Greenwich is the tenth oldest town in Connecticut. The first settlement in Greenwich was founded in 1640, on land purchased from the local natives. Old Greenwich was actually purchased for “twenty five coats.” The settlers came to this area to escape the more rigid pressures of Puritan communities to the north. Soon, Dutch and English settlers followed. There was a lot of conflict and attacks between the settlers and the natives. The Native Americans were forced to retreat from their hunting and farming areas. Greenwich was first called Elizabeth’s Neck and was later named after Greenwich, England – former home of some of its earlier residents.

The harbors and rivers that encompass Greenwich were very important economically to transport produce and other goods to New York and English markets. Cos Cob waterfront, at this time, was a key economic and cultural center to Greenwich. Now, cultural and economic functions are centered around well known “Greenwich Avenue,” where New York City influences have afforded us the benefits of the city yet still allows Greenwich to maintain its overall rural atmosphere.

Education, even as early as the 1600’s, was of great concern to the people of Greenwich. By the mid 18th century, the town had nine school districts for public education. John Perrott opened the first private school in 1766 in downtown Old Greenwich. Today, you can visit the Perrott Memorial Library next to scenic Binney Park (a great place to picnic!).

Greenwich was primarily a farming town. In the early 1800’s, the railroad wrought many wealthy New Yorkers, who eventually settled here. Greenwich developed into a summer resort. Many New Yorkers wanted to escape the noisy city. Homes and hotels were built along the beautiful shoreline. The hotels attracted many artists and writers. The famed Bush-Holley House, a treasured saltbox built in 1732, is now a National Historic Landmark. It is also a nationally recognized museum for art and history. It housed the artists who came to Greenwich in the 1890’s such as Childe Hassam, John Twachtman, Theodore Robinson and Emer Livingston MacRae. Their paintings of the local scenery made Greenwich known as the birthplace of the American Impressionist Art Movement. These paintings are on display at the Bush Holley house, along with a spectacular collection of 18th century furnishings and accessories (the Inn is also filled with many American Impressionist reproductions). This historical site is a place worth visiting.

Today, celebrating its 350th anniversary, Greenwich is the home of many large corporations that has brought people here from all parts of the world. You can enjoy being in "the country" and still be in “the city” within an hour. It’s the best of both worlds.

 

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50 River Road, Cos Cob, Connecticut 06807 | Tel. (203) 661-5845 | innkeeper@coscobinn.com