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Stonington, Connecticut

Stonington, Connecticut

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Encyclopedia
The Town
New England town
The New England town is the basic unit of local government in each of the six New England states. Without a direct counterpart in most other U.S. states, New England towns are conceptually similar to civil townships in other states, but are incorporated, possessing powers like cities in other...

 of Stonington is located in New London County
New London County, Connecticut
New London County is a county located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Connecticut. As of 2010 the population was 274,055. The total area of the county is , including inland and coastal waters....

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

, in the state's southeastern corner. It includes the borough
Borough (Connecticut)
In the U.S. state of Connecticut, a borough is an incorporated section of a town. Borough governments are not autonomous and are subordinate to the government of the town to which they belong...

 of Stonington
Stonington (borough), Connecticut
Stonington is a borough and the town center of the town of Stonington in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 1,032 at the 2000 census....

, the villages of Pawcatuck, Lords Point, Wequetequock, the eastern halves of the villages of Mystic
Mystic, Connecticut
Mystic is a village and census-designated place in New London County, Connecticut, in the United States. The population was 4,001 at the 2000 census. A historic locality, Mystic has no independent government because it is not a legally recognized municipality in the state of Connecticut...

 and Old Mystic (the other halves being in the town of Groton
Groton, Connecticut
Groton is a town located on the Thames River in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 39,907 at the 2000 census....

). The population of the town was 17,906 at the 2000 census.

History


The first European colonists established a trading house in the Pawcatuck section of town in 1649. The present territory of Stonington was part of lands that had belonged to the Pequot
Pequot
Pequot people are a tribe of Native Americans who, in the 17th century, inhabited much of what is now Connecticut. They were of the Algonquian language family. The Pequot War and Mystic massacre reduced the Pequot's sociopolitical influence in southern New England...

s who referred to the areas making up Stonington as "Pawcatuck" (Stony Brook to Pawcatuck River) and "Mistack" (Mystic River to Stony Brook). It was named "Souther Towne" or Southerton, by Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 in 1658, and officially became part of Connecticut in 1662 when Connecticut received its royal charter. Southerton was renamed as Mistick in 1665 and again renamed as Stonington in 1666. Thomas Miner
Thomas Miner
Thomas Miner or Minor was a founder of New London and Stonington, Connecticut, USA, and an early New England diarist.-Early life and marriage:...

, Walter Palmer
Walter Palmer (Puritan)
Walter Palmer was an early Separatist Puritan settler in the Massachusetts Bay Colony who helped found Charlestown and Rehoboth, Massachusetts and New London, Connecticut.-Early life:...

, William Chesebrough
William Chesebrough
William Chesebrough was a farmer and trader in the colonies of Massachusetts and Connecticut. He was one of the four co-founders of Stonington, Connecticut, along with Thomas Stanton, Thomas Miner, and Walter Palmer....

 and Thomas Stanton
Thomas Stanton
Thomas Stanton was a trader and an accomplished Indian interpreter and negotiator in the colony of Connecticut. One of the original settlers of Hartford, he was also one of four founders of Stonington, Connecticut, along with William Chesebrough, Thomas Miner, and Walter Palmer.He first appears...

 were the founders. The town of North Stonington
North Stonington, Connecticut
North Stonington is a town in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 4,991 at the 2000 census. North Stonington was split off from Stonington in 1724.-Geography:...

 was set off as a parish
Parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

 from Stonington in 1724 and incorporated as a town
Town
A town is a human settlement larger than a village but smaller than a city. The size a settlement must be in order to be called a "town" varies considerably in different parts of the world, so that, for example, many American "small towns" seem to British people to be no more than villages, while...

 in 1807.

Stonington first gained wealth in the 1790s when its harbor was home to a fleet engaged in the profitable sealing trade
Seal hunting
Seal hunting, or sealing, is the personal or commercial hunting of seals. The hunt is currently practiced in five countries: Canada, where most of the world's seal hunting takes place, Namibia, the Danish region of Greenland, Norway and Russia...

 in which the skins of seals clubbed on islands off the Chilean and Patagonian coasts were sold as fur in China.

