New Heritage Trail will ‘bring to life the story of Darien’ as the town marks 200th birthday

The Mather Homestead in Darien, which recently celebrated the legacy of Stephen Tyng Mather, with a birthday party that featured old-fashioned games, will have a marker on the town’s new Heritage Trail.

The Mather Homestead in Darien, which recently celebrated the legacy of Stephen Tyng Mather, with a birthday party that featured old-fashioned games, will have a marker on the town’s new Heritage Trail.

Contributed / Hearst Connecticut Media file photo

DARIEN — As the town celebrates its 200th birthday, a historical Heritage Trail is in the works for Darien.

The project, made possible by a $35,500 grant from the Darien Foundation, will feature nine markers that tell the story of the town. Darien’s Bicentennial Committee and the town are running the project, with input from the Monuments and Ceremonies Commission.

The first three markers — at the Museum of Darien, the First Congregational Church and the Mather Homestead — will be officially unveiled during ribbon-cutting ceremonies Nov. 5, project manager Shannon Silsby said.

The next six markers will be revealed over the coming months, with at least two based in downtown Darien and three markers closer to Stamford.

“They begin to craft and bring to life the story of Darien,” Silsby said of the markers. “We walk through our downtown, past our schools, past churches — and there are stories to be told. These markers are about telling those stories. All of a sudden, you’ll come upon one of these markers that will shed light on today and then also help us look to the future with a bit more insight.”

Each marker will feature photos and illustrative text, as well as a QR code for increased accessibility. Visitors will be able to use the code to access a Darien Heritage Trail website that houses the oral histories of each site.

The town hit its 200th birthday last year, although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed celebrations. That gave the town more time for festivities, Silsby said.

The trail will include stops that have traditionally been the destination of field trips for students in the Darien Public School, according to a statement from the Darien Foundation.

Darien historian Ken Reiss served as a consultant and adviser for each marker’s content.

Project organizers are inviting residents’ input before the next six markers are revealed. Using the hashtag #UnveiltheTrail, residents can submit their guesses about which historic site will be next.

Silsby said she hoped the Heritage Trail becomes a resource for teachers, as well as an attraction for out-of-town visitors and past residents.

“These stories are here for the consuming, and for the delight and the understanding of all ages,” she said. “It’s for anyone who wants to know more about this little town outside of New York and how it’s grown.”