Vernon, ConnecticutAn Excerpt from the CT 169 Club Book
Originally part of Bolton, Vernon, Connecticut in Tolland County, contains the smaller villages of Rockville, Talcotville, and Dobsonville. Vernon’s claim to fame was its mills, the first of which was a cotton spinning mill est. in 1809 and powered by the Tankeroosen River.
Rockville was incorporated as a city within the town of Vernon in 1889. A decline came in the 1950s when the mills closed and moved south. In 1965 the city ceased to exist when its government was consolidated with the town’s.
The rest of Vernon remained rural until the 1940s and ‘50s when a highway, now I-84, was built through the town and the post-war housing boom began. The majority of the town’s pop. of almost 30,000 now lives in the outlying area, which includes Vernon Center, Dobsonville, and Talcottville. Most residents are employed by companies based in greater Hartford.
Vernon’s famous residents include three graduates of Rockville High School. Still life painter Charles Ethan Porter (c. 1847-1923), one of the few African-American professional artists of the 19th century, grew up in Vernon and studied abroad. After a promising start his career declined and he died in poverty, but fortunately a renewed appreciation of his work occurred late in the 20th century.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gene Pitney (1940-2006), the “Rockville Rocket,” lived in the area all his life. He had 16 Top 40 hits in the United States. An exhibit in Vernon’s town hall (14 Park Place) honors his memory.
Virginia U.S. Senator and former governor of Virginia, Mark Warner, a contender for the 2008 presidential nomination, was born in Indiana but moved to Connecticut and attended schools in Vernon, CT.
The Connecticut 169 Club:
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