Hampden is a small country town captured by the gentle hills and sloping mountains that surround it. The Scantic River meanders through town and brings reminiscences of the old plowshops, tanneries and blacksmith shops that once edged its shores. The Historical Society, housed in Old Academy Hall, displays the Sunday-go-to-Meeting clothes, diaries and yellowed letters that tell poignant stories of those who once called Hampden home.
Today, new homes dot the hillsides but the population has hovered under 5,000 for many years. This is due in part to its topography and in part to its wetlands, and it is this very feature that has brought to Hampden the Audubon Society’s Laughing Brook Wildlife Sanctuary, built around the former home of Thornton W. Burgess, well-known storyteller and author of children’s nature books. Young people are very important to Hampden and the town’s schools reflect that fact.
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