President’s Day: Greenwich Ties to the Federal Holiday

While he was born in Andover, Massachusetts, former President George H.W. Bush is known for spending much of his young life in Greenwich. His father, Prescott, lived here and sent George H.W. to Greenwich Country Day. Former President George W. Bush is also linked to Greenwich, although he was actually born in New Haven, and grew up in Texas.

President’s Day started in 1885 to celebrate President George Washington, though, so here’s the real “fun fact”: On October 16th, 1769, George Washington was actually here!

Second Congregational Church on the Post Road in Greenwich. Credit: JC

Second Congregational Church on the Post Road in Greenwich. Credit: John Collins

As the plaque, located on the Second Congregational Church in Greenwich says, then-General Washington “Paused here on the Post Road near this Church on October 16, 1769.” Washington thought that spot at the intersection of Putnam Avenue (Route 1) and Maple Avenue was so beautiful that he even described it in his diary as a “superb landscape” and “rich regalia.”

If it was this cold when he was here, no wonder he only “paused…” Credit: John Collins

Speaking of Putnam Avenue, it is also common folklore that General Washington stopped for lunch in a cottage nearby (although it was not a cottage back then).

Cold and windy at Putnam Cottage. Credit: JC

Cold and windy at Putnam Cottage. Credit: John Collins

Putnam Cottage is a historical landmark because of its close ties to the Revolutionary War. It began as Knapp’s Tavern in the 1600s, but is known for housing General Israel Putnam during our fight for independence.

Historical Architecture at Greenwich Library. Credit: JC.

Historical Architecture at Greenwich Library. Credit: Greenwich Library.

 

Mapping a Revolution. Credit: JC.

Mapping a Revolution. Credit: Greenwich Library.

 

"Putnam Cottage: Ready for its close-up." Credit: JC.

Putnam Cottage aka Knapp Tavern: “Ready for its close-up.” Credit: Greenwich Library.

The cottage got its name because of a daring escape General Putnam made from the British while he was staying there. He famously rode down the hill on Putnam Avenue with British soldiers right behind him, and narrowly escaped.

Put's Hill Sign. Credit: JC

Put’s Hill Sign. Credit: John Collins

That scene is actually our Town Seal. Who knew…?

Greenwich Town Seal. Credit: JC.

Greenwich Town Seal. Credit: JC.

(Editor’s Note: I try not to take the Lord’s name in vain, especially on Church property, but it might have slipped today while taking pictures for this story. The only way to get to that plaque of Washington was to walk on what I later realized was a sheet of ice encasing steep, snow-covered stairs. I think somebody should shovel that…).

Trekking across the arctic tundra at Second Congregational Church. Credit: JC.

Trekking across the arctic tundra at Second Congregational Church. Credit: JC.

Might've been a bad idea... Credit: JC.

Might’ve been a bad idea… Credit: JC.

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