On Sunday, August 28, the Ridgefield Historical Society threw a birthday party for Samuel Goodrich, otherwise known as Peter Parley, at the Schoolhouse on West Lane which bears his name. (He was a student and esteemed graduate.) As with any party, you’re never quite sure who — if anybody — is going to show up. But show up they did because if anybody has fans, it’s the extraordinary Peter Parley, who turned 229 this year.
Here is a brief rundown of the guests and the highlights of the day.
- The Jones Clan — Barbara, Barrett, Brendan, and Lily. Some of you might recognize Barrett Jones from the Ridgefield Library. Barbara is a longtime Ridgefield resident; Brendan went to Ridgefield High; and Brendan’s daughter Lily just loves history.
- A bicyclist on his “Tour de Fairfield County” — he enjoyed refreshments while considering his goal of reaching the highest point in Ridgefield. Fortunately, Jack Sanders was on hand to advise exactly where that point is.
- A lovely couple from Cape Cod, Peter and Ellen Dornemann, who not only visited and watched our video, but also gave us the gift of an 1880s geography schoolbook, which just happened to be the volume that had been selected for use in the Ridgefield schools at the time. It’s now on display at the Schoolhouse and you can come take a look.
- The new service unit director of Ridgefield Girl Scouts, Kristin Quell, who stopped by with her family after seeing the Ridgefield Historical Society team at the Cannon Grange fair. Her girls had brilliant face painting which Peter Parley himself would have loved and definitely made it feel like a real birthday party.
- A freelance photographer who arrived curious about the growing scene at the triangle of West Lane, Silver Spring, and Route 35.
- One of our special guests was Torrey Cooke, who used to be a Schoolhouse host for the Ridgefield Garden Club when it had charge of the building; she inspired this year’s lemonade toast to Peter Parley, which was a Garden Club tradition. Ms. Cooke is a longtime supporter of the Ridgefield Historical Society and continues to be active with the Ridgefield Garden Club.
- The most frequent comment? “I’ve driven by this schoolhouse for years and I’m so glad I’ve finally gotten to see the inside.”
- And thanks to schoolhouse neighbor Gordon Brooks for helping with end-of-party cleanup.
Here are a few pictures from the day.