New Canaan Historical Society

Recent Articles

Connecticut Trust Honors New Canaan’s Mimi Findlay, Janet Lindstrom for Work in Historic Preservation

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. Continue Reading →

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‘A Small Purchase of Books’: Roger Sherman Inn as New Canaan’s First Library

“The people in this place have agreed, many of them, to set up a library and are collecting money to make a small purchase of books.” —from a Jan. 16, 1790 letter from the Rev. Justus Mitchell of New Canaan to Roger Sherman, his wife’s uncle

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Perhaps no commercial enterprise in New Canaan has garnered as much attention in recent months as the Roger Sherman Inn. For good reason. Since hitting the market at $6 million three summers ago, the Oenoke Ridge Road restaurant and inn has been the subject of wide speculation. After lingering on the market for years, a well-known developer materialized last fall as the property’s “contract purchaser,” with a plan to create eight (later modified to six) homes on a 1.8-acre property that, as-of-right, would have just one. Continue Reading →

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New Canaan Historical Society Announces New Executive Director

New Canaan Historical Society officials announced Tuesday that the Oenoke Ridge Road facility’s first new executive director in 34 years is a Harvard Law School graduate and former assistant attorney general in Massachusetts who has authored four novels and volunteered to support multiple local organizations. Nancy Geary will succeed town resident Janet Lindstrom in the role. Lindstrom’s retirement was announced in October. Mark Markiewicz, president of the Historical Society’s Board of Governors, said in a press release that the organization is “very pleased to announce this appointment” following an extensive search. “Nancy will bring leadership and creativity to the Society’s exhibitions and programming, as well as a deep sense of commitment to the organization,” he said. Continue Reading →

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‘A Full Rich Experience’: Conservancy Reviews History of Waveny Park, Future Plans

Perhaps the most important step taken by the last family to own privately what is today known as Waveny Park was in hiring the renowned Olmsted Brothers landscape architecture firm to design its grounds and gardens, a local expert said Wednesday. Led by the Brooklyn-born founder of Texaco Oil Company, the Lapham family not only built Waveny House but oversaw creation of the carefully cultivated area immediately around it, including the walled garden, according to Keith Simpson, a New Canaan-based landscape architect. Yet since New Canaan acquired the property in 1967, its main house, outbuildings and grounds all have needed regular repair and upkeep, such as when Simpson and the Garden Club restored the walled garden east of the prominent brick structure in 1982. “But it’s only a small area,” Simpson told more than 100 listeners gathered in the Visitors Center at the New Canaan Nature Center for an hour-long talk on the cherished public park. “More places need attention. Continue Reading →

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Did You Hear … ?

A motorist stopped after striking a roaming dog with his Jeep Grand Cherokee at about 8:13 p.m. last Friday, Dec. 2, according to a police report. The conscientious driver looked for and found the dog lying on the side of Silvermine Road along the straightaway below Carter Street, the report said. The animal was responsive and appeared to have injured its right leg, it said. An owner arrived on scene, saying the animal appeared to have gotten out of the family’s house accidentally and then breached an electric fence, and took the dog to a vet. Continue Reading →

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