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Encyclopedia > Branchville, Connecticut
Branchville (ca. 1888-1889) by John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902)
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Branchville (ca. 1888-1889) by John Henry Twachtman (1853-1902)

Branchville is a section of the southeast corner of the Town of Ridgefield, Connecticut, and is also the name of a Metro North railroad station. The name often confuses people who are trying to take a train to Ridgefield, but find no station by that name. Branchville Station is, in fact, within the town of Ridgefield. John Henry Twachtman (August 4, 1853-August 8, 1902) was a US impressionist painter. ... Ridgefield is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. ... Metro-North (officially MTA Metro-North Railroad) is a suburban commuter railroad running service from New York City to the northern suburbs in New York State and Connecticut. ...


History

Branchville was named for the “branch” rail line from the Danbury and Norwalk Railroad to Ridgefield village, a five-mile run on a long incline (Branchville's elevation is 342 feet while the old village station was about 900 feet above sea level).


The first recorded use of the term appears in an 1870 deed for four acres “lying in the town of Ridgefield at Branchville.” It was the very same year that the branch line was built, suggesting that the railroad rather than neighborhood residents had invented the name to distinguish the station from the new one at Ridgefield center. Previously, the station at Branchville had been known as Ridgefield Station or Beers Station.


Passenger service on the branch line was available into town until 1925; freight service lasted until 1964. Most of the track bed, complete with gravel but missing its rails, is today the path of the Northeast Utilities high-voltage line and the town’s “Rail-Trail,” developed in the 1990s for walkers (no bicycles, alas, allowed). Some of the other sections along southern Florida Road have been sold to adjoining landowners.


To the Indians, the southeast corner of town was known as Wheer Cock. Later it was called Copps Corner, after the Norwalk man who surveyed the town in the early 1700s and was the first town clerk. When the railroad line from Norwalk to Danbury was completed in 1852, the neighborhood was at first called Beers Station or Ridgefield Station, after the stop there. While this area had been mostly farmland and a mill or two, the coming of the railroad sparked the development of a booming, albeit small-scale, industrial community. It included mills, stores, a hotel, a machinery factory, a noted mineral quarry, a post office, and a school. (Still standing on Old Branchville Road, the schoolhouse has in recent years been used for storage.) Branchville had its own school district at least since the middle 19th Century – it was known as the “Ridgefield Station District” before it was called Branchville. Its schoolhouse was used until around 1927 when children started being “bused” to Garden School on Bailey Avenue in the village. A new Branchville School opened in 1969 on lower Florida Road, remaining in use until in 1983 when it was closed due to declining enrollments and used as Board of Education offices. In 1994, faced with increasing enrollments, voters agreed to reopen the school.


Some people consider Branchville a part of Georgetown, Connecticut, an adjoining non-incorporated community within the towns of Wilton, Redding and Weston. Many Branchville residents and businesses share the Georgetown's 544- telephone numbers. Oldtime Branchville residents, however, stand firm in the belief that Branchville is its own community, not attached to Georgetown, and point to a community vote in the 1950s not to be served by the Georgetown Post Office, much closer than the Ridgefield Post Office. Georgetown is a census-designated place located in Fairfield County, Connecticut. ...


An 1893 atlas labels this territory as “Plattsville,” which is undoubtedly a mapmaker’s error.


 
 

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