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Washington Town Green

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The Washington Green dates to 1741 when the Ecclesiastical Society was formed. Washington was then known as Judea and was called Judea until it was incorporated in 1779. According to Kelly, the earliest available records of the parish, October 8, 1742, refer to the location of the first meetinghouse, stating that those men building it "should have liberty to set said house in ye plot of land that was laid out to set a meetinghouse on." The place chosen for what was apparently a temporary structure was a "little north of the present meeting house."

The first meetinghouse was built in 1742 and the second one in 1754. It lasted until 1800 when it was destroyed by fire. The present Congregational Church, located on the green just north of Parish Road, was erected in 1801. The other building on the green, originally known as Hall on the Green, was used as a chapel and library when it was constructed in 1873-1874. Built on the site of the Academy, it went through several uses and owners until it was deeded to the Congregational Church in 1929 and dedicated as the Judea Parish House. The Congregational Church is still the owner of the green, although it is maintained by the town.

Most of the buildings around the green are residences and many of them date from the last quarter of the 18th century. One of these was originally built as a store. The building that houses the post office was constructed in 1851 and has always housed at least the post office and a drugstore. The last buildings to be constructed around the green were two residences and the Gunn Memorial Library in the first quarter of the 20th century. Plans are currently being approved by the town for its expansion.

The Gunnery, founded in 1850 by educator-abolitionist William Frederick Gunn, is one of Connecticut's oldest independent schools and is closely associated with the green. Several buildings fronting the green are part of the school. The graduation tradition includes the gathering of the procession on the green before the ceremonies begin.

The Washington Green and surrounding streetscape reflect two and a half centuries of village history in function as well as appearance. This is an active contemporary community where historic structures and landscapes have been consistently respected and maintained, and where the green has always been the focal point of the community.

 

 
 

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