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New Canaan, Connecticut

New Canaan, Connecticut
Template:Infobox settlement/columns
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut
Location in Fairfield County, Connecticut

Coordinates: 41°08′48.48″N 73°29′41.64″W / 41.1468000°N 73.4949000°W / 41.1468000; -73.4949000Coordinates: 41°08′48.48″N 73°29′41.64″W / 41.1468000°N 73.4949000°W / 41.1468000; -73.4949000{{#coordinates:41|08|48.48|N|73|29|41.64|W|region:US_type:city |primary |name=

Country United States
State Connecticut
NECTA Bridgeport-Stamford
Region South Western Region
Incorporated 1801
 • Type Selectman-town council
 • First Selectman Robert E. Mallozzi III (R)
 • Selectman Nicholas R. Williams (R)
 • Selectwoman Beth Jones (D)
 • Total 22.5 sq mi (58.3 km2)
 • Land 22.1 sq mi (57.3 km2)
 • Water 0.4 sq mi (0.9 km2)
Elevation 344 ft (105 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 19,738
 • Density 880/sq mi (340/km2)
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)
ZIP code 06840
Area code(s) 203 Exchanges: 801, 966, 972
FIPS code 09-50580
GNIS feature ID 0213468

New Canaan /n ˈknən/ is a town in Fairfield County, Connecticut, United States, Script error: No such module "convert". northeast of Stamford. The population was 19,738 according to the 2010 census.[1]

The town is one of the wealthiest communities in the nation. In 2013, New Canaan was ranked the 9th wealthiest town in the nation on CNN Money's list of the top-earning places in the United States and in 2008 it had the highest median family income in the country.[2][3]

New Canaan has two Metro-North railroad stations: the New Canaan station and the Talmadge Hill station, both on the New Canaan Branch of the New Haven Line. Travel time to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan is approximately one hour.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of Script error: No such module "convert"., of which Script error: No such module "convert". is land and Script error: No such module "convert"., or 1.56%, is water. The town is served by the Merritt Parkway and by a spur line of the Metro-North Railroad. The downtown area consists of many restaurants, an old movie theater, and antique shops. There are also several churches in town, as well as the historic Roger Sherman Inn.

The town is bounded on the north by Lewisboro and Pound Ridge in Westchester County, New York, on the east by Wilton, on the southeast by Norwalk, on the south by Darien and on the southwest and west by Stamford.

The town includes the following sections: New Canaan center, Talmadge Hill, Ponus, Smith Ridge Road, Pinneys Corners, and part of Silvermine (which extends into Norwalk and Wilton).


East view of the central part of New Canaan (1836) by John Warner Barber
New Canaan train station

In 1731, Connecticut's colonial legislature established Canaan Parish as a religious entity in northwestern Norwalk and northeastern Stamford. The right to form a Congregational church was granted to the few families scattered through the area. As inhabitants of Norwalk or Stamford, Canaan Parish settlers still had to vote, pay taxes, serve on juries, and file deeds in their home towns. Because Canaan Parish was not planned as a town, New Canaan, when incorporated in 1801, found itself without a central common, a main street or a town hall.[4]

Until the Revolutionary War, New Canaan was primarily an agricultural community. After the war, New Canaan's major industry was shoe making. As New Canaan's shoe business gathered momentum early in the nineteenth century, instead of a central village, regional settlements of clustered houses, mill, and school developed into distinct district centers. Some of the districts were centered on Ponus Ridge, West Road, Oenoke Ridge, Smith Ridge, Talmadge Hill and Silvermine, a pattern which the village gradually outgrew.[4]

With the 1868 advent of the railroad to New Canaan, many of New York City's wealthy residents discovered the quiet, peaceful area and built magnificent summer homes. Eventually, many of the summer visitors settled year-round, commuting to their jobs in New York City and creating the residential community that exists today.[4]

Lewis Lapham, a founder of Texaco and great-grandfather of long-time Harper's Magazine editor Lewis H. Lapham, spent summers with his family at their estate that is now Script error: No such module "convert". Waveny Park next to Talmadge Hill and the Merritt Parkway.

