The town of Southbury was one of many formed out of a parcel of land purchased from Paugussett indians in 1659, and was originally part of neighboring Woodbury. A meetinghouse for the Southbury Ecclestiastical Society was built in 1733, and was incorporated as a town in its own right in 1845.


In the 1920’s, Russian expatriates – including Count Ilya Tolstoy, son of famed author Leo Tolstoy – who were fleeing the Bolshevik tyranny in their home country founded an artist’s colony at one end of Main Street in Southbury. Known as Churaevka, meaning ‘Russian village’, at its peak, it had a thriving printing press used by Russian and Ukrainian scholars and novelists, and even had some notable visitors, including the composer Sergei Rachmaninoff.


In November 1937, local residents of Southbury got wind of the fact that one Wolfgang Jung had purchased 178 acres of land for the German American Bund, an organization of nationionalized ethnic Germans who supported Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. The leader of this organization was Fritz Kuhn, a highly prominent anti-Semite, and who intended to use the land to build a training facility for nazi sympathizers. A town meeting was held and the local town council drafted and passed a new zoning law that explicitly denied any military activity, excluding that conducted by the U.S. Army, to use town land. This put paid to Jung’s and Kuhn’s machinations, the facility was never built and the land was sold off to another (less fascistic) buyer.


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