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Lebanon, first settled in the 1690s, was incorporated as a town in 1700. It is a large rural town of 55.1 square miles of land area or 56.1 square miles including waterbodies, characterized by extensive agricultural lands, rolling wooded hills, and low-density, residential development. Known for its unique role in the Revolutionary War, the town became one of the largest and most politically important towns in Connecticut. Lebanon is the birthplace of five of Connecticut’s governors.
The mile-long Common, or Green, is the town’s most distinctive feature. Connecticut’s war effort during the Revolutionary War was directed from the War Office on the Green and the adjacent home of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull. In addition, many historic properties surround the Green and are now complemented by the Lebanon Historical Society Museum and Visitor Center. This state-of-the-art facility provides technology enabling visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the significant contributions the town of Lebanon played in the history of our country and serves as a focal point for tourism in the town and region. The Museum, as part of a consortium including all the historic properties on the Green, coordinates educational tourism for schools, colleges, and others visiting southeastern Connecticut and New England.
Agriculture is the dominant economic activity in the town, though in recent years much traditional land-based farming has given way to residential development. There are few commercial establishments and residents mainly travel outside the town for employment and shopping. The number of home-based businesses, however, has increased substantially in recent years, a trend that seems to be continuing. The urban centers of Willimantic, Colchester, and Norwich and the highways that connect them roughly ring the town, and are more likely sites for intensive economic activity, thus supporting the view that Lebanon’s foreseeable future is as a rural agricultural and bedroom community.
Lebanon has a lot to offer. Besides boasting a low tax rate, the Town offers an excellent school system with an enrollment of over 1500 students. Lyman Memorial High School, newly reconstructed in 1992, now accepts students from the town of Columbia and several other area towns. Lyman High School is also a Regional Vocational Agricultural Center.
State highway Routes 207 and 87 run through Lebanon, 207 heading east and west, and 87 north and south. State highway 16 from Colchester meets Route 207 in the Exeter section of Lebanon. Route 289 from Willimantic meets Route 87 at the northern end of the Town Green. Lebanon can be easily reached from Route 2 which runs along the Town’s southern border. The Town is within 30 minutes of New London and East Hartford. Downtown Hartford is about 30 minutes distance and New Haven is about an hour away.