This Litchfield County town is in the northwest portion of the state. Incorporated in 1719, Litchfield’s founders came from Hartford and Windsor. They cleared land for pastures and farming and established mills, blacksmith shops, and other small industries. In the late 1700s, Litchfield became a commercial and cultural center. In 1784 Tapping Reeve established the country’s first law school, and in 1792, Sarah Pierce opened the Litchfield Female Academy, one of the nation’s first schools dedicated to higher education for girls. In the 1800s, industry faltered and the town became a quiet resort community. Today, its Colonial- and Colonial Revival-era architecture draws tourists seeking traces of “Olde New England.”
While several educational academies existed for girls in the years following the American Revolution, few proved more influential than Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Female Academy. Over 3,000 young women—and about 120 young men—received instruction at Pierce’s school before it closed in 1833. …[more]
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