In honor of Connecticut Freedom Trail Month in September, the Norwich Historical Society and the City of Norwich are pleased to mark this momentous occasion of commemorating the addition of the Ellis Walter Ruley Memorial Park on the Connecticut Freedom Trail. The Connecticut Freedom Trail recognizes sites significant to the state’s African American history and culture. The press conference was held on Thursday September 24, 2020 at 10:00 am at 28 Hammond Ave in Norwich, Connecticut.

In 2015, the Norwich City Council authorized the creation of the “Ellis Walter Ruley Committee, and appointed Lottie B. Scott, Shiela Hayes and Frank Manfredi to the Committee which was responsible for developing informational narratives for onsite viewing and for the express purpose of making 28 Hammond Avenue a place for tourists, residents, and aspiring artists to visit and learn about Ellis Walter Ruley, an African American self-taught artist.

The Ellis Walter Ruley Memorial Park was designed by Robert Groner and dedicated on July 27, 2018 and it is set on 3.5 acres, has a paved courtyard with a fountain and gardens, a rebuilt well and narrative text panels detailing Ellis Walter Ruley’s life and art, history of the property and the murder of Douglas Harris in the well.

Special Thanks to:

The City of Norwich Ellis Walter Ruley Committee, Norwich Department of Public Works, The State Historic Preservation Office, and Zechariah Stover