Waveny Park

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New Caanan, CT
United States
Waveny Park

Landscape Information

Prospect Farm, Waveny Farm

In 1895 Thomas Hall consolidated several eighteenth-century tracts into Prospect Farm, his 280-acre estate . Architect Frank Shea designed the structures and circulation system. In 1904 Texaco co-founder Lewis Lapham purchased the property, renaming it Waveny Farm, and gradually expanded the grounds to 450 acres. Lapham hired architect William Tubby to build a Tudor-Revival summer home and the Olmsted Brothers firm to redesign the grounds into a gentleman’s farm. The project, led by John Charles Olmsted and Percival Gallagher, integrated the property’s fields and woodlands with formal landscape elements, including a forecourt, polo fields, and gardens. The firm created a terraced axial walk that extended east from the house to an ice pond. Framed by evergreen trees, the walk commenced at a parterre garden before opening onto a circular fountain with a sculpture by Abastenia St. Léger Eberle. The firm’s horticulturalist, A. Chandler Manning, arranged garden rooms, including a rose garden and bowling green, around the walk. Shea’s circulation system was simplified to allow uninterrupted views of the southern agricultural fields. North of the house, trees screened utility buildings and provided shade.  

In the 1960s Ruth Lapham Lloyd gifted the property to the town of New Canaan, setting aside 46 acres for  a high school.  The town established Waveny Park, preserving the estate’s two entrances . Curvilinear roads wind through open fields and woodlands to reach the house. A powerhouse was converted into a theater, and a carriage house into an art center. The fields have been replaced by recreational spaces that include soccer and baseball fields, as well as tennis courts and a swimming pool. More than three miles of walking trails traverse the grounds. In the 2010s the Waveny Park Conservancy began converting a former cornfield into a wildflower meadow. The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2019.