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Bethel Connecticut

County: Fairfield
Population: 18,067
Area: 17 Square Miles
Government: Board of Selectman / Town Meeting
Distance to Major Cities:
Hartford: 46 Miles
Boston: 140 Miles
New York City: 56 Miles


The town was settled around 1700.  Muddy Brook, a small stream near the Danbury line, is mentioned in 1697 probate record.  When overcrowding at Danbury’s First Congregational Church forced the formation of a separate parish to the south in 1759, the new community named itself Bethel meaning “House of Go” in Hebrew.

One of Bethel’s most noted sons is Phineas Taylor Barnum born in Bethel in 1810.  A small area, known as PT Barnum Square, boasted an enormous bronze fountain donated by the “greatest showman on earth,” until the Doughboy Statue replaced it.

In the mid-nineteenth to early twentieth centuries, Bethel adopted technological advances and expanded its civic facilities. The railroad first came to town in 1852, connecting Bethel to Norwalk and the growing metropolis of New York City. Another line, known as the Shepaug Railroad connecting link was established in 1872, enabling Bethelites to travel to the northern town of Litchfield (this line was discontinued in 1911). A town-supplied water system was created in 1879 utilizing the Eureka Reservoir, and electricity began to be available in the late 1880's (although many townspeople would not have their homes electrified until the 1920's.)

Meanwhile, Bethel’s Camber of Commerce works hard to help move the town into the the future.

Bethel is alive and active all year round.  Municipal and Park & Recreation programs contribute to the community’s well being, as well as its excellent schools, thriving businesses and beautiful scenery.

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395 Main Street
Ridgefield, Connecticut 06877
203.438.0455 | 203.431.6998 fax

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72 State Route 37
New Fairfield, Connecticut 06812
203.746.6565 | 203.746.4000