This estate modeled on Versailles’ Petit Trianon is one of the Greenwich architectural treasures we are honoring April 29 at the Greenwich Landmarks Recognition Program (4pm at Greenwich Country Club). Others are a Mid-Century Modern, a Tudor Revival and an 1856 church with Tiffany windows. The keynote will be by Anthony Malkin on the restoration of the Empire State Building’s iconic lobby. An afternoon not to be missed!

All photos by ChiChi Ubina.

Northway is a striking two-story mansion sited on 12 park-like acres. It was built by Laura Robinson (1872–1964), an heiress from Chicago who received permission from the French government to reproduce the Petit Trianon’s elements, with the proviso that the main staircase be erected in the opposite direction from the original.

An architectural icon and the finest example of the Classical Revival, the Petit Trianon has been celebrated by scholars for the purity of its rectilinear dimensions, the perfection of its proportions and the delicacy of its ornamentation.

Despite differences, Northway maintains the general Neoclassical look and decoration of its prototype. Its architects, J. Edwin Carpenter and Walter D. Blair, both graduates of the Ecole des Beaux Arts, adapted the original design by replicating its most imposing features and designing other elements strictly within the original’s Classical Revival style so that the entire assemblage, including the landscaping, would appear as if it were created in the 18th century. The house’s monumental facade and the dramatic approach through a sculpted allée achieve a rare symmetry that presents a formal statement unrivaled in Greenwich and beyond.

Gleaming white stucco covers a symmetrical, five-bay facade distinguished by a colossal portico of four fluted Corinthian columns. The front entrance features a pair of very tall, transomed French doors set in a molded frame surmounted by a denticulated entablature. Gleaming white stucco covers a symmetrical, five-bay facade distinguished by a colossal portico of four fluted Corinthian columns. The front entrance features a pair of very tall, transomed French doors set in a molded frame surmounted by a denticulated entablature.

A distinctive balustrade on the portico extends on either side of the front entrance. Surmounting the entire second story is a continuous entablature accented by a cornice of foliated brackets. Above the cornice is a parapet interrupted by symmetrical positioned courses of urn-shaped balusters, a design that continues around the edge of the house’s flat roof.

On either side of the facade are identical wings, essentially enclosed porches, with tall, transomed, multipaned windows. At the second story of the main block, the three-bay elevations are virtually identical, with French doors opening onto balconies. A service complex of three buildings faces a central courtyard.

The interior of Northway expresses much the same Neoclassical style as the exterior. The first story is stunningly distinguished by its 15-foot ceilings and features a curving, divided-flight, marble staircase; a marble floor and a pipe organ.

Flanking the entrance foyer are two rooms paneled with elaborate bas relief floral-designed acanthus-leaf cornices, a dining room with French doors and a paneled living room with a carved wooden mantelpiece.

Northway’s second story has five paneled bedrooms, each with a curved ceiling, an elegantly carved gilded fireplace mantel and marble surround. In 1915 Robinson married William A. Evans, a prominent New York lawyer and a director of B.F. Goodrich Rubber Co. Their home became the setting for many musicales and other entertainments, and the couple’s one child, William A. Evans, Jr., was raised there.

Tragedy struck twice in 1939, when their son died in an automobile accident just before his 24th birthday and his father died a few months later. Laura Robinson Evans remained in the house for 25 years until her death. Her will left half interests in Northway to Christ Church in Greenwich and Greenwich Hospital, of which William Evans had been a director.

Plans for demolition of the house and subdivision of the property were under way when it attracted the attention of Rene Anselmo, who restored the house and grounds to their former majesty. When he died in 2000, the property passed to his widow and then, upon her death, to their son Reverge.

Support historic preservation and attend the Greenwich Landmarks Recognition Program April 29!


Greenwich Students: Write/Draw Something for a Time Capsule!

Town Students Invited to Share Hopes, Dreams, and Predictions for Greenwich in Historical Society Time Capsule to Dedicate New Campus

Greenwich Students to Join Boys and Girls Club in Creating Essays and Artwork to be Sealed for 50 Years

The Greenwich Historical Society invites students to contribute to the cultural legacy of the Town by submitting creative content for a time capsule that will become part of the cornerstone of its newly constructed museum and archive building.  Affectionately named Elizabeth for Greenwich’s founding mother Elizabeth Feake, the capsule will be installed at a public event on November 4.

To enter the competition, students prepare a short essay or artwork on 8.5” x 11” paper that describes their hopes, dreams, and predictions for what Greenwich will be like in 50 years when Elizabeth will be opened. The top three submissions will be published in Greenwich Magazine, which is polling residents on what other items should be included in the time capsule. To submit ideas visit Two runners up will receive a family membership to the Greenwich Historical Society.

