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Canterbury

The town of Canterbury was settled in 1697.  The 40.2 square miles of the town are served by Routes 169 and 14.  Route 169 has been designated as a state scenic highway.

Canterbury is the site of New England’s first black female academy.  The school was housed in a Federal style building erected around 1805 on what is now the corners of Routes 169 and 14 in the center of town.  The Prudence Crandall House was originally opened by Prudence Crandall in January of 1832 as a private academy to instruct local boys and girls.  Until Sarah Harris, a black girl, was enrolled in the Fall of that year, the school had enrolled only white children.  Parents of the students were outraged at Crandall’s bold act of allowing a black girl in the academy.  Most of the students were pulled out of the school by their parents because of Sarah’s enrollment.  Crandall lost all town support and had to dismiss the remaining students.

In the Spring of 1833, Crandall once again opened the academy, this time as a black female academy.  Little did Sarah Harris know that she would start a controversy that would cause the passage of the unjust “Black Law” making it illegal for black children from out of state to attend school in Connecticut.

After her arrest, Prudence Crandall was released due to a legal technicality.  The school remained open for about a year and a half, when after constant attack, harassment and fear for her students’ safety, she regretfully closed again.

PROFILE
Zip: 06331
Incorporated: 1703
Area: 40.2 square miles
Population: 4606
Form of Government: Town Meeting / Board of Selectmen
Mill Rate:21.56
IMPORTANT NUMBERS
Agent for the Elderly 546-9845
Assessor’s Office 546-6035
Dog Warden 455-0527
Fire Department 564-5610
Judge of Probate 546-9605
Parks & Recreation 546-*9295
Planning & Zoning 546-6857
Public Library 546-9022
Selectmen’s Office 546-9693
State Police (Troop D) (800) 954-8828
Superintendent of Schools 546-6950
Tax Collector and Town Clerk 546-9377
SCHOOLS
Canterbury Elementary School 546-6744
Dr. Helen Baldwin Middle School 546-9421