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Meeting House Green

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The original Town Plot for Haddam, then known as the Plantation of Thirty Mile Island, was laid out on the west bank of the Connecticut River in 1662. Land was set aside for the meetinghouse, the burying ground, the minister's homelot, and additional land was reserved for "Parsonage Land." The burying ground was located on the east side of Old Saybrook Road (Route 154), the original Colonial Highway through Haddam Center, at the intersection of Walkley Hill Road. It is the only cultural resource remaining from this early period. The first meetinghouse was constructed south of this site on Old Saybrook Road c. 1673. In c. 1721 the second meeting house was erected near the cemetery. It was not until the third meetinghouse was constructed c. 1771 at what is now the intersection of Meeting House and Russell Roads that the site presently known as Meeting House Green began to be developed.

The triangular piece of property was purchased by the four sons of Reverend Dudley Field in 1878 and dedicated to the Town of Haddam in memory of their father, who was pastor of the church and lived in the parsonage (1845) across from the southwest corner of the green. The brothers hired a landscape architect to landscape the green (and the larger Field Park which they also purchased and dedicated to the Town.) An article written in 1941 reports that the design included planting a border of shrubs and trees, leaving the ledge cropping out at the crest of the lot, building a fence (to protect the green against wandering animals), placing rustic seats in the shade, and leading the brook crossing the green to a watering place on Walkley Hill Road. Although this design is in keeping with the picturesque parks being promoted by the Olmstead firm at the time, it was not designed by them as this publication erroneously reports. While the green today retains some of the picturesque character of the earlier design, it has been significantly diminished over time.

Meeting House Green is the site of an early church. In the late 19th century, it was turned into a memorial park and landscaped according to period tastes in the picturesque manner; unusual treatment for a green.

 

 
 

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