Main and Cherry Streets
S.B. Hoyt Florist on Main Street thrived from 1908 to its demise in 1971, when it was demolished to make way for the Cherry Street extension, enabling what was known as the “circle route.”
The circle route was envisioned to create an outer circle of traffic around town, rather than the prior traffic pattern that involved congestion on Elm Street. The new roadway served not only as another badly needed crosstown traffic artery but also was proposed to renew a sagging part of the business section of town, making it more attractive to retain development for existing businesses to “stretch out.”
Stephen B. Hoyt, who was born in the Justus Hoyt House on Main Street, bought the florist business from B.S. Woundy in 1908. Woundy, the town’s tree warden, had owned the business for over fifteen years but decided to sell his successful business to focus on preserving the life of the mature trees in town. Woundy’s greenhouses were dismantled and reconstructed on Silvermine Road and then moved again to the north and rear of the Hoyt Homestead on South Main Street. An article dated August 9, 1909 details how the grounds marking the approach to the houses were to be laid out with flower beds and shrubbery.
S.B. Hoyt, known to some as “Mr. New Canaan,” had lived in New Canaan his entire life. He was a 1896 graduate of Wesleyan, a past president of the New Canaan Historical Society, and an advocate for the New Canaan Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve on Old Stamford Road. Hoyt sold his business in 1959 to Charles and Ada Klein. After the demolition of the Main Street property on October 28, 1971, the Kleins moved their florist to Pine Street. Fortunately, prior to the demolition, one of the greenhouses was moved to the Ayre-Self-Klein House at 33 Carter Street, according to the New Canaan Advertiser dated April 24, 1975. The Kleins planned to open the greenhouse to the public at a later date.
The “circle route” was discussed for nearly two decades before it came to fruition. Articles in the New Canaan Advertiser expressed the frustration of the original developers (the Hoyts) as well as the subsequent developer (Haynes-Glazer.) Op-Ed pieces questioned whether the extension would indeed result in a larger town commerce center. It is difficult to imagine how much more traffic there would be downtown if this circle route had not been built.