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West Haven Green

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Settlement of the West Haven area began in about 1650 and was known for many years as the "West Farms" of New Haven. In 1719, the settlers were allowed to establish a separate Ecclesiastical Society and the name was changed to West Haven. The first meetinghouse was built on the green in 1719. The site was chosen because it was centrally located although it was low, marshy, and covered with a dense growth of alders. Samuel Candee and Shubael Painter deeded the property to the Society. The meetinghouse served the congregation until 1851 when the second one was constructed a little to the southwest of the first one. It burned in 1859 and the present church was then constructed. A schoolhouse joined the meetinghouse on the green in the early 19th century where it stood until 1857.

The green is associated with the Revolutionary War when General Tryon and his British Troops raided West Haven in July 1779. According to tradition, the church records for the first fifty years of the Society were destroyed during the raid. In 1812, the church bells rang and cannons were fired from the green to celebrate the end of America's second war with the British.

The green began its transition from pasture to park in the 1860s when it was fenced in and "suitable walks were made." However, a disagreement developed between some members of the two churches (Congregational and Episcopal) over its enclosure during which the fence was taken down, replaced and taken down again. A photograph of the green taken in the 1880s shows a bandstand, flagpole and mature trees.

The West Haven Green is a significant resource. It dates to the establishment of the Society in 1719 and remains largely intact as it appeared in the late 19th century. The streetscape dates primarily from the 20th century and has almost completed a transition from residential to commercial use.



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