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Clinton Park

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Stratfield was established in 1695 and became a small 18th-century agricultural settlement centered along North Avenue between the Rooster River and Park Avenue. A portion of the area now known as Clinton Park was set aside by the Borough of Stratfield in 1698 as a general training ground. It was deeded to the town by Richard Hubble who, in 1666, had also deeded land for the Stratfield Burial Ground, located near the training ground. (Mr. Hubble and many veterans of the American Revolutionary War are buried there.)

One of the Franklin Milestones inscribed "20 miles to N.H." which marked the Boston-New York Post Road was on the Training Ground but was reset by the D.A.R. in 1913 on the front lawn of 2345 North Avenue.

The regular grid street pattern with city lots was laid out in the mid-1800s and the area was developed into a fashionable neighborhood. It became a favored site for the homes of the city's leading industrialists and businessmen during a period of tremendous expansion when Bridgeport grew from a small, commerce-oriented center to one of the great industrial hubs of the Northeast. Many of the grand houses built at the time when labor costs were low, in Queen Anne, Colonial Revival and English styles remain as a precious legacy from a prosperous and confident age. An 1867 Atlas of Bridgeport shows Clinton Park as open ground connected to the burial ground. P.T. Barnum owned the property around it.

New interest was shown in the colonial history of the neighborhood and perhaps inflated by 19th-century historians to make it more attractive as an aristocratic residential district in a city seemingly self-conscious about a lack of colonial antecedent. The pre-Revolutionary cemetery was first reburbished in 1879. The boundaries of Bridgeport were extended westward to include this land within the city limits. The militia training ground became an official component of the park system in 1887. P.T. Barnum, Clapp Spooner and B.D. Pierce, Sr. with some other gentlemen, subscribed $25 each to level off and plant grass, and otherwise improve its appearance. The area today known as Clinton Park was apparently owned by Pierce at the time, because he deeded it to the City of Bridgeport (c. 1888).

In addition, at his own expense, Pierce laid out walks, planted young trees, and after considerable effort, succeeded in having the city accept the park and assume its care and maintenance.

Today the Clinton Park Militia Ground is used by the people of the neighborhood. The neighborhood organization is very active, and a fair and neighborhood tag sale are held every year on the park.

Clinton Park was first used as a military training ground by the Town of Stratfield in the last years of the 17th-century and later as a park and focal point for a 19th-century residential neighborhood. With the exception of the modern apartment building next to it, the area around it is still a 19th-century neighborhood.

 

 
 

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