905 Main Street
Willimantic, CT 06226

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Willimantic Public Library frog

905 Main Street
Willimantic, CT 06226

What’s With the Frogs?

It was a hot muggy day in June of 1754 and tensions were running high in the town of Windham, Connecticut. Not only was an unusually harsh drought threatening the farming community’s crops, but the French and Indian War had begun just a month prior, heightening tensions in the small town. Thus it cannot be held against them that the townsfolk leapt from their beds in fright when, shortly after midnight, they woke to the hideous sound of a shrieking, clattering roar.

Some thought the scary sounds were the war-whoops of attacking Native peoples. Some thought they were the trumpets of Judgment Day. But the people of Windham were ready. They assembled their militia and fired their muskets into the raucous darkness.  

At dawn, the noises had died down and the brave townsfolk formed a scouting party to venture out and discover what had caused the ruckus. After only a little searching, they realized the embarrassing truth. Hundreds of bullfrog corpses — all belly up — littered the landscape. The sound had come from a pond that had dried up in the drought, leaving only a puddle remaining at the bottom of the pond. A horde of frogs descended on that one remaining wet spot and fought over it. What the Windham residents had heard were the battle cries and dying moans of thirsty bullfrogs, magnified by the cloud cover and muggy air.

The story spread far and wide. Ballads were written, histories recorded, banknotes were issued with a bullfrog on the front, and shops and local businesses use the frog as their symbol to this day. Atop Thread City Crossing, commonly known as the Frog Bridge, now stand four statues of bullfrogs (named Manny, Willy, Windy, and Swifty) erected by the town to commemorate the great Battle of the Frogs.

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Town of Windham, Connecticut seal

Frog on spool at Thread City Crossing


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