from Jane Smith Graham
I found this clipping from The Norwalk Hour, August 23, 1967. Stephanie Dell’Agnese and Mike Souney lived on Belle Island, John “Joss” Staplefeldt and Walt Graham grew up on Wilson Point and Dave Brown was from Wilton.
from Jane Smith Graham
I found this clipping from The Norwalk Hour, August 23, 1967. Stephanie Dell’Agnese and Mike Souney lived on Belle Island, John “Joss” Staplefeldt and Walt Graham grew up on Wilson Point and Dave Brown was from Wilton.
From Willis (Bill) Ryckman
One of the best times I’ve had in the past 20 years was the reunion at Bayley Beach. It was tremendous. Couldn’t wait to finally move back here. Grew up in the Association but now live on Belle Island. But for news.
(Click to enlarge) Sadly Robin and I have to report that Anne Strand passed away just a little while ago. I believe Anne was 93 years old and had been in an assisted living facility in Athens, Ga. which was near her stepson, Warren French. Anne had been the sixth grade teacher and also was made principal of the elementary school when she was in her 30’s. She was a very good friend of our parents and Robin and I visited her frequently when she and her husband retired to Vero Beach. I saw her a few times in Athens and we had wonderful talks about old times. Her younger brother, Roy, still lives in town.Read More
Nina Foster and Nancy Hamman Cornbrooks visited Kate Cornbrooks last weekend in Kennebunk ME. Kate may be the eldest of Rowayton residents of the 50s and 60s still living at about 90 years old. Kate and Charlie Cornbrooks lived on Bell Island with Suzie and Nancy Hamman (Cornbrooks) in the 50s and 60s. Nancy and David Foster with Gray, Meg, and Ian lived on Ridgewood Road in Rowayton before Nina was born. June Leavitt (down below), Kate’s sister, and Peter Leavitt lived on Harstrom Place, Bryan Road, and Bluff Avenue up from Hickory Bluff in the 40s-70s, and their children John, Phoebe, Peter, David, and Andy were RowaytonKids too. Other sister, Lois, with Rex Gatten and children Meg, Tupper, and Neal lived on Wilson Ave next to the Ladrigans in the 50s and 60s. The fourth person in this picture is Kaila Hamman LaPierre who is Nancy Hamman’s daughter.
Here is Nancy Adamson Foster and Kate Magill Cornbrooks in Milton Gardens, Rye NY in 1931 or 32. Nancy is furthest to the left in the front row with Kate next to her. June, my mother is on the left in the back and young sis Lois is on a lap. in the back.
Nancy Foster’s eldest daughter, Gray Foster, passed away due to cancer in 2012. She was 65. I uncovered this picture of Grey taken at a wedding in 2001 (12 years ago). Grey ended up living in the Seattle area for most of her life. Here she is with her grand-daughter (I believe), Lily. All the Fosters, Father David, Mother Nancy, Grey, Meg, Ian, and Nina were/are very handsome people and close long-term friends with my family, the Leavitts of Rowayton. David and Nancy moved to Vermont after Rowayton in the 60s when David left a NY job to become a carpenter building houses. They remained in touch with my parents into the 1990s. After David passed away Nancy moved to Kennebunkport to be close to my aunt Kate Cornbrooks. They often visited our farm in Woodstock CT after we arrived in 1996.
In the late 50s David and Nancy Foster bought the Fogel’s house on Ridgewood Road across from the Tebo’s house and down the road from the Smiths (Jane), Dawson’s (Patty), and Thompson’s (Teddy and Joan). The Foster’s moved in with RowaytonKids, Meg and older sister Gray, returning from North Carolina with perfected southern accents (the girls said “Y’awl”). Meg became my sister Phoebe’s closest childhood friend. I couldn’t help but notice that Meg liked catsup on her spaghetti or rice (yuk!). Later after acting school in New York, Meg became a successful Hollywood actress; I was always impressed with Meg’s light blue eyes and enjoyed seeing her in movies and on TV. Older sister, Gray, was very pretty. Gray was once married to Dick Kreager’s brother (Dick is Lyn’s husband). Her oldest child is Tad Kreager.
Here’s Meg (right) and Gray having a sister chat at our house in the 70s.
Nancy Foster passed away in the middle of this last decade after moving to the Seattle area to be near her children. My mother and sister Kate Cornbrook’s friendship with Nancy goes back to the 1920s when both families lived in Milton Gardens in Rye NY. That story is told at the Milton Gardens website in the right sidebar.
I spent 5 years in summer sailing school at the Norwalk Yacht Club which was on Bluff Avenue in Rowayton before it moved to the opposite side of the Cove to Wilson Point in the 1960s. I notice that the NYC still has junior sailing classes 5 days a week for 8-foot dinghies and 14-foot Blue Jays.
I enjoyed these daily classes immensely and discovered that I had a talent for winning races. While Paul was playing little league and pony league baseball in Norwalk, I was sailing. In retrospect it’s easy to see how the Rowayton kids of the 50s started to head in different directions between 1955 and the 60s. We all had our different diversions.
I remember Linda Gloetzner and Bill Lilly attending sailing school. Bill Lilly was killed in the mid-60s in Viet Nam, possibly the only Rowayton casualty in the 60s in that war. I made the point of looking for Bill’s name on the Viet Nam Memorial when I visited Washington DC later on.
