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History of Stamford, Connecticut

Stamford is a city in Fairfield County in southwestern Connecticut, on the Rippowan River. The first name chosen was Rippowam, but that was later changed to Stamford, after a town in Lincolnshire, England. Stamford was purchased from the Indians under Chief Ponus by a Captain Turner of New Haven, who in return for a large tract of land made a payment of coats, hoes, hatchets, glasses, knives, kettles, and wampum. The arrangement was not entirely understood by the Indians and it was not finally confirmed until 1700, when additional sums were paid to some descendants of Ponus. During the Revolutionary War, Stamford became bitterly divided between Tories and Patriots. A number of Tory families, mostly adherents of the Anglican Church, left for Long Island and eventually moved to New Brunswick. Soldiers and Sailors' Monument in St. John's Park was dedicated in 1920 to the memory of Stamford men who served in all military engagements from 1641 to 1918. The first town hall was built in 1741. The only purpose-built town hall still in existence is the Beaux-Arts style Old Town Hall, constructed to replace the one that burned down in February, 1904. The next city hall and the current "Stamford Government Center" both were office buildings before being purchased by the city. In addition to operating its museum in Stamford, the Stamford Historical Society, founded in 1901, maintains the Hoyt Barnum House, constructed late in the 17th century. The Stamford Museum and Nature Center operates the 10-acre Heckscher Farm, where visitors can experience aspects of a small New England farm. The Bartlett Arboretum incorporates the original 30 acres of land acquired in 1913 by Dr. Francis A. Bartlett and used by him as a research center. Judge John Clason, sometimes spelled "Clayson," donated money to found Stamford Hospital in 1892. The original hospital building was the mansion of one of Stamford's prominent families.