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.
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 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.