Settled in 1734, Bethlehem is a typical Litchfield hill town and retains much of its rural charm. Around its green are an old post tavern at the Woodward House, two historic churches, and the Bellamy-Ferriday House and Garden. Rev. Joseph Bellamy came to Bethlehem in 1738 and stayed to establish the first theological school in the country, educating Aaron Burr, James Morris, and later John C. Calhoun. In 1938, postmaster Earl Johnson designed a rubber stamp to adorn cards sent from the post office attached to his family’s general store. This first cachet became an annual project and established Bethlehem as “the Christmas town.” In 1946, two Benedictine nuns came to stay with artist Lauren Ford while establishing the Abbey of Regina Laudis in a factory donated by local businessman Robert Leather. Every September for the last 85 years, the Bethlehem Fair has welcomed more than 60,000 people to apple pies and horse draws at its scenic fairgrounds.
About the Author
Carol Ann Brown is president of the Old Bethlem Historical Society and archivist at the Waterbury Republican-American newspaper. She has prepared photographs from the archives of the Old Bethlem Historical Society, the First Congregational Church, and the Bellamy-Ferriday House.