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Guilford Green, black-and-white photograph, circa 1900. Courtesy of the Guilford Free Library, Guilford, Connecticut.

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Aerial View of Guilford Green at Night, color photograph by Mark Bloomer, 1993. Courtesy of the Guilford Free Library, Guilford, Connecticut.

T

he ladies of the United Workers for Public Improvement, who cared for the Guilford Green until 1931, were best known for their annual cleanup. Few people in town failed to turn out for the spectacle of the women, dressed in Colonial garb, working with rakes decorated in red, white, and blue while cannons boomed and bands played. Even though much of the village's commerce has long since moved to a shopping corridor on nearby Route 1, the Guilford Green remains the symbolic heart of the community.

  In recent decades, the public plaza has been the site of demonstrations: for peace, against nuclear arms, in support of Americans held hostage in Iran. And while the annual fair has outgrown the space, the opening parade still circles the site where the fair was first staged.

 
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