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Lebanon Green

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According to Crofut, authority was given to layout Town Street 30 rods between the home lots in 1697, thus setting aside the property that eventually developed into the Lebanon Green. The land at the time was a dense alder swamp. Deep house lots laid out on either side of the street were distributed "by lot" among the 51 original proprietors, with the ownership of the swamp among them. Strictly speaking, the green today is owned by the heirs of these proprietors, despite an attempt in 1809 to sell the land to the abutting property owners.

The first church was erected in 1706 at the south end of Town Street, near the site of the present Congregational Church. As early as 1722, discussion began about the construction of a new meetinghouse but it was postponed because of disagreement over the site. Those living to the north of the green desired a more central location. However, over strong protestations, the second meetinghouse was built near the first in 1731. The factional differences erupted again in 1802 when discussions began about building the third meetinghouse. This heated debate is described by Kelly and resulted in a division of the Society into a north and south parish. Construction of the third meetinghouse began in 1804. The present Baptist church at the northern end of the green erected in 1841 in part grew out of these differences.

Lebanon and its green are closely associated with the Revolutionary War. Among its patriots were William Williams, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Jonathan Trumbull, a colonial governor and Connecticut's first governor after the Revolutionary War. Houses associated with both of them face the green. Many important meetings directing the war effort took place in the War Office, Trumbull's store, which is also facing the green, moved there from a nearby corner.

The Lebanon Green has changed little over time. It is representative of its 18th-century form, a highly unusual phenomenon in that other Connecticut greens of its scale were landscaped and transformed into parks in the 19th century. It continues to be owned by the heirs of the original proprietors and used to produce hay. It has been and is now the dominant feature of the town. In addition, it is associated with historical events and personages associated primarily with the Revolutionary War.



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