129 Church Street
New Haven, CT 06510
203 782 1912
The offices of Ben Ledbetter, Architect, are located in the southeast corner of the New Haven Green.
The English Puritans, who founded New Haven Colony in 1638, laid out the town according to a grid, known as the “Nine Square Plan,” which they considered would provide a matrix for future growth. The center square of the nine, in keeping with English custom, was reserved for a green, while the eight surrounding squares were designated as house lots.
The Puritans were said to have determined the size of the Nine Squares such that the center square, the Green, was large enough to hold the number of people they believed would be spared in the second coming of Christ.
On the green town leaders built the town meetinghouse, jail, and the town’s first school, and designated space for the town’s burying ground. They used the remaining common area as a market place and trade center for goods entering the bustling nearby port, and as a mustering place for troops. The Green served as the parade grounds for the New Haven militia, who, under the leadership of Benedict Arnold, rushed to Massachusetts after hearing of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, and participated in the subsequent Battle of Bunker Hill in Boston. This act of revolutionary defiance led to the burning of most of New Haven by the British when they landed here in 1779.
In its bold superimposition of a grid on the wilderness, New Haven is considered America’s first planned town. It is a revolutionary place for thinking about making architecture.