One of the busiest rooms in Town Hall is the Cone Meeting Room located on the second floor. This room was named after Joseph W. Cone, who was the first Commissioner of Public Works in Greenwich.
Joseph Warren Cone was born on October 6, 1881, in Southport CT. He was educated in the public schools of Norwalk. At age 16, he dropped out of school to become an apprentice and millwright (person responsible for installation, repair, etc. of machinery). Cone made $3 for a 60-hour week! He also became a "boss knitter", which is a supervisor who monitors the quality of output.
SOURCE: GREENWICH TIME
Mr. Cone must have developed a keen interest in engineering (and finished high school) because he eventually enrolled at Yale University in this field. In his junior year he was an assistant instructor in plane surveying, and in his senior year he was an assistant instructor in railroad engineering. Cone received a prize in Civil Engineering at the University. He took two years of general honors courses, and graduated "Primum Honoris" (First Honor) in 1905. His membership in the Sigma XI honor fraternity set him apart from his contemporaries. Joseph must have believed in the value of common sense because he talked about a "CS Degree" - a "Common Sense" Degree. This, most likely, came from his life experiences. Some would call it "the college of hard knocks".
During World War I, he served as a Captain in Battery A, 41st Regiment, Railroad Artillery. He joined the civil engineering company S.E. Minor in Greenwich after the war, and became a partner in 1921. By 1927 he was the Treasurer, and was owner from 1931 to 1940. Cone was appointed the first Commissioner of Public Works in Greenwich in January 1940. In this capacity, he was responsible for subdivisions of property, property surveys, and title surveys. He designed and built the first concrete highways in the state. Cone organized the first town DPW with the Divisions of Highways, Sewers, Buildings, Parks and Trees, and Waste Disposal.
Governor Wilbur Cross appointed him to the State Board of Registrations for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors. Governor Raymond E. Baldwin appointed him to the State Board of Supervisors of Dams and Reservoirs. The professional associations he belonged to include: Connecticut Society of Engineers, Yale Engineering Association, National Society of Professional Engineers and the Connecticut State Board of Civil Engineers. He also served as technical advisor to the Fairfield County Planning Association.
He was very active in the community. Cone was a Director of the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce, Director of the Greenwich Title Company, Secretary and Director of the Greenwich Mortgage Company, member of the Sons of the American Revolution, and belonged to the Masons. He was also active in the Riverside Yacht Club and Graduate Club of New Haven.
After 13 years of public sevice with the town, Joseph Cone retired. He still remained active in town engineering, contributing to the construction of the Connecticut Turnpike and upgrading the sewage disposal system.
Joseph W. Cone died on July 11, 1969. He left behind a great legacy of public service and volunteerism. The Town benefited from his dedication and leadership. His life was full and rewarding. Greenwich benefited greatly from his many gifts.
SOURCE: Greenwich Time