The satellite view below shows the playing field for Sailing School which spanned from Wilson Cove in the north past Tavern Island to a buoy just south of the southern tip of Bell Island. The smaller picture of the dock and looking southeast to Sheffield Island and Long Island Sound shows the perspective from the docks of the old NYC. In the satellite view, the green arrow shows the approximate location of the old NYC, the pink arrow shows the new location of the NYC since the 1960s, the yellow arrow shows Wilson Point Beach where I was lifeguard/beach boy/tennis teacher in the early 1960s, the red arrow was where I capsized in Shelly Trubowitz’ canoe in early March in the early 60s (and had to swim pulling Shelly’s canoe to Wilson Point Beach), the white arrow shows Tavern Island, and the pea green arrow points to Bell Island. The number of boats moored in the harbor has greatly increased since the 1950s.
The light blue arrow shows the location of our house in the 60s next to Billy Rose’s house for the proprietors of Tavern Island, and Hickory Bluff. The Trubowitz live next to us on the north side of our house.
I remember the very first day I sailed in a race at sailing school. Since I was new and knew nothing, I had to crew for another student who showed no interest in winning the race. As we floated past Bell Island to the buoy at the head of the channel in near last place my frustration mounted. Never again would I sail with that guy.
In one memorable race, our starting line was near the old NYC and the first mark was up wind near the point of Wilson Point. I got a good start and was ahead of 15-20 boats. But there was practically no wind. In retrospect, I was probably good at this because of my concentration on the angle of the sail and the direction of the wind. I made a strategic decision to head on a port tack southeast because it made sense that there might be a better chance of catching a breeze further out in the harbor. The other boats followed me initially but then the second boat tacked to the left (starboard tack with the wind coming over the right side of the hull) and all the other boats followed the second boat. The rule of thumb was that I should have tacked to the left also to maintain my lead and take advantage of the wind that they were looking for. But I thought it was a stupid tack because it just took the boats deeper into the cove. The end result was that I found a breeze and they didn’t – I finished the race about 45 minutes ahead of the other boats and received a resounding scolding from the sailing instructors. Nevertheless, I watched the rest of the boats cross the finish line with great pride.
These photos show what dinghy racing and Sailfish racing looked like.
In September of 1955 or 1956 I received a Sailfish (shown below) for my 12th/13th birthday. This was the best birthday present I could imagine. We launched the boat on the Five Mile River at a small beach that was next to Rowayton Avenue just south of Hartogs’ boat yard (this scene may not be on the Five mile River though). I believe that’s mom rowing the boat with Peter and David on board. I don’t recall who was on the sailfish with me at the time. This was an early wooden Sailfish which was heavier than the newer fiberglass boats.
It wasn’t long before I started sailing solo out of the mouth of the Five Mile River over to Fish Island to the southwest of the Tokeneke Beach. In August of 1958 I entered an annual sailfish race organized off of Tokeneke which consisted of well over 30 boats from the nearby coastal towns. My sister Phoebe, at 80-85 lbs, was my required crew. This was quite an adventure for me because I was unencumbered by the jaded instructors at the NYC, on my own with my own boat. I remember getting a very bad start in the race in 1958, but we doggedly perservered.
The distant mark was the Green Ledge Lighthouse which was always within earshot on foggy days. As we rounded the Lighthouse we ran into turbulent waters…and we capsized. Fortunately, Phoebe was wearing a life preserver, so I was free to right the sailfish, and we were able to continue the race. I recovered a plaque that I received after that first race from my parents house a few months ago that verified that we came in 7th in the 1958 race even with the bad start. The following year (1959) we finished forth.
In the ensuing 50 years of living in West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Howard County Maryland, Palo Alto California, and now Woodstock CT, I have yearned to return to the Rowayton waterfront. In my mind’s eye the images are as bright as in this website, and I still sense the smell of the Rowayton waterfront.
From Bill Ryckman
A picture of (l to R) Bill Ryckman, Terry White, Bunny Harding, and Jon Kellogg in Sarasota at a mini-reunion April 2014. Jon lives in Nokomis Florida, Bunny in Shelton Ct, Terry in Concord, Ohio and I am back in Rowayton. We plan on making this an annual event and hope that this picture will prompt some others to join us. Bill
See Bill Ryckman, Terry White, and Bunny Harding in Miss Falzone’s Class further below.
From Bill Ryckman
The kid with the baseball glove was me (center back row). I am distraught no one picked up on that. What a great picture and Ms. Falzone’s look I will never forget. I see Jon Kellogg all the time. He just moved from Rowayton to Nokomis, Fla. and we visited last month. He is doing great and hasn’t changed a bit. My sister Robin is living in Delray, Fla. I remember a few from her class, Andrea Sweet, Camilla Meyerson, Paul Ballard, John Hagerman, Perry Seifert etc. I am back in Rowayton living in Belle Island. I have great memories of my seven years at Rowayton School. Ms. Sherman, Ms Lyons, square dancing in Mrs. Franks third grade with my first girl friend Terry White, although I don’t think she knew it, and all the fun times growing up in town on a bike.
