Leslie Groves

Darien Was Home To the Man Who Ran the Manhattan Project, Building the First Atomic Bombs

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After Albert Einstein convinced President Franklin Roosevelt that an atomic bomb could and should be built during World War II, the government turned to Gen. Leslie Groves, a brash, brusque and brilliant army officer to get it done. He succeeded in organizing and administering the project that built the two deadliest weapons ever used by mankind, resulting in the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But the same personality and tactics that helped him burst through bureaucratic obstacles to get the job done during the war proved fatal to his own post-war career in the Army. After Dwight Eisenhower gave him the results of a devastating job evaluation, Groves was out the door in February 1948. That’s when he took a job heading up research for one of the earliest computer companies, Remington Rand, and bought a newly built house that still stands today at 9 Dellwood Road in Darien, a short commute to the site of his research division in Rowayton.

Whaleboat Middlesex rechristening

Darien Historical Society Unveils Restored Revolutionary War Replica Whaleboat ‘Middlesex’

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After a long and tempest-tossed journey, the 24-foot whaleboat Middlesex has returned to safe harbor, giving the Darien Historical Society a unique opportunity to help make the town’s Revolutionary history come to life. — an announcement from the Darien Historical Society

“After a nearly 40-year odyssey, I am happy to report that the Middlesex is back home and in shipshape,” said Robert J. Pascal Jr., president of the society’s Board of Directors. The newly refurbished whaleboat was returned Saturday to the Darien Historical Society, after several decades away and a nearly year-long restoration project. Three senior officers of the Darien Historical Society were there, as well as two representatives from The Darien Foundation, which funded the restoration. All gathered at a safe distance from each other for the unveiling of the boat.

Darien 1820 wide for Facebook

Bicentennial Exhibition and Commemorative Book on Life in Darien 200 Years Ago

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What was it like to live in Darien 200 years ago? As the town celebrates its 200th birthday it’s an opportune time to ask the question. A new exhibition and commemorative book, Darien 1820 — New Town, New Times by Darien Historical Society Historian Ken Reiss, will open with a Champagne Gala on Friday, March 20 at 7 p.m. at the Darien Historical Society, 25 Old Kings Highway North, Darien. — an announcement from the Darien Historical Society

Both the book and the exhibition focus on life in town during the year 1820, when Darien gained its independence from Stamford and Norwalk. “People living in 1820s Darien were on the threshold of revolutionary developments that would usher in the modern age,” said Reiss.

Opening Ceremony for Darien’s 1820-2020 Bicentennial on Friday at Town Hall

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Amid monumental murals depicting key events from Darien’s history, the town will kick off its Bicentennial year with a glittering celebration to formally launch the town’s 200th birthday year celebrations. — an announcement from the Darien Bicentennial Committee

“This celebration is all about getting the community fired up with hometown pride,” said Miller. “Set against the backdrop of the WPA murals depicting momentous events from our town’s history, the auditorium at Town Hall is the perfect venue.”

The event will include special guest presentations, including performances by Darien High School’s Tudor Singers, and a keynote address by Darien’s Scott Pelley, award-winning correspondent with 60 Minutes and author of Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of our Times. When doors open at Town Hall at 6:30 p.m., a slideshow presentation will feature old photographs from the collection of the Darien Historical Society and the Tudor Singers will perform special selections. Members of Scouts BSA Troop 53 will open the formal program at 7 p.m. with the presentation of the colors.

Cake float in all its glory

Darien Gets ‘Birthday Cake’ Float, Bicentennial Opening Ceremony Scheduled for Jan 10

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To help with Darien’s 200th anniversary celebrations next year, the Salem town government has given Darien a 10-foot cake float it used in its own anniversary celebration, and it just arrived Monday. Amid monumental murals depicting key events from Darien’s history, the town will kick off its 200th birthday year with a Bicentennial Opening Ceremony on Friday, Jan. 10. — an announcement from the Darien Bicentennial Committee
The ‘Cake’

The Salem, Connecticut cake float was brought to Darien by staff from the town’s Parks and Recreation Department on Monday. Hollow Tree Self Storage, a Bicentennial Gold Sponsor, generously donated a storage unit for the float, and it is being stored there.

