The New Canaan Historical Society located on 13 Oenoke Ridge in New Canaan has just organized a new exhibit Americans At Play that will be on display through January 1. This exhibition is a tribute to the way people spent their leisure time in the late 1800s and early 1900s. A highlight of this exhibition is the sporty attire shown along with favorite pastimes.
People of all ages, especially young women, freed from the confines of the hoop skirt, embraced outdoor activities such as cycling, which reached its height in 1897. Riding was also popular as was the fox hunt that was held annually each fall in New Canaan in the late 1800s. Other favorite sports of the time were croquet, golf, tennis, riding and swimming. The exhibit features wool bathing suits that were the height of fashion in the 1920s.
During this golden age, many New Canaanites traveled to resort hotels, the seashore and the mountains. The most affluent individuals traveled to Europe with large trucks packed with clothes for every imaginable occasion. The arrival of the automobile made excursions possible and many residents traveled to Roton Point, Rowayton and to the many lakes and ponds in the area. Driving googles, were a must whatever the season!