Branford, Connecticut

Branford, Connecticut
Branford, Connecticut
—  Town  —

Location in New Haven County, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°16′40″N 72°47′59″W / 41.27778°N 72.79972°W / 41.27778; -72.79972Coordinates: 41°16′40″N 72°47′59″W / 41.27778°N 72.79972°W / 41.27778; -72.79972
Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA New Haven
Region South Central Region
Settled 1644
Incorporated 1685
 – Type Representative town meeting
 – First selectman Anthony "Unk" DaRos (D)
 – Total 28.0 sq mi (72.5 km2)
 – Land 22.0 sq mi (56.9 km2)
 – Water 6.0 sq mi (15.6 km2)
Elevation 43 ft (13 m)
Population (2005)[1]
 – Total 29,089
 – Density 1,322/sq mi (511/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06405
Area code(s) 203
FIPS code 09-07310
GNIS feature ID 0213395

Branford is a shoreline town located on Long Island Sound in New Haven County, Connecticut, eight miles (13 km) east of New Haven. The population was 29,089 in 2005, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.[1]



According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 28.0 square miles (73 km2); 22.0 square miles (57 km2) are land and 6.0 square miles (16 km2) (21.5%) are water, including the Branford River, Queach Brook and the Branford Supply Ponds. There are two harbors, the more central Branford Harbor and Stony Creek Harbor on the east end. Much of the town's border with East Haven to the west is dominated by Lake Saltonstall, a reservoir owned by the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority, and Saltonstall Mountain, part of the Metacomet Ridge, a mountainous trap rock ridgeline that stretches from Long Island Sound to nearly the Vermont border. The southern terminus of the Metacomet Ridge, Beacon Hill, is also located in Branford.

The Town of Branford includes the Thimble Islands. Neighboring towns are North Branford to the north, Guilford to the east, and East Haven to the west.


An area called "Totoket", which became Branford, was part of the land bought from the Mattabesech Indians in 1638 by the first settlers of New Haven. The Dutch set up a trading post at the mouth of the Branford River in the 17th century, the source of the name "Dutch Wharf."[2]

The town's name is said to be derived from the town of Brentford, England. Established in 1644, the town grew during the 18th and 19th centuries. In the late 18th century, the first shoreline community, Stony Creek, was settled. Indian Neck and Pine Orchard were also settled, but neither of those settlements were permanent until the mid-19th century.[2]

In 1852, the railroad helped bring new business, including Branford Lockworks, Malleable Iron Fittings Company, and the Atlantic Wire Company. The Stony Creek granite quarries also rose to prominence as a direct consequence of railroad construction.[2]

During the mid-19th century, Branford became a popular resort area. Approximately twenty hotels opened, including Indian Point House in Stony Creek, Montowese House in Indian Neck, and Sheldon House in Pine Orchard.[2] During the mid-20th century, Branford shed its resort image and subsequently took on many characteristics typically associated with northeastern suburbs.

In 1974, Connecticut Hospice was founded in Branford, the first hospice in the United States.


Climate data for Branford, Connecticut
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 68
Average high °F (°C) 39
Average low °F (°C) 25
Record low °F (°C) −8
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.59
Source: [3]

Landmarks and attractions

Branford has six historic districts that are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).[citation needed] These include buildings in Federal, Arts and Crafts, and Queen Anne styles of architecture. Five NRHP-listed districts are: Branford Center Historic District, Branford Point Historic District, Canoe Brook Historic District, Route 146 Historic District, and Stony Creek-Thimble Islands Historic District.

More than 20 historic homes and other properties are separately listed on the National Register. In total, 30 properties or districts in Branford appear in the New Haven County's NRHP listings. One example is Harrison House and Museum, a 1724 structure, which has period furnishings, local historical items, archives, a barn and an herb garden.[4]

Cruises of the Thimble Islands depart from the Stony Creek dock, and seal-watch cruises take place in March.[4]

Branford's recreational facilities include several town-maintained parks and beaches owned by private foundations, hiking trails along Lake Saltonstall and a stretch of the Shoreline Greenway Trail, and 20 miles (30 km) of coastline with more than 12 marinas.


