History & Architecture

Bethel Historical Society

The Bethel Historical Society is an independent, non-profit organization made up of a group of people dedicated to preserving the history of Bethel, Connecticut. The Society hosts fundraisers such as Antique Appraisal Days and publishes historical books and raises funds needed for the restoration and upkeep of the 1842 Second Meeting House. Their website is a rich source of information about the history of Bethel.

Bethel Public Library

The Library had a humble beginning when in 1909, an ordinance established the Bethel Public Library. From 1910 when the library opened in one room over what was then A.J. Lynch’s store on Greenwood Avenue to July 2005 when the newly renovated Library opened for business the Bethel Public Library has responded to the changing needs of the community.

Blue Star Memorial

The Blue Star Memorial Program honors service men and women. The Bethel Garden Club worked hard to place a Blue Star Monument in Bethel. The monument will be officially dedicated on May 30th at the small “island” on Rte. 302 in Bethel (along the curve in the road between the Bethel Cinema and the Sycamore). The Blue Star monument shows the patriotic spirit of Bethel and symbolizes Bethel’s dedication to honoring the families of our military personnel.

Civil War Monument

The monument weighs 17 tons. A public subscription raised the first money for SOLDIERS’ MONUMENT, Bethel, but it was only a few hundred dollars. A town meeting appropriated $1,000. The total cost of the monument and preparing the grounds came to about $17,000.

Greenwood Avenue Historic District

Roughly along Greenwood Ave., P.T. Barnum Sq., Depot Pl., and South St. (added 1999).

The Greenwood Avenue Historic District encompasses the commercial area of the town center of Bethel, Connecticut, between P.T. Barnum Square and Depot Place. The Greenwood Avenue Historic District includes a number of shops, several restaurants, a former opera house, a public library, a post office, and a church. The buildings are mostly from the mid-19th to early-20th centuries and are generally one to three stories high, ranging in style from Greek Revival to various Victorian styles such as the Queen Anne and Italianate.

Plumtrees School House

Built in 1867, The Plumtrees School was a one room school house for the Plumtrees District of Bethel. The school served the community from 1867 through 1970. At its closing it was the last operating one room school house in America. The Plumtrees School now serves the community as an educational museum.

PT Barnum House – Birthplace

Over 200 years ago, legendary showman PT Barnum was born on Greenwood Ave. His house stands as a local landmark to this day.

PT Barnum Square & Monument

“Old Forgotten” shown on P.T. Barnum Square, around the Doughboy, is “Old Forgotten” Bethel’s first piece of fire apparatus. This hand-drawn pumper can be found in the South Street Fire Department Museum. Also shown is a hand-drawn hose wheel.

PT Barnum Statue at the Bethel Public Library

Just outside the library visitors can see the monument dedicated to PT Barnum.  This statue was dedicated to mark Barnum’s 200th anniversary of his birth.

Rev. John Ely House

54 Milwaukee Ave. This property was added to National Register of Historic Places on May 25, 2001.

Seth Seelye House - Bethel Public Library

189 Greenwood Ave.

This house was given to the Town of Bethel in 1914 forever to be used as Bethel’s Free Public Library.

This 1842 structure was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 29, 1977.

The Guide


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