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North Parade

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North Parade was in existence as early as 1680 as a militia parade ground for the town's "uptown" militia company. Stratford, founded in 1639, began to expand physically by the 1670s. Sometime around 1715 the North School was erected on the south end of the green. The site occupied today by the City Hall was the home of the Booth family, some of whose members led the militia company that drilled on North Parade. The parade ground is known to have been used for drilling of the "uptown" company under Captain Elijah Booth during the War of 1812, when the company helped defend Black Rock from British invasion. During the later 19th century the green appears to have been dormant. The North School was moved to a new site in 1857. In 1923, however, after Stratford had experienced considerable population growth during and after World War I, the city purchased the former Booth property at the north end of the parade ground for future use as a town hall site. In 1935 the City Hall was built as a P.W.A. project, designed by C. Ellsworth Walker, a Stratford architect. Most of the main elements of the green date from that time, although the war memorial, today its most prominent visual focus, was donated to the city by Paolino Cipolla in 1963. The green is now an important adjunct to City Hall for municipal functions, although lightly used. Flag-raisings are held on St. Patrick's Day and other holidays, and the nearby high school uses the green for band practice and art classes.

North Parade is a well-maintained municipal green, which is effectively incorporated into City Hall, providing that building with a kind of drama it would not otherwise possess. Its historical associations as a parade ground are significant, and its well-documented history dating back to the 17th century make it an important survivor of a parade ground. Certainly, it merits inclusion in any National Register Historic District centered on the municipal buildings that surround it. The 1936 City Hall appears to be worthy of consideration for its quality and as a P.W.A. project, and the nearby high school also may contribute to such a district.



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