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Green at Waterside Lane

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In 1662 the General Court of Hartford was petitioned by a group of pioneers to settle the land that is now Clinton. The petition was granted and Clinton was laid out c. 1665 along the Boston Post Road, which was a trail at the time. The area around the green was at one time used by the Indians to harvest marsh hay and shellfish. Later the green was used as a place to build boats and store materials. At one time this area was the main harbor for Clinton. Although not planned and set aside as a green, the area has functioned in this capacity since its earliest days. After the end of the shipbulding era, a dispute arose as to who actually owned the area. Evidently the dispute was decided in favor of the town, for today it is town owned and maintained.

The cannon on the green began its long trip to Clinton when it was taken from an English brig in 1776 after a battle in the English Channel. It was then sold to a captain who sailed with it to America. The ship was wrecked on Saybrook bar and the wreckage (including the cannon) was bought by Mr. Cranie, the lighthouse keeper at Saybrook Point. The cannon was eventually set up on Waterside Lane Green, where it helped repel an invasion by the British in the War of 1812. The coat of arms of George III, originally on the breech of the cannon, was removed "for patriotic reasons." A similar cannon, also used in the War of 1812, is on the Liberty Green. A map from 1874 shows Waterside Lane as being the home of many sea captains.

Today the neighborhood surrounding the green is busy with walkers, joggers, and fishermen. Unfortunately, shellfish taken from the waters cannot be eaten because of contamination.

The Green at Waterside Lane is significant as an area that has evolved without official designation, as a common place. Today the green provides a link to Clinton's maritime past. The neighborhood retains much of its 18th- and 19th-century character.

 

 
 

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