Willington, Connecticut
A Brief About Willington, Connecticut

Willington, Connecticut, nestled in the heart of Tolland County, is a quintessential New England town that captures the essence of small-town charm. Home to approximately 6,000 residents, Willington offers a serene and picturesque setting surrounded by lush forests and rolling farmland. Its rich history, vibrant community, and diverse offerings make it a hidden gem worth exploring.

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Mark Tetreault II
Associate
RE/MAX Bell Park Realty

610 Hartford Pike
Killingly, CT 06241

(860) 377-2595

The History Of Willington, Connecticut

Willington, Connecticut is a small Connecticut town located in Tolland County situated in the eastern part of the state near the Willimantic River. While it was incorporated in 1727 under the name of Wellington, in connection to Wellington, Somersetshire where Henry Wolcott was born, the grandfather of Roger Wolcott.

It has a rich and fascinating past that dates back to the early American colonial era. This town played a crucial role in the American Revolutionary War, and several prominent figures of the time called this place home. Today, Willington is still a thriving community with a low population density, but many of its historical landmarks are underappreciated and not well-known.

Willington’s Colonial Origins

Willington was first settled in 172, when it became a new town the name was spelled wrong and became what it is today. In the early days, Willington was famous for being a farming community, with tobacco being a primary crop.

In fact, many farmers and their families in the area were wealthy thanks to the fertile land, and evidence of this success can still be seen on several old estates and farms around town.

The Revolution and Willington

During the Revolutionary War, Willington’s position made it an essential factor for the colonists. The town was located on the vital communication route between Boston and New York, and several supply trains and troops passed through its borders.

Many men from Willington served in the Revolutionary War, including Colonel Samuel B. Webb, who later served as Deputy Quartermaster General of the US Continental Army under General George Washington, the first president of the United States of America. Several homes still standing today had roles in the war, and the Nathan Hale Monument, erected in 1853, stands at the site where Hale was secretly nursed back to health.

Willington in the 19th Century

The 19th Century was a period of significant change for Willington. With an agricultural economy coming under pressure, the town’s population began to shift towards manufacturing, so the families living there could make a living.

The first factory was built in 1818 to produce wagons, and this was followed by brush and comb factories and a sawmill. In 1868, the railroad line between Hartford and Providence passed through Willington, boosting the industrial growth of the town. The Howard Brown Memorial Library was also built in 1868, providing a much-needed public resource for the town’s residents.

Willington Today

Despite its long history, Willington has remained a relatively small town with each census done. The data has shown that the population has fluctuated over the years, with a peak of around 7,000 in the 1960s, followed by a decline after the town’s brush factory and several other businesses closed down.

However, in recent times, new businesses have taken their place, and the town has rebounded, making a name for itself as a location for small tech firms, moving in from the west of the country. Today, many historic buildings have been preserved, allowing visitors to step back in time and get a glimpse of the town’s past.

Historical Landmarks of Willington

Willington is fortunate enough to have several historic landmarks sprinkled throughout the town. These landmarks include the aforementioned Nathan Hale Monument, Hall Memorial Library, which was built-in 1928 in memory of George Hall; an early Willington resident who was a prominent lawyer and farmer, and various homes and estates that date back to the colonial period.

Visitors to Willington can enjoy a walking tour of the town and see these sights for themselves. Also, the Willington Historical Society keeps these places at top quality.

Amazing Restaurants Around Willington, Connecticut
Willington Pizza House
25 River Rd, Willington, CT 06279
Hilltop Restaurant
39 Adamec Rd., Willington , CT 06279
Flat Pennies Kitchen
12 Tolland Turnpike, Willington, Connecticut 06279
Fenton River Grill
135A Storrs Road Mansfield, CT 06250
Chuck's Steak House Margarita Grill
1498 Stafford Rd., Storrs, Ct 06268
Things To Do Around Willington, Connecticut

Willington, CT, may not be the most popular tourist destination, but it offers a plethora of exciting activities for adventure seekers. From hiking on scenic hills to exploring historic railway exhibits, this peaceful town has something for everyone. Whether you are a local or a first-time visitor, you’ll find unique experiences that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Adventure at Horsebarn Hill

Let’s begin with the University of Connecticut’s Horsebarn Hill. Located in the heart of the campus, this breathtaking hill spans over 50 acres and offers splendid panoramic views. You can enjoy hiking, picnicking, or simply bask in nature’s beauty. The scenic trails of Horsebarn Hill connect with the nearby Fenton River and Spring Hill trails, providing opportunities for more adventurous hikes.

