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Roberts Green

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In May 1736 a group of 43 people from Windsor, Simsbury, and Farmington received "parish privileges" and named their new parish Wintonbury, a combination of the three names. The Town of Bloomfield was incorporated on Mary 29, 1835.

The land for the green was donated to Wintonbury Parish in 1826 by Oliver Thralls, who had paid $150 for it. The first work was undertaken by three men who on their own initiative built a sidewalk of stone and cinder. The green eventually became crisscrossed with wagon roads and footpaths and came to be know irreverently as the "Turkey Track."

The impetus for the improvement came in 1888 when Lester A. Roberts, a native of Bloomfield who lived in Brooklyn, New York, made a gift of $100 to the Village Improvement Association. He stipulated that the money be used to make a park in the center of town. The green was named Roberts Park in his honor, and in January 1889 control of the land was turned over to the Village Improvement Association. Circled by a fence and gravel road, the green was completed by 1890. The green was a victim of highway expansion in the 1920s and 1930s, losing much of its area. Fortunately, with the completion of Wintonbury Mall in 1970, the green was enlarged to five times the size it had been in the 1920s, and was renovated through the efforts of the Bloomfield Redevelopment Agency. Allan Hixon Association of Simsbury was the landscape architect.

Today Roberts Park is the scene of many civic activities and remains at the heart of town activities. A dedication plaque at the west entrance to the green sums up the importance of Bloomfield's green. "The Village Green symbolizes the beginning and center of community life. The Bloomfield Village Green has existed since the 1700s. Restored by Wintonbury Park Development Project."

Roberts Park is significant as a green that owes it existence to a Village Improvement Association. A driving force in the self-help village improvement movement was the belief that beautification of property would enhance property values as well as provide for the moral improvement of its members. Improvement of Roberts Park was one of the first projects of the Bloomfield Association.

 

 
 

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