The twentieth century was a time of rapid growth for Windsor. Starting in 1895, electric trolleys connected the town with the cities of Hartford and Springfield, making it possible for Windsor residents to commute to work in these cities.
Between 1920 and 1930, Windsor’s population increased 47 percent, to 8,290 residents. Of these, 9.3% were of Lithuanian descent, 6.5% were Polish, 5.8% were of English/Scottish extraction and 5.6% were French/Canadians. African-Americans comprised 2.6% of Windsor’s population. While 78.4% of Windsor residents at that time were native-born whites, only 42.2% of Windsor’s residents had a grandparent native to Windsor; the town’s population was diversifying in unprecedented ways (Suburbanization p.27).
Broad Street Green. WHS collections 2008.41.24.
Village centers in Windsor, particularly the Wilson, Windsor Center, and Poquonock areas became more demographically differentiated. Skilled and unskilled workers from Hartford increasingly populated Wilson, the section closest to Hartford; business and white-collar workers populated Windsor Center, and farmers populated Poquonock. (Suburbanization 53).
Newcomers were interested in modern conveniences: electricity, sidewalks, modern schools. Conveniences like these cost money; many Windsor natives and farmers were alarmed at escalating costs for public services and feared they would destroy Windsor’s historic charms. In the 1930s one older resident protested to the local newspapers.
“Unnecessary expenditures are made continually. Take, for instance, the… expense for [street] lighting. We do not need to have such illumination at night. I remember when we went out carrying kerosene lanterns and we got along very well indeed without cost to anybody but those who used the lanterns. Plenty of light is furnished by the automobiles.…We were satisfied without a Public Library or street sprinkling or fire hydrants. The modern contraptions seem only invented for the purpose of spending money and increasing taxes” (Suburbanization 136).
By 1929, Windsor had joined the Metropolitan District Commission; indoor plumbing, electricity, paved roads, automobiles, and air transport (Bradley International Airport opened in Windsor Locks in 1946) would become the norm in the next two decades.