Milbrook was the first significant planned community in Greenwich, designed in the 1920s, aimed at attracting commuters from New York City. Milbrook-in-Greenwich was marketed as the premier residential community from New York City to Greenwich, featuring a private country club and two lakes. Amongst its 273 acres of resplendent gardens and woods was to be built Tudor Revival style homes.
The land and development of the Milbank community was the brainchild of a syndicate, who purchased the estate originally belonging to Elizabeth Milbank Anderson in 1923. Ms. Anderson was the daughter of one of Greenwich’s early tycoons, Jeremiah Milbank. Mr. Milbank was an investor, manufacturer and merchant; his holdings included what would be come the Borden Condensed Milk Company and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad.
What made the Milbank project so unique (besides the amenities offered by having a country club at its center), was its’ accommodation to a life with automobiles in it. With wide, paved roads, electrified streetlamps, and lower level garages as part of each home’s architectural design, the prominence of the automobile in the culture was clear. The syndicate was no slouch to the power of advertising. Front and center on the brochures was shown a shiny, new car parked smack dab in the middle of a home’s driveway.
The golf course and clubhouse were offered to sale to the residents of Milbrook in 1944, which had been constructed with the idea that such amenities would make the community all that more appealing to perspective buyers. This offer did not go over well, initially. Many Milbrook residents had had negative experiences purchasing bonds in other golf clubs, with no return on their investment. A deal was eventually struck, saving the land from becoming available for further residential development and preserving what remains a mainstay of Milbrook’s life.