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Waterbury Green

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In 1691 the proprietors of Waterbury petitioned the General Assembly for permission to create a separate Ecclesiastical Society. It was granted and the first church was constructed at the east edge of the present green which at that time was "town swamp" left undeveloped because it was not suitable for homes or pasture. The next two churches were constructed on the same site. The fourth one was built opposite the present church.

The green began taking on its present form between 1820 and 1850 when it was drained and graded, realigned with the present roads and fenced in. Elms were planted, some of which died toward the end of the century when they were replaced. These long rows of trees offering vistas to those enjoying the park were at their finest between 1890 and 1910 when they were under siege. In 1913 and 1914, twenty-four elm trees were planted to replace those that died.

A bandstand that was on the green for ten years was removed in 1902 because the concerts held on the green in the summer that attracted "thousands" of people ruined the grass. In 1884, Soldiers Monument, honoring those from Waterbury who fought in the Civil War, was placed on the green. Designed by George E. Bissell, it was cast in Paris. Four years later, the large fountain for horses donated by Caroline Welton (the owner of "Knight," the bronze horse on top of the granite base) was situated on the east end of the green. The granite shaft holding the Seth Thomas Clock was placed on the west end of the green in 1915 despite protestation from many of the citizens who believed that the green should remain free of any other objects. In 1957, the tall, granite memorial in honor of those from Waterbury who served in all the American wars was placed on the green.

In the early 1980s, the green received a major face lift. The asphalt paths were replaced with concrete paths; the area around the war memorial was paved; an irrigation system, lighting, and benches were added, and the flagpole was rehabilitated.

The Waterbury Green was established about the time the first church was built on the green at the end of the 17th century. It has undergone tremendous changes since then but it is still the focal point of religious activity for the town of Waterbury, as well as providing a welcome green oasis in a congested city center.

 

 
 

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