A History of the Greenwich Waterfront

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Click for availability and more information A History of the Greenwich Waterfront, by Karen Jewell
If you're interested in looking at Greenwich's history from a nautical viewpoint, you should read Karen Jewell's A History of the Greenwich Waterfront. The book starts by describing how the early settlers negotiated with the Native-Americans to buy the various harbor lands and inlets of the Greenwich shore. Both groups depended on the Sound for shellfish and fish. Oystering became an important industry. As residents found markets in New York and along the Long Island and Connecticut coasts for its agricultural goods (potatoes, apples, etc.), boat traffic grew to deliver these products. Greenwich became a flourishing seaport. The Upper and Lower Landings on the Mianus, Cos Cob Harbor and Rocky Neck Point became important shipping centers during the 1800s. It was bustling with boat traffic.

As more and more people started moving into Greenwich because of its natural beauty and its proximity to New York, recreational boating started to interest residents. Eventually boat or yacht clubs formed. Some of the better known clubs were The Riverside Yacht Club, Indian Harbor Yacht Club and Belle Haven Yacht Club. As the members became more skilled, they began participating in elite boat races. Some were very successful, bringing championship trophies back to Greenwich. Karen describes some of the better known sailors such as E.C. Benedict and Victor Borge.

An entire chapter is devoted to the 1938 Hurricane, which affected much of Long Island, the southern coast of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Other man-made and natural disasters are chronicled.

This book is important in terms of recapturing Greenwich during the time when people depended on the Sound for food, commerce and sport. Today, recreational boating far outdistances commerce. Shell fishing is no where as important as it used to be. The farms that produced staples for market have been replaced by magnificent mansions. There are barges plying the waters from time to time; but the age of nautical commerce, as residents knew it, has gone forever.

Karen Jewell will be at Greenwich Library on Monday, October 24th, to discuss her book.

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This page contains a single entry published on August 15, 2011 3:32 PM.

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