The "Harvard Five" and modern homes

New Canaan was an important center of the modern design movement from the late 1940s through roughly the 1960s, when about 80 modern homes were built in town. About 20 have been torn down since then.[5]

"During the late 1940s and 50s, a group of students and teachers from the Harvard Graduate School of Design migrated to New Canaan ... and rocked the world of architectural design", according to an article in, an online architecture design magazine. "Philip Johnson, Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John M. Johansen and Eliot NoyesTemplate:Spaced ndashknown as the Harvard FiveTemplate:Spaced ndashbegan creating homes in a style that emerged as the complete antithesis of the traditional build. Using new materials and open floor plans, best captured by Johnson's Glass House, these treasures are being squandered as buyers are knocking down these architectural icons and replacing them with cookie-cutter new builds."[6]

"Other architects, well known (Frank Lloyd Wright, for example) and not so well known, also contributed significant modern houses that elicited strong reactions from nearly everyone who saw them and are still astonishing today ... New Canaan came to be the locus of the modern movement's experimentation in materials, construction methods, space, and form", according to an online description of The Harvard Five in New Canaan: Mid-Century Modern Houses, by William D. Earls.[7]

Some other New Canaan architects designing modern homes were Victor Christ-Janer, John Black Lee, Allan Gelbin, and Hugh Smallen.[5]

The film The Ice Storm (1997) shows many of New Canaan's modern houses, both inside and out. The film specifically takes place in a mostly glass house that resides on Laurel Road.



In 2005, the mill rate of New Canaan was 14.0440 and is reportedly 14.586 for the 2012 fiscal year.[8]

Emergency services

Emergency medical services

The New Canaan Volunteer Ambulance Corps (NCVAC) is a free, all volunteer ambulance corps with three ambulances plus two paramedic fly-cars. Founded in 1975, the unit is located at 182 South Avenue and offer regular EMT courses.[9] Most Emergency Medical Services come from Norwalk, where there is a Hospital.

Fire department

The New Canaan Fire Department employs the professional firefighters of the New Canaan Fire Department (Local 3224), as well as the volunteers of the New Canaan Fire Company, No. 1. Founded in 1881, the New Canaan Fire Department is a combination professional/volunteer fire department that operates out of a fire station located near the center of town, with a fire apparatus fleet of engines and other vehicles. The New Canaan Fire Department responded to 886 calls for service in 2009.[10]

Police department

The New Canaan Police (NCPD) are headquartered at 174 South Avenue.[11] The Department has forty-five sworn officers, five full-time civilians and two school crossing guards. The primary mission of the New Canaan Police department and its Officers is the protection of all persons and properties within its jurisdiction. The New Canaan Police Department responded to 16,741 calls during the year of 2012.[12]


Historical population
of New Canaan
1810 1,599
1830 1,830
1850 2,600
1870 2,497
1890 2,701
1910 3,667
1930 5,456
1950 8,001
1960 13,466
1970 17,451
1980 17,931
1990 17,864
2000 19,395
2010 19,738

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 19,395 people, 6,822 households, and 5,280 families residing in the town. The population density was 876.5 people per square mile (338.4/km²). There were 7,141 housing units at an average density of 322.7 per square mile (124.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.27% White, 1.74% Hispanic or Latino, 1.04% African American, 0.04% Native American, 2.29% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.38% from other races, and 0.98% from two or more races.

There were 6,822 households out of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.2% were married couples living together, 6.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.6% were non-families. 19.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.26.

In the town the population was spread out with 31.2% under the age of 18, 3.3% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.

Per the 2000 Census, the median income for a household in the town was $141,788, and the median income for a family was $175,331. Males had a median income of $100,000 versus $53,924 for females. The per capita income for the town was $82,049. About 1.4% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.2% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.


