Making History

Above: Riverside Avenue Bridge
black and white bridge: national park service; hand holding photo by© StockPhotosArt

Since 1987, with its Signs of the Times program, the Greenwich Historical Society has presented plaques to over 300 structures and sites in town, recognizing each as an historic landmark.

Among five properties this spring was the Riverside Avenue Bridge over the Metro-North railroad tracks. The most well-traveled route into Riverside, it carries residents to and from their homes, commuters to the train station, kids biking to school, workmen, gardeners, joggers and dog-walkers—the traffic of our everyday lives.

But how many of us know that this bridge is the only predominantly cast-iron truss bridge in Connecticut and one of the few still in use in the United States? That it was once a section of a single-span, double-track railroad bridge built in 1871 over the Housatonic River, from Stratford to Milford, and relocated to Riverside in 1894? Or that is was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977? And who could possibly know that it was designed by Francis C. Lowthrop and built by the Keystone Bridge Company cofounded by Andrew Carnegie?

Well, we do now, thanks to our Historical Society. Also plaqued this spring were the 1885 Richard E. Brush House on River Road in Cos Cob, the 1912 French Farm on Lake Avenue at Round Hill, the 1939 Chateau Paterno on John Street (which once showcased Joseph Hirshhorn’s sculpture collection), and the 1916 Main Post Office on Greenwich Avenue that reopened its doors last year as a gracious gallery for the home furnishings of Restoration Hardware. Our own hometown visionary Peter Malkin led the charge in the transformation, working with top architects and historic preservation consultants to retain its original character. It now stands in the center of our town as an incentive for other communities to bring new life to historic buildings.



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