I’ll Be Home For Xmas 8

Here’s the history section I put in the previous post.  I’ll pasted here again so you don’t have to scroll down:

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.

     There you go.  According to this writer, pretty much nothing happened between the years 1779 and 1983.  That’s a leap of 204 years.  And what did occur since then, with the exception of the bridge collapse, is of very little transcedence.  A man had to go to court to be able to sit on the beach and the Powerball lottery disrupted life in the town during the 1990s.  Come on!  That’s all?

     I remember when a strech of the I-95 Mianus (pronounced /my-ANN-us/  just in case any wise guys were wondering  there) River Bridge collapsed in June (I believe) of 1983, killing three people.   This was no doubt an important moment, albeit sad one, in the history of this town.   The beach affair got national attention because it was snooty Greenwich telling non-residents they couldn’t use their beach.  Greenwich beaches are pretty lame anyway, so why anyone would want to take legal action to swim in water whose waves are generally no higher than a blade of grass is beyond me.  But the man who sued won out in the end and it turned into a big victory for Greenwich haters who never would want to set foot on the beach to begin with.  Congratulations.

     I wasn’t around for the Powerball brawl, but I can just imagine all the residents getting uptight about foreigners (by that I mean New Yorkers and New Jerseyans) invading the area in the hopes of striking it rich.  That must have been entertaining.  Was it deserving of taking up more text space than any other moment in the town’s 37o years of existence?…I don’t think so…but entertaining all the same.

      But I am equally sure that there was something else worth noting must have happened during that two-century span.  Of course there was.

       What about hometown girl Dorothy Hamill taking the olympic gold in ice-skating in the 1976 Games.  How often does that happen?  And they could have also mentioned the very serious plan to create an entire United Nations Headquarters, with city and airport too, in Greenwich, in the land above the Merritt Parkway.   That would have involved confiscating nearly half of the town.  Now that’s something to take up arms about, not whimpering about not having a place to park your car.  They even held a referendum but the proposal was shot down.  Now that would have changed the face of the town.

       What was Greenwich like 150 years ago?  100 years ago?  At the turn of the 20th Century, it was a popular resort town and several very large hotels were built and have since been torn down.  An important art colony inhabited by numerous impressionists painters spouted in Cos Cob in the 19th Century.  There were mills, quarries and factories.  Famous figures like Boss Tweed lived here.  There are all sorts of curiosities.  Binney Park in Old Greenwich, for instance, where the 4th of July fireworks take place, was named for resident Edwin Binney, who designed and supervised its construction, and happened to be the man who invented the Crayola crayon, the most famous brand in America.  The first short-wave radio transmission to Europe was sent from a point just 100 yards from where I grew up, off North Street.  And that’s just scratching the surface.  Yes, I would say that a heck of a lot of things has happened here, but so little has been done to recount it to the people of this town.  Just a simple bit of research here and there reveals so much about a town which gives it more depth and character to its rich history and than just a rich community near New York.

      Something has got to be done about this.

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