Division of the Long Lots and Commons
In the 1660s and 1670s, Fairfield began purchasing additional land from the Indians, extending well into the area that is now Redding. (Fairfield’s northern boundary was present-day Cross Highway in Redding.) This formalized expansion was part of a colony-wide effort to gain control of land. When the British monarchy was restored to power in 1660, New England colonists began to fear that the mother country would renew its interest in the colonies and its land resources. In 1671, Fairfield set aside a half-mile-wide swath of land running approximately east-west and two miles north of the King’s Highway. A mile-wide tract, intersecting the Half-Mile Common at its center, extended to the northern boundary of Fairfield, today’s Cross Highway in Redding. Land on either side of the Mile Common was divided into long, narrow parcels, which were distributed as dividends to Fairfield proprietors. These “long lots” were about thirteen and a half miles long and ranged in width from a mere fifty feet to 875 feet. Residents who already had sizable land holdings typically received the widest “long lots.” “Upright highways,” of which present-day Burr Street in Greenfield Hill is an example, were created to provide access to the far ends of the long lots.