As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 28,683 people, 12,543 households, and 7,663 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,305.2 people per square mile (503.8/km²). There were 13,342 housing units at an average density of 607.1 per square mile (234.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.05% white, 1.35% African American, 0.10% Native American, 2.72% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.57% of the population.

There were 12,543 households out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.9% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.90.

In the town the population was spread out with 20.7% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 88.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,009, and the median income for a family was $69,510. Males had a median income of $46,927 versus $35,947 for females. The per capita income for the town was $32,301. About 3.3% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under the age of 18 and 4.0% of those 65 and older.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 28, 2008[6]
Party Active Voters Inactive Voters Total Voters Percentage
  Democratic 6,524 242 6,766 33.36%
  Republican 2,911 153 3,064 15.11%
  Unaffiliated 9,852 572 10,424 51.40%
  Minor Parties 25 0 25 0.12%
Total 19,312 967 20,279 100%

Principal communities in Branford

Branford Center

Branford Center is home to many small stores, restaurants, and coffee houses, which line Main Street, with the Green at the center. The Branford Green has churches as well as the town hall and other government facilities and hosts concerts and other events, such as the annual Branford Festival.

Branford Hills

Branford Hills sits on the western end of town and centers on the heavily commercialized strip of Route 1. Fast-food and sit-down restaurants, auto dealers, grocery stores, and several strip malls are located there. The more southern section features less dense areas with woodlands and farm featuring trails that the Branford Land Trust preserves that connect the Shoreline Greenway trail from New Haven to Madison. The northern section also features a less dense area with woodlands that surround Lake Saltonstall which also feature trail systems maintained by the Regional Water Authority as the Lake is a resiviour for Branford.

Branford Hills features many condominium and apartment complexes, most of which house middle and lower-middle-class residents. The original sites of Connecticut Hospice and St. Elizabeth Roman Catholic Church are in Branford Hills.

Indian Neck

Indian Neck is in the south-central section of Branford, dominated by a peninsula bordering Branford Harbor. Both Foote Park and John B. Sliney Memorial Park are located within Indian Neck.

Back in the early to mid 20th century Indian Neck was a tourist destination. Trolley service came down to Sybil and Limewood Ave which had its own commercial area. These included Harry's General Store, Bud's Bait Box, The Waverly Inn, Madelyn's Restaurant, Surfside Restaurant, a Candy Store, and Dairy Joy Ice Cream. Much of the area contained second homes, so the beach was an active place. As the area became more year round the commercial business slowly shut-down. In fact the landmark Waverly Inn burned to the ground in the early 70's truly marking the end of an era.

Pine Orchard

Pine Orchard is situated between Indian Neck and Stony Creek. The Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club (P.O.Y.C.C.), The Pine Brook School (formerly Wightwood School), a private institution, and Francis Walsh Intermediate School are found here.

Stony Creek

Stony Creek is a shorefront section in the southeastern section of Branford, centered on a harbor on Long Island Sound. Stony Creek, an affluent section of Branford along with Pine Orchard, has an ambience of a small seaside village. It is famous for the archipelago of islands knowns as the Thimble Islands.

The Thimbles are a jumble of glacial rocks, ranging from 17 acres (69,000 m²) down to stepping stone size, at the mouth of the harbor. Despite their small size, they possess a wealth of history and local lore, as well as providing pleasant scenery for a summer cruise.

Stony Creek is also home to the all-male Stony Creek Fife & Drum Corps, and the only all-female fife and drum corps Totoket Ancient Fife & Drum Corps. A large quarry is still working, and supplied the distinctive pink/orange Stony Creek granite for the Brooklyn Bridge, the Stony Creek library and the newest House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Short Beach

Short Beach is a beach neighborhood in the western end of town, south of Branford Hills. It is home to many small islands, the largest being Kelsey Island, which has a few small cabins used as summer homes. Short Beach is home to half of the famous Shoreline Trolley Museum, which is also in neighboring East Haven. Also in Short Beach are the Yale Corinthian Yacht Club (YCYC), Short Beach Union Church and three parks, the largest being Pardee Park. Short Beach's population is about 1,500 and features a three-day festival at the end of summer called Short Beach Days. Short Beach is known for the population of monk parakeets that live there (referred to as the "Short Beach Parrots"), a non-native bird.