My email is Wryckman@hotmail.com would love to hear from anyone.
Terry White says ” John Derrick is 4th from left in the back row. And that’s Sandy Willmott next to him and not in front row. Doug Penn is in back of Steve Woodcock, next to Donald Eleck. And I am Robin White’s older sister!
Pat thinks the kid in the back row, third from the left, may be Ranny Grinnell. He does look like Ranny. I believe he stayed back one year so it could be Ranny. Crick
I found this photo with my mother-in-law’s (Anne Graham) note on the back: “Class picnic at Wilson Point. 5th Grade, Miss Falzone, 1955″ David Smith (Roton Ave) enlarged it for me and was able to identify some of the students. Front row L to R: Dick Ackerman, Alice Smith, Sandy Willmott, Missy Warner, Terry White and Connie Young. 2nd Row (kneeling) L to R: Bunny Harding, David Smith, Walt Graham, Barbara Winola (and her younger sister) and Tom Hammang at the end. 3 row L to R: ?, Fred Moore, Ranny Grinnell, Tom Nelson, Linda Brown, Bill Ryckman, ? ? ? Don Eleck, Ed Mechek, Marty Ferman, Peter Johnson and Eddie Hart. Can anyone identify others?
This is a very nice picture. This class was a year behind my 6th grade class that had Pat, Connie, Margo, and Marcia, as well as Sue Harris and others who have come to RowaytonKids. I remember Fred Moore, a “Steve” Ackerman, and Tommy Hammang’s father who gave me tennis lessons. I didn’t know Sandy Wilmont but her brother Dick was a good friend. It’s funny, but I remember Eddie Hart but I am not sure why. I vaguely remember Marty Ferman. Albert Eleck sat next to me in 6th grade. Albert was my Lieutenant on the safety patrol when I was Captain. Terry White may have been Robin White’s older sister. It’s strange how our classes didn’t interact.
Here comes NHS band marching with me (trumpet), Paul Tebo (tenor sax), and Paul Ballard (drums). You can clearly see the Norwalk City Hall in the background. The Norwalk Theater is playing a Jane Mansfield movie “The Burglar.”Read More
The Hartogs were our neighbors from 1946 to about 1951 on Harstrom Place. Our house there was four posts down. I recall seeing black and white cowboy movies on the Hartogs TV before we had a TV. We used an ice box and had ice and milk bottles delivered through our back door. Such was life then.Read More
This is probably not the type of response you (to Ellin) would expect from your post.
My guess is Teddy Thompson and you were the consensus most attractive girls in our class (judging from the response in Miss Hollowell’s Dancing School, after the click of her castanets). But, one afternoon, after a group of us paired off in Tom Garvey’s basement, I remember Kirk Hamilton proclaiming to us all that Missy (Horace McMahon’s daughter) had the “Most Kissable Lips”! Must have been around 1958 – give, or take a year.
I believe the last time I saw Missy, Robin White and I had rented a place on the river from Ted Jones. It was late winter in 1972 and the streets were flooded beyond Rowayton Marine.
Missy and her mother, Louise, couldn’t get home to their home in Rowayton Beach, so, to get out of the cold, they visited with us until the waters receded.Read More
Diane and daughter Tricia got together with Becki and me for breakfast in San Mateo CA this last week. Diane got her start on Covewood Drive (see below). Becki and me at the Golden Gate Bridge on the same day.
from Diane (Wilkinson) Trefethen
I moved from Covewood Drive to Darien right after my 8th birthday. I had just started to get up the courage to defy my Mom and ride my bike out on [ GASP!!! ] Wilson Avenue. Plus my Dad was determined that I go to public school so was almost certain that I’d have met up with a lot of the other Rowayton Kids if we hadn’t moved to Darien. That would have meant SAILING! But I missed out and didn’t sail anything till my 30s, and then only dinghys. Now, reading about all your adventures and the Bluff, I decided I’d waited long enough and I went out and found someone who gives ASA sailing lessons on a Catalina22. I’m now an official beginner, lol, but I’ve already crewed in a race
Courage may be inherent in the individual but even the bravest amongst us needs heroes.
Not sure whose birthday party this is (maybe Linda’s Wadlow’s).
Can anyone fill in the names?
The date is probably not 1949 or 1950, more like 1948 or 1949.
Left to right back row: Linda Wadlow, Ann Delafield?, Me (Diane), Mary Empy, Susan Davis?, Unknown
From a comment left by Diane on May 30th:
I was doing a google search for Bronwyn Jones (here’s an article by Bronwyn over a year ago), a Thomas School, class of 1960, classmate when I found RowaytonKids. SO many remembered and half-remembered names and places.
I lived at 4 Covewood Drive from 1942 – 1950. Attended “The Farm”, Thomas School’s nursery school and kindergarten in 1946/47. See others at the Nursery School maybe a year later – Caroline Hoyt, Margo and me, Crick. This was after they no longer had the horses and equestrian program. Then I attended grades 1-3 in Greycote off Wilson Ave. Getting to school in the morning was tough – just had to cross the street Nevertheless, I managed to be late more than not. Somewhere in my parents’ old pics are several circa 1947 including a street photo of all us kids. I will find it and try to find someone to scan it.
