Chester, Connecticut
A Brief History of our Town.

NESTLED IN THE TRANQUIL ROLLING HILLS OF THE LOWER CONNECTICUT RIVER VALLEY, Chester is the quintessential New England village. Charming winding roads, interesting shops, antique stores, art galleries and friendly people greet visitors and residents alike.

Originally known as Pattaconk Quarter, Chester was settled in
1692. Many mills sprang up as the settlers established permanent homes and Chester became the Fourth Parish of Saybrook. By 1836, it became an independent town.

Travel in the early days was by river and the ship building industry was an important part of the town's beginnings. Just 15 miles north of the Long Island Sound, several modern marinas and yacht clubs now dot Chester's Connecticut river front, providing convenient access to visitors who desire to arrive by boat.

The Chester-Hadlyme Ferry began as a privately owned enterprise in 1769. Today it remains one of the oldest continuously operating ferries in the United States and offers visitors a unique and scenic way to travel over the river to and from the beautiful Gillette Castle State Park.

Owners of private and company planes enjoy the use of new facilities at the Chester Airport to attend concerts and wonderful dramatic productions take place at the Chester Meeting House, located at the Town Green. The Chester Meeting house is proudly listed with the National Register of Historic Places.

Central to many Chester activities is scenic Cedar Lake and the YMCA Camp Hazen, where swimming, boating and some of the state's best fishing can be enjoyed. Hikers and naturalists are drawn to the nearby Cockaponsett State Forest. Many major events occur in the town center during the summer months, and during the last week in August, the Chester Fair offers all the pleasures one finds at a traditional country fair; horse pulls, tractor pulls, live stock competition, craft competitions, homemade preserves, action rides and games of chance bring everyone together for the last hurrah of summer.

Foliage tours satisfy the wanderlust in folks from near and far, many of whom stay to enjoy the ambiance of Chester's fine local inns and Bed and Breakfast's.

In the Winter, ice fishing and skating are enjoyed by many, as well as the annual incredible Winter Carnivalé festival in February.

The internationally acclaimed National Theatre of the Deaf calls Chester it's home. The famous Goodspeed Opera House presents new musicals-in-progress to sell-out crowds at Chester's Norma Terris Theatre.

Some of the best restaurants in the state are found in Chester. They round out the special quality of life that brings people here to live and play - to celebrate a New England village that holds the past, present and future in delightful balance.

For more information on Chester's Rich History, please visit the Chester Historical Society's web site.


The Chester Historical Society - Since 1970 the Chester Historical Society (chesterhistoricalsociety.org) has been working to preserve the town's history through its archives as well as by publishing a number of books and early town maps. It is currently renovating its new home, the 1850s Mill Building on the Pattaconk Brook near the center of town, while welcoming visitors for scheduled programs, workshops, family activities and exhibits. The Historical Society's books and maps, which can answer many of your questions about the town's history, are available for purchase through the web site as well as in various businesses in town.


 

 



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