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Ledyard Green

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Ledyard, originally a parish of Groton, was incorporated in 1836. When a Congregational meetinghouse was built in the 1840s no green was laid out to complement it. A Depression-era tour guide describes Ledyard's main street as being "short and almost deserted." Since the 1930s Ledyard has grown considerably and the main street has become Connecticut State Route 117.

In 1965 the town's first comprehensive plan recommended the relocation of the narrow, twisting state highway so that a new town hall and other buildings could be unified around a town green. Plans in 1972 and 1977 further refined this concept, but the town center remained dormant.

In the early 1980s the State Highway Commission finally proposed to rebuild and realign the road that at that time ran between the church and the library. Linola Krause, the former town planner, recommended that the realigned highway bypass the church and library so that the right-of-way could be converted into a village green. The Department of Transportation agreed to the proposal and planning of the village green was finally begun.

Because of the lack of tax dollars to pay for professional design services, the Planning Commission created a Town Green Committee to design the green. Over a period of seven months, the committee coordinated the efforts of individuals and organizations interested in designing a planting plan and choosing locations for war memorials. The Civil War monument was already in place in front of the library, and the World War I monument was moved to the site. The other monuments were created for the green and presented to the town by the Ledyard Lions Club on Memorial Day 1989. Construction of the green was also a community effort; residents pitched in on weekends, a local nursery donated several thousand dollars worth of plant materials, and DOT planted sod on the former roadbed and built the sidewalk (the town's first).

The Ledyard Green is the focal point of the 680-acre Ledyard Center Design District. This new zoning district is a conscious effort to create a village center in a town that never had one. The zoning regulations for the district were modeled after suggestions outlined in Vermont Townscape, a book published in 1987 by the Center for Urban Policy Research.

Ledyard Green is significant as a green created in the late 20th century that captures the ambience of New England's 18th and 19th century greens.



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