Waveny House

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Did You Hear … ?

New Canaan Fire Company #1 recognized members of the volunteer company as well as career staff for excellence in service to their community at the 135th Annual Dinner, held Friday night at Waveny House. Scroll through the gallery above for photos of award recipients, and other photos, in this week’s DYH gallery. ***

In opinions published this week in the Connecticut Law Journal, the state Supreme Court reinstated a second-degree breach of peace charge against Teri Buhl, a New Canaan woman who had been convicted of the misdemeanor offense (as well as a second-degree harassment charge), and later had it overturned in a state appellate court. Briefly, police arrested Buhl after determining that she had harassed a New Canaan teen—the daughter of a man she was dating at the time—in part through use of a fake Facebook account. An Appellate Court in initially overturning the breach of peace conviction “concluded that there was insufficient evidence to support her breach of the peace conviction because the state had not proven that the Facebook posts were publicly exhibited.” Yet the state Supreme Court disagreed with that assessment. Its opinion states: “We further conclude that the breach of the peace conviction must be reinstated because the trial court reasonably could have found that the state had met its burden of proving the other elements of the crime at trial, namely, that: (1) the defendant was the person who posted M’s diary entries on Facebook; and (2) the defendant intended to ‘inconvenience, [annoy] or alarm’ [the teenage girl] by posting her diary entries on Facebook.” See PDF below for the court’s full decision. Continue Reading →

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Town Commissions Study To Determine Levels of Pollutants in Waveny House

Officials on Tuesday approved about $6,000 for tests that will help make clear the extent of pollutants such as asbestos and lead in Waveny House. Most of the pollutants at Waveny are relegated to the basement because of its heating system and pipes, where “huge water tanks” are wrapped in asbestos, according to Bill Oestmann, buildings superintendent with the New Canaan Department of Public Works. The town as it looks at restoring the infrastructure at Waveny House should consider alternative heating sources to the steam pipes used now so that there’s no need to trigger abatement work by entering an area with contaminants, Oestmann told the Board of Selectmen during the group’s regular meeting. “As far as dollars go, this study will hopefully get us some estimates,” Oestmann said at the meeting, held in Town Hall. The study, from Meriden-based EnviroMed Services, will cost about $5,520 and the selectman approved a contract for it 3-0 with $800 contingency. Continue Reading →

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Town Approves $120,500 Contract for Waveny House Roof Repair

New Canaan is entering a $120,500 contract with a White Plains, N.Y.-based architectural firm as it pursues a much-needed repair of the roof at Waveny House. The 14,000-square-foot roof has been leaking, according to Bill Oestmann, superintendent of buildings and fleet with the town’s Department of Public Works. “Replacing the concrete that the roof is made of would be very difficult and expensive,” Oestmann told the Board of Selectmen at their regular monthly meeting on May 17. “We’re actually going to be using lumber to repair failed sections of the roof.”

The town is retaining the services of KSQ Architects—the same firm that worked on the Town Hall renovation and expansion—for the job. The $120,500 figure covers plans, specifications, administrative fees and $10,500 in contingency. Continue Reading →

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Former Waveny House Resident, Actor Christopher Lloyd, To Attend Children’s Book Launch There on Sunday

The widely anticipated launch of a Waveny-inspired children’s book on Sunday is drawing back one of the cherished public building’s most prominent former residents, officials say: Christopher Lloyd. The Emmy Award-winning actor—of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Taxi” and “Back To The Future” fame—is the son of Ruth Lapham Lloyd, and grew up in Waveny House before his mother gave it, as well as all other buildings and the sprawling acreage that made up the estate, to the town. His attendance at the launch of “Waveny: New Canaan’s Treasure” is “significant and wonderful,” said Arianne Faber Kolb, author of the book, which is illustrated by Nicole Johnson Murphy and whose publication was made possible by a New Canaan Community Foundation grant and funding from the town. “He is really the history of this place and it’s his story and his family’s history and his own personal story is so tied to Waveny and the house, so it is really special for the town and community that he is still attached to this and would like to continue to be involved with anything that has to do with Waveny, and he has expressed that.”

He’s also made good on that promise. Lloyd attended the 100th anniversary celebration of Waveny House in 2012—an event organized by the New Canaan Preservation Alliance—and told attendees stories about growing up at the beloved building and property. Continue Reading →

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The ‘Herter Looms’ Tapestry: A Treasure Is Discovered at Waveny House

For years, Mimi Findlay had thought that the ‘H.L.’ signature on a hunting-scene tapestry hanging in the dining room at Waveny House referred to a member of the Lapham family. That’s understandable, as the tapestry is dated 1912, the year the Laphams had the iconic brick mansion built on their sprawling property that flanked South Avenue (then a popular horseracing road sometimes called the “New Road” to Darien or “Two-mile road,” historians say). Then, earlier this year, as restoration began on the limestone fireplace in Waveny House’s Great Hall—that work undertaken thanks to the generosity of an organization that Findlay had helped found eight years ago, the New Canaan Preservation Alliance—Recreation Director Steve Benko came upon a handwritten note in his archives that quoted a Lapham relative, David Lapham, in reference to the tapestry. According to Benko, Ruth Lapham Lloyd prior to passing and had told this relative that all the wallpaper in the Grand Hall, Dining Room and upstairs and hallway had been done by a firm out of New York City called Herter Looms.

On Tuesday, Benko told the Board of Selectmen—by way of requesting $5,230 in order to have a specialist firm out of South Salem, N.Y. clean, fumigate, re-back and otherwise restore the tapestry—that he looked up ‘Herter Looms’ and quickly found that the firm, and tapestry, “has historical significance.”

In fact, Findlay—herself a thorough local historian—explained in an email to NewCanaanite.com that Herter Looms was a business created by a remarkable 19th and early-20th Century man from an equally celebrated family. “Herter Looms was founded by the artists Adele and Albert Herter in 1909, Findlay said. Continue Reading →

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