A Brief History of Greenwich, CT
A Brief History of Greenwich, CT
Sometimes we forget to look back and admire the unique and accomplished histories of our Connecticut towns. Maybe you’re considering building a new custom home and moving into the area. Or perhaps you’re renovating or building an addition on a special property here. Either way we thought it would be interesting to take a brief look back, to the history of Greenwich.
Two men by the names of Daniel Patrick and Robert Feake were the first to purchase what is now known as Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1640. Located in Fairfield County, CT, Greenwich is one of the earliest towns in the state to have been established, dating back to 1665, when the General Assembly agreed to make the town separate from Stamford. During that time, Greenwich Point and other areas of what is now Old Greenwich were known as Elizabeth’s Neck, in honor of Robert Feake’s wife Elizabeth. It kept that name until the 1900s when it was renamed Tod’s Point, and then finally Greenwich Point. During the era of the Revolutionary War, it was just one of the numerous towns unfortunate enough to have been demolished by the British forces. By the time General Putnam – second in command to General Washington – was aware of the British troop’s presence, it was too late. He narrowly escaped the pillage with just enough time to warn the neighboring town of Stamford. The most lasting impact that the Revolutionary War gave Greenwich was Putnam Cottage, a small tavern that housed General Putnam the night before his escape from the British. It has now been turned into a Revolutionary War museum as an important part of Greenwich’s history.
Travel to New York was a necessity as the town transported many goods including oysters, produce, and granite. The route, however, was rocky, precarious, and difficult to navigate. The construction of railroad tracks in 1848 improved the travel conditions considerably. What was once a daylong trip could suddenly be made within the hour. This milestone caused a great deal of migration from New York City to Greenwich. Wealthy New Yorkers bought land for their summer homes and several well-known families gathered up large amounts of land to build lavish estates. This was the beginning of a whole new era for the town. Starting in the 1900s, Greenwich quickly transitioned from a farming and cultivating economy to an affluent suburban center. The town boasted giant hotels and soon became a resort destination, inviting visitors from all over to stay in their then-modern buildings. Hotels offered hundreds of rooms along with a variety of amenities that had previously been unheard of, including electric lights and a telephone in every room. During this time, transportation became even more efficient. Trolleys connected Greenwich to nearby towns, allowing for easier access between the locals. But one of the most significant transportation accomplishments was the completion of the interstate. This allowed for New Yorkers to move to the suburbs while continuing to commute to their New York City jobs. To this day, Greenwich remains a popular and affluent suburban town. It is rich in history but also takes pride in preserving its heritage. Many residents have been living there for generations and the town is widely known for its wealthy business executive and entrepreneurial residents as well.