I remember my Dad taking me to the Rowayton Library on Saturday mornings in the Summer, his getting some new mystery novels and then we’d go out to Bayley Beach (funny, I always thought it was Bailey). I remember the chain link fence separating “us” from “them” (the Wee Burnites). My Dad wouldn’t let me go up to the north end of the beach so I only remember seeing from afar what I think was the base of the old carosel. Then in the afternoon, I’d walk barefoot with my Dad ALL the way across the parking lot (dang that lot was HOT) to get Good Humors. I loved the peach ice cream on a stick with the raspberry ice coating.
I fell in love with horses for a lifetime at the old Rowayton Fair… it was the first time (I was probably 2) that I was taller than my MomRead More
I live in the Maury-Bruno-Wilson-Penberthy house at 72 Witch Lane. Was married to John Penberthy. My kids played for Rowayton Fuel in Little League. (Go, Fuel!)
I am contributing to an exhibit the Rowayton Historical Society is mounting on Rowayton in the 1950s. A big part of it — the children’s book authors and illustrators who lived here in at the time (Ruth Krauss, Crockett Johnson and others), and other bits.
I have the assignment of writing a bio of Ruth Krauss. Can you ask your members if they remember working on A Hole is to Dig, or anything else about her or her husband? They lived on Crockett Street and also (I think) at 74 Highland Avenue.
The exhibit runs from May through November of this year. If anyone wants to come back to visit the exhibit, or in advance, share stories by email, that would be greatly appreciated.
Feel free to call or write. We would be thrilled to have stories and photos.
Thank you all! ChrisRead More
My mother, dad, and I lived on Harstrom Place one house up the street from the Hartogs between 1944 and 1949. This is our house on the east side of the road. The kids on the steps were probably there for my birthday on September 8th in 1944 or 1945. I am next to the front wall on the right at the top of the steps and Brooke Maury is sitting at the top of the steps (I believe). I bet there are some Hartogs there. The bottom picture is the back of the house with a little studio behind the house. My bedroom was on the second floor with the window on the upper right. We had an icebox and the ice man visited once or twice a week. The milk man left milk bottles on the back porch. I learned to ride a two wheeler bike right in front of the house. There was a path through an empty field to get to Rowayton Avenue just south of where the firehouse was on the west side of Rowayton Ave. The firehouse became the library when Charlie Bradford’s new firehouse was built on the other side of Rowayton Avenue. Bad boy Warren Madison lived across the road from the Hartogs with pretty sister Lynn Madison.
Lynn Madison and Patty Dawson were two of my friends when we lived on Harstrom Place.
Carol Fairchild Smith April 17, 2010 at 1:20am on Facebook to Patty:
“Pat, was checking out RowaytonKids – talk about a walk down memory lane. On two of the pics you sent in – the one with Kathy Lago, Sue Fay, etc. the last person is Bill Pfifer. There was another one with Lynn Madison, Diane Parr, Joanie, etc. the unknown I believe is Alice Weston.”
Front row from left to right: Joan Kuchman, Lynn Madison, mystery, and Patty Dawson.
Back row from left to right: Carol Fairchild, Diane Parr, mystery, Caroline Hoyt.
Check out Emily Levine’s comments under “Recent Comments”
from Linda Brown Odle by way of Carolyn Park Bruno
This is a picture of Miss Strand, our 6th grade teacher and principal at Rowayton School. The picture has the date of 1956.Read More
From the United Church’s SEXTANT, September 1959 – transcribed by Crick who added the italics.
Numbers were the big news at the Rowayton tennis courts this last summer. The addition of the fourth court provided more playing area and a record number of local folk enjoyed the use of the tennis facilities. Over 150 entries in the local tournaments provided excitement for the matches and tennis enthusiasts were encouraged to see the many youngsters who were playing.
Ward Chamberlin successfully defended his position as the RTA men’s champion and Dick Aycrigg and Algie Middleton regained the doubles championship that they won in 1957. Charlie Wilson won his first title when he teamed with Jane Wadleton to take the mixed doubles championship. The women’s matches were not finished as this SEXTANT goes to press.
There were a lot of hard fought matches in the boys’ singles for 10-15 year olds, and two 11 year olds, Robin White and Cleve Penberthy, battled for the title, with White coming out on top.
Bill Talbert, former national title holder (actually he won the US clay court championships once and was runner up in the 1944 and 1945 US Championships), accompanies by Abe Segal from South Africa, Don McNeill from Darien, and Harry Van Rensselaer from Greenwich, put on an exhibition match that thrilled several hundred spectators. This unusual treat was made possible by John Sharnik of Bell Island, who has co-authored a book, “Playing for Life, with Talbert. Ward Chamberland helped with the arrangements and played in one of the three sets.
Numerous visitors played at Bayley Beach this summer; two outstanding guests were Jackie Robinson and Norman Thomas. Crick Leavitt was given the honor of warming up Jackie for his exhibition match; the picture of Crick was taken at a match with the all-conference team at Bethany College. Many young Rowaytonites are proudly exhibiting tennis balls with Jackie’s signature. John Tunis came back to play a few sets on the local courts, just a month or two before his seventieth birthday! In the early 1960s John Tunis often joined Ward and Crick at the tennis courts at Wilson Point.
