New Canaan Now & Then: Edenwood


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

The Marshall Estate on Weed Street was once known as “Edenwood.” 

The Georgian home was built in 1907 and was designed by Boston architect Ernest M.A. Machado. A Cuban immigrant, he attended MIT and built many notable buildings in Salem, Mass., including Machado House. He went into practice with his future brother in law Ambrose Walker and in the late 1890s they had numerous commissions along the North Shore in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, Machado drowned in Lake Ossipee in New Hampshire in September of 1907. 

Courtesy of the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society

Edenwood was owned by Francis H. Adriance. Francis was born in Poughkeepsie on Dec. 16, 1866 and at the age of 18 he began his career as an inventor focused on the machine industry. He founded the Woodruff Manufacturing Company in Hartford which he sold in 1896 to Clarence Whitney, who changed the name to the Whitney Manufacturing Company and later became part of the Pratt-Whitney Company. 

Francis married Mary Hampton of Poughkeepsie in April 1892. The Adriances moved to New Canaan in 1905, and hosted “a fancy dress ball” five years later. In October 1912 there was a chimney fire at the home which was distinguished by the time the telephone exchange alerted the fire department. Mrs. Adriance served as vice-chairman of the Republican Town Committee in 1924 and the school committee (board of education) in the 1930s. In 1932 the Adriances gifted property to the town to straighten Frogtown Road. In 1932, Francis Adriance was appointed to the War Savings Committee for the town of New Canaan. He died in July 1956. Mrs. Adriance was the founder and past president of the Visiting Nurses Association and the Garden Club in town. She died in February 1957 at the age of 84.

590 Weed St. in New Canaan. Assessor photo

Dr. Harry B. Marshall purchased the property in 1945. Dr. Marshall and his family had lived on Brushy Ridge Road prior to their move to Weed Street. Dr. Marshall married Julie Smidt Marshall at her family summer home “Deerwoods”. The grounds of the Smidt property was once the Storm King Club. Ms. Marshall attended the Chapin School in New York and was involved in the Junior League. She was 80 years old when she died in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York. Dr. Marshall graduated from Williams College in 1925 and received his doctor of science from the Politechnikum in Zurich, Switzerland. The Marshalls had four children: Julie, Anne, Helene and Harry Jr. The Marshall girls attended Rosemary Hall in Greenwich and Dr. Marshall was elected as a trustee to the school in 1951. Dr. Marshall served on the high school building committee. He was the President of the Ciba Company which started in 1850 as a silk dyeing company but branched out into the chemical business. In 1900 it was the largest in Switzerland. Dr. Marshall died in 1988 at the age of 84 in Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York.

Ms. Julie Marshall, the eldest daughter, attended Wellesley College and Stanford University. She married Alan Boegehold of Pontiac, Michigan in 1953. Ms. Anne Marshall attended Vassar College and married Lt. George Edward d’Almeida-Santos of New York City. Ms. Helene Marshall attended Garland Junior College and married Lt. Ashton Rollins Hallett in 1960.

On Dec. 4, 1962, Maurice and Eleanor Teichner purchased the property. The property was listed as having eight fireplaces, a new heated swimming pool, eight master bedrooms plus maids’ quarters and a three car garage. In November 1962, the Teichners applied to subdivide the parcel of land which was now reported as being 32 acres. The proposal was for one parcel of fifteen acres, five lots of two or more acres and two lots of one or more acres (the land encompassed both one and two acre zoning). The Designed Residential District regulations provided that the commission could regulate the number of lots created in any one year on tracts of land of 30 or more acres and the subdivision was approved in November 1962. The Teichners retained access form Frogtown Road in addition to the Weed Street access. Drainage rights that had been agreed to by Francis H. Adriance in January 1942 were also maintained. 

Eleanor Teichner was born in New York City on June 12, 1919. She was the daughter of Henry and Tess Goodman Sontheimer. At the age of six, she moved with her family to Europe, lived in France and Italy, learned several languages, and acquired a lifelong love and mastery of French cooking. At 16, she returned to the states to attend Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland. With the onset of World War II, her language skills led to a job at the French desk of the United States Office of War Information (OWI) in New York City, where she carried out simultaneous translation of radio programming for broadcast into France, worked closely with French expatriate writers on information and propaganda campaigns, and held responsibility for the declassification of Nazi propaganda. After the war, she continued on at Voice of America, which had been established by OWI in 1942. 

Maurice Teichner was born on Nov. 29, 1919 in New York City. He attended the Fieldston School in Riverdale and graduated from the University of Chicago. He went on to the University of California Berkeley to study anthropology. In 1952 he founded Presin Co. in Santa Monica, which imported mechanical counters. In 1955 he founded Practical Automation to manufacture calculators. In 1967, he built a factory in Shelton that produced computer peripherals and his business went on to become a leader in dot matrix printers and was used extensively in ATM installations. He sold his business in 1988 to Alina Ball Company of Milford. Teicher split his time between New Canaan and London where he pursued his interest in Byzantine history. 

The Teichners, who had married in 1948, lived in New Canaan for fifty two years—first on Weed Street, then North Wilton Road, and finally Marshall Ridge Road. After her husband’s passing in January 2000, Mrs. Teichner donated a player piano to the Waveny Care Center in his honor. Mrs. Teichner died in 2014 at the age of 94. 

The Teichners sold the property to John H. French II on June 16, 1967. The real estate listing from Brotherhood & Higley reported that the kitchen had a floor to ceiling brick fireplace and barbeque. On September 4, 1973 the property was sold for $375,000 to Alfred U. Elser and Julia Elser. In November of 1973 Ms. Elser was reported as being the 500th member of the Welcome Wagon Newcomers Club. 

Alfred Uihlein Elser graduated from Princeton in 1956. His father (also Alfred U. Elser) graduated from Princeton in 1928. Elser earned a master’s degree in applied mathematics from Stanford in 1958. He then worked for IBM in marketing and management from 1958 to 1994. He was a longtime board member of the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. Elser moved to Greenwich and died in February 2013. Elser served as a trustee of the Bruce Museum. 

In June 1984 the property was purchased by Austin O. Furst. Furst is the founder of Vestron, Inc., a home entertainment company that had purchased the video rights of Time-Life Films in 1981. In 1988 Vestron Pictures Inc. received an Oscar for the best original song – “The Time of My Life” – from the company’s first full scale movie “Dirty Dancing.” The Furst family continues to own the property.

2 thoughts on “New Canaan Now & Then: Edenwood

  1. Wonderful history of a notable home and notable residents!!! The original Edenwood owners Mr. Francis H. Adriance and his wife Mary were also founding members of the New Canaan Bird Protective Society in 1916. Mr Adriance acted as the first General Manager of the Bird Protective Society and played an important role in 1924 to establish the 16.8-acre New Canaan Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve – now known as Bristow Park.

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