Staffordville Lake

If you’re looking for a serene location to unwind, Staffordville Lake is the perfect choice. Located 15 minutes away from Willington’s town center, this picturesque lake offers crystal clear water surrounded by lush greenery. You can spend your day fishing, kayaking, or relaxing on the peaceful shores. The lake’s beach area provides an ideal spot for a family picnic or sunbathing.

Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum

Next up is the popular Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum. The museum takes visitors on a journey through Willington’s industrial heritage, showcasing vintage trains, tools, and machines. You can explore the various exhibits and get an interactive experience of how our ancestors travelled with modern content. The museum also features a gift shop stocked with railroad-themed souvenirs. While you’re there, make sure to check out the videos made about the railroad, they sure are interesting!

Burke Ridge Farms

For a family-friendly destination, head to Burke Ridge Farms. This seasonal attraction offers hayrides, pick-your-own pumpkin activities, and corn mazes, creating memorable experiences for all ages. The farm also has a petting zoo with adorable animals, perfect for the little ones. If you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, Burke Ridge Farms is an excellent choice. You’ll like it so much, you’ll want to leave a review!

Mansfield Hollow State Park

Last but not least, we have the Mansfield Hollow State Park, located just a 10-minute drive away from Willington. It’s a nature lover’s paradise, offering 2,300 acres of natural beauty. You can enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, and birdwatching in this serene setting. The park also features a beach area, ideal for a refreshing swim on hot summer days, and if you plan on having a picnic, don’t forget your cookies! There are many choices you’ll have to make when visiting this park!

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Education Around Willington, Connecticut

Education is fundamental to shaping every individual’s life and opening up opportunities. In Willington, CT, education is a top priority, and the schools here provide an excellent learning and nurturing environment for students of all ages. With its beautiful surroundings, calm neighborhoods, and top-rated schools, Willington, CT, is the perfect place to raise a family.

Hall Memorial School

Serving students from Pre-K to 8th grade, Hall Memorial School is one of the best schools in Willington, CT. The school prides itself on its dedicated teachers and nurturing environment that provides a strong educational foundation for its students.

The school has a diverse curriculum that includes art, music, physical education, and foreign languages. The teachers at Hall Memorial School use various teaching methods to ensure that all students learn at their own pace. The school also has a friendly and inclusive community, where students and parents are actively involved in school activities.

Pioneer Valley Regional School

Pioneer Valley Regional School, located in Northfield, MA, is an excellent option for students from Willington, CT, looking for a boarding school experience. The school is best known for its exceptional teaching faculty, comprehensive academic program, and excellent facilities. Pioneer Valley Regional School provides a challenging curriculum that includes honors and advanced placement courses. Students have access to extracurricular activities, including music, athletics, and clubs.

Community Happenings Around Willington, Connecticut

Nestled in the heart of Tolland County, Connecticut, Willington offers a slice of small-town charm and natural beauty that is hard to find elsewhere. From scenic hikes to historical landmarks and events that foster community spirit, the town has a lot to offer to residents and visitors alike.

Volunteer at the Willington Public Library

The Willington Public Library is an integral part of the town and is always on the lookout for volunteers. From shelving books and assisting with library programs to helping staff with events and engaging with patrons, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved. Volunteering at the library is a great way to meet new people, pursue your interests, and give back to the community.

Join the Willington Garden Club

If you’re passionate about gardening, landscaping, or horticulture, the Willington Garden Club is the perfect place to connect with like-minded individuals and learn from experienced gardeners. The club hosts a range of events throughout the year, from workshops and plant sales to garden tours and guest speakers. As a member, you’ll have the chance to attend these events and enhance your gardening knowledge and skills.

Become a Member of the Willington Historical Society

Willington has a rich history that dates back to the 18th century, and the Willington Historical Society is dedicated to preserving and sharing this heritage with the community. By becoming a member of the society, you can participate in its programs and events, access its archives and collections, and contribute to ongoing research and preservation efforts. Whether you’re interested in genealogy, architecture, or local history, the Historical Society is a great resource for enthusiasts.

In conclusion, Willington, Connecticut, is a place where history, natural beauty, culinary delights, and community spirit come together to create a memorable experience worth exploring. Whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, an outdoor adventurer, or a family looking for a welcoming community, Willington has something special to offer everyone who visits.

By attending the town’s community events, volunteering at the library, joining the Garden Club, or becoming a member of the Historical Society, you can contribute to the town’s vibrant spirit and create lasting memories. So, come explore Willington and discover all that this charming town has to offer.