Long Neck Point

The aptly named peninsula juts out into the Long Island Sound farther than the other neighboring "necks," and served as a landmark for early navigators. While it is labeled as "Long Neck" on maps throughout Darien's history, it has also been known by other names, such as "La Belle Point" and Collender's Point.

Andrew Ward and Richard Law originally purchased the land for the colony from the Roatons -- the Native Americans who inhabited the area before the arrival of European settlers -- in 1642. According to town records, the land was part of a larger parcel, for which the two colonists offered the Roaton Chief Piamikin four coats and some tobacco.

In the generations after the original purchase, the land was handed down through the Selleck family, until Harrison Olmstead purchased the southern portion of the estate in 1865. Seven years later, Olmstead sold his land to an Irish man named Hugh. W. Collender, who owned a billiard table manufacturing company based on in Stamford, and already owned the northern portion of the Selleck farm.

Collender moved the roads away from the western shore, where they had previously been laid, toward the center of the neck, and erected several beautiful buildings on the estate. Perhaps the most unique was his massive manor house featuring intricate woodworking detail, which was crafted by Collender's skilled billiard table artisans. He also constructed a small Catholic chapel in the residence for use by his family and others for mass, which was said by visiting priests from Stamford, according to the Corbin Document.

The property changed hands again in 1902, when Anson Phelps Stokes purchased the nine-acre tip of the point and built a brick house at the end. This house, pictured at right, served as a summer retreat for the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie for several years during Stokes's ownership, and later became home to the Convent of Sacred Heart. When the convent closed, the center portion of the building was torn down and the outer wings were sold as private residences.