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Southington Green

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Southington was originally included within the boundaries of Farmington. The settlers were allowed to establish a separate parish in 1724. The first meetinghouse, apparently built between the years of 1724 and 1728, is thought to have been erected north of the present Congregational Church in the area of Oak Hill Cemetery. Population increased considerably and by 1745, there was discussion of constructing a new meetinghouse. In 1762, the required two-thirds vote was obtained and, according to Kelly, the town records indicate that a one-acre lot was purchased from Jared Lee for 40 pounds. Construction of the second meetinghouse began in 1853 west of the present Congregational Church on the green. According to one source, the roads around the green were created at this time.

The present church was erected in 1828-1830 which freed the green of structures. It was used as a militia training ground but fell into disuse after the state militia was disbanded and it became a dumping ground for trash. Known as Pigweed Park, it was covered with tall weeds and a ditch ran along the east side.

The first town hall was erected next to the church in 1873. Shortly thereafter, perhaps motivated by the 1876 Centennial, local citizens removed the trash, graded it and planted maple and elm trees. A bird's eye view map of Southington in 1878 shows the green as an oval-shaped park with a row of trees neatly planted around the perimeter.

Soon the green was turned into a memorial park. A Civil War memorial, a soldier on top of tall base, was dedicated in 1880 and an octagonal bandstand was built on the west end. The town authorized $5,000 for a memorial trough to Amon Bradley. In 1919, a local company, Peck, Stow and Wilcox, donated a war memorial in the form of a flag pole. A cannon was placed on the green but is no longer there because it was used as scrap metal during World War Two.

Recently the green has undergone additional changes by the Parks Department which apparently assumes that more is better. Shrubs, flower beds and a stone retaining wall have been added, along with brick paving underneath some of the monuments and the new gazebo.

The Southington Green has been the civic center of the community since the Congregational Church was erected there in 1753. It has served as the focal point of the community since that period but many of the earlier buildings surrounding the green have been replaced with 20th century structures.



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