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Berlin, CT

USGenWeb Project

*Jonathan Gilbert, an early settler of Hartford, ran a tavern and warehouse in Hartford. He was also deputy collector of customs and a marshal for the colony. For his years of service to the General Court, he was granted 350 acres of his choosing, providing it was not already settled. Having travelled the route from Hartford to New Haven many times, he chose the land that is now Berlin. This included Christian Lane, south to the Meriden (today's)townline. In later years, the whole of the town of Berlin was called "Great Swamp."

The first settlement was at Christian Lane in 1686. In 1705 the Seymour Stockade was built to protect the citizen's from the Indians. The stockade 16' high with a fort and cabins for the settlers. They would retreat to the Stockade in the evening for protection. At this time in history there were 14 families at the Great Swamp Villiage.

The Yankee Peddler is the town's symbol. Every household was able to take care of their own with some kind of trade. The sons and daughters were taught everything from dressmaking to tinmaking. There were taverns, inns, farms as well as a brickmaking dating back to 1751. Some of the names in the early history of the town are still remembered by the street names and neighborhoods of Berlin.

Berlin is a small (27 sq. miles), but industrious town. It has an old-time charm of it's own, though the modern conveniences of life are close at hand. Berlin is the geographical center of Connecticut, surrounded by New Britain, Cromwell, Middletown and Meriden.

Most people know of Berlin from the Berlin Turnpike (Rtes 5&15) running through Wethersfield, Newington, Berlin down to New Haven and through to New York. Most people have never seen the personal side of the town. There are many wonderfully original shops and trades still alive and well in Berlin, East Berlin and Kensington.

*portions of this are from The History of Berlin, CT by Catharine M. North