Chapter 3 Read Along
October 6, 2018
Learning Through Places: The State Capitol
October 9, 2018

What Type of Place Do You Live In?

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People are always looking for a good place to live. Ten thousand years ago the first people made Connecticut their home. For thousands of years Native American tribes lived here and still do. They made camps in different places according to the season. In the summer they lived along rivers or the shoreline. They fished, or collected shellfish like clams. In the winter they moved inland. Forests were good for game hunting and gathering nuts and berries.

Mystic, Connecticut. photo: Carol M. Highsmith, Library of Congress

The English first settled along the Connecticut River and the shoreline. They looked for good harbors for their ships. This type of community is called a maritime village. Essex, Stonington Borough, and Mystic are maritime villages.

The English settlers were looking for good farmland. This type of community is called a rural or country town. Rural towns can be found where two important roads cross. This is called a “four-corners.” Lebanon, Colebrook, and Woodstock are country towns.

Windham County, Connecticut. HABS, Library of Congress

After the American Revolution, Connecticut became a state of the United States of America. It needed a state capitol. It already had two colonial capitals: New Haven and Hartford. The government moved back and forth between the two cities. In 1875 Hartford became the capital city.

As travel improved, communities grew along stagecoach lines, canals, and railroads. They became transportation centers. Farmers brought produce to transportation centers to send to market. Litchfield was at the crossroads of major stagecoach routes. Farmington was on the Farmington Canal. Many products were shipped to and through transportation centers.

Towns with fast-moving streams became mill towns.These towns had mills and factories. They had housing for millworkers, and shops. New Britain, Waterbury, Norwich, and Bridgeport started as mill towns. They became large cities. Many factories there produced many different products. Smaller communities can be mill towns, too. Manchester, Willimantic, and Taftville are mill towns.

Boy working in Cheney Mills, Manchester Connecticut. photo: Lewis Hine, Library of Congress

Communities are made up of neighborhoods. A neighborhood is a smaller area in a town or city. It usually is an area that you can walk around and get to know people who live nearby or go to your school. A neighborhood might have small stores, a school, a playground, and houses. The Beman Triangle in Middletown is a small neighborhood with a special history.

You will explore buildings from each of these types of communities. The first lesson plan is about one of our most important buildings: our State Capitol in our capital city of Hartford.

What Type of Place Do You Live In?

Think about where you live as you explore different types of communities and the kinds of buildings in them. Do you live in a:

            maritime village           rural town              transportation center

            suburban neighborhood         the capital city              mill town

NEXT: Capital City: The State Capitol