of winter…Currier and Ives prints, loaded with New England appeal.