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East Litchfield Green

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This green is maintained by the Town of Litchfield and appears on town maps as early as the 1850s. It is included here because of its potential as a planned village green, and its association with the founding of Litchfield. The first 60 homelots in Litchfield were laid out in 1721 along two parallel ridges, one of which later became the center of Litchfield and the other Chestnut Hill, about a mile to the east of the present center and where this green is located. Ten of the homelots were on Chestnut Hill. As Alain White pointed out in his 1921 History of Litchfield, "it would appear that there was no established connection for two years between what really constituted two settlements, one on Litchfield Hill and one on Chestnut Hill." In December 1722 a town vote was taken to layout a road between the Bantam River to the west of Litchfield Center to the Chestnut Hill homelots, "in the range where the footpath now is." This would have been the present East Litchfield Road.

The main road along the top of Chestnut Hill, a miles-long drumlin, is Fern Road in East Litchfield and, to the south across what is now State Route 118, Chestnut Hill Road. This green, then, stands at the intersection of what would have been the original two roads on Chestnut Hill, one running north-south along the ridgetop and the other east-west connecting it to Litchfield Hill. The third leg of the green's triangle, Collins Road, must have been in existence shortly thereafter in order for the Isaac Phelps House, built in the 17820s and possibly as early as 1723, to be facing it. Moreover, a site for the town's meetinghouse was not decided until 1723.

However, research in Litchfield land and proprietors records failed to reveal any documentary clues to the green's origins.

Although this green, too big to be accidental, cannot be documented as a green, its potential as a planned public space for the Chestnut Hill settlement cannot be discounted and gives it significance. Its very untouched quality may preserve a feeling of the very earliest greens, informal spaces bounded by roads big enough for public assembly. More research in the form of an historic and architectural resources survey of the East Litchfield-Chestnut Hill area should be done on this green and its surroundings in East Litchfield to determine the area's historical significance.



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