Way Back When … 1895
Our neighboring community, Black Rock, celebrates its 375th anniversary this year, and it will be marked by a new exhibition opening at the Fairfield Museum on Thursday, May 23. This photograph, taken in 1895, shows the Nichols Brady Store, part of a commercial center built in the late nineteenth century by William H. Nichols. The view is looking south from Main and Water Streets (now Brewster Street and Seabright Avenue). The large building in the foreground is the general store, built in 1893 and run by Mr. Nichols in partnership with John Brady, Jr. Next to it are two houses built as rental properties, and beyond that is a saloon and beer garden.
According to Susan Graham, a member of the Black Rock Community Council History Committee, this location is directly across from Ellsworth Park, which was the location of early Wheeler family homesteads and later Captain Caleb Brewster’s home lot, barn, and blacksmith shop. This store was just down the street from the location of the early tavern of Abel Wheeler, the wharves, and the wharf stores that serviced the vessels in the harbor, including Smedley and Sturges’ Customs storehouse, now Fayerweather Yacht Club. In other words, during those days, this was the main street and the center of the village.
The new exhibition, Black Rock: 375 Years of Community, will run through August 4 in the Museum’s Ruth Carlson Horn Gallery. An Opening Reception will be held Thursday, May 23, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Founded 375 years ago, the neighborhood of Black Rock has tied together the communities of Fairfield and Bridgeport, while retaining its unique personality and sense of place. Through the ages of sail, steam, and rail, Black Rock has served as a beacon of ingenuity, strength, and comfort for its residents and visitors alike. This exhibition will celebrate 375 years of Black Rock’s rich community history and heritage through rare artifacts and photographs - and look towards its future.
It is presented with the Black Rock History Committee and the Black Rock Community Council. Special thanks to Phil Blagys, Paula Butturini, Susan Graham, Robert Novak, Betty Oderwald, and Bruce Williams.
As part of this celebration, the Museum is restoring a mural of Old Black Rock Harbor by Robert Lambdin. To learn more about the historic mural and the project, visit Gofundme.com/58t9z-historic-mural-restoration.
The Fairfield Museum & History Center and Museum Shop, located at 370 Beach Road, is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Members of the Museum and children under 5 are admitted free. For more information, call 203-259-1598 or visit Fairfieldhistory.org.