Source: Greenwich Graphic: December 2, 1905, Page 5.
Mr. and Mrs. I. L. Mead Receive Congratulations-Talks with Graphic About the Greenwich of 50 Years Ago.
Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Lewis Mead held an informal reception at their home last Monday in observance of the fiftieth anniversary of their wedding. During the day more than a hundred persons paid their respects to the couple. Besides these Lombard Post G. A. R. called in a body, the deacons of the Congregational Church and the school visitors, as well as representatives of Acacia Lodge A. and F. M.
Many pretty presents were received by the pair. Among them were a gold Grand Army badge presented by Lombard Post, a gold lined silver fruit dish presented by the visitors and a gold masonic emblem for Mr. Mead and a gold brooch for Mrs. Mead presented by Acacia Lodge.
|The Isaac Lewis Mead Building, Greenwich and West Putnam Avenues.|
Mr. Mead is a native of Greenwich, there can hardly be found a man who has for so many years kept in such close touch with the town. His naturally fine intellect has preserved all its keeness and his physical faculties have not been impaired by age with exception of his eyesight which he has almost entirely lost.
"There has been a great change in Greenwich since 50 years ago to-day," said he reminiscently to the GRAPHIC. "At the time I was married it was but a little village which had but little intercourse with the outside world. The railroad
had been put through but a short time and a trip to New York was infrequent indeed to the average Greenwichite.
"I think at that time there were but six houses on what is now Greenwich Avenue. The avenue was a mere road from the Post Road down to what is now the Steamboat dock. There were no sidewalks and the road was often in such a condition that it was necessary to walk out into the lots to get out of the mud. The road was considerably used used even before the railroad was put in, in going from the upper part of the town to Captain Caleb Merritt's sloop wharf.
"This sloop of Captain Merritt's plied between here and New York and was for a great many years a much used mode of transportation, not only of freight but of passengers. The sloop ran once a week. It started in the evening and if the weather was good generally arrived in New York somewhere near dawn.
"The business section of the town for the most part was near the corner of Sherwood Place and Putnam avenue though there were one or two stores adjacent to the building which is now called the Lenox House. The hotel was called the Mansion Hotel and was kept by Mr. Augustus Lyon. It was the only hostelry in this part of the town.
"There were no public improvements in town then, if you accept the roads. There were not even lights. I remember the first time lights were put on Greenwich avenue. I think it was just prior to the war, when the 8th regiment of the militia was camping on Mr. Sandford Mead's lot. I was then a member of the Board of Burgesses and I realized that there would be a great many people passing between the railroad and the camp ground and that there ought to be lights on Greenwich avenue. At that time the Americas Club had a club house on Indian Harbor Point where Mr. Benedict's place is now. They used a great many lamps to light the woods up when they held an entertainment of any sort. I went to the club as it was about time for it to close for the year, asked for the use of the lamps. When I got them I had them fixed to the trees all along Greenwich avenue. Those were the first lights on the avenue, but it was a long time before any were permanently places there.
"Practically no one outside knew of the town, then, as a summer resort. One of the first people to make a summer home here was William L. Tweed. It was he who brought the Americus Club out here and it was the Americus Club which through its members helped spread the fame of Greenwich as a beautiful summer place.
"Then of course other people traveling through the town on the railroad noted its beauties and came here to try them. There was a rather amusing story told of the late Mr. H. M. Benedict, brother of Mr. E.C. Benedict whose elegant villa here is one of the most magnificent in the country. For some reason or other Mr. Benedict had come to town and he visited the cemetery. Going through it and reading the various inscriptions, he remarked that there were an almost amazing number of persons who had died in the ages of eighty or ninety or even older. "Ha," he said with a smile, "if the place is so healthful that they all live to be eighty or more, its just the place for me." Somewhat later he came to live here, whether partly because of the incident or not, I don't know. Seven years ago he died at an age that was not less than those he had marveled at, graven in the old cemetery."