Willimantic is a census-designated place, former city and borough. It is located in the town of Windham in Windham County, Connecticut. Known as "Thread City" for the American Thread Company's mills along the Willimantic River, it was a center of the textile industry in the 19th century. Originally incorporated as a city in 1893, it entered a period of decline after the Second World War, culminating in the mill's closure and the city's reabsorption into the town of Windham in the 1980s. Heroin use, present since the 1960s, became a major public health problem in the early 2000s, declining somewhat by the 2010s. Though the city was a major rail hub, an Interstate Highway has never passed within ten miles, despite early plans to connect it.
Willimantic was populated by a series of ethnic groups migrating to the city to find work at the mills, originally Western European and French Canadian immigrants, later Eastern Europeans and Puerto Ricans. Architecturally, it is known for its collection of Victorian-era houses and other buildings in the hill section, the Romanesque Revival town hall and two crossings of the Willimantic River: a footbridge and the "Frog Bridge". It is home to Eastern Connecticut State University and the Windham Textile and History Museum. As of 2016, Willimantic had an estimated population of 17,339 people.
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