Litchfield county. Winchester was incorporated in 1771. Population, 1830, 1,766. The geological character of the town is primitive; the rocks consisting of granite, mica slate, &c. The soil is gravelly, hard and coarse: it affords good grazing, and its products of butter, cheese, and wool are considerable.
The Borough of Clifton was incorporated in 1832. It is a flourishing village, consisting of about sixty or seventy dwelling houses and 4 mercantile stores. The village is principally built in a narrow valley, on the banks of a mill stream, called Mad river, which is a tributary of Farmington river. The valley at this place is but barely of sufficient width to admit of a street, with buildings on each side, the ground rising immediately in every direction. Westward of the main street in the village, a road passes up a steep hill for nearly a quarter of a mile, where, upon an elevated plain, is an interesting lake or pond, which is one of the largest bodies of water in the state, being 3 1/2 miles in length and 3/4 of a mile in breadth. The outlet of it consists of a small stream, compressed within a narrow channel, and literally tossed from rock to rock until it unites with Mad river. Most of the manufacturing establishments in the village are situated on this outlet, upon which there are some of the best natural sites for hydraulic works in the state. In this village are four large scythe factories, one machine shop, and five forges. The ore to supply these forges is brought from Canaan, Kent, and Salisbury.
Winstead, or East village, is very pleasant, and contains a large woolen mill, an extensive clock factory, an iron foundry, and an axe factory. This village is 26 miles N.W. from Hartford, 49 N. by W. from New Haven, and 17 N. by E. from Litchfield.
Winchester lies within the "evergreen district," so named from the forests of hemlock and other evergreen trees with which it abounds. These "Green Woods" present one of the most impressive scenes which can be found in an American forest. The branches of the trees are thickly covered with a deep green foliage, closely interwoven overhead, nearly excluding the light of the sun. The scene forcibly reminds the contemplative traveler of the words of Thomson, in his celebrated hymn:
"Oh, talk of Him in solitary glooms!
Where o'er the rock the scarcely waving pine
Fills the brown shade with a religious awe."