War Office, Lebanon

The former store in which colonial governor Jonathan Trumbull held more than 1,100 planning meetings during the American Revolution stands on Lebanon’s green.

Known today as the War Office, the building was built around 1727 as the Trumbull family store. The store, which has been moved three times, originally stood along Exeter Road (Route 207).

The War Office, donated to the Connecticut Society of the Sons of the American Revolution in 1891, has stood on in its West Town Road location since 1844.

The building is identified by a plaque mounted on a boulder in 1932 as part of Washington bicentennial celebrations.

As the American Revolution broke out, the state’s General Assembly formed a Council of Safety to coordinate efforts to recruit and supply Continental troops. The council met in the Trumbull store building throughout the war, with attendees including George Washington, Israel Putnam, Marquis de Lafayette and other notables of the day.

Trumbull’s mercantile experience was helpful in ordering and delivering supplies to the troops, and Connecticut was known as the “Provision State.”

The War Office is open to the public on weekend afternoons between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as well for other events.

A short walk south of the War Office stands the Trumbull family home, which is operated as a museum by the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution.

The War Office’s original location on Route 207, around the corner from the Trumbull home is marked by a 1932 plaque mounted on a boulder.

Jonathan Trumbull is also honored with a statue in his namesake town of Trumbull.

War Memorials, Lebanon

Lebanon honors its war veterans with several monuments on the green near the intersection of Exeter Road (Route 207) and Norwich-Hartford Turnpike (Route 87).

Near the northern end of the green, in front of Town Hall, is a 1922 monument honoring veterans of five wars between the American Revolution and the First World War.

The monument features a stone cairn, serving as a flagpole base, with bronze plaques on the cairn’s four sides honoring local veterans.

The north face of the monument features a plaque with a scene depicting soldiers from the American Revolution, Civil War and World War I marching together under an American flag.

The west face of the monument bears a plaque honoring those who served during the “Period of the World War” (the reference to war “periods” is uncommon among the state’s war memorials).

The plaque reads, “In commemoration of the boys who served in the World War. Not unmindful of their heritage, the mantle of their forefathers fell upon patriotic shoulders. They acquitted themselves with honor and loyalty, cheerfully accepting the sacrifices placed upon them in performance of their duty on land and sea. With no selfish end, they served that the principle of right might be established throughout the world.”

The south face of the monument bears a plaque that, along with the years of the Civil War, includes a dedication “…to the memory of our Civil War veterans, who so promptly and willingly responded to the nation’s call, serving in eleven different regiments and participating in over a hundred different battles; and to our illustrious and renowned second war governor, William Buckingham, who was born and spent his early life in Lebanon. He performed efficient service in the nation’s peril, and was a worthy successor of Connecticut’s first war governor.”

The lower section of the south plaque also commemorates veterans of the 1898 Spanish-American War with a dedication reading, “In honor of those who served in the Spanish War, assisting an oppressed people to achieve their independence.”

The east face honors Lebanon’s many contributions to the American Revolution as well as the War of 1812. The dedication in the American Revolution section reads, “In memoriam to our fathers who fought for justice and liberty.

“When the war broke out, this town contributed the one loyal governor, brother Jonathan Trumbull, who among all the governors of the thirteen colonies, was the only one who stood staunch and true to the American cause. Washington relied on him in the most trying circumstances.

“William Williams, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Lebanon, the home of the Council of Safety.

“We take a just pride in the noble achievements of our men who served in the Revolution. They were eminently God-fearing and true patriots.”

The east face also has a dedication honoring veterans of the War of 1812: “Revered is the memory of those who participated in the War of 1812, who with honor and loyalty fulfilled the trust dedicated to them by their forefathers.”

The plaques were designed by sculptor Bruce Wilder Saville, whose other works included war memorials in Massachusetts, New York and Ohio. The monument was built by a local mason.

Nearby Monuments

An undated memorial near the northeast corner of the green honors Lebanon’s veterans of the two World Wars. The World War I section lists 40 names and honors one resident who was killed. The World War II section lists about 135 names and honors seven who were killed.

A 2002 memorial near the northwest corner of the green honors veterans of recent conflicts including Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Granada, Panama, Persian Gulf, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Afghanistan.