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.

 

Bush-Holley House at Christmastime

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

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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