Jay Cheek, president of the newly-formed Rowayton Tennis Association, resigned in July and Eadie Park, vice president, stepped up. Bill Prophet was tournament chairman and Kim Aycrigg handled events for those under 16. Charlotte Judge coordinated the adult activity, running a highly successful (albeit often postphoned) Round Robin that was won by Ben Rice and Sally Plaut. Helping her were Sandy Goennel in charge of the weekly morning session for “the gals” and Dede Hegeman who arranged four inter-club matches with the Shore and Country Club and Roton Point women’s teams. Local ladies lost one and split three of these.
George Shiras had a full program of inter-club matches (George’s son Leif Shiras made it to the Wimbeldon chamionships in the 1980s). The RTA teams played New Canaan Field Club, Pelham Country Club, Shore and Country Club, and Noroton Manor. The locals won four and lost one match. Mike Newman and I often sought out George for a weekend tennis match.Read More
THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparell’d in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
Turn wheresoe’er I may,
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.
The rainbow comes and goes,
And lovely is the rose;
The moon doth with delight
Look round her when the heavens are bare;
Waters on a starry night
Are beautiful and fair;
The sunshine is a glorious birth;
But yet I know, where’er I go,
That there hath pass’d away a glory from the earth.
Now, while the birds thus sing a joyous song,
And while the young lambs bound
As to the tabor’s sound,
To me alone there came a thought of grief:
A timely utterance gave that thought relief,
And I again am strong:
The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep;
No more shall grief of mine the season wrong;
I hear the echoes through the mountains throng,
The winds come to me from the fields of sleep,
And all the earth is gay;
Land and sea
Give themselves up to jollity,
And with the heart of May
Doth every beast keep holiday;—
Thou Child of Joy,
Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy
Ye blessèd creatures, I have heard the call
Ye to each other make; I see
The heavens laugh with you in your jubilee;
My heart is at your festival,
My head hath its coronal,
The fulness of your bliss, I feel—I feel it all.
O evil day! if I were sullen
While Earth herself is adorning,
This sweet May-morning,
And the children are culling
On every side,
In a thousand valleys far and wide,
Fresh flowers; while the sun shines warm,
And the babe leaps up on his mother’s arm:—
I hear, I hear, with joy I hear!
—But there’s a tree, of many, one,
A single field which I have look’d upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:
Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
The 1959 Sextant was provided by Connie Henry Walley
This is an article published The SEXTANT by the United Church of Rowayton in September, 1959.
Reminding of the Heroic Deeds of our Soldiers and Sailors in the War of the Rebellion for the Preservation of the Union.”
So reads the principal inscription on the stone base of the cannon occupying the small triangle of land at the junction of Wilson and Rowayton Avenues. On the western side of the baseis a bronze plate that quietly records the names of 51 young citizens who never returned from World War I. This much of the cannon’s historyis obvious to the interested passer-by. But did you ever wonder where it came from and how it got there? We did.One of the least known and most unappreciated local landmarks is the great iron cannon that commands the northerly approach to our village center.
Establishment of the memorial dates back to 1900, when a group of Rowayton Civil War veterans, members of the Douglas Fowler Post of the G.A.R. in South Norwalk, prevailed upon their parent organization in Washington to provide the gun. As recalled by those familiar with the event, obtaining it was no great problem. Finding a suitable location and mounting the five-ton weapon, however, took a bit of doing.
A Gun Committee, which had been formed to accept and maintain the field-piece, held many meetings to work out these problems. The more serious one, obtaining a site, was solved when Elias Pennoyer, owner of the house at 168 Rowayton Ave., agreed to give the community a portion of his front lawn. According to the minutes of the original Gun Commity, know in the hands of Capt. Frank Stevens, the little park was deeded, without cost, “for the sole and only purpose of erecting thereon a memorial dedicated to the deceased soldiers and sailors of Rowayton.”
The deed specifies that the property shall be held by nine trustees, to be selected as required by those remaining or surviving. In addition to Captain Stevens, a member of the original group, the other trustees currently are Edgar L. Raymond, Edgar D. Lynch, and I. H. Kiggins. (Thus it is fitting that grand-daughter Kathy Kiggins is shown in the second picture below at about the time this Sextant article was published. CL).
The gun itself appears to be a coast artillery piece developed around 1860-63 by Robert Parrott, on of the nations first and most illustrious ordnance experts. With a bore of 6 1/2 inches and a barrel about 12 feet long, it fired a 100-pound prjectile a maximum of 8400 yards at a 5 degree elevation. Although there have been other less charitable explanations, its size seems to explain adequately why the gun points North, as that axis is the only one which permits a symmetrical placement and an attractive approach to the memorial.
The gun was originally mounted on the U.S.S. Tallapoosa, one of aclass of fifteen “double-enders” of 1175 tons, completed in 1863, apparently to enforce the highly effective Union blockade of Confederate commerce. The Tallapoosa carried two such guns, in addition to other lighter armament.
Little is recorded of the Tallapoosa’s naval career except that she did not have a climatic ending like her sister ship, the Otrego (this name is smugged so unsure about the “r”), which was set afire by Conferate guns in the Roanoke River in 1864. Her chief claim to recognition lies rather in the factthat she outlived her sisters, which were all retired by 1870, remaining in service until 1892. This explains the success of the Committee in obtaining the Parrott gun thirty five years after the end of the Civil War. How many other such cannon may still be found across the land is an interesting question.
