Talk of the Town: Rowayton
Surprising historical facts about Rowayton...revealed!
By Malia McKinnon Frame
- Rowayton’s three beaches—Roton Point, Bayley Beach, and part of Wee Burn Country Club— all made up the Roton Point Amusement Park from the late 1800s until around 1942.
- Thousands of New Yorkers, called “Yorkers” at the time, used to come for day trips via steamboat, train and trolley to the Roton Park.
- George Putnam, a famous publisher, summered here and was instrumental in contributing money to start the first railroad depot, the library and the first Rowayton post office in the 1800s. A second library was built in 1903 nearby, also on Rowayton Avenue.
- Painters Vincent Colyer and John Kensett were best friends and both drew the beautiful coastal view of Rowayton over the years.
- Colyer bought what is “Contentment Island” right off the coast.
- The Vincent Colyer Barn on Belmont Place was believed to be his artist’s nook and where he managed construction of the Rowayton railroad.
- Rowayton is known as the birthplace of the UNIVAC, or first business computer, which took place in the Rock Ledge Mansion, later known as the Remington Rand Corporation on 33 and 40-42 Highland Avenue.
- Rowayton Market opened in the late 1700s and is the longest running continually operational store in CT.
- The Rowayton library was formerly a carriage house and stables on the James A. Farrell estate.
- Brendan’s 101 has been the following over 125 years: various stores, a grocery store, a lobster house, a library, an arts center, an antique Shop, a yacht sales center and a Book Store.
- The Canon Monument, located on Rowayton and Wilson Avenues was given to Rowayton in 1901 by the Douglas Fowler GAR (a veterans group) to honor the Civil War Veterans of Rowayton.
- The base of stone that the canon sits on was funded by the people of Rowayton, including children, who went door to door in town to raise money for it.
- George Putnam Senior, a prominent Rowayton resident, was the father in law of Amelia Earheart.
- Over the years Rowayton has been home to the following famous personalities: Ian Falconer, author of the Olivia series, author Philip Caputo, and Andy Rooney.