Moynihan, Engel pen letter to avoid 1802 Cobbler’s house’s demolition

First Selectman Kevin Moynihan and Town Council Chairman John Engel signed a letter to the First District Water Department formally expressing interest in the cobbler’s house at 1124 Valley Road. 
The letter states its goal to encourage the owners, First District Water, not to demolish the house at the intersection of Valley Road and Benedict Hill, which the letter says belonged to a cobbler when it was built in 1802. 
“The citizens of New Canaan are asking that we work with you to avoid the loss of an historic homestead and facilitate a constructive dialogue to preserve the house and land,” said Engel and Moynihan.
The 4.4 acres of property and house were purchased by the First District Water Department in 2006 at the edge of Grupes Reservoir property, according to the letter. The house “encapsulates the history and heritage of New Canaan and has been identified as one of the most important original structures of the era,” it said. The Federalist style house was originally built for a cobbler, but was then used as a farmhouse on over 200 acres, according to the epistle.
The letter is said to be on behalf of members of the New Canaan Preservation Alliance, New Canaan Historical Society, New Canaan Land Trust and New Canaan Town government including the Board of Selectman, Town Council, the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Conservation Commision.
The New Canaan Land Trust, which holds the 10.5 acres at the north of the property, has “already quietly begun the process of raising money in the hope the property can be purchased,” Engel and Moynihan wrote.
Back on Jan. 11, the Conservation Commission voted to initiate an inquiry to see if other organizations such as land trust enthusiasts, historical preservationists and environmentalists wish to help preserve it.
A ruling by Historic Review Committee delays the demolition by 90 days, which is up May 13.
This house at 1124 Valley Road may be demolished if the Conservation Commission can not find an alternative. — Grace Duffield photo