They were, in any event, noted for their wonderful durability during the Civil War and added luster to the name of their inventor. A New Hamshireman, born in 1804, Parrott was a graduate of West Point in 1824, saw service aganinst the Creek Indians, and subsequently taught mathematics and physics at the Military Academy. In 1836 he resigned from the service to become superintendent of the West Point Iron & Cannon Foundry at nearby Cold Spring, New York.
In addition to his fame as an inventor and manufacturer, Parrott was noted – fittingly, in view of the destiny of the gun – for a rare lack of greed and evident unwillingness to take personal advantage of the needs of the Army. He severed his connection with the foundry in 1867 and died on Christmas Eve a decade later.
For all its notable history, the 97-year old gun (now 142 years old in 2014) has suffered a number of monumental indignities during its residence in Rowayton. Most especially it has been the target of youthful fun-seekers. On one occasion the gun was turned into a king-size teeter-totter when too many youngsters crowded onto the muzzle end. Another favorite halloween prank revolved around one William Huyler, an earlier occupant pf the white house on Bee Hive Corner.
Huyler had served in Hawkins’ Zouaves, a colorful Civil War regiment, and was something of a martinet. Although small in stature, he is remembered for his peppery personality, parade-ground voice, and distinguished shock of iron-gray hair. A military dandy, with a highly developed patriotism, he was prone to call to account anyone he observed showing the slightest disrespect to the flag or otherwise behaving in a manner which he did not approve. Every Halloween for years, the youngsters of the village painted “General Bill Huyler” in bold letters on both sides of the barrel.
In earlier days, pyramids of cannon balls (which incidently did not fit the gun) once graced each corner of the stone mounting. Youngsters have rolled many of them into the Five Mile River, and during World War II a junk man was caught trying to make off with some of them. Only a solitary sphere remains in place.
Interest in the gun and affection for it have been reviving recently, however. Following a report at the Civic Association meeting this Spring that it was in need of maintenance, an energetic feminine trio of Anne Henry, Otis Griffiths, and Grace Lichtenstein gave it a new coat of black paint, the latter together with brushes, donated by Jack Harding.
The top picture of the cannon was provided by Jane Smith Graham. The lower picture was provided by Kathy Wilmot Pinto. Here is Kathy Kiggins in 1959, granddaughter of I. H. Kiggins who was on the original committee which acquired the cannon. Kathy lived on Rowayton Avenue near the Darien line as a kid and married Tony Macri.Read More
See the second article of a two-part series on my work at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto in the 1980s published at Oregon State’s Pauling Blog honoring their alumnus and two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling.
Becki is featured in this part. The first part was published last Wednesday.
See the first article of a two-part series on my work at the Linus Pauling Institute in Palo Alto in the 1980s published at Oregon State’s Pauling Blog honoring their alumnus and two-time Nobel Prize winner, Linus Pauling. The second part will be published next Wednesday.Read More
Dick Willmott lived on Ledge Road near Johnny Wrigley and Jimmy Coates. Dick , Lenny Calendriello, Paul Tebo, Rick Amon, Jim Coates and I were good friends and had many memorable moments together. The last time I saw Dick, he was living with girlfriend or wife and new baby in an apartment in Stamford. This was in December 1966 when I had started grad school. I have lost touch with Dick and have always wondered how he was doing. He went to Yale and I believe he was an aspiring writer. He had been a voracious reader when he managed the gate at Bayley Beach.
The picture below is his yearbook picture at Norwalk High in 1961. He ran cross-country for three years. In my senior year I joined the team to get in shape for tennis in the spring. I uncovered the Norwalk hour clippings in an envelop that was stashed with all of my family photographs kept by my mother. These race results show that I was always a step behind Dick. Frankly I am surprised that I was that close behind because I wasn’t swift by any means. I usually felt completely spent by the end of the race which varied in distance from 2.5 to 3.5 miles. The state championship race was 5 miles. We used to practice on a seven mile course. The longer the race was the better I did. Knowing that I could run long distance came in handy for a college stunt that I won’t go into here. If anyone has information about Dick, please share.
from Jim Coates
This recent cold snap reminded of the times when the Five Mile River froze over and we could ice skate on it. Our parents probably did not know we were doing it as the salt water ice would crack behind you as you skated along. It also gave you no warning when it would give way. It was somewhat difficult to get on as the shore ice would be broken up because of the tides so you had find a float that was not pulled up. My father used to tell a story that he remembered one winter that the Sound froze half to the light house. Maybe others have other tales.Read More
See daughter-in-law Wendy’s comment below.
Stefan and Marion lived on Pennoyer Street in a house one or two down from Billy Parks. Stefan played the father of Barbara Cooke, the heroine, in “Plain and Fancy” on Broadway in the mid-50s. Here’s a photo (below; Marion is to the left) from Life Magazine with Stefan and Barbara on the right after the Amish community erected a barn. His role was major, and he even sang solos. It was a terrific hit. I went to this show, my first, which left me with indelible memories. After the show, we went back-stage to see Stefan in his dressing room. He later (in the early 60s) starred in the Three Penny Opera in German which was also a hit on Broadway. I discovered the picture below while cleaning out some drawers at my parents house recently.
