New Canaan Now & Then: Broad Brook Farm

“New Canaan Now & Then” is presented in partnership with the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society. Broad Brook Farm, or 82 Ponus Ridge, as it was named by Edward Plaut in the 1930s, is now a group of houses that make up Broad Brook Drive (which runs directly through the former estate) and surrounding streets. 

Plaut, the Vice President of Lehn & Fink Drug Company in Bloomfield, New Jersey, purchased the property from Gayer Dominick. Mr. Dominick relocated to Silvermine. Broad Brook Farm was immediately a sensation in town, boasting “the largest landscape gardening job in Connecticut” according to the August 17, 1944 article in the Advertiser. Mr. Plaut, who married in 1933, had a very public divorce where his first wife sued him for $350,000 citing  “intolerable cruelty since January 1, 1935.” (April 29, 1937 Advertiser article).

Officials Receive Proposal To Convert Irwin House into IBM Museum

New Canaan has received a proposal to convert Irwin House—originally the country home of IBM founder Thomas Watson, Sr.—into a museum dedicated to the iconic company, town officials confirmed Thursday. During the “Forum on Public Buildings,” Town Council Chairman John Engel—a panelist at the 2.5-hour event—cautioned that New Canaanites “can’t get ahead of ourselves on this.”

“There are a couple of things [to understand]: That is not the only proposal that’s out there, but it is the only proposal for Irwin [House]. I expect that we’re going to be getting proposals from lots of people. The first one came when a member of the Watsons and IBM approached the [New Canaan] Historical Society and said, ‘Is this possible?’ And when they asked Town Hall, Town Hall said, ‘We want to hear all proposals.’ And they said, ‘Great, can we walk the building with the IBM-Watson people to see if it’s even a fit?’ And that’s about as far as it [has gone].”

The comments came in response to an audience question at the forum, sponsored by the New Canaan Historical Society, New Canaan Preservation Alliance, Town of New Canaan and Designed to give residents information about many of the town-owned buildings whose future uses and ownership are in question, and to open up lines of communication between taxpayers and both elected and appointed decision-makers, it featured a panel that included Engel, First Selectman Kevin Moynihan, Town Council members Penny Young and Cristina A. Ross, and Board of Finance member Amy Murphy Carroll.