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Brooklyn Green

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Brooklyn was originally known as Mortlake and was included within the limits of Pomfret and Canterbury. Settlement of the area began about 1713 but it was not until 1731 that the Ecclesiastical Society was formed. It was not called Brooklyn until 1754. Brooklyn officially separated from Pomfret and Canterbury when it was incorporated in 1786.

Initially there was some opposition about the placement of the meetinghouse but it was finally agreed at a town meeting in August 1733 that it should be built "between Samuel and Zachariah Spaulding's." Three representatives of the General Assembly agreed when they met with the proprietors in November 1733 that the place for the meetinghouse should be "on the plain eastward of Samuel Spaulding's now dwelling-place, about twenty or thirty rods off of said Spaulding's house." Two and one-half acres were conveyed to the Society by Mr. Spaulding shortly thereafter. The meetinghouse was erected in 1734 near the site of the present Unitarian Church.

According to Ellen Larned, as late as 1780, there were only seven houses in the town center. However, there were at least three taverns, evidence that the green was located at an important crossroads which at that time included the main road between Hartford and Providence (Route 6) and a road linking Canterbury and towns further south with Pomfret and towns further north (Route 169). According to the National Register Nomination, one of these taverns was the General Wolfe, owned by Israel Putnam. It was a central meeting place for the "Sons of Liberty" prior to the Revolutionary War.

After the war, the economy began to diversity and Brooklyn became a center of trade and small scale manufacturing. In 1819 it was named the seat of Windham County and the new courthouse was built on the northeast corner of the green (now it is used as the town hall). This brought more traffic to Brooklyn and specifically to the intersection where the green is located. More research needs to be done to determine when the green actually became boxed in and crossed by roads.

The Brooklyn Green is the site of the first meetinghouse around which developed an important crossroads community that became a center for trade, small scale manufacturing and for a while the county seat. The roads that surround and cross the green reflect this high level of activity.



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