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Centre Square in 1857, Waterbury, black-and-white photograph of a drawing by Charles U.C. Burton, September 1857. Courtesy of the Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut.

  Elm trees helped shade the green until most were lost to Dutch elm disease in the 1920s.

  This public gathering place was also the scene of celebrations marking the end of both world wars and of numerous Victory Bond drives.

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Soldiers Mustering on the Waterbury Green, black-and-white photograph, circa 1870. Courtesy of the Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut.

D

raining and grading of the Waterbury Green began around 1825, the same year a Fourth of July "carting bee" was organized to haul away the many boulders strewn throughout the open park. In the ensuing years grass and trees were planted, a fence was erected, and roads altered to create the present boundaries. In 1849 the space was officially named Centre Square, and soon gained a liberty pole and series of memorials to enhance a park-like atmosphere.

  A bandstand was put up in 1892, but taken down a decade later because concertgoers ruined the grass. Long rows of giant elms planted in the 1840s peaked in 1890-1910, framing surprisingly verdant vistas.

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Waterbury Green Looking West Towards St. John's Episcopal Church, black-and-white photograph, circa 1868. Courtesy of the Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury, Connecticut.

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