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."