Monday, March 12, 2018

Hebron Town Center Project Looking to Put "Feet on the Street"

The Hebron Town Center Project formed in order to bring more entertainment, socialization, and integration into our beloved town of Hebron, Connecticut.  When the committee first met at the Douglas Library, it was opened up to the population to bring their ideas to promote more activity in Hebron.  The committee talked about what was working and what wasn't working in Hebron, and opened up to suggestions on how the town could improve, what events it could offer to keep more people in town, and how to utilize the town green in the center of town.  At the last Hebron Day, this past August, the Town Center Project hosted a survey asking residents what they would prefer for events in order to increase both activity, efficiency, and the feeling of "home" within our town.

The top five events were announced at the September Town Center Project meeting in the Douglas Library.  With the motto "Bring more feet to the streets," the Town Center Project met and divided up into five groups, all of which promote a different activity or event within the town. Since the meeting in September, these groups have met and developed their own individual meetings to host their various events.  These various events are scheduled as follows:

1. Summer Concert Series: Enjoy music from 3 different bands, on 3 summer Sundays, July 15, July 29, Aug 12, starting at 5:30 pm. Bring a picnic, your lawn chairs and enjoy music in the heart of Hebron. Located in the field behind Co. #1 Firehouse.

2. July 4th Parade Celebration: An old-fashioned celebration with a twist-everyone will be on wheels! 10:30 am. on Route 66.  The parade will start at Hope Church, proceed down Rte. 66 towards Teds, turn around at the Post Office and return. There will also be a reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Old Town Hall steps before the start of the Parade.

3. Lazy Sundays of Summer on the Hebron Town Green: Slated for one Sunday a month from May through September (dates and time posted in the image below).  The intent is to create a low-key laid back atmosphere along Main Street.  The bulk of events are pick up games of kornhole, bocce, crochet, tug a war, potato sack races, yard Yahtzee, a and a life-sized chess and checkers board.  Possible activities are sidewalk chalk, hopscotch, tic tac toe, and a drop-in class of yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates.  The committee is also searching for local musicians to and street performers.  Each month will have a "main" activity that is intended to draw people to the town green.   In May, a local high school student, Melanie Shalayda will be hosting a "Shoes Off" poetry slam on the side lawn on Main Street and will promoted as a "bring your lawn chair, throw down your blanket, and stay awhile" event for all ages.  Other months are looking at including an obstacle course or karaoke.  Holly Habicht, the president for the Hebron group "Lazy Sundays" says that "the hope is to bring the Hebron community and their friends to the center of town to utilize the beautiful sidewalks, and spend some good, quality time with each other."  For more information, please contact Holly Habicht at

4. Harvest Moon Festival: The harvest Moon Festival will be held on Saturday, October 20th, 2018.  The committee plans to have artisans, vendors, family games, pumpkin chuckin', a fun run, and a nighttime pumpkin walk.  Right now the committee is in the early stages of planning.  For more information, contact the president, Wendy Weingarten at

5. Town Wide Tag Sale: The town wide tag sale is scheduled for June 2nd, 2018, rain or shine from 8:30 AM to 2:30 PM.  Hebron residents, businesses, and organizations can all participate.  People can register to hold a tag sale at their homes or business for a fee of $25 ($30 if after 5/7/18).  People can also reserve a table at Town Hall for a fee of $20 ($25 if after 5/7/18).  House tag sales will be given a house marker sign for easy tag sale locating and maps with house locations will be distributed throughout town at select locations.  To register, you can print out a tag sale registration form the TTCP Facebook page or contact the chair, Emily Turker at or 860-559-5554.  Registration forms must include a check payable to "The Town Center Project."  Registrations must be received by Monday, May 21st in order to be included on the town location map.

Please come out and support Hebron, Connecticut with these upcoming events!  Feel free to contact the individuals posted if you would like more information.  Thank you.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Boy Scout Cleans Up Godfrey Hill Cemetery For Eagle Scout Project

