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Academy Hill Green

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The history of the Academy Hill Green* is shrouded in the mists of time. The town records seems to contain no mention of its establishment. The first meetinghouse was built here in 1681-82, and replaced by another structure in 1722-23, but the first reference to the green is not until 1725, when "Sabaday houses" were permitted "near the meeting-house on the common." The third meetinghouse was built at Derby Landing, some distance away, in 1819-21, and the 1722 building was dismantled in 1822. An academy, opened in 1786, continued to operate at the green for some time thereafter. Its building, along with at least one early saltbox house, remained at the green at the end of the 19th century; neither is there now. Bypassed by major development, the green is lined with 19th- and early-20th-century houses. Again, there seem to be no records indicating change in the shape of the green, though further research into the properties surrounding the green might yield more information on its history.

The Academy Hill Green is probably one of the older greens in Connecticut, though its nature has changed greatly since its earliest days. Bypassed by commercial and civic development over 150 years ago, it remains the focus of a quiet residential neighborhood of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While the plantings and furnishings are guided by little apparent logic, they manage to create a place of quiet charm. The buildings at the Derby Avenue entrance and the steep slope up from the avenue protect the green from traffic noise. However, commercial zoning on Academy Hill Road facing the green poses a potential threat to its secluded character; re-zoning to single-family residential to match the zoning of other sides of the green would help to protect it. A local historic district would also be appropriate.



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