Pearl Wakeman, 1919-2009

Pearl Wakeman, who with her late husband Ike operated Wakemans Farm on Cross Highway, died yesterday at 90.

The family’s 121-year-old farmhouse was a vesitge of old New England.  As reported on, longtime Westporter Chip Stephens remembers buying a dozen ears of corn — or a stack of wood — for $2, and ordering Thanksgiving turkeys that were killed a few yards away.  Pearl and Ike, Chip said, were green long before it was in vogue.

I remember the Wakemans for allowing the town to use their land for open land, at a crucial time in Westport’s development.

The Wakemans could have subdivided their property for building lots — and commanded a handsome price.  It was an option many longtime Westporters chose.

The Wakemans did not want to see their farm close.  But because of their generosity and foresight that large plot of land remains open space – and athletic fields — enjoyed by hundreds of Westporters every day.  Their farmhouse still stands, at the entrance to what is now known, properly, as Wakeman Park.

The next time you’re there for a game, a run or a nice dog-walk, think of — and thank — Ike and Pearl Wakeman.  They were two of a kind.

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