This Place Matters!

Greenwich Preservation Month: This Place Matters!

Do you love Greenwich, CT? What places in this town inspire you the most? We want to hear about them!

How to Participate

  1. Snap a photo of a place in Greenwich that matters to you — be in the photo if you want or pose your friends, family, and/or pets!
  2. Email the photo to admin@greenwichhistory.org. Please include your first and last name, the photo’s location, and identify the people in the photo. You are welcome to write a sentence or more about why the place is special to you.
  3. Post on social media: Use hashtags #thisplacematters #thisplacemattersgreenwich; Instagram: @greenwichhistory @SavingPlaces; Twitter: @GrnHistCT @SavingPlaces; and Facebook: @GreenwichHistoricalSociety

This Place Matters logo

About Greenwich Preservation Month

First Selectman Peter Tesei  issued a proclamation recognizing May as Preservation Month. Timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Landmarks Recognition Program  on May 7, Greenwich Preservation Month and the This Place Matters! campaign encourage residents to focus on the importance of preservation for maintaining Greenwich’s rich cultural heritage by sharing the places and stories that make Greenwich such a cherished place worth preserving.

We invite all residents − children, students, adults and seniors − to participate in this modern documentary project by taking a photograph of a cherished place or structure in their community and sharing their story, however brief or long, about why it is important to preserve.

 Rules

Follow the instructions in How to Participate and submit photos by June 16. No special photography skills are necessary. Prizes will be awarded to the top five entries judged by an independent panel of Greenwich residents with an interest in preservation.

This Place Matters! is inspired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s initiative to encourage preservation.

 

How the Digital Revolution
Began in the 1800s

Ada LovelaceWhat do Lord Byron and his daughter Ada Lovelace have to do with coining the term “Luddite” and the development of computers?

In 1812 at age 24, Lord Byron gave a speech in the House of Lords agreeing with Ned Ludd that mechanical weaving machines were going to be the downfall of humane society. Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron’s only legitimate child, was, however, fascinated by the punch cards used in creating mechanical weaving machines. As a teenager she studied these automated weaving looms on a trip through the British Midlands. Later Ada worked with Charles Babbage, creator of the “Difference Engine,” a robust calculator that computed polynomial figures; and the “Analytical Engine,” the precursor to the computer, which he started building in 1834.

Jacquard cards
Jacquard punch cards. Berlin Technological Museum (Gessler Photo)
Portrait of Joseph-Marie Jacquard
This woven silk portrait of Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752–1834), inventor of the mechanism that made it possible for such detailed automated work, got Babbage’s and Lovelace’s minds working about how to use punch cards for other purposes.

In 1843 Ada published an article in a scientific journal discussing four points that earned her a place at the forefront of the digital revolution.

  1. She envisioned a machine that could be programmed and reprogrammed
  2. She thought Babbage’s Analytical Engine could be used not just for numbers but for anything that could be notated symbolically, such as music and words
  3. She published the world’s first computer program by creating detailed instructions about a sequence of operations to give the computer
  4. She opined that computers cannot think
Babbage's Analytical Engine
Babbage’s Analytical Engine

In 1979, the U.S. Department of Defense named its new common high-order computer programming language Ada. Since 2009 the second Tuesday in October has been known as Ada Lovelace Day, when women in STEM celebrate their achievements.

Ada’s contributions are discussed in “The Innovators,” Walter Isaacson’s book, which he will be discussing April 20 in a fundraising event for the Greenwich Historical Society.

 

Isaacson event info

Valentine’s Day Letter 1898

Valentine's Day card Below is a transcription of the letter in the photographs published here from artist Elmer MacRae to Constant Holley, dated February 14, 1898. MacRae was an artist, and boarder at the Holley House, which Constant helped run with her parents. Elmer and Constant fell in love, married in 1900, had twin girls in 1904, and ran the boarding house together.

Our curator Karen Frederick described the letters as such in a recent article in The New York Times: “Their letters are so lovey-dovey I can only stand reading them for a little while.”  🙂

Valentine's Day letter 1898 page 1

February 14, 1898 letter page 2Holley-MacRae Family Papers Box 6/96

Monday before dinner

[New York, February 14, 1898]

My darling Constant—

Monday and Tuesday have come and gone!—Saturday will soon come, my precious, then will we see each other again, and have each other for some time; until Saturday darling we must try to be patient and make the best of our time, so that by doing this each week, it will shorten the time when we can see each other and have each other for good and all time!

Sweet girl, you pass the time doing good to everybody when the opportunity offers, by making something pretty or whatever you might choose to improve your timing (Ed. ?), anything shall; keep occupied darling, and in this way the days, between our being together, won’t seem so long. There is hardly much use of me telling you this, sweetheart, I know you are always busy, always useful, always putting your time to some good account, but in this way I find the time isn’t quite so hard to bear.

In doing this both together, we are building the foundation stones of our union upon something solid. By that time we will be able, if necessity calls, to stand separation or any trial that might possibly come to us.

It will make us better men and better women.

