John Rogers, known as “the people’s sculptor,” was the most popular sculptor in America in the later nineteenth century, proucing relatively inexpensive works that filled the parlors of many Victorian-era homes. Rogers built his studio in New Canaan in 1878. His house in New Canaan, which was his residence until his death in 1904, was demolished in 1960. Rogers’ studio, which resembles a Victorian cottage, was saved and moved one lot away from its original location by the New Canaan Historical Society. It is now a museum displaying a large collection of Rogers‘ famous groups of plaster statuary.
The Playhouse in New Canaan is a 1923 movie theater at 89 Elm Street. Originally having a single screen, it was later converted to two screens and continues today as a first run movie theater, owned by the town but managed by Bow Tie Cinemas. This past year the Playhouse was renovated, with new seats and bathroom and a display case in the left front window, which had earlier been boarded up and painted white (as seen in the image above).
The Greek Revival-style house at 63 Park Street in New Canaan was constructed by local builder Hiram Crissey in 1836. The most famous resident of the house was Maxwell E. Perkins, the legendary editor of such writers as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Thomas Wolfe. Perkins bought the house, which is half a block from New Canaan Metro-North Station, in 1924 and lived there until his death in 1947. His widow Louise lived in the house until her death in 1965: she had fallen asleep smoking in bed and started a fire which gutted part of the building. It was then subdivided into apartments by the Perkins’ daughter. In 1973, the house was acquired by Richard and Sandra Bergmann, who restored it over seven years. Richard Bergmann is an architect whose firm is based in the house.
When architect Philip Johnson designed his famous Glass House, he simultaneously planned an adjacent structure, known as the Brick House. Completed in 1949, a few months before its counterpart, the Brick House served as a guest house, as well as containing the support systems for both buildings. The Brick House was intended to contrast with its glass neighbor, being enclosed by solid walls, although skylights and porthole windows provide much natural light within. Johnson remodeled the interior with a narrow sky-lit corridor in 1953. The Glass House property has been open for tours since 2007, but recently visitors have not been able to enter the Brick House, which requires $3 million in repairs. Read the rest of this entry »
A particularly well-known and well-respected Connecticut modern house is the Philip Johnson Glass House. Designed by the architect Johnson and built on his 47-acre estate in New Canaan, the Glass House is considered a masterpiece in its use of floor-to-ceiling sheets of glass, set between black steel piers. The minimalist structure was planned in 1945 and finished in 1949. Johnson was inspired by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe‘s 1945 design for the Farnsworth House, located in Plano, Illinois, the construction of which was not completed until 1951. While the wealthy Johnson retained a residence in New York City, he would often retreat to his New Canaan estate, where the Glass House was only the first of several structures he would build on the property. After 1960, Johnson lived in company with his longtime companion, David Whitney, an art critic and curator, who helped with landscaping the grounds and collecting art for the estate. In 1986, Johnson had donated the Glass House to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, retaining a life estate lease. Johnson and Whitney died in 2005 and in 2007, the Glass House was opened to the public for tours. While there is an endowment for the property, maintenance and restoration costs for the various buildings remains high. Read the rest of this entry »
Waveny House is a Tudor mansion in New Canaan, built in 1912 for Lewis Lapham, one of the founders of Texaco. The Lapham family spent summers at their New Canaan estate, most of which was given to the town by the family in 1967. At that time, Waveny House itself was sold to the town by Mrs. Ruth Lapham Lloyd. The house was designed by W. B. Tubby and the grounds by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.. It was named by Mrs. Lapham after the Waveny River in England where the Lapham ancestors had once lived. Today the house and grounds are a community recreation area called Waveny Park. Waveny House is often rented for weddings and other social functions and cultural activities.
Most likely built between 1772 and 1774 by William Weed, the Weed-Lounsbury-Davenport-Bradford House is located at the intersection of Ponus Ridge and Wahackme Road in New Canaan. It was next occupied by William Weed Jr., then Edgar Lounsbury (1837), followed by his son, Silas Lounsbury and then Silas’ daughter, Carrie Lounsbury Davenport (d. 1947) and her husband, John L. Davenport. She sold the house to Lindsay Bradford, president of City Bank Farmers Trust Company (1936-1951) and president of the New York War Relief Fund during World War II, who restored the old house and farm.