From Compo Inn To Chaverim

For several years, plans to build a synagogue on Ludlow Road have stirred controversy.

beit chaverimBeit Chaverim would like to move across the street and up the hill from its present, cramped quarters on Post Road West. Some neighbors fear increased traffic and congested parking.

This is not the first time a new use for Ludlow Road has been proposed.

In 1977 — according to a Norwalk Hour story unearthed by Mary Palmieri Gai – a developer proposed building a 3-story, 17,540-square foot office building on the corner of the Post Road and Ludlow.  There would be parking for 41 cars, plus another 16 spots in a new underground garage.

The office was planned for the site of the old Compo Inn. Back in the day, the Inn was a popular gathering spot for teachers, Famous Artists Schools employees, and others who worked nearby.

A very popular spot. And it had been for a long time. According to this photo (courtesy of Paul Ehrismann), it featured “dancing, music, cafe and grill room.” The telephone number was simply “98.”

Compo Inn

From the looks of it, there’s nothing like it today.

If the synagogue is approved, the last vestiges of the Compo Inn — and the nearby Marion Levy apartments — will finally meet the wrecking ball.

A later view of the Compo Inn.

A later view of the Compo Inn.

12 responses to “From Compo Inn To Chaverim

  1. Dan, this information is misleading. The site of the proposed synagogue and the Old Compo Inn are not the same site. There already is a commercial building at the corner of Ludlow Road where Compo Inn used to be. Beit Chaverim is focused on an altogether different location – a residential property up the hill away from the Post Road upon which stands a run-down victorian structure that was built before the Inn.

  2. I was told that the Compo Inn extended up the hill toward #24.

  3. Jane McCaffrey

    Dan – this posting is very confusing to me. We lived on Ludlow Road – #30 – for 15 years, from 1985 to 2000. We were the 3rd “construction” on the right, going up the hill. On the corner of Ludlow and the Post Road there was (and still is) an office building with parking for quite a few cars behind it. The style of the building indicates that it probably was built around 1977 or so. We were lucky enough to get permission to use that parking lot when our daughter was married in our back yard in 1992.

    Between the office building and our house was a large property (1.5 acres, I think) with a large ramshackle old Victorian house on it. When we were living on Ludlow, the owner (Alex ?) rented rooms in the house. His reputation was iffy. Living next door to him had its drawbacks.

    It’s my understanding that after we moved in 2000 (to Winding Lane, around the corner), the property, Alex’s property, was purchased by the synagogue. They have been trying to get permission to move their synagogue from the Post Road up the hill on Ludlow, BEHIND the office building where the Compo Inn once stood.

    I think there are a couple different properties involved in this story – not one.

    We moved to Redding after 22 years in Westport. Most of those years were really good ones. Reading your blog daily has helped me reconnect. Thanks for that!

    Jane McCaffrey

    41 Dorethy Road

    West Redding, CT 06896

    Phone: 203-938-7434

    Cell: 203-984-5923

    Fax: 203-938-7078

    ttmjrm@optonline.net

  4. I most certainly hope that we give this old structure the dignity it deserves by allowing historians to find out everything about it first. What was the structure before it was the Compo Inn? I get it was someone’s mansion. It is a gorgeous building.

  5. oops, sorry.. “I bet” not “I get”.

  6. I spent a lot of my childhood on West State Street because my close cousin lived there. That side of what is now the Post Road, must have been where the wealthiest Westporters lived at one time because there were gilded age structures with great curb appeal all along it. They probably had views of the water from up there. I am not hiding.. Mary Gai and Mary Palmieri Gai, same person. :)

  7. An “06880” reader who asked for anonymity writes: “The Compo Inn was on the Post Road where the office complex is now. The building at 24 Ludlow Road was rumored to be associated with the inn with tunnels that transported booze during Prohibition and ‘ladies of the night’ at other times. The lot that 24 Ludlow is on has the highest point in Westport offering an awesome view of Westport downtown and the coast (go over and check it out in the back yard in the corner adjacent to the office building).

    “Many burnouts of the 60’s – 80’s lived in small apartments in the now rundown house that is slated for demolition.,There are still residents in the building in the back renting and worried about the future.”

  8. Sally Campbell Palmer

    The Compo Inn was called Tony’s of 52nd St in its hayday pretty much through WWII and was host to lots of famous musicians and “stars of stage, screen & radio”. Sandy Mack, a local townie (Staples ’56) played piano there several nights a week when we were pretty young and I got to spend time there with the staff who could tell some stories! Too bad places like that disappear without much of a ripple.

  9. 24 Ludlow is the first property next to the office building. Ludlow Road has a rich history as a community gathering place – a hotel, a church and school have all called Ludlow home. This is why the property is zoned for such a use. Its about community building. As a member of Beit Chaverim Synagogue I hope we can continue this rich history close to the heart of Westport.

  10. I think now that I was wrong about which building Compo Inn was. I vaguely remember Tony’s being Torn down and another building put in it’s place.. white stucco with a clay roof. Someone a little older should be able to clarify. Could it be possible that Mary P.C. Staples lived in the Old Victorian? My research is leading me there.. but not at all sure yet. But wouldn’t it be great to know?

  11. I grew up on Ludlow Road and spent many a summer mowing the lawn at 24 Ludlow. The old Compo Inn was up on the top of the hill on the northeast corner of ludlow and the post road. It was Tony’s of 52nd street until it was gutted by fire in the mid seventies. In fact, I was told, at the time of the fire, that the large white building on the upper left hand side of the seal of westport was the building. Never verified that information but logistically it makes sense. I have not resided in Westport since the mid-eighties but remember that building and the adjacent property quite well. Hope this helps.