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eBay Tuesday: New London's 350th

Poster looks back to an anniversary celebration in 1996

Following on the and and arriving in the midst of the War of 1812 bicentennial, there will probably be little fanfare when New London has its 366th birthday in 19 days. Back in 1996, however, the city had reached its 350th anniversary (or semiseptcentennial, if you want to use the more expensive word) and it was cause for celebration.

Today's eBay pick is a reminder of that anniversary. Offered by antiquelovejoy of Killingworth - who tells me she used to run an antiques store in New London where is now located - this poster portrays a waterfront watercolor above the simple declaration that New London was celebrating.

The official date of New London's founding is May 6, 1646. According to Francis Caulkins' History of New London, Connecticut, it all came down to a declaration in the General Court in Boston allowing John Winthrop, Jr. to set up a plantation in "Pequot country." The proclamation concerns itself mostly with what to do with the residents who were already there, declaring that Winthrop "may appoint onto such Indians as are willing to remove their lands to the other side, that is, on the east side of the Great River of the Pequot country, or some other place for their convenient planting and subsistence, which may be to the good liking and satisfaction of said Indians, and likewise to such of the Pequot Indians as shall desire to live there, submitting themselves to the English government, &c."

Winthrop and Thomas Peter formally started the plantation a month later. New London was much bigger back in the day, with the surrounding towns of Groton, Ledyard, Montville, and Waterford eventually splitting off to go their own separate ways.

So how does one celebrate the 350th anniversary? Over the course of the year, it seems. Events included some historical re-enactments, a parade, a formal ball, and quite a bit more. The city even got a shout-out in Congress from Rep. Sam Gejdenson, a graduate, who said few communities could boast such an anniversary and gave a lengthy outline of New London's history. "This community has endured through good times and bad, war and peace and prosperity and despair," Gejdenson concluded. "Its citizens have built an incredible legacy which I know our great grandchildren will celebrate on New London’s 450th anniversary. I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the city of New London on this special occasion."

The framed print commemorating this anniversary measures 25 and a half by 19 and a half inches. The asking price to start is $12.99, plus $24.95 shipping and handling; perhaps a day trip to Killingworth to pick it up in person would be more economical? The auction ends at about 8:40 a.m. on Saturday.

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