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Nichols Farm Green

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Abraham Nichols, the son of a founder of nearby Stratford, started farming in the Nichols Farm area in 1680s. He did not settle at that time but returned later with members of the Fairchild and Curtiss families when they took up permanent residence. In 1797, when Trumbull became incorporated as a separate entity from Stratford, there was already evidence that the area was being called Nichols Farm. Its mainstay was agriculture until the early 19th century when it became an industrial community. An important industry was Nichols, Peck and Company that specialized in building carriages for Australia. Although most of the production was done in Bridgeport, a factory was located on Center Road just north of the present green. A Beers Map from 1867 shows the lower portion of the intersection of Huntington Turnpike and Shelton Road as unimproved. But this was not to last long.

In 1889 the Nichols Improvement Association was formed. The object of this association was to "improve and ornament the streets and public grounds of Nichols by planting and cultivating trees, cleaning and repairing the sidewalks, and doing such other acts as shall tend to beautify and improve said streets and grounds". Dues were $1.00 per year per member and children could agree to perform work instead of paying their 25 cents dues. One of the items on their list of improvements was the installation of lamps and posts, another was the establishing of a village green.

The desire for a village green prompted Mr. Charles B. Nichols to give most of the land, about one half acre, for the present park. Converting it to a park was not an easy task. It was low-lying wet land, but through the help of the Improvement Association, ditches were built and stones were hauled to raise the land above the water table. The task took two years of the local people's spare time to complete.

A flagpole on the green was the next item on the agenda of the Improvement Association. They fashioned two chestnut trees together and purchased a flag which was unfurled on the Fourth of July in 1892. The wood flagpole was replaced with a metal one in 1932. In 1895, a memorial cast iron fountain was placed on the green, a gift from the Peet family. It was removed from the green in 1931 and moved again in 1970 to its present site just north of the intersection of Unity Road and the Huntington Turnpike. The gadrooned basins on either side are missing.

The area near the green gradually lost all traces of its 19th century industrial architecture but it has retained its 19th century residential character and become the center of religious activity. The United Methodist Church was constructed north of the green and in 1941, the Episcopal Church was moved to the site of the present Episcopal Church (1970) southeast of the green.

The Nichols Farm Green was a creation of the Village Improvement Center in 1889 and has become the focal point of the pre-existing residential community surrounding it. It is representative of those open spaces created through public initiative in the mid and late 19th century that grew out of a need for a community to have a public gathering place that they could call a "green."



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