“We have two beautiful lakes, beautiful residential areas and great schools,” Stephen C. Dunn, Brookfield’s first selectman, said. “What is the only thing we don’t have that a Darien, Westport or Ridgefield has? A real downtown. And now we’re doing it. We talked about it for 30 years, and now we’re actually doing it.”
What You’ll Find
Of Brookfield’s roughly 6,500 homes, about three-quarters are single-family: colonials beside raised ranches beside farmhouses. Tucked among them are small subdivisions, many built in the 1980s. Most of the town’s 18th- and 19th-century antique houses sit close to what was originally Brookfield’s center.
Hundreds of smaller homes, built as summer cottages in the 1950s, are clustered around Candlewood Lake. Along Lake Lillinonah, the lots are larger and the houses more secluded.
The remaining residences are primarily condominiums. The new rental buildings that are part of the Four Corners renewal are welcome. “We need rentals,” Linda McCaffrey, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, said. “They support our young people staying in town and drive industry to move in.”
What You’ll Pay
Ms. McCaffrey, a Brookfield resident since 1981, described the town’s real estate market as “vibrant” and “active.” “We sold more houses in Brookfield last year than we did in any year since 2006,” she said.
On July 17, there were 114 single-family homes on the market. They included a three-bedroom, 1,225-square-foot ranch, built in 1961 on half an acre and listed for $170,000, and a five-bedroom, 5,754-square-foot farmhouse, built in 2003 on almost half an acre and listed at $2,885,000. Of the properties priced over $1 million, Ms. McCaffrey said, “most are waterfront homes.”
There were also 33 condominiums on the market, including a one-bedroom, 975-square-foot ranch, built in 1982 and listed at $139,000, and a two-bedroom, 2,674-square-foot townhouse, built in 2007 and listed for $459,000.
The median sales price for single-family homes during the 12-month period that ended July 17 was $387,500, up from $367,500 the previous 12 months. The median sales price for condominiums during the same period was $240,000, up from $209,500 the previous 12 months.
In addition to the lakes, with their swimming beaches, boat launches, private marinas and glorious vistas, Brookfield is home to 1,300 acres of open space and parks that include sports fields, playgrounds and trails like the new Still River Greenway, a two-mile, paved walkway. At the Municipal Center, a seasonal farmers’ market is held on Friday afternoons, followed by outdoor concerts that Mr. Dunn said often attract audiences of 1,000.
Art exhibitions and an annual film festival are organized by the Brookfield Arts Commission, which also arranged funding for the three larger-than-life horse sculptures that grace the Municipal Center’s entrance. They were made of woven steel rod by Peter Busby, of Cornwall Bridge, Conn.
The Brookfield Craft Center, in its 65th year, offers classes in blacksmithing, ceramics, glass arts, jewelry-making, wood turning and fiber arts. An 18th-century former mill on the school’s two-and-a-half-acre campus contains a gallery and crafts shop. Theater lovers can attend performances at the 60-year-old Brookfield Theater for the Arts, housed in a historic stone building that was once a boys’ school gymnasium.
Among the town’s restaurants is Down the Hatch, Candlewood Lake’s only waterfront eatery, complete with dock facilities for hungry boaters.
Brookfield’s nearly 2,800 school-age children are served by the Brookfield Public School District, which includes Center Elementary for prekindergartners through first graders, Huckleberry Hill Elementary for second through fourth graders, Whisconier Middle School for Grades 5 through 8 and Brookfield High School. Center Elementary, built in 1938, is one of the only remaining wooden school buildings in Connecticut.
On 2016 fourth-grade state assessment tests, 70 percent met English language arts standards, compared with 55.6 percent statewide; 63 percent met mathematics standards, compared with 48 percent statewide.
Mean SAT scores for the graduating class of 2017 were 575 in evidence-based reading and writing and 550 in math; statewide equivalents were 524 and 505.
Accessible from two exits off Interstate 84, Brookfield is less than an hour’s drive from Hartford and Stamford, in Connecticut, and White Plains, N.Y. “We’re equidistant from these major employment areas,” Ms. McCaffrey said. “So if people change jobs, they don’t have to move again.”
Commuters to Manhattan, 70 miles southwest, can drive about 20 miles into New York to catch Metro-North Railroad’s Harlem line at the Southeast, Brewster or Purdys stations. Rush-hour trains between Southeast and Grand Central Terminal take 80 to 95 minutes; to and from Brewster, 75 to 92 minutes; to and from Purdys, 66 to 84 minutes. Monthly fare from each station is $422.
For more than three decades, a rusty old railroad bridge over Junction Road has served as an ever-changing D.I.Y. community billboard. Painted mostly by high school students, it has announced coming events and celebrated sports team victories. When a popular young science teacher died in 2008, it was adorned with “RIP MR Z.” Known as Graffiti Bridge, it was built in 1915 and is owned by the Housatonic Railroad. It was painted to memorialize the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and, later, those of the nearby Sandy Hook shooting. “After Sandy Hook, we did the bridge and nobody touched it for years,” Mr. Dunn said. “But then time moves on.”