Hartford and Windsor originally controlled Harwinton. Settlers gave it the combination name Har-win-ton to honor that early history when the town was incorporated in 1737.
Harwinton is a growing suburb rich in history and an easy drive to shopping and cultural centers in Hartford, Torrington and Waterbury. The village center is classic New England, with a Congregational Church and stone memorial chapel given by Collis P. Huntington, financier of the Southern Pacific Railroad Co. Huntington was born in Harwinton in 1821, and worked on a farm until he was 14, when he went to New York to seek his fortune.
Harwinton is part of Regional School District 10. Elementary school students attend Hawinton Consolidated School, followed by the regional Har-Bur Middle School and Lewis S. Mills High School in Burlington.
The Harwinton Public Library sponsors programs for adults and children, and puts on an annual plant, book and bake sale to offset its costs. The annual Harwinton Fair in October has a wood chopping contest, cattle show, concessions, music and plenty of food.
The Harwinton Historical Society maintains local history, with displays that include a collection of antique farm tools, a restored 1840 schoolhouse and replica 19th century barn. It sponsors an ice cream social the first Sunday of August