Sherwood, Mills & Smith

Sherwood, Mills & Smith was formed from the partnership of Thorne Sherwood (1910-1994), Willis N. Mills, Sr. (1907-1995), and Lester W. Smith (1909-1993). Willis N. Mills had lived in New Canaan, Connecticut since at least the early 1940s and designed and built one of the first Modern-influenced houses in town (Mills House 1, 1941).

After Sherwood, Mills, and Smith served in the military during World War II, they decided to pool their resources and open an architecture firm in Stamford, Connecticut, in 1946. Sherwood, Mills & Smith became one of the largest and most renowned firms in the area and employed a staff of more than fifty, in contrast to many of the Modern architects working in New Canaan, who had smaller studios. The firm designed buildings, interior spaces, and furniture, providing clients with a full-range of services. This attention to detail is apparent in South School (1950) in New Canaan, Connecticut; the low, intimate scale, thoughtful window detailing and lighting, separation of age groups into different areas, and welcoming main entrance were designed to be inviting and comfortable for the children attending the school.

Sherwood, Mills & Smith's most notable works include Mills House 2 (1956), Willis Mills's second home in New Canaan; the Mutual Insurance Company of Hartford (1959) in Hartford, Connecticut, praised by the American Institute of Architects for its integration of sculptured wall panels designed by Constantino Nivola (1911-1988); 777 Summer Street Building (1961); and St. Mark's Episcopal Church (1962) in New Canaan.


National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2009.