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Canaan, CT history

Canaan CT history

Scrap Book of North Canaan

-- historic and now very scarce -- was written circa 1898 by John Rodemeyer, Jr. 

The author was once the Editor of The Connecticut Western, a newspaper of the day.  The book was originally published by C. H. Pease, a familiar North Canaan name even today. 

Containing maps and abundant photographs in its eighty-odd pages, Scrap Book of North Canaan is a well-written depiction of the town over the years.  Although it modestly denies being a history of the community, in fact it is just that. Over 100 years later the distinction of being THE history of that community still belongs to this thin volume.  Written only 40 years after that township separated from Falls Village (a/k/a Canaan), it captured memories of people who remembered "the old days."  It also included many photographs of Canaan at the turn of the 20th century.

We have indexed the book.  The index is available on this website.  If you are fortunate enough to have access to a copy of Scrap Book of North Canaan, this index may help you find people and places in it more easily.  

North Canaan, Scrap Book of

Thanks to the Lakeville Journal for their wonderful article about this re-publication project!!
View the index of Scrap Book of North Canaan.  
We offer Scrap Book of North Canaan, with the new index, on CD-ROM.  Also included are scans of two Manuals (historic directories) of the Pilgrim Church of North Canaan.  We added some topographic maps of the area, and also some old and new  photographs.   The price of the CD-ROM is $20.00  (CT orders: please add 6% sales tax).

How to order the Scrap Book of North Canaan CD-ROM

 Information about how to order the CD-ROM.
What people are saying:

The Litchfield County Times:  "...a treasure trove for local historians and genealogists."

S. P.: "Thank you so much.  My dad loves it!"

 

People ask:

About those Canaan place names....

Here's the full story:

Canaan, CT, in the town of North Canaan

Canaan is the name of a village in the township of North Canaan, Litchfield County, CT.  

However, Canaan is also the name of an adjacent township in Litchfield County, the principal village of which is Falls Village.  Both are located in the state's Northwest Corner. Both these Canaans were once a single township.  

To thoroughly confuse matters, there is a much better known place in Connecticut called New Canaan -- but New Canaan is in Fairfield County, around 50 miles south of the Northwest Corner's two Canaans.

 

A good summary can be found on a State of Connecticut sign -- and this particular one is located in the Falls Village Canaan, not the North Canaan Canaan.  Click on the picture of the sign to the right to see a larger image.  There's a similar sign in North Canaan, near the athletic field.

Canaan Falls Village Connecticut

 

North Canaan, CT

North Canaan is one of the fortunate small towns that had a citizen -- a local newspaper editor -- who actually wrote a book about it.  You can check the index to that book.

North Canaan's newer (of what were once two) Congregational Churches published a series of "Manuals" at intervals in its past.  We've indexed two of these manuals -- summaries of the church records -- the 1912 edition and the 1937 edition.  There's more about the Pilgrim Church Manuals later on this page. 

We've also collected some century-old topographic maps of the Canaans -- because it's useful to see how things looked then.  The land forms did not significantly change, but the indications on the map of development (roads, railroads, and buildings, most notably) certainly do.  

Finally, we've found that most people with an interest in a community's past are also interested in what the community looks like in the present.   A few current pictures of Canaan are below.  Many more photos are on the CD-ROM. Also on the CD-ROM is a slide show comparing what things looked like in Canaan circa 1900 and what they look like in 2003.

The CD-ROM containing the scans, the indexes, the photos, the maps, and the slide show is now available.  Check the  ordering information.

 

Pilgrim Church of North Canaan -- Manuals

Pilgrim Church, the former Congregational Church in Canaan village, was actually the second Congregational Church in the town of North Canaan.  The original Congregational Church here, once located between Canaan and East Canaan, was moved to East Canaan.  Now, most people refer to that one as the East Canaan Church.  However, now that the Pilgrim Church merged into it a few years ago, it is correctly called the "North Canaan Congregational Church". The old Pilgrim Church building in the village of Canaan is now the home of a Baptist congregation.  The entity that published the Manuals no longer exists as a separate congregation.  

