When I received my beach card last year, I noticed a "seal" which looked different than another seal I'd seen in town. I've probably seen each seal many times over the years, but never paid particular attention to either one. Recently, however, I became interested in researching these insignia, and was surprised at what I found out.
TOWN COAT OF ARMS
The town's official Coat of Arms (or Crest) was adopted on April 25, 1940. Alexander Malcolm designed it. It consists of a shield with a ship above, an early settler on the left side and a Native-American on the right side. A scroll underneath reads (in Latin) "Fortitudine et Frugalitate". This stands for "Courage and Thrift". Greenwich Time columnist Bill Young wrote in the October 3, 1981 edition that it meant "strength of mind and careful management of resources". Roman numeral MDCXL represents the date 1940. Upon closer examination, the center shield is divided into four quadrants by a cross. The cross represents the Christian faith of the early settlers. A windmill in the upper left quadrant signifies the Dutch influence on our town, evident is some of our architecture. The horsehead in the upper right section commemorates the name `"Horseneck", which was the tract of land developed by the 27 Proprietors of 1672. In the lower left is a seashell which stands for the early shellfish industry. It was also an emblem adopted by early pilgrims. In the lower right, you will find the image of a plow below the sun and a rain cloud, signifying the town's early agrarian (agricultural) industry. The ship with crossed anchors, and furled flag and sails above the seal, is a nod to Greenwich, England - our namesake. This image was taken directly from their Coat of Arms.
In 1990, as part of the 350th Anniversary of the town, Bradbury Thompson modified the Coat of Arms by taking the shield only and adding five vertical lines to represent central Greenwich, Old Greenwich, Riverside, Cos Cob and Byram. The words "Greenwich 350" were added below.
There seems to be a mystery as to the origination of the Town Seal, however. According to First Selecman Ruth Sims in 1981, there is no record of when the Seal was adopted. The Seal depicts General Israel Putnam escaping from the British down Put's Hill. It's set on a brown, green and white background. The words "Town of Greenwich Seal" is circumscribed around the orb. The Seal is used for ceremonial functions, and can be found in the main meeting room in Town Hall.
On September 28, 1963, the Town adopted a flag designed by Edward Pietrzak, which displayed the Town Seal. First Selectman Peter Tesei directed that the Town Seal be applied to all Town vehicles in 2007. You can see it on any of the Town's maintenance or utility trucks.
If anyone knows anything more about the Seal, I'd be happy to share your comments with my loyal readers.
Before and After 2000: HSTG, 1999.
Greenwich Review: Special Commemorative Edition, May 1990.