" . . . a green and pleasant land where the
mountain laurel blooms." - WILBUR L. CROSS
North Canaan was once part of the Town of Canaan, established in 1738. Settlers, whose families were of Dutch and English origin, had to be self-sufficient, looking to their own farms for necessities. There was early interest in smelting and forging iron at sites along the Blackberry (Bromfoxit) River, which powered the blast at Beckley Furnace, still standing. Needed resources were at hand - ore from nearby Salisbury, limestone, and charcoal - so that for nearly two hundred years it was practical to produce pig iron and items ranging from nails to ship anchors. At a short distance stands Lawrence Tavern, built in 1751 and still owned by descendants of the original family. Settlements in Canaan Valley and East Canaan were separated by Canaan Mountain from the more populous southern part of the township.(Continued on other side)
< Reverse Side: >After years of agitation the northern part was incorporated as a new township of North Canaan on May 28, 1858. The Housatonic Railroad (1841) and the Connecticut Western Railroad (1871) crossed at Canaan Union Depot and stimulated the growth of Canaan, principal village of the town. For years there were twelve passenger trains daily and freight activity including two milk trains from a Borden plant to New York City. Limestone and marble for the State Capitol, completed in 1879, came from Allyndale quarries. Another local quarry was for twenty years the source of high purity magnesium, essential to the Nation's work in atomic energy. Pfizer, Inc. still processes lime here for use in agriculture, industry, and construction. The town's largest employer is Becton Dickinson & Company, a manufacturer of medical instruments. Bicron Electronics Company produces electrical coils.