A sad chapter in the storied history of National Hall has sputtered to an end. The Inn’s final day is Monday. Antiques, chandeliers, a 15-foot cherry bookshelf — all could go the way of Shaw’s, if that’s what Antares, the property’s elusive owner, wants.
Can’t Westporters — a creative bunch, for sure — mine the handsome 3-story 137-year-old building’s past for an appropriate remodel?
Back in 1884 National Hall served as the 1st home of Staples High School. Of course, just 4 years ago we dedicated an $84 million renovation, so odds are we won’t be moving back downtown any time soon.
At one time the top floor was used as a basketball court. Rumor has it that the YMCA is dissatisfied with its current digs, just a skyhook away from National Hall. If they haven’t made plans to move anywhere, maybe the Inn could serve as a new Y. On 2nd thought, it is a bit cramped.
For many years, National Hall housed a furniture store. Age of Reason — right across the street — wanted to expand there recently, but Antares never returned phone calls. Returning to retail remains another option.
Because the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, it can’t be torn down as easily as your basic split-level. But that designation — and local politics — also constrict possible uses of the property.
So I guess there are no other options for…wait! I’ve got it!
One of National Hall’s most noted incarnations was as the home of Horace Staples’ Westport Bank & Trust Company. What a perfect location for a bank — and just what Westport needs!
On second thought — nah. No one would ever think of opening a new bank around here.