Sign-Box at the Center Green


This sign box, at least the one that is currently at the intersection of Rt. 4 and South Road and the previous generations of sign-boxes and sign-posts, date all the way back to nearly the arrival of the town's original proprietors. Originally simply a post, the box design came along much later. It not only provided directions to travelers passing through to the neighboring towns but also provided a means for the town's government to post legal notices in a centrally located public location. Actually, it was documented that there were a few of these located throughout the town.

Raymond Bentley believed that the style, featuring a large wooden box attached to the top of a four-sided post, might just be the only one of its kind in the State.

Lewis Smith, during one of his four terms as the town's probate judge. designed this sign-box sometime between 1844 and 1860. He planned the design so that the legal notices attached to the post would stay somewhat protected from the elements by the overhang of the box.

With no method of modern communications, it was the town's practice to post legal notices on a number of these boxes throughout the town to let the residents know what legal matters were pending. Even as late as the 1950s, I can remember notices stapled to the post.

The Harwinton Historical Society now maintains the sign-box. In 2006 a new one was constructed replacing the one that a wayward motorcyclist destroyed in 2006. The previous sign-box, installed in 1984, replaced the more modern one constructed by students from the Lewis S Mills Industrial Arts Class, which incorporated metal letters and arrows to point the way.

The current box was installed on May 26th, 2013. It is a replica of the ones that stood for well over 150 years in the same location. This one was built to last by our Village Woodworker Larry Connors. The lettering was done by graduating Lewis S. Mills student Amanda Surveski. Larry and Amanda donated their time and skills while the cost of the materials was paid for by a donation from the Harwinton Historical Society.

Early records show that the first residents voted that the placement for the sign-post be at the center-line between the Proprietors of Hartford and Windsor at the Country Road. It was actually the dividing line between east and west Harwinton.