Here’s what you can find in Wikipedia about the history of Greenwich:
The town of Greenwich was settled in 1640. One of the founders was Elizabeth Fones Winthrop, daughter-in-law of John Winthrop, founder and Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. What is now called Greenwich Point was known for much of the area’s early history as “Elizabeth’s Neck” in recognition of Elizabeth Fones and their 1640 purchase of the Point and much of the area now known as Old Greenwich. Greenwich was declared a township by the General Assembly in Hartford on May 11, 1665.
During the American Revolution, General Israel Putnam made a daring escape from the British on February 26, 1779. Although British forces pillaged the town, Putnam was able to warn Stamford.
In 1983, the Mianus River Bridge, which carries traffic on Interstate 95 over an estuary, collapsed, resulting in the death of three people
For many years, Greenwich Point (locally termed “Tod’s Point”), was open only to town residents and their guests. However, a lawyer sued, saying his rights to freedom of assembly were threatened because he was not allowed to go there. The lower courts disagreed, but the Supreme Court of Connecticut agreed, and Greenwich was forced to amend its beach access policy to all four beaches.
During the late 1990s and early 2000s, Greenwich’s location as the first Connecticut town off Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway meant that when New York City-area residents wanted to buy Powerball lottery tickets as the jackpot rose above $100 million, they crowded into Greenwich stores to purchase them, creating traffic jams in the business areas. The Connecticut Lottery introduced special rules for such situations. This no longer was a problem after Pennsylvania joined Powerball in 2002; those living west of the Hudson River no longer cross it to buy Powerball tickets.
I don’t know what you think, but I see this as amounting to pretty much nothing. After all, the town is approaching its 400th anniversary, and you would think that there was something more to this place.
Don’t bother going to the offshoot article featuring the subject, because you won’t find much else there, except for an unbalanced emphasis on the poor conditions of the roads during the 18th Century. I’d also stay away from the town’s Historical Society website because its page on Greenwich History is under construction and whatever it had before that was even scanter than what you see above.
A quick study of the information provided should be enough to help you understand why I feel the way I do. The beginning is all right I guess, though they could have added that the first land was purchased for 25 English coats. And the part about Putnam escaping is mandatory knowledge for any local. Yes, I too find it hard to accept that my town’s greatest contribution to this country’s independence was an elderly general running away from the enemy. Grant you, the hill he bolted down was mindbogglingly steep, and he did manage to get word to the nearby Stamford garrison that the “British were coming!”; but does it merit such attention? Was this a kind of make-it-or-break-it moment in the revolution? It seems so. And if you don’t believe me, take a look at the town seal:
Yeap. There you have it folks. My town’s finest hour in its struggle to free itself from English rule immortalized on the official seal. A crowning moment in its nearly 375 years of existence. There’s our man galloping away from the redcoats; running, fleeing and waving his sword with defiance as he says, “I’m outta here!” He wasn’t even from Greenwich by the way, nor did he die there.
Doesn’t it make you wish that a town smack in the middle of a war would have been responsible for something more historically significant than the tale of a man tearing off with his tail between his legs in the face of danger? But that’s the way history works and you can’t change it.
And you know what? Deep down I like the symbol. It takes guts to make it the image of your town. Just the way it took guts for that old officer to barrel down a drop so inclined it could almost be considered a cliff. And he certainly did the right thing, because trying to stand up to them would not have gotten the town anywhere. And he probably would have died in the attempt.
Turning Putnamp’s escape into a source of local pride says something about this town. I just wonder how many locals realize that.