History of the Public Square in Bristol
The Public Square
Or How the Village of Bristol Almost Lost Its Crown Jewel, The Public Square
Kendall County Record, February 21, 1867
Some excitement was created in Bristol last week on the discovery that a bill to vacate the public square had been introduced in the Legislature by our Representatives. Lyman Bristol deeded the square to the Village of Bristol. The square was to be kept forever for that purpose. Should the village give up its claim it would revert to the original owner or his heirs. We understand that Deacon Dyer purchased all the landed interest of Mr. Bristol. Should the bill to vacate the square pass the Legislature, Deacon Dyer would be the legal owner of the square. A remonstrance was gotten up, signed by the villagers, and sent to our member at Springfield, who, in the meantime had telegraphed to stay the proceeding. An answer was received from Mr. Pierce saying the bill would be withdrawn till the will of the citizens of Bristol should be known. The movement is now quashed. It was a bold movement to get possession of valuable property. Let us hope the owners of the square will appreciate it, and fence and improve it, this spring and summer. It can be put in good condition for $500. (Editors' note: the Public Square was also known as the Bristol Common in the early days of Bristol.
"On The Square"
Kendall County Record, May 9, 1867
Last week the citizens of Bristol (the enterprising part) spent part of their time in decorating the public square. A great number of trees were set out on Saturday. They planted elm, silver maple, mountain ash, etc. trees. When fenced it will be a pleasing sight. We can look in the future and see the trees large and filled with foliage, the green grass, rustic seats arranged, and oh what a place for "sparking" on summer nights!
Kendall County Record, June 13, 1867
The fence around the public square in Bristol is completed, and adds 50 percent (more or less) to the value of property in the village. Mr. James M. Gale has done a good work. We hope he will meet with his reward.
Kendall County Record, July 11, 1867
There is a town law in Bristol (Township) against cattle running at large at night. It is not observed in the Village of Bristol, as cows are allowed to roam at night. They are constantly making raids on some man's garden. The pound master lives across the Blackberry (Creek), and is hardly accessible. Friends, shut up your cattle at night, and save trouble to your neighbors. (Editors note: Cattle (mainly milk cows) left free to roam at night would tromp through people's gardens, generally destroying them. Cattle apparently loved to eat cabbage heads. Of course, what they didn't eat they destroyed as they walked through the garden. For some reason, they also loved to pull clothes drying on outdoor clothes lines off the lines.)
Kendall County Record, August 22, 1867
Many of the trees in the Bristol Square are dying during this dry weather. This will make more work next spring.
Kendall County Record, April 25, 1871
New trees were set out this week in the Bristol Park where dead ones stood. Shade trees are greatly to be desired, but there is some trouble to make them grow.