Willimantic, CT, a former part of the city of Windham, became its own town in 1893. As of the 2000 Census, the population was 15,823. The town’s name means “land of the swift running river” and is the birthplace of the Christopher Dodd, U.S. Senator. The town also has the nickname “Thread City” because at one time the American Thread Company mill, on the banks of the Willimantic River, was one of the largest producers of thread in the world. The high speed “White Train,” that stopped in Willimantic, between New York and Boston, added growth to this CT area. Several Victorian homes were built in the area known as Prospect Hill and are still listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Businesses Revitalizing Willimantic, CT
Once the American Thread Company moved to North Carolina, the town of Willimantic lost several jobs and began a decline, but with the present revitalization projects, the town is becoming more prosperous. The town’s riverfront is being reenergized by the Willimantic Whitewater Partnership, which is developing a whitewater park and research facility. Former factory buildings are being revamped into residential spaces and areas for small technology startup businesses. The largest private employer in the town is Willimantic Waste Paper Company, which specializes in the collection and recycling of scrap metal, fiber product and co-mingled plastic refuse. Another business in Willimantic is Brand-Rex Corporation, which manufactures specialty wire and cable for commercial and industrial customers.
Attractions and Events in Willimantic, CT
Throughout the year, there are several events and attractions for owners of Willimantic real estate and visitors to enjoy. `Some of the great events to enjoy include:
• Willimantic Boom Box Parade – in 1986 the local marching band disbanded and Kathleen Clark, a parade fan, and the local radio station encouraged parade attendees to bring their Boom Boxes. The tradition continues today.
• Third Thursday – on Main Street on the 3rd Thursday of spring and summer months, booths of performers, community groups and food vendors present a street fair.
• Willimantic Food Co-Op – Connecticut’s only store front food co-op. Occurs at 91 Valley Street and every autumn the co-op hosts a Downtown Country Fair, featuring live music, crafts, food, farmers market and children’s activities.
• Prospect Hill Historic District – 993 buildings makes this one of CT’s largest National Register historic districts.
• Willimantic Footbridge – Only footbridge in America that connects 2 state highways and crosses road, rail and river.
• Romantic Willimantic – each year a local citizen or civic leader is crowned as “Cupid” on Valentine’s Day as a result of their contributions to the town.
• Thread City Bread – it is Willimantic’s very own local currency which is valid at several local businesses
Another large attraction in Willimantic, CT is Willimantic's Frog Bridge, officially known as the Thread City Crossing. The bridge connects Routes 66 and 32 across a rail line and the Willimantic River. There are four 11-foot frogs atop giant spools of thread marking Frog Bridge. In 2002 Frog Bridge in Willimantic, CT received an Honorable Mention for Excellence in Highway Design Award from the Federal Highway Administration in the category of Historic Preservation.
Educational Opportunities in Willimantic, CT
If you are relocating to Willimantic, CT, which was ranked the “43rd most desirable town in the country based on quality of life, location and other factors” by bizjournals.com, you may also be wondering what schools are available. Willimantic is a college town, with Eastern Connecticut State University and the downtown campus of Quinebaug Valley Community Center available for students of higher learning, as well as having 9 public schools. The public school options in Willimantic are:
• Windham High School
• Windham Middle School
• Windham Technical High School
• Arts at the Capitol Theater Performing Arts High School
• Natchaug School
• North Windham School
• Windham Center School
• W.B. Sweeney School
• St. Mary-St Joseph School
Willimantic, CT Real Estate Opportunities Are Waiting
If you are interested in searching for real estate in Willimantic, CT, you may feel a little overwhelmed when trying to narrow down your search to only properties that meet your specifications. There is an easy solution when you utilize our knowledge of the area. We are expert Willimantic REALTORS®, Elaine and Tom Burns and your satisfaction with our level of service to you while buying or selling property is priority #1. Give us a call or click today and we’ll get started.