Guilford is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States, that borders Madison, Branford, North Branford and Durham, and is situated on I-95 and the Connecticut seacoast. The town is part of the South Central Connecticut Planning Region. The population was 22,073 at the 2020 census.
Guilford was named after the town of Guildford, in England, the native home of a share of its first settlers. In early maps of the Connecticut Colony, the town is seen on several maps as Gilford.
First settled by Europeans in 1639 after a treaty with the “Sachem Squaw” Shaumpishuh. Guilford is considered by some to have the third largest collection of historic homes in New England, with important buildings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. There are five historic house museums, including Dudley Farm and the Henry Whitfield House (1639), the oldest dwelling house in Connecticut and the oldest stone house built by English settlers in North America. The Comfort Starr House (1695) is one of the oldest wooden framed private dwellings in Connecticut, and one of the few houses remaining of the original signers who settled Guilford.
In June 1781, during the American Revolution, a skirmish was fought on Leete's Island between the Associated Loyalists and local militia under Captain Peter Vail.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 49.7 square miles (129 km), of which 47.0 square miles (122 km2) is land and 2.7 square miles (6.9 km or 5.39%) is water.
The primary settlement in Guilford, known as Guilford Center, is located in the southern part of town around the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and Connecticut Route 77. It is served by three exits of Interstate 95, which passes just north of the town center. The Guilford Center census-designated place had a population of 2,597 at the 2010 census.
The northwest side of Guilford is flanked by the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous trap rock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border. Important features of the Metacomet ridge in Guilford include Totoket Mountain; its most notable peak, Bluff Head; and two eastern high points on the Totoket Mountain ridge named East Sugarloaf and West Sugarloaf. The 50-mile (80 km) Mattabesett Trail traverses Bluff Head; a shorter network of trails criss-cross the Sugarloaves. Guilford also contains the Westwoods Trail System which covers 39 miles (63 km) of trails on 1,200 acres (4.9 km) of land.
The Shore Line East train stops at Guilford station with service to Branford, East Haven, New Haven and New London, and the Connecticut Transit S bus travels between Guilford and New Haven several times each day.
Other minor communities and geographic features in Guilford are Guilford Lakes, Indian Cove, and Old Quarry.
As of the census of 2000, there were 21,398 people, 8,151 households, and 6,039 families residing in the town. The population density was 454.8 inhabitants per square mile (175.6/km2). There were 8,724 housing units at an average density of 185.4 per square mile (71.6/km). The racial makeup of the town was 96.04% White, 0.93% African American, 0.05% Native American, 1.65% Asian, 0.41% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.13% of the population.
There were 8,151 households, out of which 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.4% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.9% were non-families. Of all households 21.6% were made up of individuals, and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 25.4% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $76,843, and the median income for a family was $87,045 (these figures had risen to $90,026 and $104,852 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $60,623 versus $40,307 for females. The per capita income for the town was $37,161. About 2.3% of families and 3.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.
In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 61.02% of the town vote, against 38.06% for Republican John McCain. In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton carried the town with 59.2% over Republican Donald Trump with 37.1%.
American Cruise Lines has its headquarters in Guilford. There are many small businesses throughout the town, including the shops on the Guilford Green.
The town government operates these parks:
Guilford, Connecticut is noted for its rolling farmland, its avoidance of the density and sprawl that has occurred from land use regulations of its neighboring communities, and its numerous historic homes and sites.
Historic sites in or near Guilford, which may be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, include:
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