There’s a place underground in Connecticut that some people call New Haven’s best kept secret. If you consider yourself a history buff, or just someone who loves exploring history, then you’re in for a real treat. Looks can be deceiving, and in this case, they could be distracting you from the awesome attraction hiding within. So let’s go on a little adventure!
Have you ever been to the New Haven Green?
The 16-acre park made headlines in 2012 when a tree knocked over in Hurricane Sandy revealed a human skeleton intertwined in its roots. Investigation revealed that the bones were likely from colonial times. But what were they doing under a tree in the middle of a recreation area?
Turns out the green used to be a graveyard.
That's likely why it's lined with historical churches, though it hasn't been used for burial since 1737. But it's the church in the middle that's hiding all the secrets.
Center Church-on-the-Green in New Haven has an interesting claim to fame.
It's not just that it was established way back in 1638, or that it's quite beautiful. While this place does have its share of early Puritan history, it's what's hiding underneath the pews that draws people.
That's right! There's a crypt in their basement!
Upon entering you see an large old stone that reads "from the settlement of New Haven, 1638 to 1796, the adjoining ground was occupied as a common place of burial. Then a new burying ground was opened & divided into family lots and City squares. In 1813 this church was placed over the monuments of several, whose names are engraved on tablets in the Vestibule. In 1821 the remaining monuments were by consent of Survivors, and under direction of the City, removed to the new ground. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, At the last triumph, the dead shall be raised."
It's full of tombstones for some of the state's earliest residents.
137 tombstones to be exact, preserving a small portion of the original graveyard on the green. Here you'll find founders of various towns and churches in the state, including Reverend James Pierpont, one of the founders of Yale.
Some of the tombs are a little eerie.
But that only adds to the magic! The tombs have been around so long you may not be able to read all the names, but you'll still be up close and personal with some very rare pieces of history.
You could also be walking over even more burial grounds.
Some suspect that as many as one thousand bodies could be buried in the area, likely hiding in other trees around the area and beneath the church. Especially since the church was built over a piece of the graveyard itself, instead of moving the bodies there after the fact. So, you'll be walking through an original colonial graveyard that's been hidden and preserved underground!
You won't believe it until you see it for yourself.
So plan a trip to explore what's hiding beneath the state! This historic church might have even more secrets to reveal.
Did you like what you found hiding underground in Connecticut? I bet you’ll love this
hidden tunnel too!