The mission of the La Grua Center is to serve and strengthen community in an historic space where a diverse array of activities creates opportunities for people to come together and connect
The Maurice C. La Grua Center opened its doors in 2008 as a venue for education, the arts, celebrations, meetings and other activities that bring area residents together and enrich our lives.
Today, nearly seven days a week, events and classes are held at La Grua Center. Most events are offered free of charge and are open to all, thanks to the generous support from members of the community.
On Christmas Eve, 1914, Maurice La Grua - known to many as Maurie - was born to Italian immigrant merchants in Stonington. Well into his twenties he volunteered for the war effort and was among the first soldiers to storm the beach at Normandy (though he did not know how to swim). Two Purple Hearts later, he managed to participate in the march to free Paris from German occupation. On his return to Stonington, he met Winifred Glover, also of Stonington, who since her graduation from Connecticut College, was working at the Atwood Machine Company as an executive assistant to the Vice-President. Maurie subsequently became a photographer, and spent his days putting generations of Stonington's graduates, newlyweds and families in their best light. Wynne, meanwhile, manned La Grua's gift shop on Water Street. There are probably no two more recognized names from the 20th century in Stonington than Maurie and Wynne La Grua.
Shortly after Maurie's death in 2005, Wynne La Grua quietly approached community leaders with an offer to fund the purchase and renovation of the old foundry building that was a part of the Atwood Machine Company. The Maurice C. La Grua Center was formed in 2007 to steward Wynne's generous gift in memory of her late husband. Through the work of a nine member board, the building was purchased, a design agreed upon and construction completed in September, 2008.
With Wynne's passing in 2012 the baton of leadership was placed in the hands of those who recognize the La Grua Center's invaluable contribution to the culture of the region. Wynne's lasting legacy – the gift of the building to the general public, and her crucial financial support during the Center's early years – sprang from her lifelong commitment to the community in which she lived.