Many of the sawmills were the centerpieces of the original settlements in the areas.
The community was first named Middlesex Parish in 1737 after the Middlesex Society of the town of Stamford erected a community church at Brookside Road and the Boston Post Road. The site is now the First Congregational Church of Darien.
Darien was the site of several skirmishes during the Revolutionary War. During one notable raid, troops loyal to the British monarchy took 26 residents of the community prisoner for five months, releasing them only after this event happened.
The community was incorporated in 1820 and renamed at about the same time in a unique manner, according to the Darien Historical Society. As the story goes, residents could not settle on a new name until a sailor who had traveled to the Isthmus of Darien in Central America suggested the community be named Darien. Residents agreed and the rest is history.
Darien remained a small town that served as a stopping point for visitors traveling from Boston to New York City for much of the early 1800s. The end of the Civil War sparked a period of growth that defines the town today. With the country at peace again, wealthy New Yorkers began to look for places to spend their money.
Slowly, the community became an enclave for people looking to build lavish summer retreats. The neighborhoods of Tokeneke, Long Neck, Long Neck Point, Noroton Bay, Delafield Island and Pratt Island all feature historic mansions built during this period.
The town has continued to grow and prosper. Darien consistently ranks among the wealthiest communities in the country.