[ front ]WinchesterIn 1686 the General Court of the Connecticut Colony granted to the town of Hartford and Windsor "? lands on the north of Woodbury ? and on the west of ? Simsbury ? to make a plantation or villages theron." Later (1732) the Hartford proprietors, named in a patent of 1729, executed a deed which provided for division of the Hartford share, including the part which became Winchester. The General Assembly in May, 1786 authorized an ecclesiastical society in Winchester township. The meetinghouse was located near, and a later one on, the present Winchester Center Green. Following petition by the society, the General Assembly incorporated the Town of Winchester in May, 1771.
In 1778 the Assembly established the Ecclesiastical Society of Winsted (from Winchester and Barkhamsted townships) on Old North Road, but the opening of the Greenwoods Turnpike in 1799 from New Hartford to Sheffield brought a great volume of traffic to the valleys.
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Settlers along the Still River erected a second meetinghouse near the present Winsted Green. The village of Winsted became an incorporated borough in 1858, a city in 1917. Since the late 1700's the community of Winchester / Winsted has thrived on a core of industry: scythes, thread, clocks, electrical items, ball bearings, and one of the few pin factories of the 1800's in the United States. The first grist mill was built in 1771 by David Austin at the foot of Highland Lake. Benjamin Jenkins and James Boyd built one of the State's first scythe factories at Lake and Meadow Streets in 1792. The Hoadleys and Whitings founded a clock industry here in 1897, which became the Gilbert Clock Company in 1871. Ribbon candy was invented in the 1880's in a local candy store. The Gilbert School (1895) became the home of the Northwestern Connecticut Community College in 1965.
Erected by the Town of Winchester
The Winchester Historical Society
And the Connecticut Historical Commission