A memorial will be dedicated to Walter R.T. Smith on Saturday, Dec. 5, at 3 p.m. at the historic Comstock barns located on the corner of Belden Hill and Ridgefield Road.
Walt Smith, who was a master builder, building historian and preservationist of Wilton’s architectural history, died on Feb. 12 at the age of 92. As the proprietor of W.R.T. Smith Builders, he was responsible for the new construction and historical renovation of many residential, commercial, institutional, and civic projects in Wilton.
Among the Wilton landmarks bearing the stamp of his craftsmanship (either as builder or through renovation) are the Village Market, Old Town Hall, Ambler Farm, Covenant Church, the Chase Bank, the ABC (A Better Chance) House, the Commonfund Building, and the Wilton Library.
For all his accomplishments, Walter Roswell Truman Smith became best known for the work he loved best: melding his expertise as a master builder and preservationist with his untiring commitment to community service. A perfect example was his decades-long involvement with the Wilton Congregational Church.
In 1959, he built the structure to support the church’s pipe organ. He constructed the Religious Education Building (now Children’s Day School). He installed a very necessary steel support structure to reinforce the church’s iconic steeple. In the 1970s, with the aid of an apprentice, he set up scaffolding, climbed the steeple and personally re-shingled it. Smith also created the cross above the chancel in the sanctuary and, more recently was involved with the preservation of the Comstock barns, personally overseeing the restoration of the fieldstone foundation.
The Wilton Congregational Church’s dedication ceremony organizers have declared that “it is with great respect and appreciation” that the church “dedicates this memorial, located at the cornerstone of Wilton Center Historic District, with a view toward his beloved church and family home, in memory of Walt Smith. We wish to thank Ian Tesar for crafting the memorial plaque.”