Chickahominy

| No Comments


Although it's easier to determine the origin of the names of some parts of Town (ex. Round Hill, Stanwich and Pemberwick), this is not the case with that section of town between Belle Haven and Byram known as Chickahominy.  This is the area bounded roughly by the Post Road (West Putnam Avenue) to the north, Prospect Street to the east, the railroad to the south and the Transfer Station to the west.   If you drive down Hamilton Avenue toward Byram Shore, you run right through it.  Its landmarks include Castiglione's Funeral Home, Hamilton Avenue Deli, Express Pizza, Garden Catering, the Two Door Saloon, Hamilton Avenue School, St. Roch's Church, Armstrong Court and Bimbo Bakery.  The most widely accepted explanation for the origin of the name is that veterans of the Civil War, who fought in the famous Battle of Chickahominy, returned to the area and nicknamed the community.  

ChickMap696.jpg

SOURCE:  NEW YORK TIMES

The Chickahominy River was a tributary to the famous James River in Virginia.  It runs 25-miles from northwest of Richmond to Cheseapeake Bay.  There's no town or area by this name.  Some believe Chickahominy refers to an Indian tribe that populated the area.  It's translation is "coarse ground corn people".  Both the Union and Confederate armies devised plans to use the river to surprise their enemy during the Civil War, but they were faced with many obstacles and several expeditions had little affect on the outcome. 

During the 1800s, Italian stonemasons, tailors, shoemakers came to Greenwich.  They helped build churches, schools, homes, worked on estates and tilled the soil.  Yet, they were ostracized for their differences.  Italians couldn't afford to live in other, more expensive parts of town, and settled in Chickahominy. They were preceded by the Germans and the Irish. By the 1900s, many more Italians immigrated to Greenwich, and worked in Cos Cob, North Mianus and Stamford.  Many people from Chickahominy also worked in the manufacturing factories in Port Chester.

Family was the most important thing in their lives, and many strived to earn enough money to buy homes. The Italian stonemasons built St. Roch's Church themselves around 1920. Each August they celebrate the Feast of St. Roch's with ethnic food, carnival rides and music. It's a great opportunity to celebrate their culture.  The Church is the center of their social life.

st roch033.jpg

SOURCE:  GREENWICH LIBRARY PHOTO COLLECTION


Chickahominy is one of many diverse neighborhoods that give Greenwich its identity.  Many of its residents have contributed much in the way of public service to the Town.  Ms. Josephine Evaristo served on the RTM for many years, and constantly advocated for her community.  Our current First Selectman, Peter Tesei, grew up in Chickahominy.

It's a proud community.  The residents helped to build this Town.  Many attended Hamilton Avenue School.  Most are members of St. Roch's Church.  There is no doubt that future generations will continue to contribute to this important neighborhood as well as the rest of Greenwich.


SOURCES


Greenwich Magazine; Moffly Publications, Greenwich CT.

Greenwich TimeTime-Warner Corp, Greenwich CT

Ye Historie of Ye Town of Greenwich: Mead, S.; Knickerbocher Press NY, 1913


Historical Happenings

| No Comments

John Dean and Watergate
Tuesday - July 29 - 7 PM
Cole Auditorium - Greenwich Library

Former Nixon legal counsel John Dean will talk about his new book
about Nixon and the Watergate coverup.  Free and open to the public.


Greenwich History
Wednesday - 5 PM
Darby and Friends - WGCH Radio

Local history Librarian Carl White will talk about the Byram section
of town on WGCH 1490 Radio.

Maestro Quinto Maganini

| No Comments

 

Greenwich was home to one of the world's most brilliant composers - Quinto Maganini.  Mr. Manganini lived in town for more than 40 years.  He was a composer, conductor, teacher, editor , and music patron.

His family immigrated from Genoa, Italy, to California during the Gold Rush of 1850.  He was born on November 30, 1897, to Joseph F. and Mary Maganini in Fairfield CA.  After attending the local elementary, middle and high schools, he attended The University of California, where he studied music.  Maganini was a gifted flute and piccollo player.  In 1916 at the age of 19, while playing in John Phillip Sousa's Band in San Francisco, he was "discovered" and accepted a position as flautist with the New York Symphony.  From 1919 to 1928, he played with the San Francisco Symphony, the New York Symphonic Orchestra and the Russian Symphony Orchestra.  He was sent to Europe from 1920 to 1929 to study music.  Quinto spent 2 years at the prestigious  Conservatoire Americain in Fontainebleau .  He also studied in Italy, Germany and England. 

In 1927, Quinto Maganini received a Pulitzer Prize in muisc for his opera titled "The Argonauts".  It was about the California Gold Rush, which his ancestors experienced when they first arrived in this country.  His work covered almost every musical field including ballet, orchestral work, choral work, symphonic band scores, solo and ensemble pieces.  He even composed music for "Romeo and Juliet".  In 1928 and 1929, he received two Guggenheim Fellowships, which allowed him to continue his studies.

Maganini673.jpg

Eventually, he became a guest conductor, appearing with leading orchestras in New York, Paris and San Francisco.  He also conducted the New York Sinfonietta, and founded the Maganini Chamber Symphony Orchestra.  Maganini made a nationwide tour with the latter group.  In the summer of 1938, he was alternating with two conductors in leading the New York Philharmonic in a series at Silvermine.  From 1940 to 1967, he was the conductor for the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra. 

Maganini recruited young musicians from Greenwich to play in a Youth Symphony.  He worked with such greats as Yo Yo Ma, Itzhak Pearlman and Emanuel Ax.  At Columbia University in New York, he taught harmony and counterpoint in the Teacher's College.  He was also a commentator on music programs. To promote fellow composers, he played their works and published them in Edidion Musicus - a publication he founded.

