Old farm houses line the highways leading to Lebanon in eastern Connecticut between Norwich and Willimantic, where the town center resembles many picturesque New England villages with a library, churches and town hall clustered around the green.
But it is like no other green in New England. A mile in length and with a major portion still in agricultural use, the Lebanon green is unique because of its size, its preservation as an example of an early town settlement, and its association with great events in the American Revolution. Visitors can take a job or a leisurely stroll around the stone-dust paths that line either side of the green. In winter, a portion of the green is flooded for ice skating and is lighted in the evening. Parking is available at the Library, Alden Tavern Parking Lot, and the Jonathan Trumbull House.
Around the green are some of the most important buildings connected with Connecticut's role in the Revolution when the town was the home of the war governor and the focal point of the state's contributions to the patriot cause. It is these activities that earned Lebanon its place in history as "the heartbeat of the Revolution."
From the raising of a Liberty Pole by local Sons of Liberty during the Stamp Act crisis to the outbreak of the war, the men and women of Lebanon were active protestors against British policies. During the Revolution, at least 677 Lebanon men served in the American units, from the Battle of Bunker Hill to the end of the campaigns in 1782. This represents more than 50 percent of the adult population at that time.
Because of the significance of the Green and the number of buildings associated with figures prominent in state and local history, the Lebanon Green was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Of the 68 structures listed on the Register, 49 are considered historically significant and include a variety of styles from Colonial to modern.
Most of the buildings are private homes. Among these are the William Williams house, the birth-site of William A. Buckingham, the Civil War governor; and Redwood, a masterpiece by Isaac Fitch.
With its historic Green preserved intact and surrounded by dozens of historic buildings, visitors can stroll around Lebanon center two centuries after the great events of the American Revolution took place here and feel a part of the past come alive.