The Original Meetinghouse
The First Church of Coventry stood on the town green facing Lake Wamgumbaug and also served as the town meeting house. The structure was built in 1716, though a full completion with furnishings did not come until 1738. In 1749 it was enlarged and rotated a quarter turn to face, what is now the Lake Street Veterans Memorial Green. By 1842 the building was in need of major repair. The congregation could not decide whether to improve the present church or build a new one on Main Street near the village center. A split occurred, and a new village church was erected in 1849. Union between the two churches was not achieved until January 1, 1869, and the original name, the First Church of Coventry (Congregational). was adopted. The original building burned down on June 2, 1897.
The Public Records of the Colony of Connecticut record that William Pitkin, Joseph Talcott, William Whitting, Richard Lord and Nathaniel Rust were charged in 1711 with laying out the Town of Coventry and "writing a minister of the gospel." The land was part of the trust east of the Connecticut River granted by "Joshua, Indian sachem." Coventry Green was part of the church lawn until a road was cut in front of the building. The Green is dotted with trees and is surrounded by Colonial residences interspersed
with wooded fields. Once a military training ground, it was the assembly site of those going off to fight in the Colonial Wars, the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Civil War.
The monument expresses the townspeople's gratitude for their sacrifice, particularly noting 21-year-old Coventry-born school teacher-spy Nathan Hale. The commemorative cannon was presented by the U.S. government in 1928 during the administration of Calvin Coolidge.