‘Pink Pills for Pale People’: A History of Cody’s Drug Store

[Editor’s Note: This local history article by New Canaan Historical Society volunteer Gordon T. Walker is the first in a series to appear monthly on NewCanaanite.com.]

Most New Canaanites know about Cody’s Drug Store, which operated continuously in town from 1845 until it was demolished in 1965 for the widening of Main Street. James Cody and his family operated the store from 1918 until its demolition. The store’s contents and many of the fixtures were donated to the New Canaan Historical Society, which created a new wing for the reconstruction of what had become a beloved town landmark. Today, Cody’s Drug Store is the most well known and popular of its many exhibits and relocated historic buildings. 

In its early days, the drug store was operated by Samuel Silliman, who was also the Town Clerk. The selectmen, perhaps being of like party affiliation, authorized him “to sell spirituous and intoxicating liquors at his drug store… for sacramental, medicinal, chemical and mechanical uses only.” Unfortunately, the Sons of Temperance, no doubt concerned about the definition of “medicinal,” successfully petitioned the town to rescind Silliman’s license.

‘We Hold People Accountable’: District Officials Weigh In On Handling of Former Assistant to NCHS Athletic Director

Saying New Canaan Public Schools acted immediately and responsibly after learning of financial problems involving an assistant to the high school’s athletic director, district officials are taking exception to some of the ways the matter has been described by investigators in police case reports. The Board of Education put Anne Tomaselli on administrative leave straightaway after discovering that she had failed to say anything about more than $30,000 in overpayments made in her paycheck over a period of about three months in late 2015, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi and the Director of Finance and Operations Dr. Jo-Ann Keating. District officials also notified the New Canaan Police Department immediately of that discovery, as well as after they found two bundles of $20 bills in Tomaselli’s office that were marked ‘football gate’ with dates from home Rams games from November 2015, they said. And although it’s true that no criminal charges ultimately were brought against Tomaselli in connection with either matter, the state’s attorney—not the schools—made that determination, Luizzi and Keating said. 

In fact, the separation agreement under which Tomaselli agreed to reimburse the school district $30,000 and never to be employed by New Canaan Public Schools was finalized only after police said there was inadequate evidence to bring charges against her for a potential theft, they said. “We hold people accountable that we address issues as they arise and are always vigilant and careful stewards of the district’s resources,” Luizzi told NewCanaanite.com during an interview Tuesday.

Op-Ed: Remembrances of Bristow Bird Sanctuary

As a young child in New Canaan after WWII, I had the privilege of living in the Justus Hoyt House on Main Street, where my mother and grandfather had been born, as well as generations of Hoyts dating back to 1770. The house stood directly opposite New Canaan Library. A bonus of living there was that my grandfather’s flower shop and greenhouses—S.B. Hoyt Florists Est.1908—was next door. My grandparents, Stephen and Anna Hoyt, lived on a property adjoining ours that fronted on East Maple Street. I had aunts and uncles and cousins up and down East Maple Street and Hoyt Street. One of the perks of being frequently in my grandfather’s orbit, is that when he made trips to the New Canaan Bird Sanctuary and Wildwood Preserve he would often invite me along. The Preserve was both a sanctuary and a mission to “Grampy Hoyt” who, as president of the Bird Protective Society of New Canaan, had solicited the funds from Mrs. Barend van Gerbig and other concerned citizens to purchase and fence the 16.8-acre property in 1923. Once through the entrance gate to this haven, my grandfather would engage in conversation with Clinton Bartow, the caretaker, leaving me to explore.

Merchants at Odds Over Now-Uncertain Pop Up Park

The recent news that the Chamber of Commerce is no longer sponsoring the Pop Up Park has left its future uncertain. While volunteer organizers are scrambling to obtain permits, insurance and town approval, a 2015 debate of how the park affects local business has been reignited. We spoke to several businesses in the area to hear their thoughts. Helen Richards of Odesmith & Richards Boutique on South Avenue describes the park as a “pleasant idea” but in the “completely wrong place.” Her concerns revolve around how the park affects nearby businesses, saying “it blocks traffic and impedes commerce where it is.”

She referred to a letter written by area merchants a few years ago. “The merchants have been complaining about it for a long time,” she said.