Drawing on decades of personal observation, Augusta Simon’s paintings depict a detailed portrait of New Canaan.
Born on Aug. 4, 1912, Simon would go on to attend Center School and then the newly opened New Canaan High School. Her class was the first to spend all three of its high school years there, graduating in 1930. After secretarial school, she earned a Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College before becoming a teacher legal secretary.
At the age of 60, a serious car accident and the injuries she sustained from it interrupted her career and, during her recuperation, Simon began painting.
Relying on memory and photographs, her work recalls fond moments from her childhood, skating on Monroe’s Pond - which was later drained to make way for Route 123 - and picnicking on the spacious lawn in front of the home she grew up in on the corner of Locust Avenue and Summer Street.
Other colorful scenes she painted include the historic Jelliff Mill, Mead Park and the Birdsall House, a hotel and social center which is now the Morse Court parking lot.
“In my paintings of New Canaan, I attempt to depict persons and places I have known since my early youth to the present,” Simon said, according to the New Canaan Historical Society.
“While there have been many changes in New Canaan, it is still an exceptionally beautiful New England town,” she said. “God’s Acre and Mead Park will continue to delight the eyes of the beholder for many years to come.”
Having lived in New Canaan for almost 90 years, Simon died in 2000, although her timeless paintings still can be seen in various town locations.