Derby Walking Tour

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4.) Derby Green, Minerva and Elizabeth Streets

In 1836, Sheldon Smith and Ansen Phelps were responsible for asking local selectmen to build four streets around the rectangular piece of land known today as the Derby Green. Three of the four streets were named after Sheldon Smith’s daughters, Elizabeth, Caroline, and Minerva, and the fourth was named after Ansen Phelps’ wife, Olivia. In 1845 a deed formalized public ownership of the land. This area of land was to always remain a public green. In 1852, a second document gave the town ownership of the green for the price of one dollar. It was also stated that no buildings could be built on this portion of land.

There are several war monuments on the Derby Green. Three have been dedicated to our community’s war heroes. On the north side of the Green you will find A Civil War Monument, on the west side there is a monument dedicated to the veterans of WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and a monument in front of the Gazebo honors veterans from Korea and Vietnam. A monument in the shape of a bell located on the southwest corner, is dedicated to Derby’s firemen.

A water fountain which is located on the southwest corner of the Green was once a pump which supplied drinking water for the residents of Derby. In 1960, the original 50 ft. well was deepened to 90ft. and the pump was replaced by a water fountain.

There are three churches that surround the Green. St. James Church is an Episcopal parish that was built in 1843. It is found on the east side of the Green. The Derby United Methodist Church, which is located on the North side of the Green, was built in 1837. It was the first church that was built out of the three churches. The Second Congregational Church can be found on the west side of the Green and was built in 1846.

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