History of Westbrook, Ct

WestbrookSingingBridge

Westbrook is located in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. Westbrook is located in southern Connecticut on the Long Island Sound. Originally part of Saybrook Colony, it was known as Pochaug until 1810 and incorporated as a town in 1840. Timber from local white oak and chestnut forests sustained a shipbuilding industry that flourished for nearly a century. The most famous vessel associated with the town of Westbrook is the Turtle, tTurtleSubmarinehe world’s first submarine, invented by Westbrook-native David Bushnell. By the 1870s, the area had become a popular summer resort town—a characteristic it still retains today.   The population was 6,938 at the 2010 census and has grown steadily over time. The town center is also classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place.  

The Town extends four miles along the shore of Long Island Sound, abutted on the west by Clinton and on the east by Old Saybrook.  The town extends five miles inland, abutted by the towns of Essex and Deep River, for a total of 16.2 square miles.



Westbrook History

Westbrook was first settled about 1648 as the Oyster River Quarter of the town of Old Saybrook, which was founded in 1635 by English puritans escaping Charles I and the Anglican Church.  The "Quarter" was set aside to provide farms and pasture lands to residents living in Saybrook Point.  Permanent settlement soon followed and the are became known as Pochoug, an Indian word meaning "at the confluence of two rivers."  The area had long been home to the Indians; a large village was located at Hawk's Nest, now known as Pilot's Point.

The community achieved a measure of independence in 1724 when a successful petition resulted in it being set aside as West Parish with its own church.  Known variously as Pochoug, West Saybrook and finally Westbrook.  The latter name was formalized in 1810 and the town as we know ity today was incorporated in 1840.

Westbrook was the birthplace of David Bushnell, the Revolutionary War patriot who is recognized by the United States Navy as the inventor of the submarine.  He was educated in Westbrook by Rev. John Devotion and at Yale College.  The invention, the "American Turtle" and its inventor were praised by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

Westbrook has hosted numerous famous individuals, including Washington, Lafayette, Vice President Charles Dawes and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Mrs. Roosevelt often visited the estate of Miss Esther Lape, the site of which is now a federal wildlife refuge.  The history of Westbrook today is preserved by the Westbrook Historical Society, Inc., a non-profit group grateful to the Town of Westbrook for the use of the old library located on the Town Green.  A museum maintained in that building, which was constructed in 1904 and used as the library until 1978, houses numerous artifacts and much information form the town's past, and is open on weekends during the summer.

Westbrook, in Middlesex County, is located in southern Connecticut on the Long Island Sound. Originally part of Saybrook Colony, it was known as Pochaug until 1810 and incorporated as a town in 1840. Timber from local white oak and chestnut forests sustained a shipbuilding industry that flourished for nearly a century. The most famous vessel associated with the town of Westbrook is the Turtle, the world’s first submarine, invented by Westbrook-native David Bushnell. By the 1870s, the area had become a popular summer resort town—a characteristic it still retains today.


Here's a great video of the history of Eleanor Roosevelt's time in Westbrook:

Looking Back - Eleanor Roosevelt in Westbrook