Place:New Canaan, Fairfield, Connecticut, United States

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NameNew Canaan
TypeTown
Coordinates41.133°N 73.483°W
Located inFairfield, Connecticut, United States
Contained Places
Cemetery
Lakeview Cemetery
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

New Canaan is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 19,738 according to the 2010 census. New Canaan is one of the wealthiest communities in the U.S; in 2008 it had the highest median family income in the country and was listed at #1 on CNN's list of "top-earning towns" in the United States.

Considered part of Connecticut's Gold Coast, New Canaan is known for its public school system; which in 2018 was ranked as the top public school system in Connecticut, and in 2008 the 3rd best in the country.

About an hour's train ride from Manhattan, the town is known for its wide range of architecture from the Harvard Five modern homes to historic New England colonials and farmhouses, as well as vast public parks such as Waveny Park, and a signature town center with classic boutiques. Residents carol on Church Hill every Christmas Eve, a town tradition since 1916.

The town is bounded on the south by Darien, on west by Stamford, on the east by Wilton, on the southeast by Norwalk and on the north by Lewisboro and Pound Ridge in Westchester County, New York.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

In 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. Because Canaan Parish was not planned as a town when it was first settled in 1731, when New Canaan was incorporated in 1801, it found itself without a central common, a main street or a town hall.

Until the Revolutionary War, New Canaan was primarily an agricultural community. After the war, New Canaan's major industry was shoe making. As New Canaan's shoe business gathered momentum early in the nineteenth century, 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.[1]

With the 1868 advent of the railroad to New Canaan, many of New York City's wealthy residents discovered the quiet, pastoral beauty of the area and built magnificent summer homes. Eventually, many of the summer visitors settled year-round, commuting to their jobs in New York City and creating the genteel, sophisticated country ambiance that continues to characterise the community today.[1]

Lewis Lapham, a founder of Texaco and great-grandfather of long-time Harper's Magazine editor Lewis H. Lapham, spent summers with his family at their estate that is now Waveny Park next to Talmadge Hill and the Merritt Parkway.

In the 1890s, editor Will Kirk of the Messenger wrote an editorial in response to area editors who chided him and New Canaan as the “next station to hell.” An alleged remark by a parched Civil War veteran marching in the Decoration Day Parade on an unusually hot day prompted the exchange. The remark was found untrue and Kirk, after enduring the comments of others, wrote about a “dream” of approaching the Pearly Gates in the company of his fellow editors. All others were turned away but he, Will Kirk, was welcomed, because he, in fact, was from the “Next Station to Heaven.” Since then, the name has been controversial, with residents affectionately using the latter, and local critics of New Canaan still using the original nickname.

The "Harvard Five" and modern homes

New Canaan was an important center of the modern design movement from the late 1940s through roughly the 1960s, when about 80 modern homes were built in town. About 20 have been torn down since then.

"During the late 1940s and 50s, a group of students and teachers from the Harvard Graduate School of Design migrated to New Canaan ... and rocked the world of architectural design", according to an article in PureContemporary.com, an online architecture design magazine. "Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John M. Johansen and Eliot Noyesknown as the Harvard Fivebegan creating homes in a style that emerged as the complete antithesis of the traditional build. Using new materials and open floor plans, best captured by Johnson's Glass House, these treasures are being squandered as buyers are knocking down these architectural icons and replacing them with cookie-cutter new builds."

"Other architects, well known (Frank Lloyd Wright, for example) and not so well known, also contributed significant modern houses that elicited strong reactions from nearly everyone who saw them and are still astonishing today ... New Canaan came to be the locus of the modern movement's experimentation in materials, construction methods, space, and form", according to an online description of The Harvard Five in New Canaan: Mid-Century Modern Houses, by William D. Earls.

Some other New Canaan architects designing modern homes were Victor Christ-Janer, John Black Lee, Allan Gelbin, and Hugh Smallen.[2]

The film The Ice Storm (1997) shows many of New Canaan's modern houses, both inside and out. The film (and Rick Moody's novel of the same name, upon which it's based) takes place in New Canaan; a mostly glass house situated on Laurel Road is prominently featured.

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