Sneak Peek: ‘Forces of Change—Enslaved and Free Blacks in New Canaan’ Opens Friday at NCM&HS

A new exhibition two years in the making, “Forces of Change: Enslaved and Free Blacks in New Canaan,” opens Friday, March 3 at the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society at 13 Oenoke Ridge. We met with the organization’s executive director, Nancy Geary, to get some background and an overview of the widely anticipated exhibition. 

Here’s a transcript of our interview:

New Canaanite: Give us an overview of the exhibition. 

Nancy Geary: The exhibition has had a number of titles. It’s now called ‘Forces of Change: Enslaved and Free Blacks in New Canaan.’ And starting when Canaan Parish had slaves, it tracks the life and work of Black residents in New Canaan. It will include documents from the early-1700s through to Stand Together Against Racism’s protest following the murder of George Floyd. What is the origin of the exhibition?

New Canaan Old Timers Association To Induct Six Athletes, Honor Wilky Gilmore

After missing a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the spotlight will once again shine on local sports figures from the past as the New Canaan Old Timers Association hosts its annual honoree ceremony on Sunday, September 19th at Waveny. 2021 inductees will be Bobby Festo, Paul Gallo, Tom McInerney, Lew Socci and Katey Twombly. Also being recognized at this year’s affair as the Loren J. Keyes Memorial Honoree is all-time New Canaan basketball great, the late Wilky Gilmore. 

Bobby Festo is listed in the Who’s Who of American High School Athletes as an All-American in track and field, an honorable mention on the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletics Conference county soccer team as a goalkeeper his senior year in New Canaan. He holds many track and field records as a sprinter for New Canaan, and won many medals at state and invitational track and field competitions as a sprinter in both individual events and as a member of a relay team. He went to college at Southern Connecticut State College where he joined the men’s track team for a year and a half while also participating on the men’s soccer team.

Did You Hear … ?

U.S. Postal Service officials have the keys to their new building and say they’re hoping to open the Post Office on Locust Avenue in New Canaan “this winter.” A more specific date is not yet available. “We are ‘postalizing’ the interior by installing counters, electronic equipment, security features and other necessary items to conduct postal business,” USPS spokesperson Christine Dugas told ***

Originally scheduled for next week, the Grace Farms application to come before the Planning & Zoning Commission will be heard at the group’s Nov. 29 meeting, officials say. ***

Town officials say the motor vehicle that veered off of Old Stamford Road/Route 106 on Sunday morning and crashed into the Old Studio Road sign near the sharp bend there was traveling at about 60 mph.

New Canaan’s Lou Marinelli, Wilky Gilmore To Headline Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016

Two New Canaanites who have made indelible marks on the town will be honored as inductees into the Fairfield County Sports Hall of Fame, officials said Wednesday afternoon. New Canaan High School head football coach Lou Marinelli and former New Canaan High School basketball student-athlete Wilky Gilmore headline the class of 2016, officials with theFairfield County Sports Commission announced at the University of Connecticut’s Stamford campus. “It means I’m getting old,” a smiling Marinelli told when asked what the honor meant to him. “When you turn around and see the people who are in this [Hall of Fame], it’s humbling and I’m honored. I’ll be the first one to tell you, though, we couldn’t have built the program that we have without help from the assistant coaches that I’ve had, the administration, and more importantly the kids at New Canaan High.

Wilky Gilmore: ‘He Was One of Our Own’

In among the trophies in the lobby of the New Canaan High School Athletic Complex hangs a framed, vintage number-12 Rams jersey. There is no plaque, no marker, no inscription identifying whose jersey it was. As a result, hundreds of students, parents and fans filter past the jersey every day, unaware of the history or the significance behind it, unaware of Maurice ‘Wilky’ Gilmore. Yet for legions of New Canaanites, especially friends and relatives who were lucky enough to know him personally, Gilmore—selfless, charismatic, intelligent and graceful—etched a singular legacy here in town. That he did so in an era marked by civil unrest makes his accomplishments perhaps that much more impressive—though those close to Gilmore say his rare gifts of compassion and decency saw him transcend matters such as race and, in more than one way, “raise the game” of everyone around him.