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Wallingford Parade Grounds

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Wallingford was laid out in 1670 along Long High Way which is now North and South Main Street. Property set aside for the "ministry" was located at the intersection of Center Street and Long High Way with the burying ground to the west. In 1680, ten years after Wallingford was separated from New Haven, a meetinghouse was constructed at the intersection. In 1690, a fort was built around it and Sabbath Day houses were eventually located near it. A map based on the original subdivision of land for the Town of Wallingford indicates that what is called Wallingford Parade Ground today was originally square in shape; it took up the intersection of Center and Main Streets, and the lots on the east and west of Center street were reduced in length to make the intersection wider.

At one point the common land was reduced to two long and narrow rectangles on either side of Center Street to accommodate a formal intersection. A 1919 Sanborn Map shows a bandstand near the center of the paved rectangle, Simpson Court, now used as a parking lot for the row of 19th century commercial buildings. The bandstand can also be seen in a postcard view of the period. In the photograph, mature trees shade North Main Street. The bandstand is situated on a grassy strip of land that appears to be overgrown with trees and bushes. In another postcard from about the same period, a fieldstone wishing well is prominently situated on the corner of Center and Main Streets.

Today the area where the bandstand stood has been reduced to a parking lot. The area along South Main Street in front of the Congregational Church and Legion Hall (up to the Town Hall on the corner) has been recently landscaped to provide a greensward in a dense urban setting where people can pause during the day.

Although the streetscape around it has evolved significantly over time, and the green itself is a fraction of what it once was, it has remained the focal point of Wallingford's civic, religious and business activities since Wallingford was established.



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