If you live here in East Hampton you've likely heard this comment/question from outsiders: You're town is no where near Hampton ... Why the name? At one time the town was called Chatham, but by a vote taken in 1915 the name was officially changed to East Hampton.
I used to think the name change had to do with the town's resort-destination past. Folks from New York would take the train here to summer on the shores of Lake Pocotopaug many decades ago and I figured they decided they wanted the area to be their own version of "The Hamptons"
I couldn't have been more wrong.
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The town's name goes back centuries to the area's founding by folks from Eastham, Mass. The area was also called Chatham after a shipbuilding town by that name in England, in acknowledgement of the British town's shipbuilding prowess as well as East Hampton's, according to this Wikipedia entry.
For many years, the town went by both names but in 1915 the name was officially made East Hampton.
Ships haven't been built here in well over a hundred years and in the early 1990s there was a proposal to change East Hampton's name back to Chatham. That effort, according to this Hartford Courant report, failed.