This tour will take approximately one-and-a-half leisurely hours by crossing Greenwich Avenue in a straight line from Field Point Road on the west to Milbank Avenue on the east. The distance covered is approximately one mile, one way. The tour will feature eight buildings and memorials erected in the span of 45 years, from 1892-1938.
Through the auspices of the Greenwich Historical Society and other civic historical and preservation groups, the US Department of the Interior was petitioned to create a new historic district within the previously registered Greenwich Avenue Historic District that tells the story of how Greenwich grew rapidly between 1890 and 1930 and, specifically, transformed pastureland directly into a distinct municipal center without an intermediate residential or commercial phase of development.
Quoting from its 1988 application for National Registry designation, the District shows the “dramatic transformation of Greenwich from a rural farming town with small, generally undistinguished public buildings to a cosmopolitan summer resort and suburbs with substantial public buildings”.
Greenwich’s scattered settlement pattern did not produce an acknowledged municipal focus until it entered into its most rapid period of growth between 1890 and 1930. All of the buildings in the municipal district were erected on vacant farmland in a short period between 1893 and 1938, an era when wealthy benefactors began to view Greenwich as their home. The first of these buildings was the Havemeyer School (1893) with large acreage that gradually began to serve as a public common. The district consists of three war memorials and six masonry buildings erected in the Romanesque Revival, Neo-classical and Art Deco styles, including the old Town Hall (1905), old Town Hall Annex (built as the Town’s first high school in 1906), former Post Office (1917), today’s Town Hall (built as the Town’s second high school in 1925) and a Central Fire House and Police Station (1938, demolished in 2014).