One memorable experience with Marion and Stefan happened in June of 1966. They invited me to a barbecue at their house on Pennoyer Street. I was about to leave for the summer to travel around Europe on my own and they wanted to give me some advice for my travels. I remember only one piece of advice. Stephan recommended a restaurant in Munich, “Meine Schwester und ich” (translated “My sister and I”). So I took off from Idlewild Airport and flew to Frankfurt over night then hopped a train to Munich. I was exhausted from the trip when I arrived in Munich so I found a hotel near the train station and took a nap. I arose in the late afternoon. Then feeling a little lonely, I hailed a cab and asked to be taken to Meine Schwester und ich. It was still a little early when I arrived at the restaurant for dinner so I was the only patron in a long narrow dining room. I was led down the aisle with single tables on either side and placed at a table at about the middle of the room. I ordered goulash soup, the only dish I recognized on the menu. While waiting to be served, I noticed that there were many framed photographs on the wall. Then I looked to my right to the picture next to me. It was Stefan’s “actor photo” the same one that I had at home. I was both amused by this and comforted in my lonely state. After dinner with Stefan at Meine Schwester und ich I hailed another cab and went off to the Hofbrauhaus.
Stefan and Marion visited us at the farm in Woodstock from Switzerland near Lake Como in the late 1990s during a gibbous moon. I remember the conversation because dad and Stefan argued incessantly about whether the “G” was hard or soft. Stefan took the side of “Gee”. Stefan died about 10 years ago. More recently Marion called before my father passed away and recently to ask for some momentos that my mother and father had saved for her including the picture above which she wanted to give to her grandchildren.Read More
From Mike Farrell
I just stumbled upon this website “rowaytonkids.com” and came across the above news about Rusty Fairchild. As a long ago resident of Rowayton – 7 Milton Place and 124 Rowatyon Avenue – I knew Rusty and his sister Carol well. As a kid I sometimes stayed at Rusty’s house after school since my mother worked and it was a fun arrangement. Later on when I returned from a four year hitch in the Navy I remember talking with both Rusty and his spouse (and sister Carol) when Rusty rented a small apartment just down the sidewalk from our house next to Louie’s. I am sorry to hear of his passing and the circumstances are strange and almost unbelievable. Carol, I knew you were close to your brother and sent our blessings to his family.
I lived in Rowayton from 1942 until I graduated grad school in January 1971. Obviously, I was away in the service, college and graduate school for a few years but always remember the wonderful environment we lived in. It was a small-town atmosphere, and everyone knew each other…and we walked to Rowayton school during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
We currently live in Lake Forest, IL just north of Chicago about 30 miles. I have been married to Karen for 45 years.
Our best to the Fairchild family. We look back and remember the great times after school at your house…and I still remember your mom listening to the soaps on her radio while we played down below in the entrance area and driveway area of your red shingled house.
Best to all, Mike and Karen FarrellRead More
I was saddened to find Lenny Calandriello’s obit while I was searching for him related to the football story below. Since Lenny was born in November 1943 and had an older brother, Jack, I’m quite sure this is the RowaytonKid we grew up with. That’s Lenny’s high school graduation picture in 1961. He would have been 70 in November. A picture at the top shows Lenny, Danny Pack, and me in nursery school. I remember going to Cub Scouts at Lenny’s house on Highland Avenue.
His obit stated the following: “Leonard J. Calandriello, 67, husband of Alice Amaturo Calandriello of East Haven passed away January 31, 2011. Father of Alisa (David) Zambory of Hamden and Laura (Shawn) Robinson of Valrico, FL. Grandfather of Isabella Zambory, Jake and Hayley Robinson. Son of the late John and Maria Caseria Calandriello. Brother of John “Jack” (Carmela) Calandriello of Westport. Leonard was a Business Manager for the Yale School of Medicine for 30 years. He was an Army veteran of the Vietnam Conflict.”
A few summers after we graduated from NHS Lenny and I drove down to Portchester to a bar we frequented. After we had a few drinks, we left the bar out the back door and were surrounded by about six goons. Apparantly I had irritated one of them by something I had said in the bar. Lenny cocked his fist and stared them down telling them that he was a black belt in karate. Even I believed him, and the six attackers backed up and slithered away.
On another ocassion during one of those summers Dick Willmott, Lenny, and I took a rowboat with a small motor out the Five Mile River on a Saturday and motored across Long Island Sound. We parked the boat at a beach and hitch-hiked across Long Island to Fire Island. We had quite a night in the small town there and then caved in a life guard shack on Ocean Beach. We motored back to Rowayton Sunday afternoon in a somewhat disheveled state.
The kids from Rowayton school at my house in November or December 1954 minus Dick Wilmont and me in the picture, left to right: Billy Jenkins, Lenny, Johnny Fogel (front), Paul Tebo, Rick Amon, Pete Love (front);back row, Sue Harris, Patty Dawson, Roussie Flora; front row, Connie Henry, Joan Kuchman, Margo Baumgarten, and Pam Jones. ..and our cat, Stop.Read More
Since Woodstock Academy and UConn are so into football I thought that I would try to tell the story of Jerry Fishman, a phenomenal athlete at Norwalk High in the graduating class of 1961, my class. First, I did not know Jerry personally probably because I wasn’t on the football, track, and baseball teams. I can recall one afternoon when there was both a track meet and a baseball game going on at the same time. There was Jerry throwing the shotput and discus in his catchers outfit.
