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Town Hall Green

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Town Hall Green (or New Town Common) was originally part of the 1.5 acre Wheeler House estate at 25 Avery Place. The last individual owner of the 18th century structure remodeled in the Italianate style was Mrs. Charlotte B. Darby who, in turn, deeded part of it to the Episcopal Church and Holy Trinity Church when she died in July 1979. The house and .5 acres were sold to the Westport Historical Society with the condition that the Wheeler house would be preserved for future generations.

In 1978 the Town of Westport moved its offices to the newly renovated Bedford School building (1927); 1930) at 110 Myrtle Avenue. With the relocation of the town offices from the old building on Jesup Green and the opening of the Performing Arts Center in the new Town Hall building, the area became the focus of civic and cultural activity. The Town of Westport purchased the remaining .963 acre portion of the Wheeler estate in 1983 from Christ and Holy Trinity Church to establish a common or a green that would assume the commemorative function of the Jesup Green and provide a visual focal point for the new civic center.

Town Hall Green is located within the residential section of what was originally Saugatuck Village. An 1803 map of the village shows the King's Highway cutting across the triangular site on the northern end (its route was changed in 1804 when it was moved north). The swale in that location of the present green is probably an ancient scar from the road cut. In addition, the green exhibits "definite outlines of north-south and east-west trending mounds" suggesting garden paths. Dr. Lewis Wheeler did have a formal garden on the property c. 1910 when he owned it, although records show that when Mrs. Darby owned it much of the property was open field and only a part near the house was mowed.

Between 1858 and 1903 a Methodist Church stood on the site of the present Cape Cod-style house (presently used as offices) on the northern tip of the triangle.

Once a private garden, Town Hall Green is a 20th century creation in response to the desire for a green in front of the new town hall. As such, it is significant as an example of an on-going tradition of establishing town greens as a focal point for the town offices, a public gathering place, and to serve a commemorative function.



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