Published 12:00 am, Sunday, April 8, 2018
Fairfield was known until 1650 by its Native American name Uncoway (the “place beyond”). It owes its existence as a European settlement to Roger Ludlow, an English Puritan who helped found Massachusetts Bay and then moved down to this area. After the Pequot War of 1637 reduced Native American power in Connecticut, Ludlow purchased a large tract of land from the local Paugussett tribe in 1639 and encouraged a few English families to settle in what eventually became the Old Post Road Historic District. Laying out a group of perpendicular roads, these pioneer Fairfielders created four squares of about 30 acres each, comprising house lots. A town green stood in the center.
Newton Square contained the parsonage land for the use of the minister. Frost Square was for the Meeting House, the Court House, and the School House. A third square, Burr Square, was for a military or public park with a place for a burying ground. The fourth square contained land for Ludlow. Although Ludlow left Fairfield in 1654, the physical imprint of his town plan was indelibly fixed upon the local landscape.
The current Fairfield Historic District includes portions of the original four Squares. It includes all buildings bordering the Old Post Road from the Post Road to Turner Street and it includes the buildings southeast and northeast of the Town Hall on both sides of Beach Road to a point just before the Old Burying Ground which is on the southwest side of Beach Road and is included in the Fairfield Historic District. The total area of the Fairfield Historic District is about 35 acres.
The Fairfield Historic District includes approximately 75 buildings in a variety of architectural styles. These range from the limited number of pre-revolutionary houses which survived the burning of the town by the British to and including a Romanesque library built in 1890 and a variety of Victorian residences. The Fairfield Historic District is significant because it is an impressive and aesthetically pleasing totality, and it is also significant from an historical point of view because it was the focal point of the first English settlement in the area and an important British target during the Revolutionary War.
The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, are open seven days a week, 10am-4pm. Members of the museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org.
The year Roger Ludlow purchased a large tract of land from the local Paugussett tribe in what eventually became the Old Post Road Historic District.