Police Investigate Report of Trespassing at 1913 Library Building


New Canaan Library's 1913 building on March 20, 2023. Credit: Michael Dinan

Police are investigating a report lodged Monday regarding an apparent trespass of New Canaan Library’s original 1913 building.

Evidence of the unlawful entry into the legacy library building—closed to the public as it undergoes abatement prior to its widely anticipated move within the property—appeared last week on a local group’s social media page, officials say.

Screenshot of “Friends of Our 1913 Library” Facebook page.

Two photos of the interior of the 1913 building—one showing the area of a former art gallery, the other of a media room, both on the main floor—were posted Thursday afternoon on the “Friends of Our 1913 Library” Facebook page. The group for months has been calling on followers to write letters opposing a Planning & Zoning Commission-approved plan to move what remains of the original library building to the western property line.

New Canaan Police confirmed that the matter is under active investigation and that authorities have no suspects at this time.

The property and buildings at 151 Main St. are privately owned by the library, municipal records show. The 1913 building itself, and later additions, are cordoned off from the new library by construction fencing, with signs posted warning “DANGER: Demolition Work In Progress.”  It wasn’t immediately clear whether there’s video surveillance footage showing unauthorized people entering the structure.

The “Friends” Facebook page lists the New Canaan Preservation Alliance as its website. The NCPA is suing P&Z and the library over the approved preservation plan. Although the social media posts from the “Friends” group urges followers to oppose the plan, the library has its approvals in hand following a years-long process of earning site plan and special permits from the town.

The “Friends” group’s status update implies (falsely) that there’s no asbestos in the 1913 library building because the substance wasn’t in use at the time of construction. In fact, the library has been altered multiple times in its 100-plus years, and officials have said mastic glue was used to seal floor tiles. 

Zealous preservationists have been arrested for trespassing in New Canaan before. In 2017, police said two residents were charged with third-degree criminal trespass (one of them additionally was charged with interfering with an officer) after refusing to leave a long disused burial ground adjacent to the “Merritt Village” property, known today as The Vue. The charges later were dismissed, Connecticut Judicial Branch records show.

One thought on “Police Investigate Report of Trespassing at 1913 Library Building

  1. Knock this, soon to be financial nightnare down, before it cost us another million for abestos removal. For god sake enough is enough.

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