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Vignette5-William Lanson - placeholder image for statue, need free use copy

Along Grand Street in Wooster Square

Lock St & Canal St, New Haven, CT 06511


A storied builder, engineer, and community leader, William Lanson challenged the stigmas and expectations by raising up New Haven’s Black community with his construction and economic endeavors.


While the origins of when he arrived in New Haven and where he learned his craft remain lost to history, his construction and knowhow is evident in the physical extension of Long Wharf and the creation of the Farmington Canal.

Through these projects, he hired primarily Black workers and gained recognition of the city’s boosters and leaders. He used the payment from these projects to purchase land, particularly around Wooster Square in an area that had been known as New Guinea.


Even when his economic fortunes took a downfall in the latter half of his life, his legacy was not in question as he had left New Haven’s African American community empowered and strengthened with his leadership and investment.


Questions to Consider

In what ways can one challenge the norms of society for the betterment of those who are underserved?

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