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Middlebury Green

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Settlement of Middlebury Green began in the early 1700s. In 1790, the proprietors applied to the General Assembly requesting approval for a separate ecclesiastical society. It was granted that year. The first meetinghouse was built in Middlebury Center in 1794 on the western edge of the present green facing west. A second one was erected on the green in 1840. This building was destroyed by fire in 1935. The present building is a replication of the one that burned.

The Union Academy joined the first meetinghouse on the green in 1811. It became an all-round utilitarian building and was subsequently used as a singing school; a site for the Methodists, Episcopalians, and Presbyterians to meet; as a public school and as a place for town meetings and court sessions. It stood on the green east of the present Methodist Church until the end of the century when it was moved. The Methodists built their church facing the Green in 1832. The fact that the green has remained the focal point of religious activity was reinforced in 1907 when the Catholic Church was erected southwest of it. The first town hall was built in 1896 to the north east of the green but was destroyed in the same fire that destroyed the Congregational Church. A new one, the present Town Hall, was constructed on the same site.

In 1870 the green took on its present Horseshoe shape when the roads were rerouted around its perimeter. Elm trees were planted by public-minded citizens in about 1872. An early photograph shows a row of trees along the southern and eastern edges of the green and down the middle. When they died, they were replaced by descendents of some of the original planters. The pattern of the planting of the present trees on the green is more random then the original layout of the elm trees.



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