New Sign to Spotlight Expansive Historical Society Campus


A new sign soon will grace the front lawn of the New Canaan Historical Society, welcoming motorists and pedestrians traveling along Oenoke there at the top of God’s Acre, as the venerable organization marks its 125th birthday this year.

Here's a rendering of what the new sign out front of the New Canaan Historical Society campus will look like—minus the finials on the posts. Contributed image

Here’s a rendering of what the new sign out front of the New Canaan Historical Society campus will look like—minus the finials on the posts. Contributed image

To be set about four or five feet behind the stone wall, between a pair of maple trees fronting Oenoke Ridge Road, the sign will appear to stand at 4.5 feet from the street-side vantage point.

Executive Director Janet Lindstrom said during Thursday’s meeting of the Historic District Commission that a sign had stood in that area several years ago and was not replaced after it was vandalized.

The sign’s deliberate placement and purpose is to inform passersby that the Historical Society is not a single structure (The Town House beside St. Michael’s also has a sign next to the organization’s driveway) but several on a substantial campus.

“This is a sign showing that our property is not one house or another but a whole expanse,” Lindstrom said at the meeting, held in the Town House annex meeting room.

The commission during its meeting—the first for newly appointed member Carl Rothbart, a New Canaan-based preservation architect—unanimously approved the new sign’s installment, on a few conditions.

With Lindstrom and Historical Society Board member Mark Markiewicz both recusing themselves from the formal discussion and vote, commissioners called for a matte finish on the PVC posts to which the sign will be affixed, and for the removal of ornamental finials from the post.

Commissioner Martin Skrelunas objected to the finials for three reasons: there’s no precedent for them anywhere else on the property, they distract from the sign and they would draw an onlooker’s attention from the historic buildings.

Those buildings include The Town House, Cody Drug Store, Hanford-Silliman House, Tool Museum, Rock School and Rogers Studio & Museum. The Historical Society also counts among its historic structures the Little Red Schoolhouse on Carter Street and Gores Pavilion in Irwin Park (a notable midcentury building—click here for more information about a “Midcentury Houses Today” book launch event to be held this Saturday that will benefit the Historical Society).

Commissioner Terry Spring asked whether it would be possible to have wood posts instead of PVC. Lindstrom replied that the idea behind the PVC posts is that they would last longer than wood. Skrelunas assured Spring that the PVC would look good.

Everything else will be wood, and the lettering in the sign itself will be carved. Lindstrom said the sign could be similar to the one for the library, near the corner of Main and Cherry.

Asked about how the bluish color of the sign was decided, Lindstrom said it “has some relationship to our barn doors and is in keeping with the character of what is already there.”

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