Who was Doc Silverstone? 1959
Surely, those entering the long drive into Great Hollow Lake have noticed the street sign at its entrance that reads, Doc Silverstone Drive. Just who was this Doc Silverstone? Was he an early Monroe country doctor from the 1800s? No, he wasn’t. Did he live in the old house at the road’s intersection with Purdy Hill Road? No, he didn’t. This is more modern history, post-WWII history. A rich history that all residents of Monroe benefit from today.
David Marshall Silverstone was born in Brooklyn, NY on February 22, 1919. He graduated from Erasmus High School in 1937 and from Lafayette College in 1941. After teaching Latin for one year, he entered the U.S. Army and saw combat in Europe and Africa, earning two silver stars and a purple heart with three clusters. While recuperating in San Francisco, he met his future wife, Helen, at a USO dance. Following his discharge from the Army, he returned to New York, where he earned an MA in Latin and Greek; an MA in Education from New York University, and an Ed.D from Columbia University.
In 1955 Dr. Silverstone joined the University of Bridgeport as a Professor of Education and Audio Visual Director, and c.1957 his family moved to Monroe where they lived at 32 Blueberry Hill Road. This was the time of the post war construction boom throughout Fairfield County, and Monroe’s old farms were quickly being developed into new neighborhoods. Our town’s population was suddenly growing in leaps and bounds and our infrastructure was being overwhelmed. The need for new schools and parks, youth centers and other activities for young families ushered in a new era. Monroe was modernizing quickly.
On September 9, 1959, Dr. Silverstone was elected chairman of Monroe’s newly formed Park and Recreation Commission, overseeing the improvement and expansion of Monroe’s first official town pool and park on Purdy Hill Road, later referred to in the mid-60’s as Harshbarger Pond, named for the family who generously donated the land. Dr. Silverstone served as chairman of the commission for thirty-five years. His leadership helped forge and guide the construction of Wolfe Park and Great Hollow Park and his contributions were recognized by the town, culminating in the naming of the street leading to Great Hollow Lake as Doc Silverstone Drive. Dr. Silverstone died on February 18, 2013. He and his beloved wife Helen are buried in Congregation Beth El Cemetery in Fairfield.
Now you know the history of the man behind the street sign. So, the next time you’re recreating in any of Monroe’s excellent parks, take a brief moment to remember former Monroe resident Dr. Silverstone and his dedicated team over the decades. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their dedication to the cause of creating open park land for all our residents to enjoy. Thank you Doctor!