Mansfield, Connecticut

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Mansfield is a town in Tolland County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 20,720 at the 2000 census.

Mansfield was incorporated in October 1702 from the Town of Windham, in Hartford County. When Windham County was formed on 12 May 1726, Mansfield then became part of that county. A century later, at a town meeting on 3 April 1826, selectmen voted to ask the General Assembly to annex Mansfield to Tolland County. That occurred the following year.

The town of Mansfield contains the community of Storrs, which is home to the main campus of the University of Connecticut.

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Sites of interest

The first silk mill in the United States was constructed in Mansfield and financed by pilgrim descendent, William Fisk. The town, along with neighboring Willimantic, played an important role in the manufacture of thread and other textiles. Though nothing remains of the mill (now on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, Michigan), Mansfield has held onto several other historic landmarks. A fully intact gristmill, dating to 1835, the Gurleyville Gristmill is the only one of its kind in Connecticut. Built on the Fenton River, this stone grist mill remains intact with the original equipment. There are tours available May through October. The adjacent miller's house is the birthplace of former CT governor Wilbur L. Cross. More recent yet rare nonetheless, the Mansfield Drive-in, a drive-in movie theater, and Lucky Strike Lanes, a duckpin bowling alley, are among the last of their breed in the nation.

The Mansfield Training School and Hospital, situated on more than 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) and encompassing 85 buildings, was operated by the Connecticut Department of Mental Retardation until its closure, after legal challenges, in 1993. Four years later, the former director and a once staunch advocate of the school declared, "The Mansfield Training School is closed: the swamp has finally been drained."[2] Since then, the site has been allowed to deteriorate, though the University of Connecticut has been slowly finding uses for and fixing up many of the buildings. The school, with its eerie overturned wheelchairs and neo-classical hospital, remains a magnet for adventurous locals, the police, and amateur photographers. Located directly across U.S. Route 44 from the Mansfield Training School is the Donald T. Bergin Correctional Institution. The Level 2 facility houses approximately 1,000 inmates. It serves as a pre-release center for inmates who are approaching the end of their sentence or a period of supervised community placement.

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