Before the arrival of European settlers, the area that is now colburn park was part of a flat, pine-covered expanse formed by the ancient confluence of the Mascoma River and Mink Brook.
With the early settlement of the Town of Lebanon, John Wheatley was engaged as the first schoolmaster, for which he received a grant of nearly 200 acres. Part of that acreage contained the area that was to become Colburn Park. He cleared the land and built the first residence in the center of the town. The site of his residence is now occupied by the Carter Mansion located on the easterly side of Colburn Park.
Wheatley's daughter Lucinda, married Robert Colburn. She had inherited her father's property, which passed to her husband since married women could not own property in those days. In 1792, the town meeting was held in Colburn's barn. In order to resolve a 20-year debate over where to build a new meetinghouse, Colburn marched the assembly to his large wheat field and announced that he would provide the land if the town built the meetingelouse on the spot where they stood. The town accepted the offer. Although it was implied that Colburn would donate the land, the town paid him in order to hold clear title.
In 1804, the fourth New Hampshire Turnpike was laid out in front of the new
meetinghouse from east to west, and was crossed by the Croydon Turnpike from southeast to northwest.
In 1839, the town voted to move the meetinghouse from "The Plain", as it was then called, to the modern-day site of Lebanon City Hall the remaining grassland around the crossing of the two turnpikes was used to pasture cattle and horses by people who re now beginning to build homes around the common.
In 1849, the State of New Hampshire agreed to route the turnpikes around common and eliminated the crossing. The town then graded the common and fenced it, much of the original fence is still in place today.
In 1884, the town voted to name the common "Colburn Park" in honor of Robert Colburn, the man responsible for selecting the meetinghouse site that eventually became Lebanon's handsome village green. It has been known as Colburn Park ever since.