Greenwich Historical Society at age 90: ‘a great heritage to live up to’

By Robert Marchant | Greenwich Time | May 9, 2022

GREENWICH — Some 90 years ago, the Greenwich Historical Society came into existence. In honor of its anniversary, town residents are invited to learn more about Greenwich from its first settlers to its distinct neighborhoods.

Speaking at the first public gathering of the members of the new non-profit organization at the Old Greenwich Library in 1932, the first president of the association, Alice Binney, said the society would instill “civic pride in our hometown,” according to a press account of the event.

Binney told the crowd of 156 people at the library, later renamed the Perrot Memorial Library, “We have a great heritage to live up to, and a real job to carry it on.”

The Greenwich Historical Society is marking its 90th anniversary with a series of lectures, walking tours and programs, starting with a kick-off party Thursday at the historical society headquarters at 47 Strickland Road.

“Discover Greenwich” will connect local residents to the community and its heritage, as the society has done for generations, said Executive Director Debra Mecky.

“Since 1931, we’ve been collecting Greenwich history — history that would have been lost without an institution reaching out to every part of our community,” she said.

Through the years, the facility has been a resource for research, education, art and culture, Mecky noted, and the Bush-Holley House where the Historical Society is located is a “community treasure.” The society moved to the Cos Cob site in 1957 from a room in the Perrot Library.

The “Discover Greenwich” events will appeal to history lovers of all ages — “it’s designed to appeal to the whole family, something for everybody, to experience our town, to get out there and re-discover Greenwich,” organizers said.

The society was founded as a non-profit in December 1931, and Mecky said that because of the coronavirus pandemic and the disruptions it entailed, “it made sense” to hold the anniversary events in 2022.

The opening party begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday with a suggested donation of $20 for non-members. Advance registration is required.

First Selectman Fred Camillo says the town has been fortunate to have a well-resourced organization devoted to preserving and collecting local history.

“Few towns in America have historical societies that offer the breadth of services spanning education, preservation, culture and the arts as Greenwich,” he said. “This has had a profound impact on Greenwich’s quality of life. These services matter more than ever for understanding and responding to the vast opportunities and challenges that our community faces today and in the future.”