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The Palisado Green

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The Palisado Green represents the founding of the Dorchester Colony in Connecticut. Here, on the north side of the Farmington River, the Dorchester families settled in 1635. Two years later, when the Pequot Wars began, the Plymouth families who had settled on the south side of the river in 1633, joined the Dorchester settlers to take refuge within a Palisado. The Connecticut Historic Resources inventory form describes the Palisado as: "a tall, wood structure made of rough-hewn stakes sunk below the ground. It measured approximately 1/4 mile per side and had a deep ditch around its exterior. Land was distributed within the Palisado so that each family had a small plot. The present Palisado Green area was left as a public open space at the center of the encampment. It was here that the original meetinghouse was built in 1639."

The Palisado Green was also used as a common grazing area. As the threat of attack passed, settlers again began building homes in a linear pattern northward and moved again to the south of the Farmington River. The Palisado was dismantled in the early 18th century. The meetinghouse was relocated in 1754 but by that time the Palisado Green was becoming a mercantile center. It remained a vital center throughout the 18th century while the Connecticut River served as the primary transportation route into the heart of New England. Patriot militia trained on the Palisado Green.

In the 19th century the Palisado Green area became quieter, more as we see it today: a quiet, historic, residential community with several civic institutions in the vicinity of the green. Throughout the 19th and into the early 20th century, schools were built on or near the green. In 1928 the Chaffee School (which merged with the Loomis Institute in 1970) was established on the green in the homes of the 19th century merchants Hooker and Chaffee. In 1925 the historical society purchased the 17th century Fyler house on the south side of the green. In 1930 a monument recognizing the first settlers was erected at the center of the green. Within the last decade the historical society has built a new brick structure for a museum and archives next to the Fyler House.

The Palisado Green is the founding site of the Dorchester Colony where the Palisado was erected and the meetinghouse stood. When the Palisado was removed in 1774, it was used as a military parade ground. Today it is the focal point of an historic residential neighborhood and commemorates the site of the early Connecticut settlement.



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