As early as the mid 1600's, a handful of Wethersfield residents worked the land "east of the river." In 1690, they petitioned the General Court to become a separate entity. By 1693, those determined people convinced Reverend Timothy Stevens to serve as their minister and built their meeting house as part of the requirements of the Connecticut General Court for township. Glassenbury thrived and the town began to take shape.

Today, we are familiar with East and South Glastonbury, maybe even Buckingham and Bucks Corner. But what about Curtisville? Shingle Hollow? Walker's Corner? Taylor Town? These neighborhoods, and over two dozen others, were the heart and soul of the town and still exist in our vocabulary today. Each played a role in the development of the town and each helps personify our "community" spirit.

"Glistening Town" from the Anglo-Saxon ties us directly to Glastonbury in Somerset, England. The spelling of our town varied until the mid-1800's when it was decided to conform to the "proper" English spelling. The thorn on our town seal is a replication of the Somerset thorn, which visually links us to our European past.

Over two dozen sites in town tell tremendous and often scintillating tales of Glastonbury's past. We still boast the oldest continuously operating ferry in the country. The Cotton Hollow Powder Mill gives us a chilling description of the revolutionary war era. The Welles Chapman Tavern was the stop-over from Hartford to New London. Stone from the town's quarry built the Wadsworth Atheneum. The Hollister parcel is thought to be an ancient Native American burial ground. The William Welles residence housed and educated some of Yale University's students during the revolutionary war while British warships plied New Haven Harbor.


Glastonbury when it was called Naubuc Farms.... then Glassenbury... then Glastenbury... then.....
 


The Formation of the Historical Society
 

  In 1935, the Gideon Welles House, the birthplace of Gideon Welles, first Secretary of the Navy, stood empty and on the site of the new post office that would be built at the intersection of Hebron Avenue and Main Street. The Town's plan was demolish the house. However, Dr. Lee J. Whittles and others in Glastonbury, recognizing the house’s historic significance, formed a committee to save it from destruction.

       In 1936, they convinced Ernest Victor Llewellyn to purchase the house and have it moved to a nearby lot on New London Turnpike. (At that time, New London Turnpike came through the current Town Fountain area and met Main Street and Hebron Avenue in a five way intersection.)  The committee that formed to save the Gideon Welles House soon became an organization named the Historical Society of Glastonbury. Working with Mr. Llewellyn, they had the house declared a national historic building and it now stands at 17 Hebron Avenue and is home to several local businesses including the River Valley Chamber of Commerce.

        From that beginning, the Historical Society of Glastonbury has continued to preserve the Town’s past, and to display it in an educational and entertaining fashion. Please visit us at the Museum on the Green, at the corner of Main and Hubbard Street, or at the Welles-Shipman-Ward House, 972 Main Street, South Glastonbury.​
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