Our beautiful and all powerful love, my darling, will carry us through everything and crown us with success and happiness to the end.

You sweet, loving girl, I worship and adore you—you’re my own true love!

Elmer sends his love to enrich her and stay by her all the time during his absence, and loves her constant companion wherever she goes or where she is.

Let me kiss you darling and put my arms around you—

[6 circles of kisses]

Greenwich Historical Society. Holley/MacRae Family Papers, Box 25, Folder 245. Elmer and Constant MacRae, Anniversary 1950
Elmer and Constant MacRae, fiftieth wedding anniversary, 1950

Construction Progress

We’re doubling parking capacity as part of our exciting campus transformation. Amazing progress so far! We’ll update this page as time goes on to share photos of the many changes happening at the Greenwich Historical Society.

Construction progress parking lot Nov-Dec 2016The below photos show the impressive progress digging, excavating, drilling, blasting, and otherwise readying the site for the parking lot expansion and new building. Lots of rock to remove!

Looking north November 10, 2016
Looking north November 10, 2016
Looking north February 28, 2017
Looking north February 28, 2017

 

 

 

Treasures Found During Excavation

Items found during excavationThe Greenwich Historical Society has begun its campus transformation ! First steps include removing rock, excavating, and preparing our parking area under the Mianus River Bridge of I-95 to double parking capacity and create a single, accessibe entrance.

Tea kettle found during excavationOur parking lot excavation has turned up quite a few interesting items, from a tea kettle to a (full and unopened!) laxative bottle with dosage directions etched in the glass. Here are some photos of what we’ve found so far. They all have been buried for  approximately 100 years.

Items found during excavationconstruction vehicles

 

 

Bush-Holley House by Candlelight 2016

Some photos from our wonderful annual event, held December 11. Kids got quality time with Santa and made holiday crafts, guests took tours of Bush-Holley House decorated for the holidays, and all enjoyed great music, tasty treats, and good cheer. And it was all free!

Bush-Holley House at Christmastime

‘Tis the season! Photos of the Greenwich Historical Society campus decorated for the holidays:

bhhxmasdusk

Christmas garland on the porch of Bush-Holley House

 

Cardinal decorationBush-Holley House Interior Decorated for the Holidays

Every December, Bush-Holley House is decorated in a historically accurate way with an ornamented tree, fir garlands, and stockings by the fireplace.

Christmas was not widely celebrated during the Bush family years as Puritans considered Christmas traditions derived from pagan rituals. By the time the Holleys occupied the house though, Christmas traditions included a tree, visiting friends and family, presents, and special meals. 

 

What is now called Bush-Holley House was built in stages starting ca.1730. Beginning in 1738 the house was owned by the Bush (Dutch, originally Bosch; no relation to the political Bushes) family.

Its life as a boardinghouse began in 1848 when the now much-expanded home passed out of the Bush family. Josephine and Edward Holley operated it as a boardinghouse for artists and writers beginning in 1882 and passed it to their daughter Constant Holley following her marriage to the artist Elmer MacRae in 1900.

Christmas was popularized starting with the publication of Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” in 1822 and later with a photo of Queen Victoria and her family around a table-top Christmas tree in 1847. As the 19th century came to a close, it was becoming more common for trees to be full size with all the trimmings rather than small table-top displays.

Christmas 1910 at Bush-Holley House, with MacRae twins Clarissa and Constant, daughters of Constant Holley and artist Elmer MacRae

Living at the Holley house in 1910 were Constant (age 39) and Elmer (age 35); their twin daughters, Clarissa and Constant (age 6); Constant’s parents, Edward P. Holley (age 72) and Josephine (age 61); Sally Hudson (age 26), an African-American servant; and, according to the 1910 census, two roomers—Isabel Fowler (age 44) and Carolyn Mase (age 42).

Antique Christmas card in the collections of the Greenwich Historical Society’s William E. Finch, Jr., Archives

 

Antiquarius Raffle is Monday, 12/12
at 12 noon!

FUNDRAISING RAFFLE

Sponsored by and to benefit the Greenwich Historical Society

FIVE (5) PRIZES TO BE AWARDED

Bulgari ‘Parentesi’ collection wide band ring in polished 18kt white gold,size 6. Value $7,300 1ST PRIZE  Bulgari ‘Parentesi’ collection wide band ring in polished 18kt white gold, size 6. Value $7,300

2ND PRIZE  4 roundtrip airline tickets to St. Barth, redeemable at4 roundtrip airline tickets to St. Barth, redeemable at Tradewinds Shuttle. Tradewinds Shuttle. Value $6,000

Getaway for 2 to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Includes 4 days/3 nights accommodations at the Round Hill Hotel and Villas. Value $1,5003RD PRIZE  Getaway for 2 to Montego Bay, Jamaica. Includes 4 days/3 nights accommodations at the Round Hill Hotel and Villas. Value $1,500

4TH PRIZE  $500 gift certificate for catering services redeemable at Marcia Selden catering. Date subject to availability and event must be locate 30 miles from Selden commissary in Stamford. $50 gift certificate redeemable at DIRT floral and OOMPH tini table. Value $1,000

