The following article was compiled from a press release.
Thursday, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill authored by Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) that would change the designation of Weir Farm in Wilton and Ridgefield from a National Historic Site to a National Historical Park.
The change will better represent Weir’s complex cultural, natural and recreational offerings to the public. This prestigious status will also reflect the increased visitation, collaboration with partners, and public programming since the park’s original designation.
“Walking through Weir Farm in any season is a quintessentially Connecticut experience,” said Himes. “It’s a beautiful, extensive site that gives visitors perspective into an important period in American art, as well as a much-needed space to reconnect with our natural world.”
“The Friends of Weir Farm are proud to be part of the initiative, along with the Weir Farm Art Alliance, and Congressman Himes, to propose the redesignation in the House of Representatives to Weir Farm National Historical Park,” said Liz Castagna, vice president of Friends of Weir Farm. “We believe that the passage of the bill for this new name truly represents the wide range of cultural, historical and recreational resources that the park offers to the public.”
The Weir Farm National Historical Site Establishment Act of 1990, which made the farm Connecticut’s first national park, focused on preserving a limited part of the Weir property. Now, the vast holdings include more than 15 buildings spread out over nearly 75 acres including a vast collection of American art, orchards and landscapes, trails, gardens, miles of stone walls, and Weir Pond.
Since its designation as a Historic Site, many of the park’s landscapes and resources have been rehabilitated and restored to their original state, which inspired artists like Julian Alden Weir, Mahonri Mackintosh Young, and Charles Sperry Andrews.
“While we work on large government funding bills and coronavirus relief efforts in Congress, we must never forget to sustain the arts, protect our natural spaces, and plan for a brighter future,” continued Himes. “Americans will soon once again travel the country and explore its National Parks. Elevating Weir Farm to the status it deserves will help draw visitors and share the unique beauty and history of Southwest Connecticut.”
Passage of a Senate version led by Connecticut Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy is expected as early as Friday, Dec. 18.