Lebanon Historical Society
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Lebanon Historical Society  |  Town of Lebanon  |  Annual Outdoor Antique Show

Lebanon Historical Society Museum & Visitor Center

Lebanon Historical Society

856 Trumbull Highway, Lebanon, CT
PO Box 151, Lebanon, CT 06249
860-642-6579; fax 860-642-6583

Mission

To encourage a sense of community, the Lebanon Historical Society connects residents and visitors with the people, places, objects and stories of the Town's past. .

History

Chartered in 1965, the Lebanon Historical Society is a 501(C) (3) non-profit educational institution. For 30 years, its Board and members collected objects and documents, organized educational programs, and conducted genealogical and other historical research without a home base.

In 1998, the LHS built the Lebanon Historical Society Museum and Visitor Center (LHSM)—a 7,500 square foot, architect-designed complex of three buildings, located adjacent to the historic Lebanon Green. The Museum houses a visitor center, two exhibition galleries, a multipurpose room for community educational programs, and a Research Center, Library and Archives.

Since 1965, LHS has published more than ten books and pamphlets as well as a quarterly newsletter. It mounts changing exhibitions focused on different aspects of Lebanon’s history and offers regular educational programs for students and the public. Such programs are often developed in collaboration with the other heritage organizations around the Green.

Buildings

The LHS owns, maintains, and operates the 18th-century birthplace of Dr. William Beaumont, father of gastric physiology, as well as a Broom Shop and Smoke House. The Beaumont House sits on property on the west side of the Green provided by the Connecticut Daughters of the Revolution. 

The Broom Shop, Smoke House and Pastor's Library are on the Museum property. Built in 1869, the library building was originally built to house a library that Gov. William Buckingham donated to the First Congregaional Church.

William Buckingham Library Broom Shop and Smoke House William Beaumont house
Left to right: 19th century library building, Broom shop & Smoke House, Beaumont House
Click to view larger images.

Fees for programs and services

On order to cover operational expenses, the Lebanon Historical Society does charge a modest fee for most of its programs and services.

memorial dayChildren’s programs
Members free plus materials fees
Non-members $3.00 per child plus materials fees

Adult programs
Members free
Non-members $3.00

2nd saturdayLibrary use
Members free
Non-members $5.00 a day

Photocopying
Members $0.25 per page
Non-members $0.50 per page

oxenStaff response to off-site research inquiries
Members $5.00 per hour
Non-members $10.00 per hour
Students and scholars should call the Historical Society to discuss their needs

Professional genealogical research
Members $20.00
Non-members $50.00

Newsletter

The Historical Society newsletter, Lebanon Provisions, is published quarterly and distributed to all Society members.  Each issue contains information about LHS events as well as article about different aspects of Lebanon history. Suggestions for future article topics are welcome.  For information about becoming a member of the Lebanon Historical Society click here.

Click on month and year below to view past copies of Lebanon Provisions
Winter 2009
Spring 2009
Summer 2009
Fall 2009
Winter 2010
Spring 2010
Summer 2010
Fall 2010
Winter 2011
Spring 2011
Summer 2011
Fall 2011
Winter 2012
Spring 2012
Summer 2012
Winter 2013
Spring 2013

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Town of Lebanon, Connecticut

Location:

Lebanon, CT is located in east central Connecticut in northern New London County, although historically the town was also affiliated with Windham County.   From its incorporation in 1700, Lebanon was part of New London County.  In 1724 it became part of the newly created Windham County where it remained until 1826 when it was reassigned to New London County.

Statistics: 

The town encompasses 55.2 square miles of which 1.1 square miles are water.  The highest point of land, 499 feet is also the highest point of land in the county.

In 2005 the town’s population was 7,334.  Lebanon’s population previously peaked at 4,166 in 1790 and then gradually declined until the late 1960s, when the community began to attract suburban home builders and owners.

History:

The earliest inhabitants in what became Lebanon arrived about 10,000 years ago and left archaeological evidence of their presence at a camp site near Williams Lake.  The archaeological record is not clear whether Native Americans lived in this region continuously, but by the time of European settlement in the late 1600s, the land was occupied by the Mohegan Indians.  The Mohegans, an Algonquin-speaking people, inhabited the upper Thames River Valley near Norwich and used Lebanon primarily for hunting.

Mohegan sachem Uncas began selling parts of what would become Lebanon to settlers from Norwich in 1663.  By 1692, most of modern-day Lebanon had been transferred to English settlers including members of the Mason and Fitch families.  The General Assembly of the Colony of Connecticut incorporated the town on October 10, 1700.  Tradition suggests that the town was named because early settlers compared the “height of the land and a large cedar forest” to the Biblical description of Lebanon.

A prosperous farming community during the colonial period, Lebanon reached its greatest importance during the American Revolution. (Please click here to learn about Lebanon & the Revolution.)  Governor Jonathan Trumbull, a resident, used a store house on his property for meetings of the Council of Safety.  This council organized Connecticut’s defense and participation in the War.  After the arrival of allied French troops in Newport in 1780, the French light cavalry set up winter quarters in Lebanon.  The French commander, the duc de Lauzun, commented that “Siberia alone can furnish any idea of Lebanon, which consists of a few huts scattered among vast forests.”

In the years following the Revolution, other eastern Connecticut towns thrived as mills and factories were built to take advantage of abundant water power.  In Lebanon the economic focus remained agricultural and the town became something of a backwater although four additional Connecticut governors (Jonathan Trumbull, Jr. 1797-1809,  Clark Bissell 1847-1849, Joseph Trumbull 1849-1850, and William Buckingham 1858-1866 and the first governor of Wisconsin (Nelson Dewey 1848-1852) were born there.  By the end of the 19th century, Lebanon’s agricultural nature attracted immigrants from Italy and parts of Eastern Europe.  The center of town retained the original mile long green, common land used for grazing while the business center moved north to Liberty Hill.

lebanon   lebanon
lebanon   lebanon

Click to view larger images
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Lebanon today:

The town remains largely agricultural.  While family farms are slowly disappearing, large commercial egg farms and whole nursery plant growers remain.  The growing numbers of suburban residents have caused the expansion of the school system, one of the community’s largest employers.  Lacking a commercial district, community life centers around the mile long Green where three of the town’s six churches, the town hall, town library, historical society museum, and revolutionary War historic sites and museums are located.

Visit Lebanon's web site.

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Annual Outdoor Antique Show

Since 1966, just after its founding, the Lebanon Historical Society has sponsored an annual antique show on the town green.  Held on the last Saturday of September, the show always goes on – rain or shine.

A dedicated group of volunteers manage and run the show including manning the refreshment stand and organizing the free parking.  In 2017, more than fifty dealers displayed a variety of wares.

antique show   antique show
Click to view larger images.

For information about the Antique Show or to request a dealer registration form please contact the Historical Society

PO Box 151, Lebanon, CT 06249
860-642-6579
Fax: 860-642-6583

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