The town of Litchfield sits at the heart of Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills, a bucolic countryside region full of summer cottages, colonial churches, Victorian mansions, and cozy restaurants, cafes, clothing stores, and book and gift shops. This gem of Connecticut is a photographer’s dream. Most postcards of the “typical Connecticut village”, in fact, are really photographs of Litchfield. The town’s history dates back to the early 18th century when it was chosen to hold the county seat in 1751. It grew even more after iron ore was discovered nearby in Salisbury. During the Revolutionary War, Litchfield earned the nickname “The Forge of the Revolution”, serving as the supply center of cannons and weaponry for the troops.
By 1790, Litchfield had grown to become the third largest town in the United States. With a population of more than 20,000, only New York and Philadelphia were larger. Boston at the time the fourth largest had a little over 18,000. Today, Litchfield has less than 8,500 residents. The town is the birthplace of the famous author Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. Her father, Lyman Beecher, was an equally notable figure, a Protestant minister famous for his anti-Catholicism.
Litchfield is home to the first law school in America. The Tapping Reeve House and Law School was erected in 1774 and educated future Vice Presidents John C. Calhoun and Aaron Burr as well as over 100 Congressmen, 26 senators, six cabinet members, 16 Governors, and three Supreme Court Justices. The school is open to the public and is located off of route 63 south.
The town is also home to the Litchfield Historical Society Museum, which has an impressive collection of paintings, furniture, documents, decorative arts, and exhibits about the town. It is located at the corner of East and South street.
Chase, Suzi Forbes, and Ann Lee. New England. New York: Macmillan General Reference, 1994. ISBN: 0671878999.
“Litchfield, Connecticut.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Litchfield%2C_Connecticut>
“Lyman Beecher.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyman_Beecher>
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