Hinsdale was founded in 1804 by the setting off of the Western Parish of Partridgefield (Peru). A settlement (old center) on the "plains" east of the present village (Route 143) was initiated in 1772 by the Millers, Watsons, Torreys and Starrs. It was an agricultural community. Toward the late 18th century and throughout the 19th, the population shifted toward the West, settling along the Housatonic River because of the water power. The Hinsdale Brothers Woolen Mill there was the industrial focal point of the town from 1836 until the 1930's. A village evolved there and became the hub of town activities, although it has increasingly changed since the close of the mill.