We at the Rye Historical Society are trying something new -- a blog where we can share thoughts and information about the history of Rye and the surrounding area. Rye is really a pretty amazing place. It evolved from a small farming community settled 350 years ago into a sophisticated suburb of New York City. Along the way, it attracted many prominent political leaders -- John Jay moved here as a small child; George Washington, John Adams and Samuel Adams enjoyed the hospitality of the Square House; Col. J. Mayhew Wainwright built Wainwright House and served in the NYS Assembly, Senate and US Congress; and Caroline O'Day worked with Eleanor Roosevelt at Val-Kill, supported women's suffrage and served in Congress from 1935 to 1943. Rye was also home to Amelia Earhart and to some of the most powerful figures in the motion picture industry. Spyros Skouras, chairman of 20th Century Fox, lived in Greenhaven, as did Albert Warner of Warner Brothers and Barney Balaban of Paramount Pictures. Ethyl Barrymore also lived adjacent to Greenhaven along with singer Paul Noel Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary), actors Buster Crabbe and Johnny Weismuller, singer Ezio Pinza and even Reverend Ike.
Over the next few months, we'll be posting stories about Rye's history as told through its people -- from those who played a role on the national stage to those who simply lived out their lives in our town. It is through story-telling that we become a community -- one with a diverse but shared heritage that is worth preserving. For it is by telling those stories and reliving our heritage that we can make sense of the present and pass along our shared culture to our children. So please join in the conversation, share your stories and your insights. This is a community project. We'd love to hear from you!