Groton, Connecticut

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Waterfront of Groton, Connecticut looking upriver
Waterfront of Groton, Connecticut looking upriver

Groton is a town located on the Thames River in New London County, Connecticut. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 39,907. Groton is the home of the Electric Boat Corporation, the major contractor for submarine work for the US Navy, and the Navy's SUBASE New London. The Pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. is also a major employer.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 117.1 km² (45.2 mi²). 81.1 km² (31.3 mi²) of it is land and 36.0 km² (13.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 30.75% water.


Groton was incorporated as a town in 1705, when it separated from New London. Incorporation made it less necessary for Groton residents to cross the Thames to New London, a hazardous task at the time.

Soon after incorporation, the first Baptist church in the Connecticut, now known as the Old Mystic Baptist Church, was founded in Groton in 1705.

In September 6, 1781, the Battle of Groton Heights took place. British forces aided by Benedict Arnold attacked Ft. Griswold and then set fire to New London and Groton Bank.

Groton originally encompassed the present towns of Groton and Ledyard. The center of town was located at the intersection of present-day Routes 184 and 117. The town's first school and church, the tavern and a stagecoach shop (the current Haley House) were located at this intersection. When Ledyard separated from Groton to become a separate town in 1836, the area was no longer the geographic center, but it is still known as Center Groton.

The Battle of Groton Heights Memorial was erected in 1830 to the 185 men who defended the colonies' freedom at Ft. Griswold. Today, Ft. Griswold is Connecticut's only intact Revolutionary War fort. The 134-foot tall monument became the symbol of the town and is featured in the town's seal.

In the 19th century, Clipper ships and packets were built in the shipyards on the Mystic River. The most important vessel built at Mystic was the clipper ship Andrew Jackson, which in 1859 made a record-setting voyage between New York City and San Francisco in 89 days, 4 hours. The Civil War Ironclad Galena was the first ocean-going ironclad of the Union Navy.

In the 20th century, the shipbuilding industry moved from the Mystic River to the Thames River. Electric Boat is the town's largest employer. During World War II, Electric Boat completed submarines every two weeks. In 1954, Electric Boat launched the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear powered submarine. Presently, the Nautilus is decommissioned and permanently berthed at the Submarine Force Library and Museum. Due to the long-standing history of Submarines in the town, many residents feel that Groton is the "Submarine Capital of the World".


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 39,907 people, 15,473 households, and 9,980 families residing in the town. The population density is 492.3/km² (1,275.2/mi²). There are 16,817 housing units at an average density of 207.4/km² (537.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 83.61% White, 6.95% Black or African American, 0.83% Native American, 3.33% Asian, 0.17% Pacific Islander, 1.66% from other races, and 3.45% from two or more races. 5.01% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 15,473 households out of which 33.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.5% are married couples living together, 10.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.5% are non-families. 29.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.5% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.41 and the average family size is 2.99.

In the town the population is spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 11.8% from 18 to 24, 33.0% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 104.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 105.5 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $46,154, and the median income for a family is $51,402. Males have a median income of $36,204 versus $30,255 for females. The per capita income for the town is $23,995. 6.1% of the population and 4.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 8.0% of those under the age of 18 and 6.1% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

See also: Groton (city), Connecticut

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