Looking for some summer reading with a Ridgefield flavor? The gift shop at the Ridgefield Historical Society has some suggestions for entertaining reading that will give you a new understanding of your town and its history.
We’ve picked two of Jack Sanders’ books to recommend: Wicked Ridgefield (History Press) is a compilation of stories you’ve probably not heard before and Ridgefield Names answers questions about the place names that define this town.
Both books may be enjoyed in short sessions or hours-long dives into all that makes Ridgefield special.
In his Introduction to Wicked Ridgefield, Sanders wrote:
Wicked Ridgefield? What’s with the ‘wicked’? Local histories tend to focus not only on the major events in a community’s past, but also on the nicer ones. Any town’s life, however, includes what might be called a wicked side — an assortment of bad guys or bad times that may include thievery, bigotry, murders, missing persons, arson, and other assorted man-made misery. Often these people and events may have been forgotten because they were so long ago — or they may have been tucked away because people preferred to forget them. This book describes aspects of Ridgefield’s past that are sometimes tragic, often sad, and occasionally mysterious. Many accounts provide glimpses into the lives that townspeople lived and trials they faced, while others recall crimes and criminals that upset those lives. In many cases, however, the worst events can bring out the best in a community. People get together, stars emerge, and improvements in how we function as a society result. This look at the darker side of Ridgefield history points out some heroes, offers some lessons, and provides even a little humor. But let’s face it, as anyone from Shakespeare to Agatha Christie could tell you, bad news makes good stories.
(Member Price: $19. Non-Member Price: $22)
Like Wicked Ridgefield, the weightier Ridgefield Names is the result of Sanders’ fine investigative skills and decades of experience as editor of The Ridgefield Press (through 2014). The book had its beginnings in a popular column of the same name that appeared in The Press.
(Member Price: $40. Non-Member Price: $42)
Five Village Walks
As a bonus summer read, and a starting point for exploration, we also recommend Five Village Walks, which offers guided tours of Ridgefield village history, with more than 50 pictures from the town’s past. The 56-page softcover book is indexed and includes a map. It was written by Jack Sanders as a fundraiser for the Ridgefield Historical Society, with all profits going to the Society. (Member Price: $4. Non-Member Price: $5)
Visit our Gift Shop!
These are only a few of the books available at the Ridgefield Historical Society gift shop. We’ll be open for extended hours during July; stop in and choose some enlightening summer reading.