$500 gift certificate for catering services redeemable at Marcia Selden catering. Date subject to availability and event must be locate 30 miles from Selden commissary in Stamford. $50 gift certificate redeemable at DIRT floral and OOMPH tini table. Value $1,000

2 tickets to Town Party on 5.27.17 redeemable at Roger Sherman Baldwin Greenwich Town Party Park and 2 tickets to Opening Night Party for the Greenwich International Film Festival redeemable at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich and a 10 pack of movie tickets for the Film Festival 06.1-4, 2017. Value $9205TH PRIZE  2 tickets to Town Party on 5.27.17 redeemable at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park & 2 tickets to Opening Night Party for the Greenwich International Film Festival redeemable at the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich & a 10 pack of movie tickets for the Film Festival 06.1-4, 2017. Value $920

TO PURCHASE A RAFFLE TICKET, PLEASE CONTACT
Suzanne Flinn, at 203-869-6899 ext. 14, or sflinn@greenwichhistory.org

DRAWING TO BE HELD: December 12, 2016 at 12:00 pm, Greenwich Historical Society, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807

Greenwich Historical Society:
Reimagining the Campus

An artist's rendering of the reimagined campus at the Greenwich Historical SocietyThe Greenwich Historical Society has announced a visionary plan that will dramatically transform the National Historic Landmark Bush-Holley House campus to expand and provide better access and to enrich education and preservation programs.

The plan includes new state-of-the-art galleries and archives, more than doubled parking, and an elevator. The new building will have two exhibition and orientation halls, public archives, a gift shop, and a café.

An artist's rendering of the reimagined campus at the Greenwich Historical SocietyA historic building that was once the Railroad Hotel and subsequently Toby’s Tavern will be restored to its appearance at the turn of the 20th century. It will house a museum shop and new Artists Café, exhibition space for community artists, meeting and storage space. The current exhibition space in the adjoining 1805 Storehouse will be renovated to accommodate all Historical Society staff offices.

plan-drawing

An extraordinary dollar-for-dollar matching gift from anonymous donors provides a wonderful assist in achieving the final $8.5 million of the $18.5 million “Reimagine the Greenwich Historical Society” campaign that will realize the Society’s vision for a dynamic campus and place Greenwich’s story indelibly within the broad context of American history. The public is invited to support the Capital Campaign by contacting Katrina Dorsey, Greenwich Historical Society Director of Development, at 203-869-6899, ext. 15, kdorsey@greenwichhistory.org.

For more about this exciting project see greenwichhistory.org/challenge.

Capital Campaign in the News

Greenwich Historical Society embarks on major renovation

Greenwich Time, November 14, 2016

Bush-Holley House campus is aiming for $18.5M fundraising effort

Fairfield County Business Journal, November 15, 2016

Greenwich Historical Society Launches Capital Campaign to Reimagine its Campus to Enhance the Cultural Life of the Community Plan will transform the Bush-Holley complex, expand and provide better access to facilities and enrich education and preservation programs

Greenwich Patch, November 21, 2016

 

Greyledge & Colonel Bolling

Raynal BollingGreyledge, an English-style manor in Greenwich on Doubling Road, was designed by the same firm that created the New York Public Library, Carrère & Hastings. Built for pioneer aviator Col. Raynal Cawthorne Bolling, who moved in with his family in 1915, it was demolished in 2007.

Greenwich Historical Society. Raynal C. Bolling Collection. Image of Greyledge scanned from "The American Architect", December 13, 1916, Volume CX, Number 2138. Theodore E. Blake, architectGreenwich Historical Society. Scan of loaned photograph of interior of Greyledge, home of Raynal C. Bolling and family. Entrance to Big Porch from hall between Library & Music Room.

A Harvard (1900) and Harvard Law (1902) graduate, Bolling rose to become General Solicitor at U.S. Steel. Foreseeing the role of aircraft in the predicted U.S. involvement in what was to become World War I, with a small group of friends he learned to fly then organized our country’s first National Guard flying unit and helped recruit and train some of America’s earliest fighter pilots, creating the precursor to the Air Force Reserve Command.

Greenwich Historical Society. Scan of loaned photograph of interior of Greyledge, home of Raynal C. Bolling and family. View of living room ("library") into dining room.

In the war he was responsible for, among other things, recommending and sourcing aircraft Raynal C. Bollingand overseeing training and supplies. In France on March 26, 1918, he was ambushed by Germans. While defending his unarmed driver, Bolling was killed, the first high-ranking air service officer to die in battle in World War I.

Bolling received the Distinguished Service Medal from the U.S. Army and the French Legion of Honour. Bolling Air Force Base (known today as Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling) in Washington, D.C., was named for him.

Bolling MemorialThere’s a life-size statue of him on Greenwich Avenue, across from the World War I memorial.

The archives at the Greenwich Historical Society holds the Col. Raynal C. Bolling Papers, which contain primary source material documenting some of his Air Service work during the war, related printed material and a limited number of family papers.