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  sololeafThe Community

   Mention Greenwich, Connecticut anywhere and chances are people will have heard of it. Greenwich is home to artists and writers, actors and sports figures, top-to-middle corporate executives and leaders in the world of finance.

     In 1990, the town celebrated its 350th anniversary. The history of our country's development since pre-Revolutionary days is reflected in the lives of generations of vital and interesting Greenwich residents, who continue to be the town's greatest asset.

     Geographically blessed, Greenwich extends over 50 square miles -- from the rolling hills, woods and meadows of backcountry, dotted with lakes and wetlands, to its 32 miles of shoreline, coves and tributaries on the Long Island Sound.

     Town residents enjoy nearly 1500 acres of park land. They include a large Audubon Center, two islands on the Sound with beaches served by town ferries, and Byram Shore, with a beach, boating and picnic facilities.

 

     The town also owns and operates an 18-hole golf course, dozens of paddle and tennis courts, a skating rink and marinas. There are four private yacht clubs, eight golf clubs and a tennis and squash racquet club.

 

     Year-round recreation is offered by the YMCA and YWCA and, for children, a Boys & Girls Club, a teen center, and the very first chapter of the Boy Scouts of America, founded by Greenwich's Ernest Thompson Seton.

 
 

 

 

 

  sololeafThe History  
  “Old clubhouse looks funny and it's not well built, but it's got history.”  
 
By Hoa Nguyen
Greenwich Time, Staff Writer
August 21, 2006

     On the day Old Greenwich golfers were thrown off J. Kennedy Tod's estate in 1904, they organized themselves into a club, scrambling to find a new home and settling on 40 acres in the Shorelands section.

     They hastily built a two-story clubhouse there, on what is now 7 Old Club House Road, and fashioned a caddie house from a stable, and a rough golf course on the land around it. Though it served as their home only for three years, it has a place in the town's history. Soon to be demolished by the current owners, the structure harkens back to when golfers were desperate for a place to play and Shorelands was a just a patch of beachfront property waiting to be developed.

     Toward the end of the 19th century, Tod, the nephew of a wealthy Scotsman who made his fortune in the railroad industry, moved into a 147-acre estate along the Old Greenwich shore, now known as Greenwich Point Park. Many locals still refer to it as Tod's Point, and Tod himself called it Innis Arden.

     Historical accounts say Tod gave golfers access to the 9-hole golf course on the estate until May 2, 1904, when he arrived late one day for his game of golf and discovered there were no caddies left. Mad about the discourtesies shown to him, Tod closed public access to the course -- it is said that he barred not just golfers, but his neighbors, picnickers, horses and buggies and the overall public -- and the golfers soon had to find space elsewhere.

     The Innis Arden Golf Club, as the group came to be called, had a membership list that included well-known Greenwich surnames, such as Lucas, Binney, Ferris and Havemeyer. The 40 acres on which they built their new clubhouse and golf course were leased from the Lockwood family and overlooked Greenwich Cove, said Eric Knutsen, a Riverside resident and author of the book "Innis Arden: 100 Years in the Neighborhood."

     Though the course offered expansive views of the cove and was a convenient place to congregate following Tod's expulsion, members soon left for a place more suitable for golf and built a much more spacious Greek revival style club house on Tomac Avenue, where the club still stands today.

     Shortly after they left Shorelands, a developer named Percy D. Adams descended onto the area and under the name of the Sound Beach Summer Homes Corp. developed it into a residential community. The former clubhouse was sold as one of those summer homes to Agnes Scott, the first of half-dozen owners in the structure's century-old history. What likely began as a summer resort has now become a dues-paying community of year-round residents.

     For nearly two decades, celebrated Greenwich High School swimming coach Terry Lowe and his family lived in the former club house. According to tax records, they sold the house earlier this year for $1.6 million to developer Beth Cappiali, who built View Stone Townhomes in Chickahominy where the Lowes now live.

     The house has few notable architectural details except for an unusual second-story wraparound porch -- half of which former residents of the house enclosed to create more living space.

     "It's quite recognizable because of the unusual roof line," Knutsen said, referring to the second-story wraparound porch that makes the house look bigger at the top than at the bottom. "The kids used to call it the upsidedown house."

     The largest room in the house is on the second floor and Knutsen said it presumably served as the lounge area for club members. Because the house sits high on Shorelands, the second-floor porch, which once allowed golfers to look out onto the golf course, now offers great views of the surrounding neighborhood and Long Island Sound.

     Though a Shorelands resident has filed an objection to the demolition with the building department, historic preservationists said there is little left in the structure worth saving.

     "We were hoping to find something that would say, 'save this house,' " said Susan Richardson, chairwoman of the Historic District Commission, who inspected the house with a fellow historic preservationist. "Neither one of us could make a case for saving it."

The house has fallen into disrepair, but the land under it has tremendous value. Unlike many homes in the Shorelands that are vulnerable to flooding because the cove is so near, this particular structure sits high on a ridge and is relatively safe from flooding, Cappiali said. Though the location is ideal, the house needs a lot of work, she said.

     "The cost of repairs would be more than it was worth," Cappiali said. "It's a beautiful spot. You have no flood zone. You can build well and you can build something that is graceful with tremendous views."

     Even Terry Lowe thinks demolition is the right thing. Because the house was poorly constructed and is a "tick-tacky kind of building," if he had had enough money, he would have torn it down years ago and built something else, Lowe said.

     "It was a wonderful location and that house served our family very well," Lowe said, "but it was not a structure that one would expect standing a few years down the road."

Copyright © 2006, Southern Connecticut Newspapers, Inc.

 
  sololeafLOCAL LINKS  
   
  sololeafDirections  
   
 

sololeafTake the US-1 exit- EXIT 5- toward RIVERSIDE/OLD GREENWICH. (0.35 miles)

sololeafTurn RIGHT onto E PUTNAM AVE/US-1. (0.23 miles)

sololeafTurn RIGHT onto SOUND BEACH AVE. (1.32 miles)

sololeafTurn RIGHT onto SHORELANDS PL. (0.06 miles)

sololeafTurn LEFT onto FAIRGREEN LN. (0.06 miles)

sololeafTurn RIGHT onto OLD CLUB HOUSE RD. (0.06 miles)

sololeafEnd at 7 Old Club House Rd Old Greenwich, CT.

 
   
 

sololeafTake the US-1 N exit- EXIT 5. (0.13 miles)

sololeafTurn RIGHT onto E PUTNAM AVE/US-1. (0.23 miles)

sololeafTurn RIGHT onto SOUND BEACH AVE. (1.32 miles)

sololeafTurn RIGHT onto SHORELANDS PL. (0.06 miles)

sololeafTurn LEFT onto FAIRGREEN LN. (0.06 miles)

sololeafTurn RIGHT onto OLD CLUB HOUSE RD. (0.06 miles)

sololeafEnd at 7 Old Club House Rd Old Greenwich, CT.

 

 
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