The New Canaan Public Schools system is considered to be one of the best in Connecticut. It has also gained national recognition for its high performance; for example, a recent edition of Forbes magazine rated New Canaan as the third-ranked school district in the United States "for home value" for communities with a median home price of $800,000.[14]

In 2009, the district was the highest performing school district in the state based on the frequency of top-tier performances on the Connecticut Mastery Tests (CMT), which are administered to all 3rd through 8th graders, and the Connecticut Academic Performance Tests (CAPT), which are given to 10th graders.[15] In 2008, the median SAT score (verbal, math and writing) for district students was 1804, the highest in Connecticut.[16]

In its November 2009 edition, Connecticut magazine rated New Canaan's school system first among 29 towns with a population of 15,000–25,000.[17] That category included Darien, Wilton, Ridgefield, Avon, Simsbury, Farmington, Southbury, Guilford and other high-performing districts. The ranking was based on 2007–2009 CMT scores; results from the 2007–2009 CAPTs; local SAT scores for 2006–2008; and the percentage of 2007 high school graduates who enrolled in college.[18]

Twenty-two students in the New Canaan High School Class of 2009 were National Merit Commended Scholars. In addition, four students were National Merit Scholars, four were National Merit Semifinalists, and one was an Hispanic National Recognition Scholar.[19]

Of the New Canaan High School graduates who enrolled in college in the fall of 2009, 30% did so at a college designated "Most Competitive" by Barron's magazine, 24% enrolled at an institution considered "Highly Competitive", and 26% entered a college deemed to be "Very Competitive."[20]

The New Canaan High School Library was the recipient of the 2010 National School Library Program of the Year Award, given by the American Library Association. In addition to the Award, the High School also received a $10,000 prize donated by Follet Library Resources.[21]

The New Canaan school system is also notable for its achievements in extra-curricular activities. In 2010, the New Canaan High School won the FCIAC Cup, given to the most successful athletic program among the 19 high schools competing in the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference. The New Canaan High School drama program won seven awards at the 2010 Connecticut High School Musical Theatre Awards.[21]

Starting in the 2010–2011 academic year New Canaan will be one of the few school systems in Connecticut to offer foreign language instruction to students pre middle school.[22]

In June 2012, 24/7 Wall St. ranked New Canaan as the 8th wealthiest school district in the United States.[23]

New Canaan has five public schools:

  • Elementary Schools: West School, South School and East School
  • Middle School: Saxe Middle School
  • High School: New Canaan High School

New Canaan also has three private schools:

Points of interest

  • New Canaan Nature Center
  • Waveny Park on South Avenue "was developed in 1912 by Lewis Lapham on what had been Prospect Farm, an early summer estate. In 1967 the Town acquired the 'castle' and Script error: No such module "convert". of surrounding parkland."[4]

On the National Register of Historic Places

  • Hampton Inn – 179 Oenoke Ridge; also known as The Maples Inn, it was built by the Elwood brothers in Queen Anne, Colonial Revival style. (added November 27, 2004)
  • Hanford Davenport House – 353 Oenoke Ridge (added September 3, 1989)
  • John Rogers Studio – 33 Oenoke Ridge; built in 1878 by John Rogers, who was called "the people's sculptor" in the later 19th century. The studio houses a collection of the artist's famous groups of statuary, many sculpted on site. The studio was closed during needed restoration and scheduled to reopen in the summer of 2006. (added November 15, 1966)[24] "He used this studio from 1876 to the end of his life. The John Rogers studio houses one of the finest collections of Rogers Groups in the nation."[25]
  • Landis Gores House – 192 Cross Ridge Rd. "With its flat-roofed single-story form, full-height glass walls, and emphasis on horizontal planes, the house he designed for himself in New Canaan is an outstanding example" of modernist architecture.[26] (added April 21, 2002)
  • Maxwell E. Perkins House – 63 Park St. (added June 6, 2004)
  • Philip Johnson Glass House – 798–856 Ponus Ridge Rd. (added March 18, 1997)
  • Richard and Geraldine Hodgson House – 881 Ponus Ridge Rd. (added February 28, 2005)

Seasonal events

New Canaan Nature Center Fall Fair: The fair offers activities for all ages from hay mazes to Old Faithful Antique Fire Truck rides to apple sling shots.[27]

Halloween Parade: No matter your costume, children of all ages and their dogs can receive a goody bag and march in the Halloween Parade lead by Old Faithful Antique Fire Truck which is sponsored by the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce.[28]

