Water district mulls demolition of historic New Canaan house

Posted: Updated:
Preservationists have 90 days to spare the Grupe-Nichols-Browne House, which has stood at the corner of Valley Road and Benedict Hill for over 200 years, from demolition. Preservationists have 90 days to spare the Grupe-Nichols-Browne House, which has stood at the corner of Valley Road and Benedict Hill for over 200 years, from demolition.
The district's attorney says the land is too expensive. The district's attorney says the land is too expensive.
NEW CANAAN -

Preservationists have 90 days to spare the Grupe-Nichols-Browne House, which has stood at the corner of Valley Road and Benedict Hill for over 200 years, from demolition.

Norwalk's First Taxing District bought the property in 2006 because it's close to a reservoir. Now the district's attorney says the land is too expensive and the municipal water district wants to sell it or recoup the $2.25 million it paid.

Preservationists say the house is an integral part of New Canaan's identity. It was once the homestead for a 250-acre farm. It also served as a shoe cobbler's home, a nut farm and more recently as a countryside landmark. Over two centuries, it housed several significant New Canaan families.

"We need to think back at what this town is like," says Chris Schipper of the New Canaan Land Trust. "Not just overrun or overdevelop it, or just wipe everything out."

Historian Nancy Geary and other preservationists say they're trying to negotiate what they consider a reasonable price with the First Water District so they can start fundraising.

Schipper says the property is worth about $1.2 million. The water district wants $2 million. Without an agreement, the historic house will get bulldozed on June 1.

  • Connecticut SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Guide: National park sites in the tristate area

    Guide: National park sites in the tristate area

    Statue of LibertyStatue of Liberty

    A guide to the national park sites and trails on Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York City and the Hudson Valley.

    A guide to the national park sites and trails on Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York City and the Hudson Valley.

  • Students organize walkouts over gun violence

    Students organize walkouts over gun violence

    Students from across the country streamed out of their schools on April 20, 2018 in the latest round of gun-control activism following the February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.Students from across the country streamed out of their schools on April 20, 2018 in the latest round of gun-control activism following the February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

    Students from across the country streamed out of their schools on April 20, 2018 in the latest round of gun-control activism following the February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The protests were chosen to line up with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

    Students from across the country streamed out of their schools on April 20, 2018 in the latest round of gun-control activism following the February shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida. The protests were chosen to line up with the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting.

  • Connecticut Birthday Smiles

    Connecticut Birthday Smiles

    Is your or a loved one's birthday coming up? Let us know! Send us your photos and you could end up on air and News12.com!Is your or a loved one's birthday coming up? Let us know! Send us your photos and you could end up on air and News12.com!

    It's a celebration! Is your or a loved one's birthday coming up? Let us know! Send us your photos and you could end up on air and News12.com!

    It's a celebration! Is your or a loved one's birthday coming up? Let us know! Send us your photos and you could end up on air and News12.com!

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."