New Canaan Now & Then: The Haviland Estate


Haviland & Co., Inc., 26 W. 23rd St., New York City. By Gottscho-Schleisner Collection - Library of CongressCatalog: url:, Public Domain,

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

The Haviland Estate located at 276 Park Street  (or 259 Park Street in 1954) included a house built by the local carpenter Samuel O. Everett in 1915, who lived on Richmond Hill.  

When Samuel died in 1917 the property was passed to his children: George E. Everett, Carrie L. Brown and Emilie D. Gonzalez. In 1920 the property was sold to Julian C. Gonzales and Edith G. Hiltel. The house boasts a unique design for the area with its large scale salt box and side entry and projected bay windows. The Stamford Advocate reported in 1968 that Park Street was known as “Quality Street” because families of high quality had chosen to live along its length. When the Everett children inherited the property it included three acres and a dwelling. 

Undoubtedly the street continued to attract quality occupants and in the 1940s William D. Haviland moved to New Canaan. Mr. Haviland, grandson of the original founder of Theodore Haviland Company, bought the rights to Haviland & Company and began production of its china.

In 1840 David Haviland was the proprietor of a china shop in New York City and made a trip to France to establish a relationship with a manufacturer. The factory in Limoges was strategic because it was close to the kaolin mines that produced the special white clay that is unique to Limoges porcelain. David Haviland was a visionary and the first to have artists on site to decorate the porcelain (other companies sent the blanks to Paris). David Haviland’s goal was to produce the porcelain for American households and ship the finished products back to his brothers in New York to sell. The Civil War proved to be disastrous for the Haviland Brothers, and they went bankrupt. After the Civil War David formed his own company, Haviland et Compagnie  (Haviland and Cie) on March 1, 1864 in France. David sent his son Theodore  at the age of 23 to the United States to handle distribution and marketing. Theodore was a talented businessman, and the porcelain became immensely popular. In 1867 the export rate was 2872 crates and in 1872 it reached its peak at 5500 crates. 

Meanwhile, back in France, David’s other son Charles Edward Haviland took over the management of the company from his father. In a bold move, he decided to appoint an artist Felix Bracquemond as his “artistic director” where he was given the directive to develop a new more affordable technique and to think up new exciting designs that were true works of art. The workshop where Bracquemond worked was called the Aueteuil workshop in Paris. The process known as “chrome lithography” was invented and new designs embracing Japanese art and Impressionist art were developed. The bold move paid off, and Haviland and Cie maintained the lion’s share of the market. Charles’ company went out of business in 1931. Ten years later William Haviland purchased the rights to this company’s designs. 

In 1880 Theodore returned from the United States and started his own company, Theodore Haviland et Cie. Theodore recognized that tastes had changed once more and traditional styles were more popular. Theodore’s goal was “a set in every home” and a full set of china was $29.95 in the Sears catalog of the 1920s. Sets were designed for the White House for Presidents Lincoln, Grant, Hayes and Harrison, but the Victorian housewife remained the primary customer. 

Theodore’s son, William D. Haviland, was born in 1882 and married Catherine Bancroft in June 1905 after graduating from Harvard College. Catherine Bancroft’s father was the mayor of Cambridge Massachusetts. Ms. Bancroft served as a nurse in WWI and received the silver medal of the Reconnaissance Francaise (awarded to civilians for service to the injured and refugees). She later founded Auxiliary Hospital No. 137 in France. Mr. Haviland was inducted into the Legion d’Honneur in 1923 as the Haviland family hosted a hospital in one of its factories during the war that cared for 1200 French wounded. The Havilands had two known children – Theodore who was born in 1905 and Harold who was born in 1908. William D. Haviland joined the firm in 19o3. He became the manager in 1919. Under his management, the highly collectible Edouard Marcel Sandoz designs of almost cubist animals were unveiled.

In 1940 when Hitler invaded France, Theodore raced for the French- Spanish border and then boarded a ship to the United States. The Haviland family, Frances Meade Haviland, twin girls Priscilla and Hope (b0rn 1931) and their brother, Teddy moved to New Canaan. Frances Meade was a direct descendant of General George Meade of the Battle of Gettysburg fame. Both of the Haviland girls attended Miss Halls in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and the Garland School in Boston. They were seniors in 1952. Both women made their debut at the Darien Debutante Cotillion in 1949. Priscilla married Stanton Dewitt Barker in May 1955. Mr. Barker passed away at the age of 50 on August 11, 1977. Ms. Barker married William Passas and died in June 2022. She had at least one son, Stanton Barker. Hope Haviland married Wayne Leizear in February 1962 and settled in Riverside Connecticut. Ms. Haviland met her husband while he was on a business trip in Bermuda. She died on May 20, 2017. Teddy “Theodore III” attended the St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island and the University of Pennsylvania. He served on the USS Baltimore in 1954 and married Patricia T. Durey in 1958. Mr. Haviland worked for Haviland and Company in New York. In 1976 he was appointed director of pensions at CT General Life Insurance Company. Sadly, his young son, Theodore IV, passed away after a brief illness at the age of three in April 1962. Mr. Haviland served on the Board of Trustees for the Ethel Walker School.

Frances Meade Haviland died in 1970. Theodore Haviland II died on November 11, 1994 at the age of 88 in New London, Connecticut. He worked at Haviland & Company for 46 years until he retired in 1974. He was the head of the company in France and New York at the time the company was sold. Haviland lived in New Canaan for thirty five years before he moved to New Hampshire. Theodore Haviland’s second wife, Katherine Foster Rainbolt Haviland died in February 1997. Haviland was a true maverick and received many honors in his professional career, including being Honored by the Certificate of Public Service with Brand Names Research Foundation for his porcelain which had been in use for 104 years (only brands in existence for 50 years or more are eligible). The event was attended by 1200 executives at the Hotel Astor in 1946. 

The Haviland property was strongly considered for the proposed New Canaan YMCA Community Building in 1960. The building committee, headed by Dr. Carl Smith, was engaged in contract negotiations in February of that year. However, by April 1960 the plan was “rejected with regret” due to screening issues and inadequate parking concerns. William Haviland had agreed to sell the property at the under market value of $75,000. The Havilands owned the property until 1973 when it was sold to build the condo complex Lantern Way. The house itself was sold to the Croke family.

2 thoughts on “New Canaan Now & Then: The Haviland Estate

  1. WOW – lots of great research must have gone into this piece. I actually remember going to the wedding in 1955, as a very young observer… She had been my favorite baby sitter.

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