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Norwichtown Green, color photograph by William Stanley, 2001. Courtesy of William Stanley.

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Bean Hill Green, color photograph by William Stanley, 2001. Courtesy of William Stanley.

 

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T

he Bean Hill Green was laid out during the first years of settlement at the north end of the West Plot, on the crest of a hill that gives the district its name.

  Still surrounded by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century houses, this local center of manufacturing was a hub of activity noted for "business and gaiety." Within the open space, "tables were spread, speeches made, sermons preached, and teamsters loitered in the heat of the day."

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Soldiers Monument, Chelsea Parade, lithographed postcard, circa 1910. Courtesy of the Antiquarian & Landmarks Society, Hartford, Connecticut, Raymond Cable Collection.

  Norwich's other two greens, Chelsea Parade and Little Plain Green, are unusual in that they were philanthropic gifts of local citizens. The tree-lined Chelsea Parade, essentially two triangles, had an earlier history as common pasture. By the late 1700s it had been deeded to three Norwich citizens who turned it over to the town as a public parade, or promenade, in 1797. Always intended as a park, the space was planted with Lombardy poplars as early as 1801, and by the mid-nineteenth century it had taken on its present appearance of a grassy open space surrounded by shade trees and houses.

 
 
 

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