The volunteer municipal body that oversees the preservation of New Canaan’s historic district—God’s Acre and the buildings around it—had a new officer appointed to its commission during an odd, tense meeting Thursday. The former secretary of the Historic District Commission, Terry Spring, who had served on the five-member group since 2005, wasn’t reappointed by town officials earlier in the week. Instead, the Board of Selectmen appointed alternate Carl Rothbart as a regular member. Spring’s ousting meant that a new secretary had to be elected. Yet she attended the commission’s Jan.
The Town Council recently recognized the New Canaan Historical Society for its valuable work and dedication to the community. The council specifically thanked former Executive Director Janet Lindstrom, who was in attendance. At the July 19 meeting in Town Hall, Lindstrom said the nonprofit organization’s success “would not be if it were not for the great work that people do on a volunteer basis.”
Part of the Historical Society for 34 years, Lindstrom retired last year and was succeeded this past spring by Nancy Geary following an extensive search. The Historical Society will find a place for anybody who is interested in volunteering, and tasks range from conducting research to introducing people to the eight buildings that the organization manages and preserves, Lindstrom said. The 1825-built Town House, located on Oenoke Ridge Road, includes a research library that includes documents dating back to the Colonial era that anybody can use, she said.
A prominent state organization has honored two New Canaan women for their decades-long and far-reaching work in historic preservation. Janet Lindstrom, recently retired executive director of the New Canaan Historical Society, has received the Jainschigg Award from the Hamden-based Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, while the organization created a new award honoring Mimi Findlay, co-founder and chairman emerita of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance. The ‘Mimi Findlay Award for Young Preservationists’ will recognize individuals or groups of people 35-and-younger involved in preservation of historic buildings, districts, landscapes or sites in Connecticut. Asked how she feels about the honor, Findlay told NewCanaanite.com that she’s “thankful.”
“I hope it may inspire other young people to take up the challenge and spread the word—old houses, old buildings, old furnishings have many new uses and should be recycled,” she said. “Digging up the artifacts buried in a trash pit is all part of discovering the way people lived in the past and part of the big cultural picture.”
She added: “This award makes me very happy and proud of my life’s accomplishments, and pleased that they are recognized.”
Lindstrom was not immediately available for comment.
The New Canaan Historical Society announced Tuesday that Executive Director Janet Lindstrom will retire after 34 years with the nonprofit organization. The longtime town resident began her career at the Historical Society as a volunteer and joined its Board of Governors in 1981, according to a press release. “Telling the story of our town has been a great honor,” Lindstrom said in the press release. “I’ve played a special part of the society’s 127-year continuum, preserving the history of this exceptional place and helping generations of people to explore what makes our community so special.”
Mark Markiewicz, board president, confirmed with NewCanaanite.com that Lindstrom will remain in her role until a successor starts. Founded in 1889, the Historical Society keeps an active research library on the town, runs exhibitions out of The Town House at 13 Oenoke Ridge Road, where a meeting room is named after Lindstrom, publishes historical newsletters and pamphlets, holds educational tours and exhibitions and owns a handful of historic buildings in town.
Though recent talks with one prospective buyer appear to have fallen through, a local builder now is putting in an offer on a deteriorating antique home on God’s Acre, officials said Thursday. Long vacant and tied up for years in foreclosure proceedings that have stalled its transfer, the 1780-built Greek Revival-style home at 4 Main St., if sold to an active owner, could be restored to prominence and in New Canaan’s designated historic district, according to the volunteer commission that oversees it. The Historic District Commission’s job now is to encourage the upkeep of the property there, and should consider requesting that the town get involved, Janet Lindstrom, the group’s acting chairman, said at a regular meeting. “I would like to to go the town and say, ‘Is there something we can do?’ Because to have that in the center of our district is really, really terrible,” Lindstrom said at the meeting, held at the New Canaan Historical Society’s Town House, just two doors up the hill from the .43-acre property in question. A member of the commission, Tom Nissley, last year had contacted homeowner Dr. James Talbot and received permission to have someone mow the lawn there, Lindstrom said.