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Downtown Demolition

WestportNow’s popular “Teardown of the Day” often features nondescript, “Mad Men”-era homes on private roads and cul-de-sacs.  We’re sorry to see old homes torn down, but we don’t recognize many of them.

Monday’s teardown was different.

The 2-story Federal-style home and shed at 26-28 Church Lane — across the street from the YMCA — will be knocked down, following review by the Historic District Commission.  Built around 1820, according to, it was moved there from a previous Post Road location.  That must have been a long time ago — it looks like it’s stood there forever, a proud reminder of when downtown Westport was both residential and handsome.

But over the years the building has deteriorated.  It’s rotting and decrepit — perhaps an intentional move by the owners, WestportNow commenters have hinted, in order to be allowed to tear down a historic property.

Contrast 26-28 Church Lane with the building next door, #36.  Also once sagging, after the Red Cross departed, it’s been lovingly restored by real estate attorney Roger Leifer.

Meanwhile, catty corner to #36, an addition to Christ & Holy Trinity Church will soon rise.  Plans call for the new building to blend seamlessly with the 1863 stone structure.  Church leaders and members understand the importance of maintaining the downtown streetscape.

There is no word on the fate of the Victorian office building adjacent to the Y — #35.  It’s long provided dignity and balance to the Church Lane/Elm Street corner.  But it too is old, and no doubt difficult to maintain.  In Westport that can mean the kiss of death.

With the Y poised to move from downtown — the plan is to convert the property into retail, residential and restaurant complex — the little road that is Church Lane looks to be in for big changes in the months and years ahead.

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