Stonington repulsed two British naval bombardments. One, during the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, was a desultory bombardment by Sir James Wallace in the Frigate HMS Rose
HMS Rose (1757)
HMS Rose was a 20-gun sixth-rate post ship of the Royal Navy, built in Hull, England in 1757. Her activities in suppressing smuggling in the colony of Rhode Island provoked the formation of what became the Continental Navy, precursor of the modern United States Navy. In the Seven Years' War, Rose...

 on August 30, 1775. The other was a more damaging three-day affair between August 9 and 12, 1814. During the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, four British vessels, HMS Ramillies
HMS Ramillies (1785)
HMS Ramillies was a 74-gun third rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, launched on 12 July 1785 at Rotherhithe.In 1801, she was part of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker's reserve squadron at the Battle of Copenhagen, and so did not take an active part in the battle.In August 1812, Sir Thomas Masterman...

, HMS Pactolus
HMS Pactolus (1813)
HMS Pactolus was one of eight 38-gun Cydnus-class fifth-rate frigates of the Royal Navy, that served in the Napoleonic wars and the War of 1812. She was one of the warships that bombarded Stonington, Connecticut from 9 to 12 August 1814...

, HMS Dispatch
HMS Dispatch
Seventeen ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Dispatch, or the variant HMS Despatch: was a 2-gun brigantine launched in 1691 and sold in 1712. was a 14-gun sloop launched in 1745 and sold in 1763. was a 14-gun sloop that foundered in a hurricane in 1772. She may have been salved and...

, and HMS Terror
HMS Terror (1813)
HMS Terror was a bomb vessel designed by Sir Henry Peake and constructed by the Royal Navy in the Davy shipyard in Topsham, Devon. The ship, variously listed as being of either 326 or 340 tons, carried two mortars, one and one .-War service:...

, under the command of Sir Thomas Hardy, appeared offshore on August 9, 1814. The British demanded immediate surrender, but Stonington’s citizens replied with a note that stated, "We shall defend the place to the last extremity; should it be destroyed, we shall perish in its ruins." For three days the Royal Navy pounded the town, but the only fatality was that of an elderly woman who was mortally ill. The British, after suffering many dead and wounded, sailed off on 12 August. The American poet Philip Freneau wrote (in part):
"The bombardiers with bomb and ball
Soon made a farmer's barrack fall,
And did a cow-house badly maul
That stood a mile from Stonington.

They kill'd a goose, they kill'd a hen
Three hogs they wounded in a pen—
They dashed away and pray what then?
This was not taking Stonington.

But some assert, on certain grounds,
(Beside the damage and the wounds),
It cost the king ten thousand pounds
To have a dash at Stonington.


The Stonington Harbor Light
Stonington Harbor Light
The Stonington Harbor Light is a historic nineteenth century lighthouse located on the east side of Stonington Harbor in Stonington, Connecticut. A light housed in a small granite lighthouse known by this name was originally built by the federal government in 1824, and was located on Windmill...

, a low stone building, was the first lighthouse established by the U.S. Federal Government, in 1823. In the 19th century Stonington supported a small fishing, whaling and sealing fleet, with some direct trade with the West Indies, enough in volume for it to be made a Port of Entry in 1842; the small granite Customs House faces Main Street just north of Cannon Square.

The New London and Stonington Railroad Company was incorporated on July 29, 1852.

The Groton and Stonington Street Railway
Groton and Stonington Street Railway
The Groton and Stonington Street Railway was a trolley line that extended from Groton, Connecticut to Westerly, Rhode Island. The trolley line began service in 1904 and ended service in 1928.-History:...

 was a trolley line that was created in 1904 to serve the Stonington area. The trolley was dismantled and replaced by buses in 1928.

In recent decades, Stonington has experienced a large influx of new home owners using historic Borough houses as second homes. The town has undergone a widespread reconditioning of these homes since the mid-1990s, when an altercation over redevelopment rights attracted substantial news coverage about Stonington's revitalization.

Geography


According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the town has a total area of 50.0 square miles (129.6 km²), of which, 38.7 square miles (100.2 km²) of it is land and 11.4 square miles (29.4 km²) of it (22.68%) is water.