Info Session About Darien Bicentennial Plans: 11 AM Thursday at Darien Library

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The town’s 2020 Bicentennial Committee is hoping to spread the news about the town’s 200th Birthday next year and will share information about the plans during a forum at 11 a.m., Thursday, Nov. 21 at Darien Library. — an announcement from the Darien 2020 Bicentennial Committee

“These outreach efforts are intended to inform and get folks excited for the town’s 200th birthday year,” said First Selectman Jayme Stevenson. “We want to encourage both residents and businesses alike to support Darien’s official events and to discover ways that town organizations can participate and promote their own Bicentennial celebrations.”

In addition to holding public forums, a brochure detailing town-wide events will be mailed to all Darien addresses in late December. The colorful brochure, which features current and historic photos from around town, was designed by Jaymie Pavolonis, a graphic designer who worked with the official logo and color scheme created by Darien High School students Charlie Callery, Will Henry Harmon and Kelly Niederreither.

Spittoon Shards of History Exhibit Darien Historical Society

Curator Available Sunday to Talk About New Darien Historical Society Display of 19th Century Pottery

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A spittoon, beer bottle and milk pan are part of a unique collection of Norwalk Pottery items featured in the exhibition “Shards of History” now at the Darien Historical Society. Richard Prowse, a longtime collector of Norwalk Pottery, will discuss the display and answer questions on Sunday, Nov. 17 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Darien Historical Society. The display features several stoneware and redware pieces manufactured in Norwalk during the 1800s, when that city was known throughout the United States for producing top-quality pottery. “Glazed pottery items were once as ubiquitous as Tupperware is today,” said Prowse, who with Tracy Goodnow, loaned the pieces to the Museum and co-curated the exhibition.

Slawson Cemetery Gorman Bell

Photos from Saturday’s Cleanup at Darien’s Old Cemeteries

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Members of Darien’s Masonic Lodge, Ivanhoe Lodge No. 107 partnered with Darien’s Monuments and Ceremonies Commission’s Cemetery Committee and Good Wife’s River DAR Chapter to cut brush, remove debris, rake pinecones, and clean stones at the Slawson Cemetery on Hanson Road. — This article, an announcement from the Darien Monuments and Ceremonies Commission, is written by Karen Pollet. The pictures are by David Polett, chairman of the commission and a member of the Ivanhoe Masonic Lodge in Darien. This cemetery is the resting place of Darien town founder, Thaddeus Bell, his wife and son.

Earth Day Darien

Join Volunteers Cleaning up 6 Darien Cemeteries on Cemetery Cleanup Day

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The second Annual Darien Earth Day Cemetery Cleanup Day (originally scheduled for April 20 but postponed due to the weather), hosted by the Masonic Club of Darien takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, June 8. CORRECTION: The original announcement had a misspelling in the email address below, now corrected: Charity@DarienMasons.com. — an announcement from the Masonic Club of Darien

All volunteers are to meet at Ivanhoe Lodge No. 107, 354 Post Road in Darien, at 10 a.m. for instructions and information on the eight cemetery locations around town to be cleaned before being divided into teams.

— an announcement from the Masonic Club of Darien and the Darien Monuments and Ceremonies Commission

Among the cemeteries getting a spring cleaning, including Slawson Graveyard which is the resting place of town founder Thaddeus Bell. Please dress appropriately and bring rakes, gloves and any other tools you have which could be used for blowing leaves or cutting tree limbs.

Three DHS Juniors Designed This Winning Darien Bicentennial Logo

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The town received an early Friday present today with the unveiling of a new bicentennial logo, a collaborative effort of three Darien High School juniors. “Your work will live on long after this celebration,” First Selectman Jayme Stevenson told the students after the logo was unveiled during a special meeting of the 2020 Bicentennial Subcommittee on Wednesday. “A hundred years from now, when the community is planning its next big celebration, they will look back to your work to see what was done during the bicentennial.”

Featuring a navy blue town map with a gold 200 in its center and set against a cerulean banner, the logo was designed by three high school juniors: Charlie Callery, Will Henry Harmon and Kelly Niederreither. Earlier this year, the students submitted initial designs for the bicentennial logo contest, which was organized by the subcommittee under the leadership of Sarah Lexow Keena, who is coordinating bicentennial programs for the town’s youth. West Bielstein, a graphic artist and 2014 graduate of Darien High School, worked with the students to create an electronic format of their design.