New Canaan Now & Then: Charles Edwin Thomas Fairty ‘CET’ House


‘New Canaan Now & Then’ is sponsored by Brown Harris Stevens Realtors Joanne Santulli, Karen Ceraso, Bettina Hegel and Schuyler Morris.

The house located at 107 Old Stamford Road was built for Charles Edwin Thomas Fairty (aka CET or Ned). 

CET was born on March 26, 1887 to Charles Henry Fairty and Sophie Catherine Rover. Mr. Fairty married Lura Hoyt Raymond on June 2, 1909. Lura was born on October 14, 1886 to Walker Samuel Raymond and Annie Shaw Hoyt. An interesting aside is that she is reported to have worn her own wedding dress to the wedding of Lucy A. Scoville where she was the maid of honor, which seems odd in today’s world but was apparently common practice months after her own wedding. The CET and Lura had two children, Lura Elizabeth Fairty who was born in 1911 and Edwin Raymond who was born in 1915.

The house is listed in the land records as being built in 1900. However, New Canaan Advertiser columns from that era suggest that the home was built in 1909-1910. A column in 1909 reports that CET was the guest of his parents on Stamford Avenue until his home was complete. The Advertiser also remarked in August of that year that “CET [was] planning erection of a fine residence on Stamford Avenue just north of his father’s palatial home. The site chosen…will necessitate the removal of an old green house that has stood on the summit of the hill for many years.” The Fairtys reportedly took possession of their new home in March 1910. One hundred acres of The “Shady Side” which was the name given to the Sylvanus Seeley Farm property west of the Old Stamford Road was acquired by CET and then passed on to his son. A popular farm stand operated on this site until the 1970s.

CET Fairty was the chief of staff of his family’s grocery business, “C.H.Fairty Groceries & Meats” and was reported in 1913 as one of the oldest establishments in town. It was started by Mr. Fairty Sr.’s father fifty years before the 1913 article. CET Fairty was active in many aspects of town life, including serving as the chief of the fire department in town. In 1917, the family business announced that it was shifting its focus on feed and grain. CET was also one of the first automobile owners in town, owning a Northern in 1904 that he had received for his birthday. The auto was passed on to his son, E. Raymond Fairty. In 1995 it was on display at the New Canaan Historical Society & Museum. CET Fairty died on December 23, 1960 in Norwalk. Mrs. Fairty died June 14, 1970. 

The Fairtys sold the house to Nathaniel W. and Mabel C. Smith on January 21, 1946. Mabel Cheney Smith was born September 8, 1916, daughter of Austin Cheney and Ruth (Bacon) Cheney, both of whom were descendants of prominent families. The Cheney family of Manchester built Cheney Brothers into the largest silk manufacturer in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Ruth Sears Bacon was the daughter of noted New York City surgeon, Gorham Bacon. Mabel Smith  married Nathaniel W. Smith in Manchester in 1938. She went on to be a legendary philanthropist in Rhode Island where she worked tirelessly to improve the natural environment and, over the years, was instrumental in preserving a significant portion of her family’s land in Matunuck, RI, as open space. In 1985, 35 acres of ocean frontage were sold to the Town of South Kingstown for a town beach and open space. More recently, 97 acres of farmland were sold to The Nature Conservancy with financial assistance from the State of Rhode Island for further conveyance to the South Kingstown Land Trust. She was a past board member of the Rhode Island Audubon Society and a member of the Rhode Island Wild Plant Society. 

Mr. Nathaniel Waite Smith was born September 16, 1907 in Providence Rhode Island. His parents were Nathaniel Waite Smith Jr. and Ellen Howard Weeden. He died in 1970.

After less than 4 years, the Smiths sold the property to Walter Aldridge on October 4, 1949.

In September 1951, John D. Munger purchased the home for $30,000. Mr. Munger married Julia (Judy) Larabee Holmes on July 10, 1938 in New Canaan. Mrs. Munger was the daughter of Clarence Hoyt Holmes. The Mungers had two children, Hiram and Susan. Mrs. Munger was born in Brooklyn on May 17, 1904. She moved to New Canaan in 1911 and attended the Cornish School and then went to the Community School in 1916 when it was founded by a local group that included her mother. The Community School eventually became the New Canaan Country School. Mrs. Munger was a member of the first graduating class along with her friend, Mrs. Paul Borglum. After the Country School she attended Low-Heywood in Stamford and then Smith College, graduating in 1926. Mrs. Munger was active in the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the Ladies Sewing Society and the Alumni Association for Smith College. Mr. Munger was born on December 14, 1902 in Waterbury Connecticut. He attended Phillips Academy inAndover and graduated in 1927. He went on to attend Yale and receive his law degree from Harvard in 1930. He worked as the Eastern Division attorney for the Tidewater Oil Company for over 35 years. 

During the Munger’s ownership of 107 Old Stamford Road the town was very interested in purchasing their property (along with the Fairty Orchard property) to create a new commuter train station. The idea was that the new station would alleviate the congestion around the existing train station. The cost of the project in 1958 was $300,000 which included purchasing the Munger home and Fairty Orchard for $175,000. The proposal would include 800 parking spaces and would require site gradation to address the 38 foot height variable between the tracks and the proposed site. The proposed entrance would be located where the Munger home existed and also opposite Gower Road. The proposal was defeated twice by the town voters in the early 1960s.

Mr. John Munger was an avid tennis player and participated in the town’s Labor Day tournament in Mead Park in the 1950s. He won awards from the Men’s Garden Club of America. He served on the Board of Governors for the New Canaan Historical Society for nine years before he retired in 1975. Mr. Munger is credited with being the editor for the Historical Society’s Annuals for 1968, 1970, 1971 and 1973. At the time of his death he resided on Richmond Hill Road in New Canaan, having lived in New Canaan for over 50 years. The property was then sold to John W. Madigan III for $337,500 in 1986.

John Madigan, a native son, having graduated from New Canaan High School in 1971, Boston College (1975) and then Fordham Law School (1981), along with his family members owned the property for many years. Mr. Madigan was the son of Francis (“Sis”) Madigan Healey. Mrs. Healey was born in Stamford in 1931 and graduated from the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Noroton in 1949, where she was the captain of three varsity sports. Mrs. Healey was a gifted athlete and swam competitively, breaking the pool record in 1974 at the Yale Carnival for the 100 meter backstroke, a record that was held for 30 years. Mrs. Healey’s prowess afforded her the opportunity to participate in the Olympic Trials in Detroit Michigan, although she did not go on to attend the Olympics. Mrs. Madigan was a member of Woodway Country Club for 70 years and was a well regarded real estate professional for decades. The property records indicate that Mr. Madigan’s interest in the property passed into a Trusteeship in 1993. His family members continued to own the property until it was sold in 2010.

Mr. Madigan’s daughter, the actress Diedre Madigan, and her husband, Ross Bickell lived in the home for a period of time according to voter records. Ms. Madigan is best known for her roles in Law & Order. The property was purchased by its current owners  in May 2010. In May 2022 an 1300 square foot addition was added to the home.

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