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Greenwich Dedicates Marker On The Ave — The 'Epicenter' Of History

Officials pose in front of a new sign that marks the Greenwich Municipal Center Historic District on Monday. The sign is one of nine that will be placed throughout town. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky
The Greenwich Municipal Center Historic District marker is one nine signs that will designate historical sections of town. Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

GREENWICH, Conn. — Holiday shoppers on The Avenue will have a new way to appreciate Greenwich’s history.

Town officials dedicated a new historical marker for the Greenwich Municipal Center Historic District in front of the Havemeyer Building during a ceremony Monday morning.

“It’s more than just a marker,” First Selectman Peter Tesei told more than two dozen people who had gathered on the building’s leaf-covered lawn. “It’s an educational tool.”

The sign, which was sponsored by the Greenwich 375th Fund, is at the “epicenter” of Greenwich’s past and future. Restoration Hardware, which occupies the space of the old post office, is across the street.

Coffee drinkers mulled in and out of the more modern addition to The Avenue — Starbucks — across the street.

“To me this is an exciting moment to capture what was and what still is,” Tesei said.

The sign is one of nine signs markers will designate local and national historic districts throughout town. It was designed by Charles Hilton, a local architect.

While the purpose of the sign is offer historical information on the district to visitors, the sign has a notable modern feature.

“You can actually find out even more (information) using your iPhone,” Greenwich Historical Society Board Chairman Davidde Strackbein said.

Strackbein said visitors can scan the QR code on the back of the sign with their phones, which will bring up town historical information on their screens.

All of the buildings in the municipal center historic district were erected on vacant farmland in a short period between 1893 and 1938. The first of these buildings was the Havemeyer School, which now houses the Board of Education.

The school, a brick building, was constructed in 1893 at the time that most schoolchildren attended school in wooden schoolhouses. Its large acreage gradually began to serve as a public common, which was recently renovated.

The sign project was initiated by the Greenwich Preservation Network of the Greenwich Historical Society, a group of public and private preservation-minded organizations, businesses and individuals.

The following districts are scheduled to be the locations of future signs, according to the historical society:

•Strickland Road Historic District

•The River Road-Mead Avenue Historic District

•The Greenwich Avenue Historic District

•The Fourth Ward Historic District

•The John Street-Round Hill Historic District

•The Stanwich Historic District

•The Glenville Historic District

•The Putnam Hill Historic District

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