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Vernon, Connecticut, is a small town with a rich historical background. Located in Tolland County, Vernon has witnessed several significant events that have shaped the local area and even left a mark on regional history. From colonial times to the modern era, here are seven historical events that have taken place near Vernon, CT.

1. The founding of Rockville: In 1726, the town of Vernon was originally incorporated as part of the larger town of Bolton. However, it wasn't until 1889 that Rockville, a borough within Vernon, officially separated and was established as an individual town. The textile industry prospered in Rockville, leading to significant growth in the area.

2. The Battle of Vernon: On July 9, 1782, during the American Revolutionary War, British loyalists attacked a group of Patriots in Vernon. The battle took place near the Hockanum River, resulting in several casualties. Although the loyalists ultimately retreated, this clash marked an important moment in the fight for American independence.

3. The birth of the Risley Brothers Circus: In 1861, George F. and Charles A. Risley, two brothers hailing from Vernon, formed the Risley Brothers Circus. This traveling circus toured across the United States, leaving a lasting impact on American entertainment. Their success and entrepreneurial spirit showcased the talent and creativity of local residents.

4. The aftermath of the Hartford Circus Fire: In 1944, tragedy struck near Vernon when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus experienced a catastrophic fire during a performance in Hartford. The devastating event, which claimed the lives of 168 people, including children, left an indelible mark on the surrounding communities, including Vernon.

5. The construction of Interstate 84: In the mid-1960s, the town of Vernon saw significant changes with the construction of Interstate 84. This major highway passing through the area revolutionized transportation, fostering regional development and facilitating easier access between Connecticut and neighboring states. The construction brought both economic growth and increased traffic to the town.

6. The Mill Apartments redevelopment: Beginning in the 1980s, the old textile mills in Rockville underwent a transformation. These mills, which formerly played a significant role in the industrial prosperity of the region, were converted into apartments, introducing new life and preserving the historical character of the area.

7. The restoration of the Vernon Green: The Vernon Green, located in the center of town, is a historic district that has seen moments of preservation and restoration. In 1974, the Vernon Green was added to the National Register of Historic Places, recognizing its architectural and historical significance. Over the years, efforts have been made to maintain and enhance the area, ensuring its value as a cultural hub.

These seven historical events have significantly shaped the identity and landscape of Vernon, Connecticut. From battles fought during the American Revolution to the redevelopment of historic sites, each event contributes to the diverse history of this charming town. Exploring these historical moments offers a glimpse into the rich tapestry of the past that continues to influence the present-day life of Vernon and its inhabitants.

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