A plaque cut out of Darien’s history, when an old bridge was demolished, returns to its previous location for its 100th birthday.
A rededication ceremony organized by Darien’s Monuments & Ceremonies Commission will take place on Friday, Nov. 2 at 12:30 p.m. at 286 Tokeneke Rd in Darien. The plaque will return to the area between Darien and Norwalk, where it was originally placed on the Old Tokeneke Bridge in 1912.
Jayme Stevenson, Darien’s first Selectman, and a representative from Norwalk’s Mayor Moccia’s office will be attending as will representatives from the Darien, Rowayton, Norwalk, and Roton Point Historical Societies, according to a statement from Karen Polett, a member of the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission.
The plaque, dated 1912, bears the names of Darien First Selectman V.R. (Van Rensselaer) Pooley and Selectmen Hiram B. Taylor and Charles B. Fitch. Also listed are Norwalk’s Selectmen Alfred Avison, James A. Brown and John Devine.
The Old Tokeneke Bridge was demolished, presided over by former First Selectman David Campbell and Norwalk Mayer Dick Moccia, in the December of 2010 and had been closed by a recommendation of the Department of Transportation for a decade. Both towns decided that it would be more expensive to repair it than demolish. That’s exactly what they did, and then crews pulled up the bricks one by one from the Five Mile River. The project cost $65, 430 for each town. The plaque then sat in a Norwalk warehouse for two years.
The state bridge, also known as the Old White Bridge, was constructed in 1912 to replace a wood-frame bridge that was built in the 1890, according to a statement from Polett. It was replaced a second time in 1936 when the state built a bridge on Tokeneke Road, on Route 136.
There is little known about the men who presided over the dedication of the bridge 100 years ago other than that they are not alive as far as anyone can tell. There is some biography on Hiram Taylor, who was apparently an oyster fisherman in the 1900’s Darien, according to Polett from the Monuments Commission.
Van Rensselaer Pooley and Charles B. Fitch served as Selectmen in 1904 and 1908, according to the Connecticut State Register and Manual for those respective years. The 1903 register lists Taylor as a Justice of the Peace in Darien, Fitch as a registrar of voters, and Pooley as “B. of R.” The three men served in the town’s government for several years and left an impression on Darien for at least 100.
Though the bridge is long gone, the plaque will look across to where the Five Mile River opens into the Long Island Sound and will mark the area where Darien and Norwalk have always met.