Rita in front of the old town hall

Remembering Fairfield Connecticut
Famous People & Historic Places

Sprinkled with flowering dogwoods and elegant estates, Fairfield has long symbolized Connecticut's elite Gold Coast. But there is more to this leafy suburban enclave that stately homes and inviting forests. Founded in 1639 by Roger Ludlow, Fairfield's New England roots run deep. British soldiers torched the village in 1779, and for a time the community teetered on the brink of extinction. But the settlers rebuilt with a vengeance, helping to establish a new foundation for what has become a truly dynamic town. From its founding to the present day, Fairfield  has enjoyed a rich and diverse history. Let author Rita Papazian guide you through it all in Remembering Fairfield.I

Praise for "Remembering Fairfield"

"I have really enjoyed your book, “Remembering Fairfield,” and not just because our church is on the cover!! But it is both well written and well rounded – well done!"

Dr. David Johnson Rowe
Greenfield Hill Congregational Church,
Fairfield, Connecticut

“…You did a fine job! How appropriate that you would write about their [Robert Penn Warren and Eleanor Clark] sense of place for I think both of them valued that. Fairfield was important to them and they would hate it that the homeplace they worked so hard to make special is now gone. ‘Tain’t fair!’” 

Connie Mills
Kentucky Library Coordinator
Department of Library Special Collections
Western Kentucky University
Bowling Green, Kentucky

“I just received the copy of your book and I’m enjoying getting reintroduced to our community. I’m sure it will be a popular book for our neighbors and friends.”

Gus Serra
Corporate Staff Human Resources
General Electric Company
Fairfield, Connecticut

In the News

English professor turns historian for new book

Middletown Press – October 25, 2007

KILLINGWORTH - Rita Papazian has called this small rural community her home for the past two years, but her roots run deep in the state's "Gold Coast" town of Fairfield.

The Middlesex Community College adjunct professor and writer lived in the lavish town for 20 years and has written about the town for nearly twice that. 

"As it is often said, 'write what you know,' and Fairfield is certainly what I know since I've been reporting on the town on and off for over 35 years," Papazian said. 
The journalist and freshman English professor spent about five months writing "Remembering Fairfield: Famous People, Historic Places," which was published recently by The History Press ($19.99). The 128-page soft-cover book is about Fairfield, covering all aspects of the historical town settled in 1639 and burned by the British in 1779. The opportunity to write about the town rich with dogwoods and estates presented itself. "The History Press sent an e-mail to the Fairfield Citizen-News, a biweekly (newspaper) looking for local writers who may be interested in writing a book about local history," said Papazian, who jumped at the opportunity. "Some of the writings in the book come from past articles, but more than the majority of the text is new writing." 

"I like American history. I like to read about it and see different places," she said. "History is very much a part of the town. It's well preserved. Fairfield has three historic districts." 

When Papazian started reporting when she was in her 30s, she began covering this Historic District Commission and the Fairfield Public Library. She also lived in the beach area of Fairfield, which is one of the older parts of town where the British landed. "The environment is there," she said. There are a lot of historical houses in the area, the town government is housed in the older area, and there are four burying grounds, Papazian added. 

While covering the town she wrote a series on the various Fairfield neighborhoods focusing on their past, present and future. A chapter within her book includes previous work on that particular aspect of the town. Papazian said the process of writing "underscores the book's theme that we are molded by our surroundings and that we should be ever mindful of our surroundings: its history, its people and above all, its environment." 

"The environment wraps around you and protects you," she said. "Being part of the environment as a writer, it lets you work with your talents and allows you to tap into your creativity." 

"Personally, I learned that I truly love to write; I find a calmness when writing, a clarity about who I am and what I need to do. It gives me purpose," Papazian added. 

Stepping aside from her freelance writing as a reporter, Papazian said she loved the change and experience to write something longer. "The longer pieces are exciting to do." 

Her Fairfield book wasn't her only venture into being an author of the bounded word. 

Papazian wrote a memoir, "Gioacchino: Memoir of an Italian Immigrant," for a public relations client she had. The book was about Jack DiScala, an Italian immigrant who came to Norwalk in his youth and built a Norwalk-based business, the M.F. DiScala Company. 

With "Remembering Fairfield: Famous People, Historic Places" having come out just a few months ago, Papazian said she is pleased with how the book turned out.  

"I like it as a writer because it has challenged me," she said. Among her favorite parts of the book is the chapter entitled "People of Note." 

The chapter includes famous people from the past and present from Fairfield such as poet Robert Penn Warren and his wife Eleanor Clark, who lived in town during the later part of their lives, and more recently, musician John Mayer. 
"I love to write features about people," Papazian said.  

Another part of the book she highlights was an exciting day for the town as well as for her - Oct. 16, 1984 - when President Ronald Reagan came to town. "It was a very exciting time for the town," she recalled. "The town just stopped." 

It was also a memorable time for Papazian being there as a reporter covering the event. At the time she was the editor for The Norwalk News. Her then 14-year-old daughter was there and her son was in the high school band that was playing for the President. 

"It was a very exciting event; just memorable," Papazian said. "At that time, it was exciting to be part of the national scene." 

Papazian's book can be purchased through The History Press at www.historypress.net and www.amazon.com, and it may be available in the future at area bookstores.  

Understanding the Sense of Place
By Geary Danihy
Fairfield Citizen-News – aug. 31, 2007

"Rita Papazian hasn't lived in Fairfield for several years, 
but the town still holds a special place in her heart."

Click here for the rest of the article.

Reporter, author lives with history
Connecticut Post - Sept. 2, 2007 

" Rita Papazian was steeped in the town's history after she and her husband 
bought a house in the beach area in the early 1970s.

Papazian was a reporter for the Fairfield Citizen-News, covering 
the town's Historic District Commission and Fairfield Public Library, 
and the town's history was in her backyard.

Papazian lived in the neighborhood where Fairfield was settled in 1639, 
and British troops had marched up Beach Road on July 7, 1779, 
to burn Fairfield to the ground."

Click here for the entire article.

Rita at Penfield Pavilion at 
Fairfield beach

Hobart House
Saved from the British burning

Burr Homestead

Beech Near Burr Homestead


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