HISTORY OF NEW CANAAN, CONNECTICUT
Fairfield County, Connecticut
1731 – Connecticut's colonial legislature established Canaan Parish as a religious entity in northwestern Norwalk and northeastern Stamford. The right to form a Congregational church was granted to the few families scattered through the area. As inhabitants of Norwalk or Stamford, Canaan Parish settlers still had to vote, pay taxes, serve on juries, and file deeds in their home towns.
1761/1764 -- Stephen Hanford purchased the land for a tavern and inn for travelers and three years later he moved into the house with his bride Jemima.
1784 -- Jemima Hanford widowed. She sold the property to Elisha Leeds who gave it to his newly married daughter Martha, and her husband, Joseph Silliman. Generations of the Silliman family have occupied the house until the 1920's.
1799 -- the one-room Rock School House built on Laurel and Canoe Hill Roads. (It is now a museum.)
1801 – because Canaan Parish was not planned as a town, New Canaan, when incorporated found itself without a central common, a main street or a town hall.
The community was named after the promised land of the Bible.
Post- Revolutionary Era – New Canaan's major industry was shoe making.
early 19th century -- as New Canaan's shoe business gathered momentum, instead of a central village, regional settlements of clustered houses, mill, and school developed into distinct district centers. Some of the districts were centered on Ponus Ridge, West Road, Oenoke Ridge, Smith Ridge, Talmadge Hill and Silvermine, a pattern which the village gradually outgrew
1825 -- New Canaan built its first Town Hall.
1831 -- New Canaan’s Town Band founded. It is the oldest, non-church musical group in town.
1845 -- the Cody Drug Store was located on Main Street in New Canaan.
1868 – the railroad came to New Canaan with a line from Stamford to New Canaan. Many wealthy New Yorkers built magnificent summer homes in the town. Eventually, many of the summer visitors became year-round residents.
1868 -- the Little Red Schoolhouse on Carter Street opened its doors to students. (It has been restored.)
1949 – architect Philip Johnson's famous glass house built on Ponus Ridge Road.
1957 -- the New Canaan Historical Society acquired the Hanford-Silliman House.
1957 -- the Little Red School House closed its doors.
1961 – birth in New Canaan of right-wing conservative political commentator Ann Coulter.
1963 -- the New Canaan Historical Society acquired the Town House building from the Augustana Lutheran Church.
1964 -- the New Canaan Historical Society moved its library and offices to the Town House building. (Today the building now houses the Society's offices, Library, Costume Museum, Cody Drug Store, Exhibition Rooms and Meeting Room.)
1967 -- the town acquired the 300 acre property now known as Waveny Park. It had a house, Carriage Barn Arts Center and Powerhouse Theatre as well as land for the High School and Waveny Care Center.
2003 -- War with Iraq. New Canaan is the hometown of L. Paul Bremer, U.S.-installed chief executive of Iraq following the Iraq War.
modern times -- population of about 18,000. 1/3 commute to New York City.
The New Canaan Historical Society: Our Museums. http://www.imaginemultimedia.net/~mycro/nchistory/MUSEUMS.HTM
Back to the w. Connecticut Page
Back to the Main Page