In the waters off Stonington, the states of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

 and Rhode Island
Rhode Island
The state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, more commonly referred to as Rhode Island , is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is the smallest U.S. state by area...

 come together at a single point.

Principal communities

  • Lords Point
    Lords Point
    Lords Point is a small private community in the scenic town of Stonington, Connecticut. Established in 1909, Lord's Point has over 200 houses and summer cottages, with an average summer population of about 800 people....

     (06378)
  • Mystic
    Mystic, Connecticut
    Mystic is a village and census-designated place in New London County, Connecticut, in the United States. The population was 4,001 at the 2000 census. A historic locality, Mystic has no independent government because it is not a legally recognized municipality in the state of Connecticut...

     (06355) (partly in the town of Groton)
    • Enders Island
      Enders Island
      Enders Island an inhabited island located in Stonington, Connecticut and used as a Catholic retreat center, owned and operated by the Society of Saint Edmund...

      , Greenmanville, Mason's Island
      Mason's Island
      Mason's Island ; an inhabited island at the mouth of the Mystic River, in Stonington, Connecticut; part of the region of Mystic, Connecticut. The island was named after Major John Mason who was granted the island in recognition of his leadership of English troops and neighboring tribal nations in...

      , Pequotsepos, Quiambaug
      Quiambaug
      Quiambaug is an area of Stonington, Connecticut, consisting primarily of the valley of the Mistuxet Brook and Quiambaug Cove, and comprising roughly one-sixth of the town....

      , Seaport Heights
  • Old Mystic (06372) (mostly in the town of Groton)
    • Quaketaug Hill, Wolf Neck
  • Pawcatuck (06379)
    • Anguilla, Anguilla Acres, Blueberry, Brookside, Castle Hill, Clarksville, Downerville, Hinckley Hill, Lower Pawcatuck, Oak Hill Gardens, Solomonville, Stillmanville, The Highlands
  • Stonington Borough
    Stonington (borough), Connecticut
    Stonington is a borough and the town center of the town of Stonington in New London County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 1,032 at the 2000 census....

     (06378)
  • Wequetequock (06379)


Other minor communities are: Deans Mill, Grand View Park, Greenhaven, Ledward Island, Ram Island, Road Church District, Wamphassuc Point.

Climate



Demographics




As of the census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 17,906 people, 7,665 households, and 4,897 families residing in the town. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 462.8 people per square mile (178.7/km²). There were 8,591 housing units at an average density of 222.1 per square mile (85.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.81% White, 0.63% Black or African American
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, 0.37% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 1.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.30% of the population.

There were 7,665 households out of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.9% were married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.1% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 27.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.1 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $52,437, and the median income for a family was $63,431. Males had a median income of $45,596 versus $32,069 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the town was $29,653. About 2.9% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.4% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

Buildings on the National Register of Historic Places

  • Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer House
    Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer House
    Capt. Nathaniel B. Palmer House is a historic house in Stonington, Connecticut that was the home of Nathaniel Brown Palmer . Palmer was a seal hunter and a pioneering Antarctic explorer. The house is a transitional style between the Greek revival and the Victorian Italianate...

    — 40 Palmer Street (added July 19, 1996)
  • Mechanic Street Historic District
    Mechanic Street Historic District
    Mechanic Street Historic District is a historic district consisting of 14 blocks in the Pawcatuck section of Stonington, Connecticut. It is located along the Pawcatuck River approximately from the Atlantic Ocean. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988...

    — Roughly bounded by West Broad Street (Route 1), Pawcatuck River, Cedar Street, and Courtland Street in the Pawcatuck section (added July 7, 1988). The district covers 1,470 acres (5.9 km2), and contains 413 buildings and one other structure.
  • Pequotsepos Manor
    Pequotsepos Manor
    Pequotsepos Manor is located in Mystic, Connecticut. The house was built in 1717 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 15, 1979.-History:...

    — 120 Pequotsepos Road in the Mystic section (added June 15, 1979).
  • Rossie Velvet Mill Historic District
    Rossie Velvet Mill Historic District
    The Rossie Velvet Mill Historic District is located in Stonington, Connecticut. The district consists of 51 buildings and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 9, 2007....