Holiday Stroll: Hosted by The Chamber of Commerce, downtown New Canaan celebrates with carol singers, the lighting of the trees down Elm Street, the arrival of Santa Clause, and extended store hours.[29]

Christmas Caroling at God's Acre: New Canaan residents gather at God's Acre on Christmas Eve and sing Christmas carols with the New Canaan Town Band.[30]

Easter Egg Hunt: At the Annual Town Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by the Young Women's League of New Canaan, children are able to collect candy filled easter eggs, get their face pained, take pictures with the Easter bunny, and many other festive activities.[31]

Saint Mark's May Fair: carnival rides and May Fair's famous strawberry shortcake.[32]

Family Fourth Fireworks: Town residents gather at Waveny Town Park for picnicking, live music, bounce houses, and fireworks.[33]


Notable institutions and organizations


There are two local town papers delivered every week

Two daily newspapers serve the surrounding area:

Notable people

For more information, see List of people from New Canaan, Connecticut

New Canaan in the media

Films shot in New Canaan

Movies at least partially filmed in New Canaan:[42]

Books about New Canaan

References in popular culture

  • "It's [Darien's] detestable, but that's the way it is. It's even worse in New Canaan. There, nobody can sell or rent to a Jew." Gentleman's Agreement (1947 film).[43]
  • The 1955 novel Auntie Mame takes place partly in New Canaan, disguised under the name of "Mountebank" but identified (in the stage version) as "Right above Darien. You'll love it. It's the most restricted community in our part of Connecticut."[44]
  • New Canaan author Edward Eager set two of his children's books in the town: Magic or Not (1959) and The Well-Wishers (1960).[45]
  • In The Cricket In Times Square (1960), main character Chester Cricket lives near New Canaan.
  • The Neighbors are Scaring My Wolf by comic writer Jack Douglas was a 1968 book based on his experiences living in town.
  • The Official Preppy Handbook (1980) makes reference to New Canaan as one of the "preppiest" towns in the country.
  • In the 1997 movie Fools Rush In, Matthew Perry's character grew up in New Canaan.
  • The exteriors of Waveny Mansion are used as Palmer Cortlandt's home in the ABC soap opera All My Children.
  • Karen suggests that Jack's father may be one of the "eight Black brothers of New Canaan, CT" in an episode of Will and Grace.
  • In the ABC drama Commander in Chief, Geena Davis' family home was in New Canaan.
  • In one of the books in the series Gossip Girl, a minor character says he needs to stop in New Canaan.
  • In the ABC television series Sports Night, Managing Editor Isaac Jaffe (played by Robert Guillaume) lives in New Canaan.
  • In the USA television series Royal Pains Hank tells Tucker to take his father to a fictional rehab center called simon ranch in New Canaan CT.

For further reading

  • A Guide to God's Acre, a walking tour of the Historic District; available from the New Canaan Historical Society.
  • My Impressions of the Hour, a journal written by an early New Canaan teacher, Margaret Mary Corrigan; available from the society.
  • New Canaan: Texture of a Community, available from the society.
  • Portrait of New Canaan, available from the society.
  • A Student's Memoir, edited by Robert W.P. Cutler. A history of the Little Red Schoolhouse, based on recollections of some of the school's graduates.


