Work Starts at NCM&HS for ‘Bartlett Center for New Canaan History’; May 31 Grand Opening Planned

After moving to an historic Oenoke Ridge property many years ago, Dede Bartlett discovered that she and her husband were just its thirteenth owners since 1749. Soon after, Bartlett said, she began to find “incredible artifacts all over the property—pottery shards, horseshoes, old tools.”

“It’s marvelous,” she said Monday morning from the large room that used to house the research library on the main floor of the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society. 

“We’ve got two antique barns that are well over 200 years old. And I thought, we really should be doing something more with that. So [NCM&HS Executive Director] Nancy [Geary] and I have worked on a number of projects over the years. Probably three or four projects.

Library Seeks To Set Up Temporary ‘Mirror House’ As Visitors Center for Rebuilding Project

New Canaan Library is seeking permission to install a “mirror house” at South Avenue and Maple Street where people could preview the organization’s widely anticipated rebuilding project. 

The temporary 230-square-foot structure would use “interactive 3-dimensional tour from inside,” according to an application filed with the Planning & Zoning Commission. 

“From the outside the look of the structure is that of a ‘mirrored glass house’ due to the fact that it has very highly reflective surfaces on three sides running the full height,” owner’s agent Paul Stone of Karp Associates said in a Special Permit application filed on behalf of the library. “Essentially, it’s a mirrored box, no gables. From the interior one can see out as though it’s clear glass, but from the outside it appears as a mirror.”

P&Z is to take up the application during a regular meeting Tuesday, one week after the library won a key signal of support from New Canaan’s legislative body. 

The Town Council on March 24 voted 10-2 to deny a motion that would have effectively halted the library’s project for one year so that preservationists could figure out a use for the original 1913 building building and fundraise for its restoration and maintenance. The library is seeking a $10 million contribution from the town toward its overall $30 million project and is fundraising the balance. Those in favor of the delay—preservationists as well as Councilmen Tom Butterworth and Cristina A. Ross among them—argued that the century-old building is a rare architectural and historic gem of New Canaan that lends to the look and feel of the downtown.