0684-Old

Here in “0684-Old,” we look back at New Canaan’s rich local history—our lost districts, shops, community buildings and organizations, major figures and the historical events that bind modern townies to our earliest residents.

Recent Articles

‘One of the Last Remaining Artifacts of New Canaan’: Preservationists Explore Ways To Save Historic Ferris Hill Road Home

Mobilized by the very real possibility that a historic Ferris Hill Road home will be razed, local preservationists and other experts are working with its owner and touting the 2.14-acre property’s potential for types of development that would still save the antique structure. A demolition sign went up Wednesday at 8 Ferris Hill Road (listed as 441 Canoe Hill Road in the assessor’s database), one week after its owner applied for a permit to raze the 1735-built home. Now is a critical time for preservation advocates, before a 15-day window to object to the demolition runs out and a decision likely is left with a municipal committee. Though the home’s owner could not be reached for comment, he has said that demolition appears to be the only possible way to develop the property he now regrets purchasing more than two years ago. Yet one local expert, Robert Dean of New Canaan-based Robert Dean Architects, a firm that’s been practicing here for 30 years, said there are three basic ways that emerged when it comes to preserving an antique structure such as this in the face of development: Move it, sustain it in place and build around it, or sustain it in place and add onto it (more on those options below). Continue Reading →

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‘It Was Great Seeing People Happy’: A Look Back at Brock’s

In the 1970’s and ’80s, New Canaan could boast but a fraction of the number of restaurants that now dot the town. And while New Canaan had decades to go before finding its niche in the culinary landscape, there was one establishment where entire families would invariably go for special events, post-game or post-concert meals. That place was Brock’s. Brock’s was the brainchild of longtime New Canaan resident T. Brock Saxe, founder of Tombrock Corporation, a real estate investment and management company operating out of offices housed above the former New Canaan Brock’s location at 111 Cherry Street. Prior to becoming Tombrock in 1970, Saxe’s company was called White Tower Management, which since its incorporation in 1926 operated hundreds of White Tower restaurants throughout the country. Continue Reading →

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‘A Sacred and Treasured New Canaan Tradition’: A History of Christmas Caroling at God’s Acre

Caroling at God’s Acre for Christmas is one of New Canaan’s most cherished events of the year, a nostalgic, Rockwellian gathering that brings the community together unlike any other celebration. New Canaan First Selectman Rob Mallozzi called it a “sacred and treasured New Canaan tradition.” “It’s something that distinguishes New Canaan and its citizens above all the other towns around us,” he told NewCanaanite.com. Held on the plot of land above which the Congregational Church was built—the institution upon which the town was founded, the caroling sees scores of New Canaanites descend each year on what literally is hallowed ground, as it is believed many of New Canaan’s settlers are still buried at God’s Acre. But how did it start, and when? Continue Reading →

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Love, Laughter and Lasagna: At the Table with Nancy Colella

[This is the final installment in a four-part series “Matriarchs of Main & Elm,” published in December 2015 and profiling the women behind New Canaan’s great business families.]

Annunziata Colella—known to locals by her Americanized name, “Nancy”—on Tuesday afternoon sat at her long family dinner table in the kitchen of this brick exterior ranch-style house on Main Street, the family’s home since she moved in with a young daughter and husband in 1974. She rested her hands atop a poinsettia tablecloth set with fresh yellow lilies, the doorway connecting to the living room beyond adorned with garlands draped around columns, potted poinsettias on side and coffee tables, tall candleholders in the form of angels placed on the floor, and large framed family photos on a fireplace mantle, beside Christmas cards and stockings. Complimented on her holiday décor, Nancy shook her head and said in the Neapolitan accent that she’s had since she arrived in the United States—and started learning English—in 1971: “Oh, thank you, but this is nothing. I’ve hardly done anything.”

On the contrary. Resilient, warm, intelligent and resourceful, Nancy Colella—wife of Giuseppe “Joe” Colella, founder of Joe’s Pizza—for nearly a half-century has conducted herself at home and at work with a sense of pride, responsibility and commitment that’s transformed a mom-and-pop pizza shop into a cherished New Canaan fixture. Continue Reading →

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