Hotchkiss Grove

Hotchkiss Grove of Branford is located between Indian Neck and Pine Orchard and consists of 9 Avenues, Hotchkiss Grove Road, and Dudley Road. It has a small beach used for swimming and keeping boats with a raft to swim out to. The point is a small peninsula going out into the water with a small dock and grass, where parties are held sometimes. Every first Saturday of August, Hotchkiss Grove Day is held, with the day starting with a costume parade, with prizes. Then are beach games, in which kids compete with one another on the beach. There is live music at that time and a clam bar.

Other communities

Other minor communities and geographic features in the town are: Branford Point, Brocketts Point, Brushy Plain, Cherry Hill, Clam Island, Double Beach, Goodsell Point, Granite Bay, Haycock Point, High Island, Jepson Island, Johnson's Point, Kidd's Island, Killam's Point, Lamphier's Cove, Little Pumpkin, Money Island, Pawson Park, Potato Island, Rockland Park, Sagamore Cove, Scotch Cap, Sumac Island, Summer Island, Sunset Beach, Thimble Islands, Todd's Hill, Vedder's Point, Wheeler Island.


Now that Malleable Iron Fittings has been largely demolished and the site turned into housing, Branford is known for high-technology companies such as Curagen and 454 Life Sciences. Also with offices and manufacturing space in Branford is American Polyfilm, Inc. which specializes in the manufacture of Polyurethane film for a number of industries including industrial and high performance fabrics and medical products to name a few. It is also home to Wilson Arms, which produces small-caliber rifles and parts, and Islander East Pipeline Co., which seeks to build a controversial natural gas pipeline from North Haven to Yaphank, New York.


Schools in Branford:

  • Branford High School
  • Francis Walsh Intermediate School
  • John B. Sliney School
  • Linda Chipkin School
  • Mary R. Tisko School
  • Mary T. Murphy School
  • Saint Mary Catholic School


The main artery through the town is Interstate 95, running along the eastern coast of the United States. The town has a station on the Shore Line East commuter rail line from New London to New Haven. The Branford Steam Railroad carries quarried trap rock from North Branford to barges at Juniper Point near Stony Creek. Tweed New Haven Regional Airport is located three miles (5 km) west of Branford.

Major roads

  • West Main Street/North Main Street/East Main Street (US Route 1) - parallels I-95.
  • Main Street passes through the town center
  • Route 142 (Short Beach Road/Shore Drive) serves the community of Short Beach in the southwestern part of the town
  • Route 146 is a scenic route that passes through various coastal communities in the southeastern part of the town and into Guilford. The route runs closely parallel to the Amtrak/Shore Line East railroad tracks.
  • Cedar Street/Brushy Plain Road, which runs from Main Street into North Branford. The section north of Route 1 is an unsigned state road (SR 740). A large number of condominium complexes are located on SR 740 or one of its side roads. Mary T. Murphy Elementary School, Veterans Memorial Park and Lidyhites Pond are also located on the section known as Brushy Plain Road. The road takes a winding route over a hill popularly known as "Snake Hill," site of numerous traffic accidents, as it heads north into North Branford.


One of the largest events in Branford every year is the Branford Festival on Father's Day weekend, which features food, crafts, children's rides, music and a 5-mile (8.0 km) road race.

Notable people

Notable natives and residents of Branford include:

Sister cities


  1. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates
  2. ^ a b c d [1] Branford Chamber of Commerce web site accessed 26 June 2006
  3. ^ "Monthly Averages for Branford, CT". The Weather Channel. August 2011. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "AAA Connecticut, Massachusetts & Rhode Island Tour Book", 2007, published by the American Automobile Association, page 38
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 28, 2008" (PDF). Connecticut Secretary of the State. Retrieved 2009-06-11. 
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ Ted Kennedy Jr. of Branford won't run for Senate in '12, New Haven Register, February 16, 2011
  9. ^ "Thomas Steitz – A Nobel Profession Science". Miptalk audio interview. March 13, 2010. 

External links



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