How to Participate:

  1. Students in Greenwich elementary, middle, and high schools enter by preparing a brief essay (1 – 2 paragraphs) or artwork on 8.5 x 11” paper that reflects their hopes, dreams, and predictions for the Town in the year 2067. Submissions should include the student’s full name, age, and school. By submitting an essay or drawing, students and parents acknowledge that the Greenwich Historical Society has rights to use it in social media, public relations, and for other promotional purposes, and that those rights can be transferred to third party media.
  2. Submissions should be emailed to: or sent via mail to: Time Capsule, Greenwich Historical Society, 39 Strickland Road, Cos Cob, CT 06807.
  3. All entries must be received by October 30 for consideration to be inserted into the capsule along with other items that will offer a glimpse into what life was like in Greenwich in 2017.
  4. The top three submissions will be published in Greenwich Magazine.

Dedication Ceremony on November 4, 2017

Elizabeth will be installed on Saturday, November 4 at 11 a.m. in a public ceremony at the newly constructed museum and archive building at 47 Strickland Road, Cos Cob. All participating students and their families, Historical Society members and supporters, and all Greenwich residents are invited to attend.

More information on the November 4 Open House, Cornerstone Dedication, and Time Capsule Installation

About Elizabeth Fones Winthrop Feake and the Founding of the Town of Greenwich

Elizabeth Fones of Suffolk, England in 1629 married Henry Winthrop, who died shortly after arriving in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Elizabeth traveled to the Colony with her infant daughter and married Robert Feake in a union that was approved by her uncle, John Winthrop, Governor of the Colony. On July 18,1640, Robert Feake and Daniel Patrick purchased what became a part of Greenwich for “25 Coates.” The 1640 deed also states that “Elizabeth Neck” – now known as Greenwich Point — was Elizabeth Feake’s “Perticaler purchase.”

Art & History Camp 2017

Another great session of camp is coming to a close. We had four weeks of camp — two weeks for campers entering grades 4-7  and two weeks for children entering grades 2-4. Sessions for each age group featured one week of a history focus and one week of art immersion.

Here are campers in Week 1 working together in a barn raising: 

They went on a field trip to the New Haven Museum and learned about the Amistad.

They also took a field trip to the PepsiCo sculpture park and created art en plein air on our campus just like the Cos Cob American Impressionist art colony did one hundred years ago. We are so lucky to have master painter Dmitri Wright instruct the budding artists so skillfully.

The campers loved learning how to weave and do embroidery work.

Younger campers also made butter, kites, molasses cookies, and horn books. Each week’s performance at the end of camp for family and friends is something the kids really enjoy.

Follow us on social media to keep up to date on our children’s programming, learn fun facts about Greenwich history and see old photos, and much more!

Instagram: @greenwichhistory

Facebook: @GreenwichHistoricalSociety

Twitter: @GrnHistCT

This Place Matters! Photo Contest

This Place Matters logoThis Place Matters! Photo Contest

Do you love Greenwich, CT? What place in this town inspires you the most? We want to know!

Photos must be of Greenwich, CT and include a caption that identifies the location. Caption must also explain why the place in the photo matters to the person who submitted it and/or to the person/people in the photo. All images submitted must be the work of the individual submitting them. By submitting a photo you acknowledge that the Greenwich Historical Society has rights to use it in social media, public relations, and for other promotional purposes.

How to Participate

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!

Please include your first and last name, the photo’s location, and identify the people in the photo. Please write a sentence or more about why the place is special to you.

How to Submit a Photo

The photo contest is live on our Facebook page. You can submit a photo, see all the photos, and vote for your favorite one.

Or you can email the photo to

And/or you can post on social media: Use hashtags #thisplacematters #thisplacemattersgreenwich; Instagram: @greenwichhistory @SavingPlaces; Twitter: @GrnHistCT @SavingPlaces; and Facebook: @GreenwichHistoricalSociety

Contest entries will be narrowed down by criteria including popular vote and then submitted to a panel of judges who will pick five winners.

Last day for submitting photos: July 12, 2017 at noon. Winners will be announced at the Greenwich Founders’ Day event at Tod’s Point on July 18, 2017. Prizes will be awarded to the top five entries judged by an independent panel of Greenwich residents with an interest in preservation.

5 Valuable Prizes

  • Tickets for two adults to the Greenwich Winter Antiques Show Preview Party December 1, 2017
  • Tickets for two adults to the Antiquarius Holiday House Tour December 6, 2017
  • One annual family membership to the Greenwich Historical Society
  • One family pass to the Greenwich Historical Society Fall Festival October 8, 2017
  • A collection of Greenwich-themed books for children and adults

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.

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.

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:


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