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Eastford Green

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The Eastford Green is of relatively recent vintage compared to most town greens, although it is located at the historic center of the Town of Eastford. For much of its history, the green was in private hands, appearing on old atlases as nothing more than part of the central village intersection. Around it stand a number of historic buildings that recall the village's mid-19th-century prosperity. The village was on the turnpike from Hartford to Boston, making the c. 1835 Eastford House (at the southwest corner of Westford and Old Colony roads; also known as the General Lyon Tavern) a popular overnight stop. Gathered on other corners of the crossroads were a woolen mill, wagon works and spoke manufactory, several dry goods and grocery stores, and the shops of other tradespeople. The Methodists built their meetinghouse just to the south of the green site in 1847, and a room was used in their basement for town meetings following the Eastford's incorporation that same year.

The village's importance and prosperity declined after 1860, with population falling from a peak in 1860 (1006) to a low point in 1940 (496). Eastford was bypassed by the railroad, and commerce followed the better transportation routes. The village remained the center of town affairs; town meetings continued to be held in the church basement. To celebrate the centennial year of 1876, a Village Improvement Society formed and "sidewalks were made, street lamps put up-one at the chapel and others on the corners in the center of town." (Eastford 1847-1947, p. 72).

In 1916, the Congregationalist and Methodist congregations merged. Ten years later, the Methodists sold their now redundant meetinghouse to the Town of Eastford, with the condition that the building and site be used forever for a "library and such social and civic uses as will be wholesome for the community." (vol. 12, p. 556 of Town Land Records). The building, renamed the Town Hall, was used for town offices until the construction of the present Town Office Building on Westford Road in the 1970s; town meetings continued to be held there until the mid-1980s. Although recent structural problems have intervened, the Town Hall building, now known as the Ivy Glenn Memorial, is used regularly for community events. The town library moved into the basement in 1934, a location it still occupies.

In 1932, the green was created when residents Ellery Bartlett and Beatrice Kennedy conveyed the parcel to the Town. Civic embellishments were not long in coming. The veterans' monument was erected in 1934, using a stone block brought from the birthplace site of General Nathaniel Lyons (1818-1861), Eastford native and the first Union general killed in the Civil War. The green has figured in town events and celebrations since that time; it was the site of Town Centennial programs in 1947, and it is used today during Memorial Day observances.



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