Greyledge, 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.
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.
In the war he was responsible for, among other things, recommending and sourcing aircraft and 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.
There’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.