    — Roughly bounded by Bruggerman Court, Bruggerman Place, Greenmanville Avenue (Route 27), Hinckley Street, Pleasant Street, Rossie Street, and Velvet Street in the Mystic section (added March 9, 2007).
  • Stanton-Davis Homestead Museum
    Stanton-Davis Homestead Museum
    The Stanton-Davis Homestead Museum is the oldest house in Stonington, Connecticut. It was formerly known as the Robert Stanton House. The house was built by Thomas Stanton, one of the founders of Stonington, beginning in 1670 with additions made in 1700. The property has been a working farm for...

    also known as the Robert Stanton House — 576 Greenhaven Road in the Pawcatuck section (added July 4, 1979)
  • Stonington Harbor Light
    Stonington Harbor Light
    The Stonington Harbor Light is a historic nineteenth century lighthouse located on the east side of Stonington Harbor in Stonington, Connecticut. A light housed in a small granite lighthouse known by this name was originally built by the federal government in 1824, and was located on Windmill...

    house
    — 7 Water Street (added February 1, 1976)
  • Stonington High School
    Stonington High School
    Stonington High School is a historic school on Church Street in Stonington, Connecticut.It was built in 1888 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978....

    — 25 Orchard Street (added September 17, 1978)
  • Whitehall Mansion
    Whitehall Mansion
    The Whitehall Mansion is located in Stonington, Connecticut. The house was built in 1771 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 12, 1979....

    — 42 Whitehall Avenue (Route 27) in the Mystic section (added May 12, 1979)
  • William Clark Company Thread Mill — 21 Pawcatuck Avenue, 12 and 22 River Road in the Pawcatuck section (added December 16, 2008)

Residents

  • Peter Benchley
    Peter Benchley
    Peter Bradford Benchley was an American author, best known for his novel Jaws and its subsequent film adaptation, the latter co-written by Benchley and directed by Steven Spielberg...

    , author
  • Stephen Vincent Benét
    Stephen Vincent Benét
    Stephen Vincent Benét was an American author, poet, short story writer, and novelist. Benét is best known for his book-length narrative poem of the American Civil War, John Brown's Body , for which he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1929, and for two short stories, "The Devil and Daniel Webster" and "By...

    , poet
  • Ruth Buzzi
    Ruth Buzzi
    Ruth Ann Buzzi is an American comedienne and actress of theatre, film, and television. She is especially known for her performances on the comedy-variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In from 1968 to 1973.-Early life:...

    , comedian and actress
  • Edmund Fanning
    Edmund Fanning
    Edmund Fanning was an American explorer and sea captain, known as the "Pathfinder of the Pacific."-Life:...

    , explorer
  • Nathaniel Fanning
    Nathaniel Fanning
    Nathaniel Fanning was an officer in the Continental Navy and later the United States Navy, who served on board Bonhomme Richard during its 1779 battle with HMS Serapis....

    , Revolutionary War hero
  • Sergio Franchi
    Sergio Franchi
    Sergio Franchi was an Italian tenor.Franchi was born in Cremona, Italy. His father wanted him to become an electrical engineer, so he studied both music and engineering simultaneously. The family moved to South Africa in 1952, where Sergio worked part-time as a draftsman, while continuing to study...

    , Italian tenor
  • James Merrill
    James Merrill
    James Ingram Merrill was an American poet whose awards include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Divine Comedies...

    , Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
  • Nathaniel Palmer
    Nathaniel Palmer
    Nathaniel Brown Palmer was an American seal hunter, explorer, sailing captain, and ship designer. He was born in Stonington, Connecticut.-Sealing career and Antarctic exploration:...

    , explorer, sailing captain, and ship designer
    See also: Stonington Island
    Stonington Island
    Stonington Island is a rocky island lying 1 mile northeast of Neny Island in the eastern part of Marguerite Bay, off the west coast of Graham Land. Stonington Island is located at . Stonington Island, 0.4 miles long from northwest to southeast and 0.2 miles wide formerly connected by a drifted snow...

