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Rocky Hill was originally part of Wethersfield which included all the area to the southern boundary of Middletown. Gradually, the sons of those living in Wethersfield and others moved to the area. But it was not until 1722 that a separate parish was formed under the name of Stepney Ecclesiastical Society. In 1726, the first meetinghouse was completed. It was erected north of the present Cemetery Green and north of the present site of the Congregational Church at the intersection of Church Street and Old Main Street.

Cemetery Green is located at the intersection of Main Street (Route 99) and Dividend Road. The exact origin of the green is not clear. It appears that it may have been town-owned land as part of the wide right-of-way for Dividend Road and gradually developed into a green. This may have been encouraged by the establishment of the first burying ground just south of what is now the green in 1730 which created a triangular-shaped plot at the intersection. The cemetery was expanded to the north in 1849 and again in 1859, bringing it closer to (or encroaching upon) the green, establishing its present boundaries.

Historically, Cemetery Green was the local military marching ground. It is unclear whether it was the site of one of the first school houses built in Stepney Parish that was said to be located near Coles Hill.

Photographs taken at the turn of the nineteenth century show the green as a grassy triangle with mature trees lining the streets on all sides. In 1925, it was surveyed and graded by the town. This is in contrast to an 1869 map of Rocky Hill which depicts the confluence of Dividend Road and Main Street as a large, open, triangular-shaped intersection.

A flag pole was placed on the green in 1917 as a memorial to the father of Joseph Buckley. Two years later, a World War One memorial was dedicated. The Rocky Hill garden club became actively involved in the maintenance of the green when they planted laurels and evergreens around the memorial in 1948-50. Two years later, the organization dedicated a plaque at the base of a Constitutional Oak Tree explaining its origin. They were instrumental in saving the tree in 1979-1981 when plans for the expansion of the Silas Deane Highway and Dividend Road called for its removal. The barrel of a commemorative cannon placed on the green near the flag pole was stolen in 1978 and the remaining parts were removed by the Town. The green has historically been called Cemetery Green, but is now listed on town maps as Center Green.

The green has remained relatively the same over the years since the turn of the century as an open grassy area with deciduous trees lining the street edges. The area of the green has been diminished over time as the roads were improved and the size of the cemetery increased.

Cemetery Green dates to the early days of Rocky Hill as an area used for military drills adjacent to the first burying ground. It gradually evolved into what is considered to be the primary green in Rocky Hill. It has long served as a gathering place and a commemorative function. However, the twentieth-century streetscape and large volume of traffic diminish its historic quality.

 

 
 

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