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Cheshire Town


Cheshire Town Hall is located at 84 South Main Street, Cheshire, CT 06410; phone: 203-271-6660.

Azabah Field House, Main Street, Cheshire CT, ca. 1801, Historic American Buildings Survey.
Photo: Azabah Field House, ca. 1801, James Rainey, photographer, 1937, Historic American Buildings Survey [HABS CT-36], memory.loc.gov, accessed January, 2011.

Beginnings [1]

The town was named for the county of Cheshire, England. By the end of the 1930s many residents from New Haven and Waterbury began to establish homes here.

Although the manufacture of watches once furnished employment to many of the townsfolk, the mining and copper barytes was the most productive industry through the early 20th century; more than 500 Cornish miners were imported to supply the large demand for skilled labor. The opening of the Farmington Canal from New Haven as far as Cheshire, in 1825, brought the community into closer contact with markets for its agricultural products, and facilitated the shipment of ores, but the subsequent discovery of rich copper lodes in western states, soon made exploitation of the Cheshire mines unprofitable. In the intensive cultivation of its land, the town of Cheshire ranked second in the state in the 1930s.

To the south of Cheshire Green is the Abijah Beach Tavern, (1814) once named for Benjamin Franklin. The Congregational Church, (1826, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973) is fortunate in its location, a little remote from the highway, across the elm-shaded triangular Green. It is one of a series of almost identical design, the first at Milford, and the last in Litchfield, with a tall spire and free-standing Ionic columns. In front of the Town Hall, directly opposite the church, was a handsome sycamore measuring 17' 4" in 1938. Facing the Green on the north is the Colonel Rufus Hitchcock House (1785), little changed over many decades except for the addition of dormer windows.

Azabah Field House [2]

The land on which stands the Field House (photo) was once a part of Jonathan Hill's inheritance from his father, the Reverend Samuel Hall and when Jonathan sold it in 1801, he says 'beginning one rod north of my dwelling upon the highway'; this land contained one-half acre.

Russell Cook, the new owner, built the house and a building some thirty feet long, east and west, which was used for a store until he sold it in 1805 to Jeremiah Atwater and others. In 1828, it was sold to George and Samuel Cook and five years later, was again sold to Elihu Yale.

Elihu Yale was a prominent man and postmaster of the town; the post office was kept in the building in the yard south of the house. He disposed of the building to Miss Roxanna Hitchcock who in turn, sold it to General William Horton.

After the death of William Horton, Eben Hoadley owned the house and he sold it to Mrs. Azabah Field, and then the house seemed to settle down to Mrs. Field and her descendants who kept the property until 1928, a period of 68 years when it was remembered as a neighborly, hospitable home.

  1. Workers of the Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, Connecticut: A Guide to its Roads, Lore and People, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1938.
  2. Historic American Buildings Survey, HABS CT-36, 1937, memory.loc.gov
**Information is curated from a variety of sources and, while deemed reliable, is not guaranteed.
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