We’re cheating a bit. This little box should really be called a ballot box. We have several such boxes in our collection and they are important reminders of Norwich’s ongoing tradition of participatory democracy. They represent the very fabric of our community.
Norwich’s first town meeting was held in 1761 in Mansfield, Connecticut, when the proprietors of the town met and began the process of forming a township. It wasn’t until 1768 that town meetings were held in Norwich–on the second Tuesday of March. They were held in various homes until the meeting house was completed. However, there was no ability to heat the meeting house as stoves had not yet come into use. Sometimes the group adjourned to a neighboring dwelling.
Some of the earliest topics for discussion included the laying out and care of roads, support of the schools, and election of many officers. Sound familiar?
Norwich just held its 2019 town meeting, still on the second Tuesday of March. We are very grateful for the community’s support in the form of an appropriation to assist in all we do.