Page 5 - Cass Gilbert Comes Home to the Cannon Ball House

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Cass Gilbert was both a creator of distinguished
buildings and a leader in elevating the architec-
tural profession. Those legacies endured even as
his reputation fell into undeserved decline, a lapse
remedied in recent decades with renewed appre-
ciation for Gilbert’s ability to unify technology with
artistry in civic and commercial architecture.
When he purchased the Keeler Tavern as his
summer home in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the ar-
chitect immediately became one of the most cel-
ebrated residents of a community that had long
attracted individuals recognized for their accom-
plishments in business and the arts. And, perhaps
because he lived in Ridgefield but never was truly
it, the memories of his life as one of the town’s
most prominent citizens have faded with the years.
While Gilbert’s work has been studied in depth,
a full-length biography of the man remains to be
written. This essay considers the architect as a per-
sonality, beginning with the forces that shaped the
final quarter century of his life as the owner of
Ridgefield’s “Cannon Ball House”, the period that
coincided with Gilbert’s professional maturity and
culminating period of accomplishment.