First home to the Hammonascit people and later established as a plantation for English settlers in 1663, Clinton, Connecticut boasts a rich and remarkable history. Yale University’s first classes were conducted here. None other than Benjamin Franklin, Colonial Postmaster General, personally determined the site of a Boston Post Road milestone on current Main Street. Hundreds of trading ships were built and launched from Clinton’s shipyards and the Ponds Extract Company (now part of Unilever) set up shop in town to harvest, process, and bottle witch hazel. For generations, vacationers, artists, and year-round residents have found pleasure and a deep community spirit at our shore. Since 1938, the Clinton Historical Society has researched, recorded, and shared stories of Clinton’s past. Now, we invite you to discover life in Clinton in the days and centuries gone by.
The name “Clinton” – In 1667, the original settlement was named Kenilworth by Hartford officials, probably at the request of Edward Griswold, the town’s first delegate to the Hartford General Court. Griswold had been born at Kenilworth in Warwickshire, England. Local dialect and irregular spelling soon altered Kenilworth into “Killingworth”. In 1838 the northern portion of the town separated from the original coastal community, taking with it the name Killingworth. The southern section chose “Clinton” as its new name, honoring the nationally popular New York politician, Dewitt Clinton.