Why is the intersection of Danbury Road and Main Street referred to as Joe’s Corner?
For more than a half a century, the Joseph Brothers operated a market, Joe’s Store, in the area of Ridgefield known as Danbury Corners. Over time, the intersection of Routes 116 and 35 near their store became known to Ridgefielders as Joe’s Corner, and many still call it that today. In fact, Tony’s Corner Deli, the current occupant, perpetuates the “corner” moniker.
In 1903, the Joseph Brothers, Mustapha C. (M.C.) and James (Jimmy Joe), natives of a part of Syria that is now Lebanon, came to the United States to operate a family store, Square Deal, in Danbury. In 1918 M.C. opened Joe’s Store in the small building that is now Sweet Pierre’s Candy Shop. After a few years and an expanding business, M.C. moved to a larger and more permanent location—the brick building to the west (now Tony’s Corner Deli) that was built in 1905 by James Kennedy, a contractor and mason. M.C. operated the store until his death in 1938, when his brother Jimmy Joe took over proprietorship and served customers until his death in 1972. Jerry Rabin of Ridgefield Hardware remembers many afternoons when his mother asked him, “to run down to Jimmy Joe’s for something.” Eventually, running to Jimmy Joe’s got shortened to Joe’s Corner, and the name and memories still remain.
Why is the switchback turn on Ridgebury Road called Pope’s Corner?
Today, the swooping downhill curve on Ridgebury Road is famous for the concrete-and-steel, 16,000-square-foot, Rafael Vinoly-designed hilltop residence, but for many years that area of Ridgebury Road was home to Charles Pope, a conductor, composer, musician, and teacher. And for that reason, the downhill turn that has caused drivers to grit their teeth during treacherous winter months, is called Pope’s Corner.
Charles Pope sold his home and land in the 1990s, but prior to that, he was a fixture in Ridgefield. He dedicated his life to the study of music and instruments and was a published composer and arranger for choruses and English hand-bell groups. He served as an organist, choir director, and minister of music for many churches and temples in New York and Connecticut. Pope taught at several area schools including Ridgefield’s Notre Dame Academy, now home to Ridgefield Academy. He also arranged and recorded commercials for both television and radio. But perhaps, he is most famous for the Charles Pope Choristers, a full chorus and show group that he organized and conducted for more than 34 years and 1,600 shows.
*This article appeared in Ridgefield Magazine.