Godfrey Hill Cemetery
           Situated on a hill on route 85, between a couple houses and behind some brush and trees, lies the Godfrey Hill Cemetery.  There is no sign or parking spot to mark the cemetery, so it is rather unnoticeable to many drivers passing by.  Some people may see the graves on the hill if they observe as they drive by, but many people are unaware of the cemetery’s existence.  
The Godfrey Hill Cemetery is part of the Saint Peter’s Church, located right where the old church used to lie in the 1700’s, before it was replaced at its current location along Church Street in 1824.  While Saint Peter’s Church has its own cemetery next to its current church, the Godfrey Hill Cemetery is the church’s older cemetery that contains the graves of many of the original families who attended the church before it was moved.
Connor Garrity supporting his Eagle Scout Project at Godfrey Hill Cemetery
Connor Garrity, a Boy Scout in Troop 28 in Hebron, CT is finalizing his Eagle Scout project at the Godfrey Hill Cemetery.  Garrity led Troop 28 to cut down and clear trees, branches, and shrubs that had been overgrown in the cemetery area.  Connor inserted a sign post where he will be posting a sign of the cemetery which will include some history and a map of those who were buried.  Connor’s project not only benefits the Godfrey Hill Cemetery by maintaining its foundation, but also provides a record and history of those who were buried and once belonged to the parish in the 1700’s.
Some of the common names buried and known in the Godfrey Hill Cemetery include: Bliss, Haughton, Horton, Hutchinson, Jones, Mann, Peters, Phelps, and Shipman.  Many of these were the earliest attendees of the church and are familiar names within our town’s history.  Particularly, John Bliss and Samuel Peters are two names that were essential in the creation of the Episcopal Church in Hebron, Connecticut.
John Bliss, a graduate of Yale in 1710, was called upon to be the town’s first settled minister.  He was soon resented by several southern Congregationalists.  In 1733, about fifty people were dissatisfied with Reverend Bliss, so they petitioned the town to be set off into a Congregationalist society and requested to secure a minister of their own.  While their request was denied, Reverend Bliss soon resigned, and in 1734, he and his followers became loyal to the Church of England.  Bliss had been brought up in the Church of England, and most of his followers were also of the English church.  The return to the church was only natural for Bliss under the current circumstances of his relationship to those of the Congregationalist Society.  
Bliss had been given a plot of land along Godfrey Hill, and this soon became the first site for Saint Peter’s Church.  While the construction of the site started in 1735, the church wasn’t finished until 1766 due to lack of funds.  Records claim the church stood at 58 by 30 feet in size.  While he did so much to organize the church, Reverend Bliss was not the first ordained minister, as his Congregationalist ordination was not recognized by the Episcopal church.  In 1741, just before he was to depart to England for the Holy Orders, Bliss died of smallpox.  He was then buried in the Godfrey Hill Cemetery, near the original church’s site.
Boy Scouts clear the area  of sticks at Godfrey Hill Cemetery
Samuel Peters was born in Hebron in 1735 and was a graduate of Yale in 1757.  He sailed for England in 1758 and received the Holy orders in 1759, before returning to Hebron the following year.  Samuel Peters would soon become the church’s first Reverend.  Peters was a Loyalist, being tied to the King of England.  He believed that the colonists who destroyed the tea in the Boston Tea Party had committed a “horrible crime” and should have consequences for their actions.  Peters soon became the target of attacks by the patriots of the Sons of Liberty from Windham and other surrounding towns.  On one occasion, Peters, with help from Reverend Benjamin Pomeroy (Reverend of the Hebron Congregational Church), barely escaped death from a mob of Patriots who had stripped him of his priestly robes and demanded that he longer side with the King of England.  Peters, soon fled to Boston and later took a ship to England.
While still in England, Peters was notified by the Episcopal clergy in Vermont to become a bishop, but the Archbishop of Canterbury chose not to consecrate him.  Later, Peters returned to America and settled in New York City.  In 1806, he returned to Hebron and was welcomed by the citizens.  He died in 1826 and was buried next to his three wives in Godfrey Hill Cemetery.  His remains were then moved to the present Saint Peter’s Church in 1841, which is his current marking place.  Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church was then named after Samuel Peters, the church’s first Reverend.
Over the years since it was erected, the church had grown to 58 families, 40 communicants, and a Sunday school of 35.  The 30 by 58-foot church on Godfrey Hill was soon becoming too small.  In 1824, a new church was constructed more appropriate to the parish’s size and importance within the community.  The church was consecrated on October 19, 1826 by Bishop Brownell, who claimed it as the second most beautiful church in the diocese.  This church currently resides on the southern part of Church Street heading toward Amston, Connecticut.  The old church on Godfrey Hill was soon torn down, and all that remains today are the cemetery, three wooden candlesticks, and the pewter baptismal basin.
Saint Peter's Episcopal Church
While the church has moved to Church Street, the Godfrey Hill Cemetery is still home to many of the deceased members of the original church.  The cemetery is a vital part of both Saint Peter’s Church and Hebron’s history.  Connor Garrity has done a magnificent job to maintain the church’s and town’s history, and his efforts to preserve the church’s records will be recognized for years and years to come.

