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Silver and a mine are mentioned quite a bit when researching Wilton’s history, but was silver ever found here?
Alexander Resseguie Jr. inherited a 40 acre property in 1752. A silver mine was rumored to be on the property near “Honey Hill.” Resseguie leased out the mine to a group of 9 men, for over 2 years they mined various ores and minerals, without warning they left to have some of the ore “examined” and were never heard from again. In the same Honey Hill mine, it was rumored that in 1789 a murder took place and the body was disposed of in the mine.
In 1875, still hopeful to find silver, Tiffany & Co. reopened the mine, with no luck they quickly sold it to Georgetown Gold & Silver. After a positive evaluation of the mine, from William Chollar, a successful miner out west and in other parts of Connecticut, some very excited Wilton residents rushed to invest. Shortly after receiving the money, company officials of Georgetown Gold & Silver and the mining equipment disappeared. Finally, people gave up on their dreams of finding silver.
Although silver was never found here in Wilton, the neighborhood was named Silvermine. The beautiful neighborhood borders both New Canaan and Norwalk, and is located on and around the banks of the Silvermine River. Silvermine is rich with history, character, charm and art.
The neighborhood became popular with artists at the turn of the 20th century. In 1906 Solon Borglum, a sculptor, moved to the Silvermine section of New Canaan. He, with other artists, formed a group who would meet in his studio and critique each other’s work. Due to the harm criticism and knocking of one another’s art work, the group became known as “The Knockers Club.”
In 1908 annual art shows were held in Solon Borglums’ studio with rave reviews! Solon volunteered, at 49 years old, to serve in WWI, and after his service he returned. Solon was thriving with his sculpture and his School for American Sculpture in New York. After an untimely death due to a ruptured appendix, Solon died on January 30, 1922. He left a wonderful legacy behind him. The Silvermine Guild of Artists was founded in September of 1922, and is a thriving center for the arts here in Silvermine today!
Members of the Borglum family still live and own property in Wilton. Borglum Road, located in the Silvermine section of Wilton, was named after him. The Wilton Library owns one of Solon Borglum’s sculptures which depicts a squatting Indian.
The Silvermine Arts Center offers hundreds of classes from ceramics, creative writing, drawing, digital imaging and much, much more. If you are in the area, Silvermine is worth checking out!
In June 2009 some of the homes in Silvermine were recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, the area is known as Silvermine Center Historic District.
Interesting facts about Silvermine:
* Solon Borglum’s brother Gutson, was also a sculptor, and created Mount Rushmore.
* John Gruelle, created and patented the Raggedy Ann and Andy character.
I have been digging up my interesting Wilton facts in a wonderful book called,
Wilton, Connecticut, Three Centuries of People, Places and Progress
by Robert H. Russell.