268 Wilton Road Is Able To Be Saved

You see Able Construction‘s signs a lot in Westport. The company tears down old (sometimes not-so-old) homes, and builds new (often bigger) ones in their place.

But Able’s project at 268 Wilton Road is very different.

There — on a quite visible, well-traveled site, just south of the Red Barn — Able is renovating a handsome circa-1790 home.

Able partner Peter Greenberg says, “We knock down a lot of 1960s and ’70s houses. To do that to this one would be a crime.”

Attracted by the gracefulness of the home — unlike many old homes, it has big windows and decent ceilings — as well as its symmetry, Greenberg decided to do something different.

268 Wilton Road.

268 Wilton Road.

Able has moved the house 60 feet back from the busy street. Using architect Joe Cugno’s design, they’ll make the old home the centerpiece of a new one. Framing begins soon.

“It lends itself to a historical reproduction,” Greenberg says. The backyard of the 2-acre property is perfect for gardens and a pool.

“Lots of people are happy we’re saving this house,” Greenberg says.

Including the several alert “06880” readers who clued me in to this very Able construction, on one of the most visible sites in Westport.

18 responses to “268 Wilton Road Is Able To Be Saved

  1. This is a real builder and architect who get it… Yeah…moderation. Let’s be realistic…there are certain certain homes over 50 years that have no need to be saved. What qualifies, in my opinion, are neighborhoods that are architecturally knitted together and have been around 100+ years… Homes that are architecturally represent a period of time in our town or county. Anything…well old…like this home deserves another chance. Thank you Able!
    PS: just goes to show that a builder is “able” to make a buck and save a historically significant structure allowing it to be preserved for future generations to enjoy as their home.

  2. Looks like my home (1793). Now if they add a saltbox addition with a wraparound porch and a summer kitchen it’ll be a twin.

  3. Bravo Able!!!

  4. For once, residential construction that’s thrilling to watch. Thank you, Able Construction, for saving this wonderful, graceful old house. The finished product will be fabulous, I’m sure!

  5. David J. Loffredo

    Well done!

  6. Yesterday, in the Town of Fairfield, the Alvin Street house built by Gustave Whitehead, the German immigant who has been documented to actually be the first to successfully fly a lighter than air craft – on Jennings Beach, I believe – was demolished. So this is a welcome counterpoint. Thank you Able for your thoughtfulness.

    • As elated as I feel for this architectural victory -and I am, indeed, elated- I’m equally nauseated by the word that the Gustave Whitehead home finally did succumb to the wrecker’s ball. I had hoped against hope that the history of that residence would have been enough to save it.

      Our c1730 Home shudders -and we along with it- each time another Venerable Grandfather bites the dust.

      Bravo, dear Able, for your creative strategy in achieving the best of both worlds and offering future generations some of the beauty of our past.

  7. Sandra Cenatiempo

    Well done! Classy move! Bravo! Hallelujah!

  8. Ashley James

    I’m not just happy, I am over the moon about this project. Every time I swing through Westport from Brooklyn my first stop has and -because of this project- still is 268 Wilton road ( gram’s house).
    Gram isn’t it great!!!

  9. Holly Wheeler

    Way to go Able and Peter Greenberg !!!

  10. Nice to hear of one beautiful antique being saved instead of being torn down! I hope somebody posts before and after pictures when they get done!

  11. For most people, 268 Wilton Road is just a worthy example of preserving the historical nature of Westport, but for the many friends of Mike, Beau and Melody James, the current owner, it is much more. Hal and Florence James purchased it around 1954, and it became the magnet for multitudes of teens and pre-teens. I alone spent hundreds of days, and many nights there to the point where it became my second home. I have the distinct memory of sitting with Mike and watching the first television performance of Elvis on the Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey Show. My last visit was during our Staples 50th reunion to say good-bye to Florence who made my childhood a more enjoyable experience.

    • Wow – I did not know the Hal James connection. Hal was a very well-known Broadway producer. He won 3 Tonys, including 1966 for co-producing “Man of La Mancha.”

  12. There have been some great examples of other saves here recently: the farmhouse at Terrain, the Geiger barn, the house on Meeker Hill and Kemper Gunn are a few that come to mind. The Gustave Whitehead house, a structure of national significance, would likely not have been lost if it were in Westport. In addition to the growing number of builders that grasp the value of preservation, we have superior leadership, an outstanding RTM , a robust demolition delay ordinance, an HDC that is really engaged and one of the most effective preservation zoning incentives in the state.

  13. Greenberg Susan

    Way to go my boy! Your proud Mom

  14. Wendy Crowther

    Hurray. This story made my day. Just when I was feeling down about the Gustave Whitehead house, I was able to feel a glimmer of hope that sometimes a builder can save rather than destroy. Thank you, Mr. Greenberg and Able Construction, for being a friend of preservation on this one.

  15. Diana and Peter Venison

    What a wonderful idea..well done Peter! We look forward to seeing the finished article! Diana and Peter

  16. a greenberg

    It is a rare event in the business world, when monetary gain is is secondary to Historic and Cultural preservation.
    Abel Construction has always followed this philosophy and has been so successful because of it.
    I am so proud of the Greenberg Clan for making this happen.