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The Village Common

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The area which is now Redding was originally an outlying rural area of what is now the town of Fairfield.. In 1729 a separate parish was granted to the Society of Redding. In 1771, Deacon Stephen Burr (Uncle of Aaron Burr) "received of several persons, subscribers for said sum (nine pounds) in order to purchase a place of a Parade, to the whole of inhabitants, to Lye Common for a Public Place of Parade, half an acre and fifteen rods, being part of my Home Lot at the south end thereof." This military parade ground was to eventually become the Village Common.

Following Burr's death in 1778, a portion of the property was sold to Samuel Jarvis who built a tavern now used as the Congregational parsonage. Eventually, the area which presently is the Village Common became too "congested" to be used as a parade ground and the drill was moved to an area west of the Village Common on what is now the Redding Town Green.

The first parish church (built about 1729) stood approximately one-half mile west of the present Village Common across the street from the extant burying ground. The church which faces the Village Common, now used by the Congregational parish, was erected in 1838 as a Methodist church (Redding is considered the birthplace of Methodism in this country. An 18th century dwelling on Cross Highway west of the Village Common is the site of this birth.)

The Old Town Hall on the northwest corner of the Village Common was built in 1834. It remained the civic center of the community until the mid-20th century when the school building (1883) on the site of the present Town Green was remodeled to function as the Town Office Building. The Old Town Hall is still being used for some town meetings.

The Village Common, located within a proposed National Register Historic District, has been carefully preserved as the historic center throughout the 20th century.

The Village Common was initially used as a military training ground and then gradually became the civic center of the community after the Old Town Hall and Methodist Church were constructed around it in the 1830s. It ceased being the civic center of the community in the m,id-19th century when a new site was chosen for the town hall. However, it remains the historic center of the town and retains a high degree of integrity in its simple landscaping and setting.



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