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West Haven Green

The West Haven Green, rectangular in shape, is bordered by Church Street on the south, Savin Avenue on the west, Main Street on the north and Campbell Avenue on the east. Each street is two lanes wide with traffic traveling in both directions. Campbell Street is comprised primarily of two story commercial buildings with store fronts on the first floor. The buildings were constructed in the 20th century, the exception being a three-story brick Italianate structure on the corner of Main Street and Campbell Avenue. Parallel parking is allowed on both sides of the street and there is a parking lot behind the stores.

On the opposite corner of Main and Campbell Streets is a new Town Hall (1969). Mostly two-story brick and glass commercial buildings line the rest of the block. The exception is a severe, three-story rectangular apartment house on the corner of Main Street and Savin Avenue. Mid-block is a two-story, wood frame house, the only representative of the previous generation of buildings that once lined that side of the street.

With the exception of a red brick funeral home in the Colonial Revival style, early 20th century single family houses line Savin Street. Some have been converted to commercial use, some unsympathetically. On the west corner of Church Street across from the green are two 19th century wood frame houses. The rest of the block is taken up by the Christ Episcopal Church, the rectory, and on the corner, the cemetery. (Christ Church in West Haven, the second oldest Episcopal parish in Connecticut, was founded in 1723 and the church was begun in 1740.)

The edge of the green is marked by slate curbing. Around the perimeter, about six feet in from the edge, is a concrete sidewalk. Interior circulation is provided by sidewalks radiating inward from the corners and the middle of the blocks that meet in the center. The focal point is the picturesque white, clapboard, Congregational Church (1859) with its large rear addition (1915). Mature maple and some oak trees shade the paths and cemetery located in the southwest corner to the rear (north) of the church. Four memorial markers, a bandstand, and a flagpole are randomly placed around the perimeter, and here and there are wooden tables, benches and trash cans.

The clapboard church is close to Campbell Avenue but is set back onto the green and oriented on an east-west axis so it is entered from the green rather than from the street. In the summer, the mature trees all but obscure the church and its steeple from passers-by on the street. This is not true, however, for the large, el-shaped addition. A semicircular paved driveway entering and exiting from Campbell Avenue provides access.

A memorial to World War I veterans is located on the southern part of the green facing Main Street. A bronze Dough Boy, helmet held high, stands on top of a ten foot rectangular stone base. On the front is a bronze plaque of four men representing the branches of the service and four civilians in bas relief. Rhododendrons and shrubs are planted around it and it is protected by a five-foot-high metal fence. Close by is a flagpole.

Nearer to the north end of Main Street is a curved, polished, stone monument to West Haven fire fighters. On top of the five foot base is a large bell. It is surrounded by shrubs and protected by a metal fence. Toward the east end of Savin Street is a large boulder commemorating Adjutant William Campbell who saved the life of Reverend Noah Willington when the British invaded West Haven in 1779. The inscription is carved in the stone. A contemporary octagonal bandstand is located north of the center of the block of Church Street.

At each corner of the green on either side of the walk are short sections of white rail fences that form triangles. Inside them are planted rhododendrons and shrubs. The fence draws attention to the entrances and protects the corners from erosion.

The predominant species of tree is maple. They are planted throughout the green, most of them lining the interior paths. The over-all effect, primarily from the street, is that a great canopy of trees is covering the green. Only when one is walking on some of the interior paths is it apparent that many of the trees have been planted in a linear pattern along the paths. However, the pattern is more evident along some paths than others because some of the trees that died were not replaced, or replaced with different species. There are several substantial oak trees. Most of them are located in the southwest corner where they provide shade for picnic tables grouped in that area. One of the oak trees is particularly large. The circular driveway providing access to the church is screened with tall shrubs interspersed with small flowering trees. A deteriorated red brick sign announcing the Congregational Church is located in the middle of the grassy semicircle created by the driveway.

Wooden benches are randomly placed throughout the green. A cast stone chess table with seating is located near Main Street near the southern end. Modern pebble-covered trash cans are situated along the perimeter and bright blue metal trash drums are placed in the interior of the green.

The green receives a lot of use particularly as a place to relax under large shade trees during the hot summer days.

Information and Maps:
Survey Data - View detailed physical and historical information about this green.

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