Sylvia Ann Howland environment-friendly Wilks (1871-1951) to be the daughter that tycoon Hetty Green, aka “The Witch of wall Street,” the richest woman in America during the Gilded Age. In 1909 Sylvia was married to Matthew Astor Wilks (1844–1926), great grandson of America’s an initial millionaire john Jacob Astor; she to be 32 and also he was 63. As soon as her brother passed away in 1935, she inherited his estate, i beg your pardon made her the single heir to her mother’s $100 million fortune.

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Fig. 1 Hetty Green, Matthew Astor Wilks, Sylvia environment-friendly Wilks (L come R) Hetty Green, Matthew Astor Wilks, Sylvia green Wilks. Library the Congress, George Grantham Bain Collection

After she husband died, and with no children, Sylvia Wilks live a quiet and also solitary life traveling earlier and forth between her brand-new York City apartment and her home in Greenwich. Like her mother, Sylvia was recognized to be an extremely eccentric and also a recluse, and is detailed for constantly wearing black. Wilks purchased multiple properties in Greenwich however preferred her house at 48 Maple Avenue. Early on 20th Century Greenwich real Estate firm owner cutting board N. Cooke taken on the company for Wilks’s neighborhood properties and residences indigenous 1934-1948. The Greenwich Historical culture has freshly processed around 50 cubic feet of Cooke’s donated files, few of which record correspondence and also business between Cooke and also Wilks. Cooke served in a rather secretarial role for Wilks, receiving and also paying statements, documenting tourists to her residence, and delivering charitable donations on she behalf.


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Fig 2. Give thanks to you indigenous Red Cross

Wilkes passed away in 1951 v an heritage worth around $95,000,000 (approximately $990 million in 2021 dollars). She will, uncovered in a cabinet drawer under 3 bars the soap, provided just $5000 to a cousin and the staying millions come 63 charities, including colleges, libraries, hospitals and churches.

On march 22, 1952, practically one year ~ Wilks’s death, the materials of her home on Maple Avenue to be auctioned off, through over 400 curious people arriving to acquire a peek into her house. The new York Times explained her residence together “Comfort uncovered Lacking” and also with no genuine items that value.


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Fig 3. Wilks_Estate_Auction_Notice Greenwich Time, in march 19, 1952, web page 19

In 1952 The second Congregational Church purchase the home at 48 Maple Avenue because that $51,200 and renamed the home The Mead Parrish House, after the original builder and also a member of among Greenwich founding families, Solomon Mead. The Church had actually approached Mr. Cooke and also Mrs. Wilks in 1944 about purchasing the property, but Wilkes was no yet prepared to game that opportunity as she was fond the the convenient location and had spent a considerable amount the time and money in “putting the residence in shape.”

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Greenwich historic Society. Edson & Edson Collection. 48 Maple way
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Fig. 5. Inspection from Second_Congregational Church re Wilks Property. Inspection from second Congregational Church re acquisition of Sylvia Wilks property at 48 Maple Avenue. cutting board N. Cooke Collection, Greenwich historical Society
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Fig. 6. Solution to 2nd Congregational Church. Caption: response to 2nd Congregational Church from cutting board N. Cooke, representing Sylvia Wilks. Cutting board N. Cooke Collection, Greenwich historical Society

Today, the previous home holds workplaces for the church, provides room for meetings and activities, and will quickly be welcome a brand-new Greenwich non-profit coffee shop, Coffee for an excellent Café. Read more about the efforts of Coffee because that Good’s purposes to train and employ civilization with disabilities.

The processing and also description the the thomas N. Cooke arsenal was made feasible through an academy of Museum and also Library solutions grant and also is helping the Historical society to organize, describe and also make obtainable a treasure trove of product related to people, businesses and also organizations that have helped to shape the development of the city of Greenwich.


By Leslie Albamonte

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The Greenwich Historical culture is feather for new Docents to assist with school, scout, and family programming.

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Greenwich Historical society is seeking an Assistant Curator because that Collections and Interpretation. This human being will ensure the ongoing care and management of the Museum Collection and also play a leading duty in connecting that collections, historical properties and exhibitions.


Help united state to fulfill our mission…to preserve and also interpret Greenwich background to combine the community’s link to our past, to every other and also to ours future.