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Putnam is a town in Windham County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 9,584 at the 2010 census. It is home to WINY, an AM radio station.
Putnam, originally known as Aspinock, then part of Killingly, is a New England mill town incorporated in 1855. Created from sections of Killingly, Pomfret, and Thompson, the town was named in honor of Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam.
Putnam was a key contributor in providing clothing and other goods to the Civil War soldiers. There were numerous mills and a train ran through the town, providing transportation for the goods being produced.
On August 19, 1955, Putnam was devastated by floods from torrential downpours caused by two hurricanes, which hit Connecticut within the span of a week. Hurricane Connie affected Connecticut on August 13, dropping between four and six inches (152 mm) of rain across the state. Hurricane Diane soaked the state with 14 inches (360 mm) of rain on August 18–19. The result was flooding in many of the state's rivers, including the Quinebaug River. The resulting torrent of water destroyed homes, businesses and factories. Floating magnesium barrels burst, lighting up the night. The railroad bed was washed away.
Toward the end of the twentieth century, the town took advantage of the empty mills and underutilized downtown commercial buildings to develop a large antique center. Antique shops line Main Street and other areas in town.
Putnam was also the unlikely base of operations for the All-Russian Fascist Organization, a pre-war Russian emigre group that advocated fascism for the country under Anastasy Vonsyatsky.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 20.4 square miles (52.8 km²), of which, 20.3 square miles (52.6 km²) are land and 0.1 square mile (0.3 km²) (0.54%) is water. The town is drained by the Quinebaug River, which runs north and south through the center of town. A tributary of the Quinebaug, the Five Mile River, runs north and south through East Putnam. Putnam has common boundaries with Thompson on the north (approx. 6 mi.), with Rhode Island on the east (approx. 2 mi.), with Killingly on the south (approx. 7 mi.) and with Pomfret and Woodstock on the west (approx. 4 mi.).
The town is crossed by Interstate 395, U.S. Route 44, Connecticut Route 12, Connecticut Route 21 and Connecticut Route 171.
As of the 2010 census, there were 9,584 people, 3,950 households, and 2,396 families residing in the town. The population density was 472.1 people per square mile (182.2/km²). There were 4,299 housing units at an average density of 211.8 per square mile (81.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.1% White, 1.3% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.9% of the population.
Of the 3,950 households, 25.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.7% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.3% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the town, the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 28.2% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.9 years old.
The median income for a household in the town was $51,171 and the median income for a family was $63,030. Males had a median income of $51,586 versus $44,901 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,994. About 10.6% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.6% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.
Putnam is served by the Northeastern Connecticut Transit District.
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