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ot every town is limited to one green; Norwich claims four. The seventeenth-century Norwichtown and Bean Hill greens were set aside as part of the common and undivided land during the 1659 settlement of this once-prosperous port situated where the Yantic and Shetucket rivers meet to form the Thames. The early settlement comprised two districts: the East Plot and the West Plot. The triangular Norwichtown Green in the East Plot was the main meetinghouse green and was the site of the town's first jail and the first courthouse (1762).

  By the time of the American Revolution the Norwichtown Green was also bordered by a post office, several stores and taverns, and two printing offices, each of which published a weekly newspaper. According to one nineteenth-century account, the Norwichtown Green was the scene of great excitement in the hours and days after the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. Townspeople rushed to the green to hear news couriers read dispatches from the seat of the two-month-old war. In reaction to reports that patriot troops had acquitted themselves bravely and honorably at Bunker Hill before at last retreating before the overwhelming might of the British army, "the bell was rung, cannons fired, bonfires blazed, speeches were made and many pledged themselves to join the army."

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image 7_4

The Old Town Green (Norwichtown Green), lithographed postcard, circa 1905. Courtesy of the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society, Hartford, Connecticut, Raymond Cable Collection.

image 7_1

Eastern View of the Central Part of the Town of Norwich, wood block engraving from a sketch by John Warner Barber. Reprinted from John Warner Barber, Connecticut Historical Collections (New Haven, 1836).

In the center of this view of the Norwichtown Green is the Congregational meetinghouse. On the left are the courthouse and the Union Hotel.


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