Joel Helander, a lineal descendant of Guilford's earliest settlers, grew up in the Clapboard Hill section of Guilford. For decades, he has served as a town historian -- first unofficially and later in an official capacity.
Joel started his study of Guilford’s history when he was only 14 years old, by researching, interviewing, writing, and publishing “The Clapboard Hill Newsletter,” a publication about the neighborhood where he grew up. As an adult he has written and published many historical books on Guilford including “Guilford Long Ago,” “Leete’s Island Legacy,” “An Island Called Faulkner’s,” and “A Treasury of Guilford Places.” Joel worked for the Town of Guilford's emergency medical services for 19 years and also served the District of Guilford for two decades as an elected judge in the Connecticut Probate Court System.
Among his research, the following are available through the Guilford Keeping Society Digital Archive:
A map of Clapboard Hill Road in Guilford, Ct with details from 1968. The original map was drawn by Joel Helander.
A Library of Congress Local Legacy: the Guilford Fair A history of the Guilford Fair from its beginning in 1859 to the 21st century.
A presentation on Capt. Oliver N. Brooks at the Guilford Free Library. This hour-long discussion touches on many aspects of the life of this much loved character from Guilford history.
A History of the Goss Property. Document supporting the East River Preserve Management Plan
Guilford Long Ago, some of Joel's early writing on Guilford History. Many of the topics addressed here are not discussed in any of the other literature on Guilford.