Old Greenwich is the oldest of the seven hamlets that make up Greenwich, Ct. It was founded in 1640 by Jeffrey Ferris, who purchased land from the Siwanoy Indians in exchange for 25 coats. One of the most distinctive features of Old Greenwich is Tod’s Point, now a 170 acre park with beach fronts, a town sailing club, walking paths and natural preserve.
Originally, Tod’s Point was the 147 acre private estate of J. Kennedy Tod, a gentleman who made his fortune investing in railroads. Tod moved to what was then called Sound Beach in 1882, with his bride and for many years was the only daily commuter to New York City. When Tod bought his waterfront land in 1889, waterfront property was not something that anyone wanted. The perception was that water property was difficult to access and thus, had limited value.
Tod built a glorious mansion along with outbuildings that housed staff who worked on the property. He named his estate Innis Arden. Though the published books on Greenwich claim the family was generous with their land, allowing local families to swim, fish, and dig for clams and oysters, one of the oral histories by a resident who grew up there at the turn of the century claims children would be regularly chased by the guards and Mr. Tod in the summer. In the winter however, the Tod’s allowed the neighborhood children to skate, stopping up the dike to create rinks.
Tod and his wife never had children and upon their deaths the estate was left to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, a charity that was close to their hearts. Their thought was that the mansion could be used as a convalescent home. It was difficult for the hospital to maintain this ambition and in 1939, the Town of Greenwich purchased the estate for its residents. The mansion was converted to thirteen apartments and for many years housed war veterans.The mansion was demolished by the Town in 1961.
Old Greenwich boasts a glorious park called Binney Park, it’s own library and fire station, a downtown with popular restaurants and unique shops, an elementary school and numerous places of worship. What seems to make Old Greenwich one of the favored real estate sons these days, is something that this community has had for a long time, best explained by Daniel Cantazaro. Mr. Cantazaro shared in his oral history, “Village Life in Old Greenwich” that “Living in Old Greenwich was every kid’s dream because there was always so much to be able to do at all times. And the people that lived in Old Greenwich were one big family. It didn’t matter that I was a shoemaker’s son or you were the millionaire’s son. We all played together and we all were in and out of each other’s houses.”
Sense of community remains strong, at a walk through last month for a lovely young family coming to Greenwich from New York City, the homeowners/sellers said they couldn’t imagine ever leaving Old Greenwich— a sentiment I hear often!
Community Highlights include:
The Bruce Museum Seaside Center
This beachside museum located within Greenwich Point Park’s Floren Family Environmental Center at Innis Arden Cottage hosts educational programs about the ecology of the Long Island Sound. Programs include: a live-animal marine touch tank, seashore dioramas of local species, four marine aquaria, and other environmental activities and presentations hosted by an impressive roster of guest speakers in the field.
The summer season officially runs from June 24-September 3.
Opens: June 24
Hours: 11:00 AM-5:00 PM
Phone: (203) 869-0376
Greenwich Community Sailing
Take a scenic adventure with Greenwich Community Sailing. GCS offers sailboat and paddle-craft rental services to all Greenwich residents. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy the waters of our beautiful Greenwich sound.
Opens: June 2nd
Hours: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Phone: (203) 698-0599
Perrot Memorial Library
This historical library was founded in honor of John Perrot, a British Loyalist and Old Greenwich’s first private schoolmaster, in 1904. Since then the library has become home to all and has excellent book, movie, and music collections, as well as other popular events and programs throughout the year.
Hours of Operation: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM
Tuesday, Thursday: 9:00 AM-8:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Sunday: 1:00 PM-5:00 PM
Phone: (203) 637-1066
Across from Perrot Memorial Library lies Binney Park, a lush 22-acre greens space frequented year-round. The park includes a playground, three ball fields, and four tennis courts, just perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
The Eastern Greenwich Civic Center
This community civic center, home to the OGRCC, is open year-round and hosts many programs and events for all ages including antique and train shows, gem shows, private day and boarding school fairs, night-time roller skating, open basketball, OG Art Society Painters, Kamp Kairphree summer day camp, brunch with Santa, and senior citizen support groups and activities.
Hours of Operation: Mondays: 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 9:00 AM-4:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
Phone: (203) 637-4583
Phone: (203) 637-3659