Home » Connecticut » Darien

James W. Loewen (1942-2021)

We mourn the loss of our friend and colleague and remain committed to the work he began.



Basic Information

Type of Place
Independent City or Town
Metro Area
Politics c. 1860?
Don’t Know
Unions, Organized Labor?
Don’t Know

Sundown Town Status

Sundown Town in the Past?
Was there an ordinance?
Yes, Strong Oral Tradition
Yes, Photo or Written Evidence
Year of Greatest Interest
Still Sundown?
Surely Not

Census Information

The available census data from 1860 to the present
Total White Black Asian Native Hispanic Other BHshld
1930 6951 75
1940 9222 161
1950 11767
1960 18437 112
2000 19,607 18,816 89
2010 20,732 138

Method of Exclusion

  • Private Bad Behavior
  • Realtors

Main Ethnic Group(s)

  • Unknown

Group(s) Excluded

  • Black
  • Jewish


Email 1/2008

I was born to a working-class family in Darien, CT in 1951 and spent most of my life up into my late 20’s there.

It was well known — though never spoken of above a whisper — that no-one could sell a house to either a black family or a Jewish family.

One Jewish family moved into Darien sometime in the early ’60s and one of the daughters was in my class. The first black — or actually mixed race — family moved into a neighborhood almost on the Stamford-Darien border right about 1970. I became good friends with them since the son belonged to an amateur theatrical company I was a member of and around that time I also joined the Baha’i community that the family belonged to. As I recall, the children was mercilessly hounded by the high school ruffians and this is probably why they moved out of Darien
within a year or so.

email 1/2008
I believe there were some neighborhood kids (15-17yo – ish) and they banged on the door and ran. The bag had excrement in it – the intent being that you step in it as you stomp out the fire.I also seem to recall (we are talking about 35 yrs ago so I am a bit foggy on it) that the family said they had alot of calls with hang ups. I think Burt (the son) was accepted in school since he was very charming and athletic – but also I am sure for the sheer novelty of this tall dark skinned afro-ed young man in our midst! For what its worth: after my early lack of exposure to “persons of color” in my hometown, I have enjoyed working for 20 yrs in an environment (public housing) that is very racially mixed; my first husband was Jewish, plus my son-in-law is bi-racial. I didn’t emerge from Darien tainted with prejudice or bigotry. Except maybe against the nouveau-riche and yuppies that now populate the area!

Laura Hobson’s bestselling novel, “Gentleman’s Agreement” and the Elia Kazan film adaptation released the same year, made Darien, Connecticut, a sundown suburb of New York, briefly notorious in 1947 when it publicized the town practice on not letting Jews spend the night.

Email from a longtime resident:
“I lived there for 16 years, definitely still a sun down town.”