History of the Town of Ridgefield

Fairfield County, Connecticut

1708 – the people of Norwalk purchased the 20,000 acres in the area southwest of Danbury from the Ramapoo Indians.

1709 – the original 25 proprietors were assigned individual plots by lottery. The lots were located on Main Street from a Common where a Meeting House was built.  Minister Thomas Hauley served the church and also worked as school master and town clerk.

1709 – the town was incorporated.

1712  --  Irish-born David Scott obtains the property on which the "Scott House: was built. 

1740  --  a black woman and a black boy sold by David Scott to Frenchman Vivus Dauchy, his son-in-law

1741 --  David Scott sold the "home lott" and another parcel to Vivus Dauchy.

1755-1757  --  the French and Indian Wars; 22 Ridgefield men served under the command of Captain Perez Smith of Stamford.

1756  --  fifty year old Vivus Dauchy commissioned by the General Assembly as Captain of the First Ridgefield Company.

1772  --  Timothy Keeler converted his home, now the Keeler Tavern Museum, into a tavern.

1775-1782 – Revolutionary War.

1777 – in the "Battle of Ridgefield." American Generals Wooster and Arnold attempted to hold off the British in the one of only two land battles in Connecticut during the Revolution. Arnold's horse was shot out from under him on the Ridgefield's Main Street.  General Wooster was wounded along the North Salem Road (now Route 116) and died a few days later. 

1777 (April 27)  --  the Keeler Tavern was fired upon by the British.

 after the Revolutionary War   --  Timothy Keeler imported goods from New York to resell in his tavern.

1783  --  Lt. Joshua King established the King and Dole store in a small building (now the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art

By 1822   --  town industry included hatters, tailors, weavers, carpenters, silversmiths and 40 shoemakers.

By 1830   --  the Resseguie and Olmstead carriage “manufactory,” called the Big Shop, had its factory on the present site of the Congregational Church. Other industries were in candlesticks, furniture and shirts.

by 1850  --  the face of Main Street changed due to the wealth brought in by manufacturing.

1861-1865  --  Civil War.

By 1870 --  a new railroad spur brought summer visitors to south Main’s Bailey Inn, Three Pines Boarding House, Ridgefield Inn and Keeler Tavern (now the Ressiguie Hotel). The newcomers built mansion-sized vacation retreats.

By 1890 --  the Common and the old Congregational Church were gone.

1895  --  the Great Fire of 1895 consumed most of the town's central business district.

1902  --  first motion picture shown in Ridgefield

1921 – the borough and the town were consolidated.

1922  --  Eugene O'Neill bought Brook Farm (on North Salem Road) and moved in with his second wife, Agnes, and son Shane.  He used Brook Farm as the inspiration for the setting of his Desire Under the Elms.  He wrote at least five other plays while in Ridgefield (All God's Chillun Got Wings, Marco Millions, The Great God Brown, Lazarus Laughed, and Strange Interlude).

1966   --  the area was designated a state and local Historic District.

1984 --  the area designated a National Historic District. .

2001  --  the Ridgefield Historical Society established to preserve, catalogue, research, and disseminate information about the history of Ridgefield.

2002 – the Ridgefield Historical Society opened its new headquarters in the "Scott House", a building more than two and a half centuries old. The house was disassembled, moved to 4 Sunset Lane and restored.





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