  • Eleanor Perenyi
    Eleanor Perenyi
    Eleanor Perenyi was a gardener and author on gardening. She wrote Green Thoughts, a collection of essays based on her own experiences as a gardener. The book drew on her work on her husband’s castle...

    , garden essayist
  • Greg "Fossilman" Raymer
    Greg Raymer
    Gregory Raymer nicknamed "Fossilman," is a professional poker player. He is best known for winning the 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event.-Early life:...

    , 2004 World Series of Poker
    World Series of Poker
    The World Series of Poker is a world-renowned series of poker tournaments held annually in Las Vegas and, since 2005, sponsored by Harrah's Entertainment...

     champion
  • Rob Simmons
    Rob Simmons
    Robert Ruhl "Rob" Simmons is a retired U.S. Army Colonel and former U.S. Congressman from Connecticut. He served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007, representing Connecticut's Second Congressional District as a Republican.Simmons ran as a candidate for the...

    , politician
  • Edward P. York, architect

Other


Stonington has also been a destination and/or work place for many notable persons.
  • Trey Anastasio
    Trey Anastasio
    Trey Anastasio is an American guitarist, composer, and vocalist most noted for his work with the rock band Phish...

  • Jimmy Fallon
    Jimmy Fallon
    James Thomas "Jimmy" Fallon, Jr. is an American actor, comedian, singer, musician and television host. He currently hosts Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a late-night talk show that airs Monday through Friday on NBC...

  • George Hamilton
    George Hamilton (actor)
    George Stevens Hamilton is an American film and television actor.-Early life:Hamilton was the youngest son of bandleader George "Spike" Hamilton and his first wife, Ann Stevens . He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and lived in Blytheville, Arkansas...

  • Viggo Mortensen
    Viggo Mortensen
    Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr. is a Danish-American actor, poet, musician, photographer and painter. He made his film debut in Peter Weir's 1985 thriller Witness, and subsequently appeared in many notable films of the 1990s, including The Indian Runner , Carlito's Way , Crimson Tide , Daylight , The...

    , rented a home in the area
  • Conan O'Brien
    Conan O'Brien
    Conan Christopher O'Brien is an American television host, comedian, writer, producer and performer. Since November 2010 he has hosted Conan, a late-night talk show that airs on the American cable television station TBS....

    , television host, has a sister in Stonington Borough
  • Dick Vitale
    Dick Vitale
    Richard J. "Dick" Vitale , also known as "Dickie V", is an American basketball sportscaster. A former head coach in the college and professional ranks, he is well-known as a college basketball broadcaster and for the enthusiastic and colorful remarks he makes during games. He is known for his...

  • David Jacques Way
    David Jacques Way
    David Jacques Way was an American harpsichord maker.-Early life:Born in Elk Creek, Nebraska, Way was educated at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in its earliest days, where he gained his lifelong interest in graphic design and typography...

    , harpsichord maker, had a workshop in Stonington
  • Elijah Wood
    Elijah Wood
    Elijah Jordan Wood is an American actor. He made his film debut with a minor part in Back to the Future Part II , then landed a succession of larger roles that made him a critically acclaimed child actor by age 9. He is best known for his high-profile role as Frodo Baggins in Peter Jackson's...

    , The Lord of the Rings
    The Lord of the Rings
    The Lord of the Rings is a high fantasy epic written by English philologist and University of Oxford professor J. R. R. Tolkien. The story began as a sequel to Tolkien's earlier, less complex children's fantasy novel The Hobbit , but eventually developed into a much larger work. It was written in...

    costar


Stonington has been the home to several on-location movie shoots, including Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

's Amistad and the Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts
Julia Fiona Roberts is an American actress. She became a Hollywood star after headlining the romantic comedy Pretty Woman , which grossed $464 million worldwide...

 breakthrough movie, Mystic Pizza
Mystic Pizza
Mystic Pizza is a 1988 American coming of age film directed by Donald Petrie and starring Annabeth Gish, Julia Roberts, and Lili Taylor.The title of the film was based on a pizza shop that caught the eye of Hollywood screen writer, Amy Holden Jones...

.

External links