For the last few weeks, Ridgefield has been immersed in the past, commemorating the 245th Anniversary of the 1777 Battle of Ridgefield with a grand-scale Battle reenactment; a ceremonial funeral for the skeletal remains discovered in 2019; lectures on the latest findings about the engagement; historic walking tours, and more.
It’s been immersive and fascinating, but leaves one with the question … “What next?”
There is plenty more on the horizon. The Ridgefield Historical Society has submitted for a second National Park Service American Battlefield Protection Program grant to support additional research on the Battle, soldiers, and community members involved, plus archaeological work exploring the newly defined expanse and boundaries of the Battlefield. In addition, further study on the discovered remains is planned, and, coming soon, community Charrettes — large planning workshops for all interested community members to learn more and collectively discuss how Ridgefield can best preserve the special history that occurred here.
The Battle of Ridgefield, fought on April 27, 1777, was the only inland engagement of the Revolutionary War in Connecticut and was critical to the stirring of patriotic sentiment in the colonies. As more details are discovered about the Battle, its relevance in the Revolutionary War becomes better understood and, with this understanding, comes the desire to share and preserve the story and the evidence and artifacts that represent it.
The intent of the Charrettes is to look to the future and imagine how Ridgefield might do this — how Ridgefield might integrate the Battle of Ridgefield history into our current landscape.
The Charrettes are being conducted by the Ridgefield Historical Society in collaboration with FHI Studio of Hartford and with the support of the Ridgefield Library. Each Charrette is scheduled for 90 minutes (attendees are asked to register for only one) and begins with David Naumec, Ph.D., historian and field researcher from Heritage Consultants, who will provide background on recent developments and discoveries regarding the Battle of Ridgefield. This overview will set the stage for the team from FHI Studios, who will lead structured brainstorming and discussion regarding the future of Battle of Ridgefield research and the preservation and sharing of the history by the Town.
The Charrettes are taking place on Thursday, May 12 at 7:00pm (virtual) and Sunday, June 12 at 2:00pm at the Ridgefield Library (in person). You may register here.
FHI Studio is new to this project, but not to Ridgefield. In September 2015, FHI worked with the Town of Ridgefield on a three-day charrette — featuring an evening workshop, focus group meetings, open house sessions, and a public presentation of the charrette findings — on the Branchville Transit Oriented Development (TOD) initiative.