  1. ^ a b "Race, Hispanic or Latino, Age, and Housing Occupancy: 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File (QT-PL), New Canaan town, Connecticut". U.S. Census Bureau, American FactFinder 2. Retrieved August 9, 2011. 
  2. ^ Ashford, Kate (August 12, 2013). "Top-earning towns". CNN. 
  3. ^ Chang, Althea (July 16, 2008). "25 Top-Earning Towns". CNN. 
  4. ^ a b c d [1] New Canaan Advertiser web site, web page for "The Answer Book, April 22, 2006, accessed August 2, 2006
  5. ^ a b [2] "Architect for All Seasons", by David Gurliacci, Fairfield County Business Journal, January 9, 2006.
  6. ^ [3] accessed July 2, 2006
  7. ^ From a brief description on of "The Harvard Five in New Canaan: Mid-Century Modern Houses by Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John Johansen, Philip Johnson, Eliot Noyes" by William D. Earls ISBN 0-393-73183-9 to be published July 24, 2006, web page accessed July 2, 2006
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Annual Report of the New Canaan Chief of Police, 2012,
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ See Settimi, Christina, "Best Schools for Your Home Value," Forbes magazine, April 26, 2010.
  15. ^ New Canaan Public Schools' Superintendent's Annual Report, 2008–2009, see
  16. ^ Connecticut Department of Education; see also Brady, Andrew and Grandjean, Patricia, "Rating the Towns," Connecticut magazine, November 2009 edition (Vol. 72, No. 11), at pp. 47–55.
  17. ^ Brady and Grandjean, "Rating the Towns,"; see also
  18. ^
  19. ^ New Canaan Public Schools' Superintendent's Annual Report, 2008–2009, at p. 31.
  20. ^ New Canaan Public Schools Superintendent's Annual Report, 2008–2009, at p. 48.
  21. ^ a b Schmelkin, Carrie, "Public Schools Remain Tops," New Canaan Advertiser, June 24, 2010, p. 1.
  22. ^ Schmelkin, Carrie, "Proposed School Budget: Financiers Express Confidence," New Canaan Advertiser, February 11, 2010, p. 1; see also
  23. ^ Liebeskind, Ken. "Weston Is Second Wealthiest U.S. School District". The Weston Daily Voice. Retrieved 26 July 2012. 
  24. ^ [4] New Canaan Historical Society Web site, page describing various sites run by the society, accessed August 2, 2006.
  25. ^ "Rogers, John Studio" National Park Service National Historic Parks Program, accessed August 2, 2006
  26. ^ [5] "Public Archeology Survey Team Inc." Web site, accessed August 2, 2006
  27. ^ "45th Annual Fall Fair." New Canaan Nature Center Fall Fair. New Canaan Nature Center, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
  28. ^ "Halloween Parade." The Chamber. New Canaan Chamber, 03 Oct. 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
  29. ^ "Holiday Stroll." The Chamber. New Canaan Chamber, 18 Oct. 2013. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
  30. ^ "Christmas Eve on God’s Acre." The Congregational Church of New Canaan RSS. The Congregational Church of New Canaan RSS, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
  31. ^ "Easter Egg Hunt." New Canaan. Town of New Canaan, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
  32. ^ "May Fair." Saint Marks Episcopal Church. Saint Marks Episcopal Church, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
  33. ^ "Family Fourth Fireworks." The Chamber. New Canaan Chamber, n.d. Web. 28 Mar. 2015.
  34. ^ Gurliacci, David (January 23, 2006). "State of the Steak". Fairfield County Business Journal. p. 1. [dead link]
  35. ^ Morganteen, Jeff, "Beck: Cops are the real heroes", news article, June 26, 2010, The Advocate of Stamford, Connecticut ("The New Canaan resident attends the same church as a Stamford police sergeant [...]")
  36. ^ Martin, Douglas. "Henry S. Coleman, 79, Dies; Hostage at Columbia in '68", The New York Times, February 4, 2006. Accessed September 12, 2009.
  37. ^
  38. ^ Stelter, Brian (April 18, 2013). "Waking Up on the Wrong Side of a Rating War". The New York Times. 
  39. ^ Hevesi, Dennis. "Carl F. Hovde, Former Columbia Dean, Dies at 82", The New York Times, September 10, 2009. Accessed September 11, 2009.
  40. ^ "Obituary: Rosemary Rice Merrell, 87, started in TV and radio". New Canaan Advertiser. 2012-08-21. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  41. ^ Tim Weiner (April 8, 2012). "Mike Wallace, CBS Pioneer of '60 Minutes,' Dies at 93". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-08. 
  42. ^ canaan,%20Connecticut,%20USA
  43. ^ Gentleman's Agreement - 1947 Movie Quotes
  44. ^ Lawrence, Jerome; Lee, Robert E. (1999). Auntie Mame. Dramatists Play Service Inc. p. 91. ISBN 0822217309. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  45. ^ Smith, Warren Allen (2012). Unforgettable New Canaanites. p. 77. ISBN 1105647439. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 

External links

Methodist Episcopal Church, postcard mailed 1917