Jerry was very noticeable as an athlete at Norwalk High and his football team was a continuous clique of jocks that hung together. One fellow RowaytonKid and childhood friend, Len Calandriello (see Len in the team picture; he lived on Highland Avenue), was the starting offensive guard in front of Jerry, the fullback (see Jerry in the team picture). Jerry was also a linebacker on the defensive side. Len was the smallest guy on the team but built like a rock. He was actually a little shorter than me (5′7″) but I learned early-on something about Len’s toughness when I tried to make a flying tackle in a sandlot game at the old school grounds in Rowayton.
After spitting out parts of my front upper teeth I was carted off to Norwalk Hospital to see if I had a broken jaw. Len’s knee changed my smile for life and I gave him a nice scar to remember me by. I wish I could make contact with Len to ask him a few questions about Jerry.
From afar I had seen evidence that Jerry could be a bully but the story is more complicated than that. I also noticed that Jerry and the football team embraced Russell Brown as a team manager (Russell was a special person who joined my class in 7th grade). I now speculate that Jerry, who apparantly played with much emotion, was selective about who he did not like. He reacted adversely to athletes and their cohorts who seemed to put on airs about their prowess and importance.
This emotional response catalyzed two remarkable acheivements (one might be called a questionable acheivement) that I personally witnessed, and that are still remembered and talked about today. One was when Norwalk High played their arch rival, Danbury High in Danbury on Thanksgiving Day 1960. The second was when Maryland played Navy in an intense interstate rivalry facetiously known as the Crab Bowl in 1964 (in honor of the delectable Chesapeake Bay crabs). These two events were memorialized in Connecticut and Maryland newspapers on their 50-year anniversaries and probably every other 10-year anniversery. So having witnessed them both and now understanding the Maryland event better, I understand why they should be remembered. Danbury and the Midshipmen would become the victims of Jerry’s wrath.
On November 24th 1960 we all went to Danbury which at the time seemed like the end of the earth. I rarely ever went north of Norwalk in those years. NHS had not beaten Danbury in 10 years in a rivalry that began in 1908. Danbury had a 7-1 record (9-0 the previous year) and NHS was 1-6-2 (2 ties). We were used to being slaughtered every year by Danbury as NHS was a perennial loser. I never figured out why NHS (in a city of 55,000) could not win at least half of their games but I don’t recall the team having a winning season (look at this year too). Apparantly having Fishman and his brother, Alan, wasn’t enough.
NHS beat Danbury that day 30-14. There was, for the most part, only one play - Jerry Fishman up the middle behind Len and the other guard. Fishman ran the ball 50 times and gained 342 yards (almost seven yards a carry), a Danbury city record that stands today. It was astonishing to watch. A few years later Len told me that after each offensive play Fishman would return to the huddle and say ‘Give it to me again.’ He scored three of the four touchdowns and several two-point coversions. I can’t imagine the beating he took but remember watching from close to the goal line in disbelief. He gave the entire Danbury team a beating as well which they could do nothing to stop. In one play, for example, Fishman dragged three Danbury tacklers on his body for 20 yards. This feat is even more remarkable because Jerry played every play of the game with no rest – he was the linebacker on defense and the kicker too. The title in the Danbury newspaper was “‘Norwalk’s Fishman Pulverizes Danbury.” (see the story in the Norwalk Hour HERE first published in 2010).Read More
Russell D. Fairchild
Russell D. Fairchild, age 71 of Wilton, beloved husband of Mary (Ryan) Fairchild for 53 years, died on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 at Norwalk Hospital. Born in Norwalk, he was son of the late Lester Ellison and Rosalie (Russell) Fairchild. Russell was a retired Norwalk Fire Captain serving Norwalk for 25 years. Russell enjoyed the outdoors and took great pride in his home. He loved spending time with his wife and their cats. He is also survived by 4 sons: John (Linda), Douglas (Michelle), Daniel (Jaci) and Michael Fairchild, 4 grandchildren; Allison, Kailee, Emilee and Jonathan, as well as a sister, Carol Smith of Montana, and 2 nephews, Chris and Russell Smith.
His family will receive friends on Tuesday, Dec 17 from 4 to 8PM at the Magner Funeral Home, 12 Mott Ave, Norwalk.
Rusty’s final days were difficult.
Hi Jeff, I have sad news. Rusty Fairchild died yesterday. About 6 weeks ago, he was at the dump in Wilton and a 91 year old man drove his car into Rusty and pinned him between 2 cars. He ran over Rusty’s legs and he broke one leg and had to have surgery. The other leg was badly damaged and had to have over 300 stitches to repair it. After a few days in the hospital, he was able to come home. … Yesterday morning, Russ felt dizzy. They called the Ambulance, and when they got to the house, Rusty went into cardiac arrest, and died on the way to the hospital. Sorry I have such bad news at Christmastime, ….
Best Regards, DanRead More