History of Fairfield
Fairfield was founded in 1639 by the English Puritan leader Roger Ludlow, who was drawn to the area’s beauty and the “land of fair fields” cultivated by Native American farmers.
Step back into colonial times as you stroll through Fairfield’s Historic District, the site of the original settlement. You’ll pass the Town Hall, the Old Academy, Old Burying Ground, the Penfield Tavern, and the “witch dunking pond” where women were tested as witches in 1692. Nearby, you’ll also see the First Congregational Church and the Burr Homestead, rebuilt after the revolutionary war by Thaddeus Burr, a wealthy land owner and cousin to the U.S. Vice President Andrew Burr. The house was the site of John Hancock and Dorothy Quincy’s wartime wedding in 1775.
During the Revolutionary War, Fairfield became a British target and on July 7, 1779 General Tryon’s troops landed in Fairfield Beach, marched up Beach Road and attacked the town, burning 200 houses and all public buildings in a two day siege.
It took many years to rebuild the town, but by the early 19th century, Fairfield had begun to build its rich history as a place of business. Black Rock and neighboring Southport were important harbors and welcome stops for sea captains and merchants, and the locally-grown Globe Onion later became a major cash crop, carried by ship and rail to New York and beyond. Fairfield’s economy continued to grow as family-owned businesses such as Pepperidge Farm and Bigelow Tea flourished, and major manufacturers and corporations began to call Fairfield home.
Today, Fairfield remains rooted in its history, striking a perfect balance between small-town New England charm and large-city culture and sophistication.