Information about Saint Peter's Church and history from:

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Old Town Hall: Then and Now

If you drive by the town green Route 66, you will notice a white building next to the library.  This is the Old Town Hall.  It used to be the Town Hall at Hebron, Connecticut before the new town hall was built on Route 85.  Now, the Old Town Hall includes many historical artifacts serves as a museum for the town community.  Various Boy Scouts throughout the years have dedicated their time and service to help the Historical Society repair and upkeep various parts of the building.  The Historical Society has maintained the Old Town Hall since the town of Hebron gave the Society the rights to the building in the 1960’s. 
Boy Scouts repair the Old Town Hall building
But what is the history of the Old Town Hall?  When was the building first erected?  It was the Methodists who were responsible for providing Hebron with its first site for town meetings.  In 1828, the Methodists decided to hold services in the center of town.  They chipped in around $100 while the town of Hebron paid $260 toward the construction of a second floor on the new Hebron Center School.  This upper section of the school house was to be shared by the church for its religious gatherings and the town for its town meetings.
The shared building worked for ten years until the Methodists decided they wanted their own church, which would be their third meeting place since coming to Hebron.  The Methodists built their new church a few hundred feet east of the Hebron Center School.  The deed for their church is in the Hebron Land Records, filed with the town for December 1st, 1838.
In 1845, the upper floor framing let go during a town meeting held at the Center School, and the town was then without a meeting place.  The Methodists offered the basement of their new church for the town meetings.  Around 1850, the Methodists broke apart.  They also had constructed another new meeting house, effectively disbanding the 1838 building they used as their church.
In 1859, the town Selectmen of Hebron negotiated with the Methodist Society to purchase the 1838 building to use as the Town Hall.  The old Methodist Church was negotiated for $650.  Around 1863, the possession of the deed secured the building for the town of Hebron. 

The Old Town Hall
At the end of the 19th Century and into the beginning of 20th Century, the Old Town Hall had some memorable moments in history.  In 1875, the building was somehow lowered from its original two-story to a story and a half.  In 1928, electricity was installed into the Town Hall.  And in 1942, the hall underwent repairs and redecoration in preparation for the commencement of Hebron’s 8th grade students.

Pictures of past Hebron school years in the Old Town Hall
Following the building of Hebron Elementary School in 1950, the Town Hall ceased to hold its town meetings.  It was then used for other civic organization meetings.  Soon, the Historical Society had been formed, and the members of this group started to restore and maintain the old 1838 Methodist Church until the building became their own.
Over the years, the Old Town Hall has shown its wear and tear, and it was the Historical Society who needed to upkeep the building, despite being a nonprofit organization.  The first renovations done on the roof were in the 1990’s where cedar shingles were replaced.  Although this held up for twenty plus years, it came to a point where the roof once again needed to be replaced.
The Historical Society in 2016 created the “Raise the Roof” Campaign where they raised money to repair the roof once again.  The money contributions came from businesses throughout town, such as Gina Marie’s and Ted’s, as well as through generous donations from several individuals.  Within three months, $10,000 was raised in contributions, with some businesses and individuals contributing $50 to $1000.
It was then decided that the roof should be replaced with asphalt rather than cedar shingles.  Asphalt roofs can last up to fifty years as opposed to cedar shingles, which had lasted us roughly twenty years.  Asphalt also costed much less than cedar.  With the approval from Historic Properties Commission, it was agreed that the Old Town Hall should be replaced with asphalt. 

On August 29th, 2017 Klaus and Larsen Roofing Contractor LLC, a local roofing repair crew came to replace the roof.  This video posted below shows the replacement made on the roof, all of which was completed in a single day.  The Historical Society was honored to have a local business (Klaus and Larsen Roofing Contractor LLC) to offer a quote to repair the roof.  All the hard work and fundraising seemed to be done, except that was still more to do: paint.  The exterior north and east sides of the building are in need of prep and paint.  The campaign for the Old Town Hall continues to raise money to paint these designated areas and maintain the building’s foundation.

A sign from inside the Old Town Hall reads
"Burritt Mutual Savings Bank Martha Crowe Phelps Office established 1889"
More artifacts from inside the Old Town Hall
If you would like to learn more about the Historical Society’s Capitol Campaign or are considering to give a donation to support the cause, please check out the Hebron Historical Society’s website.  The Historical Society continues to maintain and preserve the Old Town Hall to cherish our town’s history.  Please come and visit the Old Town Hall during the annual Maple Festival and other Hebron events!  

The Old Town Hall at the Hebron Maple Festival
Also check out a video featuring the train shows at the Old Town hall from today and 1976:
As always, feel free to comment and send your stories to

Credit to Hebron Historical Society for the info on the Old Town Hall: