New Canaan Now & Then: The Bliss Estate [Part 1 of 2]

‘New Canaan Now & Then’ is sponsored by Brown Harris Stevens Realtors Joanne Santulli, Karen Ceraso, Bettina Hegel and Schuyler Morris. The Nature Center on Oenoke Ridge occupies the former Bliss Estate, or “Lindenfield” (because the driveway was lined with Linden trees). 

In 1875 Osborn E. Bright, an attorney from Brooklyn, bought eight acres of land on Oenoke Ridge from Joseph Fitch Silliman and built his summer residence. When finished, the new house stood very close to the neighbor’s cow barn, so close in fact that Bright’s wife, Maria, offered to build the neighbors a new barn if they would tear down the existing one.  A new barn could also not be built within 100 feet of the Brights’ land.  At the same time, the Brights also bought a piece of land from the same neighbor for $200. 

In 1899, the property was sold to Ms. Catherine A. Bliss from New York City for $22,500.  Over the next thirteen years, Ms. Bliss expanded the house and improved the grounds, adding specimen trees such as purple beech and Asia oaks. A full wing was added along with a large living room and a porch. The living room was so large that it was able to fit a thirty six foot rug, which was said to have been the second largest rug ever woven in America at the time. 

The house built by the Brights would eventually become a hall and a dining room with bedrooms on the second floor.

Podcast: ‘Community Garden’ at New Canaan Nature Center

This week, on 0684-Radi0, our free podcast (subscribe here in the iTunes Store), we talk to New Canaan Nature Center Executive Director Bill Flynn about its Community Garden. The Oenoke Ridge organization is hosting its popular Harvest Festival from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday (details and ticket info here). Here are recent episodes of 0684-Radi0:

PHOTOS: New Canaan Dog Days Returns

Tongues lolling, scores of leashed dogs gathered in New Canaan on a clear, hot Saturday for a popular canine-focused and -themed celebration put on by an established local business. Pet Pantry’s New Canaan Dog Days was held on the grounds of the New Canaan Nature Center, making its return after two years off due to the pandemic. New Canaan resident Niki Marmarinos said this was her first time coming to Dog Days and that she’d be back next year. 

“It’s beautiful weather,” Marmarinos said as she pushed her two toy poodles, Daisy and Lillybelle, relaxing in a baby carriage through. “A lot of vendors, they’re very cordial and welcoming. A lot of variety here.