Letter: ‘Thank You’ from New Canaan Preservation Alliance

To the New Canaan Community,

A big “Thank You” to the many New Canaanites who stopped by the New Canaan Preservation Alliance Booth at Saturday’s Sidewalk Sale. Thank you for your overwhelming support for Saving Our 1913 Library. We had young families, longtime New Canaan residents, Glass House visitors from far away, local politicians, community leaders and individual youngsters coming over to tell us they want to see the 1913 Library preserved right where it has always stood. It was a great opportunity to discuss what exactly the Planning & Zoning Commission’s vote on Tuesday, July 13th actually meant. Though we are waiting for the official wording from P&Z, it is far from a “done deal.” The most common question was, “What can I do to help?” Our answer was and is, write to our town officials, , the New Canaan Library Board members, the media and tell them you want our 1913 Library to be preserved in situ.

Letter: Library Project Calls for ‘Demolition of a Beloved Town Landmark’ 

As you all must know, I am in support of saving the 1913 library building as part of any new library building project. I firmly believe that this building is not only one of the best architectural edifices in our town, but it is an integral part of so many generations’ cognitive experiences. Due to the universal public use of this building for a variety of purposes and its location, it has been labeled, in the past by the library itself as the “Cornerstone of Our Community.” I firmly believe as do many that destruction of this town’s cultural, historical and architectural landmark will be forever be seen as one of the worst decisions our town ever made. 

We are in strange and uncharted territory with unknown outcomes and consequences occurring at an unprecedented pace. Your dedication and commitment to our town governance and the current budgetary decisions is beyond admirable. I know that you will take our times and the future financial forecasts into account as you make these decisions.

Letter: Original 1913 Part of New Canaan Library ‘An Icon in Our Community’

It has come to the attention of a number of concerned citizens of our town that on Tuesday, January 14, 2020, the New Canaan Library will be presenting to the Board of Finance an update to their plan for a new library building as part of a request for funding of same. As a citizen of our town, a user of our library’s services, a former volunteer at the Library and a practicing preservationist and preservation advocate, the fate of the current building, specifically the original landmark 1913 building, has been a concern. I was fortunate and appreciative to be asked to view the library’s plan this past November. Certainly, what has been developed is impressive and could be considered a “gift” to our community. However, as I have gathered for quite some time, there was no inclusion in the plans for the retention of any portion of the existing building including the original building which has been an icon in our community since its inception.

Letter: Waveny Now Listed on National Register of Historic Places

Dear Editor:

The New Canaan Preservation Alliance is pleased to announce that Waveny was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 30th 2019. NCPA is most pleased to have successfully promoted, facilitated and funded this nomination as prepared by Public Archeology Laboratory of Rhode Island. This project was made possible by a reimbursable grant from the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. 

In October of 2013, the NCPA held a celebratory Waveny 100th Celebration and fundraiser after which it was decided by the Board of Directors to pursue funding the nomination of Waveny to the National Register. Although not required to do so, the NCPA presented a request to the Town of New Canaan to support proceeding with this nomination. Throughout this process the NCPA presented a thorough and open proposal to all relevant government agencies which included facilitating attendance of representatives from SHPO to answer all questions relating to this nomination.

Op-Ed: Memories of a Winter Skating Scene

Happy Childhood memories of growing up in New Canaan. This is what comes through during interviews with two long-time residents of New Canaan on the topic of Mead Park and the little brick building perched on its northern border. 

So much controversy circles about this building that there is not even consensus about its name. Cassia Besson Ward said the official name in her memory was the Park Maintenance Building, but frequently refers to it as the “Brick House.” 

She grew up in the little grey house across the street and shared, most unexpectedly, this watercolor of a winter skating scene. Besson Ward said she has fond memories of growing up with Mead Park as her front yard, playing with her sister and other children in the streams, making houses out of pine needles behind the “Brick House” and even staging an amateur “Greek Pageant” in the park. 

Painted by her father, John Case Besson, the watercolor includes specific individuals from her childhood. Cassia and her sister are depicted with a sled, one riding, the other pulling.