We have scanned and indexed two editions of the Pilgrim Church's "Manuals" -- the 1912 and 1937 editions of these historic church directories.  Each around 40 pages long, they contain membership rolls, history of the church, and other information that may be of interest.  The indices to the two manuals are on-line now.  View the index of the 1912 Manual, or view the index of the 1937 Manual.  Scans of the complete manuals and their indexes are on the CD-ROM.

 

Canaan, Connecticut -- maps of the area

Here's an 1853 map of Canaan Village.  Click on it to see it in detail.  

Canaan village map in 1853

On the CD-ROM you will find several of the circa 1900 topographic maps of the quadrangle in which Canaan is located available along with maps of the railroads that intersected in Canaan. 

 

Canaan -- current photographs

Here are a few pictures of North Canaan today.  

Many more pictures, both current and historical, including some of Falls Village and Twin Lakes, are available on the CD-ROM.  Also on the CD-ROM is a slide show, comparing the way many  Canaan landmarks looked in 1898 with the way they look in 2003.  

Of particular interest on the CD-ROM for students of railroading history are both pre- and post-fire photos of the famed and historic Canaan Union Station.  

(Click on any of these samples to see them larger.) 

Beckley Furnace, Lower Road, Canaan, CT

Former Barnum,  Richardson Co. blast furnace (Beckley Furnace) in East Canaan

House at the Lower Crossing, Canaan CT

One of several historic houses at the "Lower Crossing"

Canaan Union Station after the fire

Remains of historic Canaan Union Station after the fire.  There's an active campaign to rebuild this historic building.

Christ Church, Episcopal

Christ Church, Episcopal

Canaan National Bank

Head Office of Canaan National Bank, merged, soon after the picture was taken, into the Salisbury Bank and Trust Company

Formerly Pilgrim Church

The former Pilgrim Church (Congregational); now a Baptist congregation

Douglas Library and Pease Museum

Douglas Library (Pease Museum is located on the second floor in rear)

Bob's Clothing and Shoes

Formerly Bob's Clothing and Shoes

Looking north on Railroad Street

Looking north on Railroad Street from the intersection with Main Street

Collin's Diner, Canaan, CT

Collin's Diner  --  no, that is NOT a spelling error!  The diner was founded by a member of the Collin family!

More pictures on the Canaan CD-ROM

 

Canaan project:  where we are today

"Scrap Book of North Canaan" is now available on CD-ROM. 

How to order the Canaan CD-ROM

Ordering information

 

Canaan CT -- free e-mail discussion group

Are you interested in joining a free e-mail discussion group about Canaan, North Canaan, Union Station, the iron industry, and all the other aspects of the history of the area?  It's easy to join this small group!  Just send a blank e-mail to:  canaanCT-subscribe@yahoogroups.com -- you'll be welcome!!

For other material about Canaan (Falls Village) and North Canaan, see the Canaan section of our Litchfield County page.
We're glad to supplement this CD-ROM with a FREE article written by Mary Geikie Adam about the history of Canaan from the 1896 Connecticut QuarterlyIt's free -- and it's interesting!  The White Oak for 1954, yearbook of Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Falls Village.  Includes the towns of Canaan and North Canaan. See our Litchfield County page for more information.
Delegates' Reports: CT Board of Agriculture (1869) -- The report from the Litchfield County delegate begins on page 21 of this document.  See our Connecticut miscellany page for more information.  Included is a report on an agricultural exposition in Falls Village.

QUERY:  Steam irons made in Falls Village?  The Blakeney Cooperative Co.?

Recently we saw what we think is a real oddity:  a "steam iron" that isn't electric -- one that, like other old irons one sees at antique shows and tag sales, was heated on the family range before ironing with it.  Making this even more interesting is the fact that this iron was manufactured in Falls Village!  The owner of the iron would like to learn more about it, so would we -- and so would the Falls Village -- Canaan Historical Society!!

See pictures of the iron

 

Be sure to check our catalog!

 

 

Many people who are interested in the Canaans are also interested in the Iron Heritage of the area.  If this is you, please visit our Iron page.  If your interest lies with Litchfield County communities not tied specifically to iron or the Upper Housatonic Valley in Connecticut and Massachusetts, you may want to check our Litchfield County page, or our Connecticut page.

 

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