One of his hobbies was the collection and restoration of paintings.  Maganini acquired a remarkable collection of old masters.  Over time he donated a number of them to museums and universities. He found some priceless Chinese murals in his 18th century Newport RI home, which he restored.   

On a personal note, Quinto married Margaretta Mason Kingsbury on May 28, 1927.  They had one child named Margaretta after the mother. According to his obituary in the Greenwich Time (3-11-1974), he had two grandchildren.  He was also president of Kingsbury, Inc. a hydroelectric machine factory.

Quinto Maganini contributed a great deal to the field of music during his lifetime.  He was not afraid to promote the work of his fellow musicians.  His willingness to work with young people was admirable.  This unselfishness shall remain his greatest legacy.


SOURCE

Greenwich Time

Historical Happenings

| No Comments


Library of Congress:  Prints and Photographs Online Catalog
Greenwich Library Website

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/

If you're looking for more historical photos, then take a look at
the Library of Congress photograph catalog.  Includes some
photos of Greenwich.  Can be accessed through the Local
History webpage.

Celebrity Wedding

| No Comments


If you look at the front page of the December 12, 1940 Greenwich Time (on microfilm), you'll see a photo of Lucile Ball and Desi Arnaz. The famous couple came to Greenwich to get married!  Many celebrities took advantage of the fact that Connecticut had a shorter waiting time to get a marriage license compared to New York.

Lucille Ball was born in Jamestown NY in 1911.  Her family moved to Montana and Michigan due to his job.  Unfortunately, he died in 1915. Her mother remarried, but her stepfather had no use for children.  She was taken in by her mother's family.  At age 15, she enrolled in the New York Drama School.  Her teacher thought she was too shy and lacked ambition, so she left school.  By 1927, she had become a model, posing for a fashion designer and making commercials for Chesterfield cigarettes. 

In the 1930s, she headed to Hollywood, where she landed a job as one of the "12 Goldwyn Girls".  Lucy started landing various roles in such movies as "The Three Musketeers" and "Stage Door".  She would appear in 72 movies during her career.  It was on the set of the movie "Dance, Girl, Dance" that she first met her husband-to-be Desi Arnaz.

desiLu668.jpg

LUCY AND DESI CUTTING 10TH ANNIVERSARY CAKE CIRCA 1950

 CLASSIC CINEMA PHOTOS

Desi Arnaz was born in 1917 to a wealthy family in Santiago, Cuba.  After a revolution, his family fled to Miami in 1933.  Desi worked for Xavier Cougart in New York City, then returned to Miami to start his own band.  It became so popular, that he returned to New York City.  Due to his new found celebrity, he was offered a role in the Broadway musical "Too Many Girls".  The musical was turned into a screenplay for RKO.  This is where Desi met Lucy.

The couple dated for six months. They were separated for a month when Desi was in New York and Lucy was in Chicago.  This must have been the turning point because they suddenly decided to get married.  Greenwich was the first town over the stateline, so they headed to Connecticut.  A Connecticut Probate Judge waived the 5-day waiting period, and they enlisted the help of Judge O'Brien to marry them. Being sentimental, the Judge insisted on taking them to the Byram River Beagle Club to get married since it was more romantic than O'Brien's house.

The Beagle Club was located at 100 Riversville Road at the intesection with Pecksland Road.  It was built in the 18th century, and bought by James McEntee Bowman in 1918.  He was the president of Bowman-Biltmore Hotels.  He remodeled the site, adding horse stables and a great restaurant.  Since foxhunting was popular at the time, he had kennels built for the hounds (beagles), and horses could be housed in the stables.  Hunters very often had lunch at the club.  From 1919 to 1933, it  was a "Speakeasy", serving illegal liquor.  Cockfighting was also held on Sundays. 

The Club was very exclusive.  Only the well-to-do were invited.  Of course, this was no problem for Desi and Lucy.   The only problem turned out to be the ring.  All the jewelry stores were closed on the weekend, so they had to buy a cheap ring at Woolworth's to use in the ceremony.  It was made of copper.  Lucy later had it coated (electroplated) with platinum.  A small reception followed.  Only an agent and manager attended the wedding.  The couple would be remarried in California in 1949 with family members present.

Desi worked to develop the television series "I Love Lucy", which ran for six years from 1951 to 1957.  It never fell below third place in the ratings.  Desi was known for being a Lothario, and the couple divorced in 1960.  Both remarried. They each pursued  their own careers, and continued to be successful.  Desi died of cancer in 1986, while Lucy died in 1989. 

Recent Comments

  • Carl White: Thank you for that information. I came across several people read more
  • pfalexla: LOTS MORE Thank you for this great effort. Not to read more
  • Michael A. Clar: Carl, I was surfing the web the other day for read more
  • Carl White: Heather - Thanks for this information. Could you tell me read more
  • Heather Converse: According to ancestry.com Edmund and Marquis were cousins. Please edit read more
  • Al Brecken: Carl , a brilliant musical composition is the "Second read more
  • Carl White: Karen - Thank you for your kind words! I tried read more
  • Karen Johnson: Good article. You have included Seton's lyrics. Can you include read more
  • Walter Ahrens: I lived In Cos Cob until 1958 and remember well read more
  • Al Brecken: www.historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=connecticut/riverside read more

Recent Assets

  • ChickMap696.jpg
  • st roch033.jpg
  • Maganini673.jpg
  • desiLu668.jpg
  • Lawn3663.jpg
  • Lawn2662.jpg
  • Lawn1661.jpg
  • K1K1K657.jpg
  • kkk655.jpg
  • Cohn645.jpg

Find recent content on the main index, or to browse all entries look in the all entries list or the archives.