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FORT STAMFORD RESTORATION, INC.
Registration Sheet April 1992
Fort Stamford 1781-1783
Brigadier General David How Waterbury, Jr., of Stamford was appointed to the command of a brigade of Connecticut State Troops to be raised for the defense of the coastline from Horseneck (Greenwich) to New Haven. This unit was formed by drafting soldiers from the militias of various Connecticut towns. Enlistments were also taken. Waterbury's Brigade served under General George Washington at Phillipsburg, N.Y., and at that time saw action against the British. When Washington's forces marched southward, eventually to engage the forces of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, the troops under General Waterbury returned to Fairfield County and began the construction of a fortification to provide themselves a winter headquarters, and to protect the area from attack.
Located at Stamford, near present-day Westover Road, the fortification consisted of four square earthworks, called redoubts, one at each corner of the garrison. These were connected by lines of wooden barracks which housed the troops and also formed the fort walls.
The Fort Stamford Committee
In 1972, with the approach of the bicentenary of the American Revolution, the Board of Representatives of the City of Stamford approved, for the sum of $750,000.00, the purchase of a tract of land from the former Goodbody estate from Landvest, Inc. developers who had acquired the estate; this tract being the site of General Waterbury's fortification. This site was intended as Stamford's first historic park. Mayor Julius Wilenski, in September, 1973, appointed a "Fort Stamford Committee" to conduct an archaeological survey and to promote and supervise a restoration project for the site. Mayor Frederick Lenz added members to the committee in 1974.
Fort Stamford Restoration, Inc.
With the "Fort Stamford Project" underway, it was decided that a financial mechanism should be created for the purpose of fundraising, and to develop a long-term plan for the improvement and the enhancement of the fort site as a historical landmark. On January 9, 1974, a certificate of incorporation was filed for the Fort Stamford Restoration, Inc., as a non-stock, non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Connecticut.
On January 29, 1974, the Fort Stamford Restoration, Inc. held its first meeting. Officers were elected and the corporation began conducting business.
The fundraising efforts of the corporation were bearing fruit, and in June of 1977 work began on the construction of a museum and educational facility on the park property. This was to be called the Fort Stamford Heritage Center. The building was opened in 1978, and it served as headquarters for the corporation and its educational programs, historical displays, and patriotic events.
By 1979, however, the Fort Stamford Restoration, Inc. had fallen upon difficult times. With the passing of the Bicentenary, interest in the Fort had waned and contributions began drying up. The corporation began falling behind in its ability to pay the Bonina Construction Co., contractor for the Heritage Center. Therefore, in November, 1979, Bonina filed suit.
The suit was finally settled in 1982, when the City of Stamford agreed to pay the outstanding bills of the Fort Stamford Restoration, Inc., with the city taking title to the building. The corporation was to lease the building from the city and attempt to revive interest in the undertaking. The corporation continued to function until 1984 when the Board of Directors discontinued operations and gave over control of the site and the building to the City of Stamford.
In October 1990, with the permission of the Stamford Parks Department, the files of the Fort Stamford Restoration, Inc. were removed from the Fort Stamford Heritage Center and along with numerous artifacts from the archaeological excavation and the datum books from that project, were placed at the Stamford Historical Society Museum. These items were deeded to The Stamford Historical Society by the City of Stamford in February of 1991.
Waterbury, David H. Orderly Book, October 1, 1781 - February 27, 1782. Connecticut State Library, Hartford.
Connecticut Adjutant General, Record of Service of Connecticut Men in the Army and Navy of the United States During the War of the Revolution. Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood and Brainard, 1889.
Stamford Advocate. Kathleen Failla. Article, June 21,1980
Stamford Advocate. Article January 27, 1892.
Portrait of a Family: Stamford through the Legacy of the Davenports
The Later 18th Century and Stamford’s American Revolution