Welcome to Colchester, where a rich and vibrant history has helped shape one of Connecticut’s most coveted towns.
The town of Colchester was founded in 1698 on land purchased by Nathaniel Foote from the Mohegan Indians. Foote’s grandfather, having emigrated from Colchester, England, was part of a group of settlers who had big dreams for what was at one time a large tract of virgin wilderness.
Like many New England towns, Colchester’s early history centered around the church parish. In 1703, the General Court of the Colony of Connecticut ruled that the settlement could organize a church body here known as Colchester. Within a few years, the first street was laid out and called Town Street, which is now the southern end of Old Hebron Road. By 1756 Colchester was one of the thriving rural towns in the Colony as it’s population continued to climb.
Settlers were mostly self-sufficient, and the industrial expansion that was sweeping the colonies was evident in Colchester by the 19th Century. One of the first textile mills in America began operation in 1780 in Westchester. Other early industries were iron works, clothier shops, potash works and brick kilns. During this industrial heyday, the Hayward Rubber Company was established in 1847. Nathaniel Hayward along with Charles Goodyear had discovered the process of vulcanized rubber. From their factory in Colchester, rubber products, boots and shoes were shipped all over the country.