These Are Not Westport Teardowns Of The Day. But They Should Be.

For years, I’ve wondered about the house that sits at the corner of Wilton Road and Red Coat Road.

Who owns it?  How has it existed in such decrepitude for so long?  What must people think as they come off the nearby Merritt Parkway, and see it as one of their first glimpses of Westport?

But it’s not the only area house in such disrepair.

Half a mile away, on Partrick Road, is this:

There was a bad fire there, a year or two ago.  But why haven’t the owners done anything?  Is there a problem with insurance, building permits, or something else?  Isn’t it dangerous for a burned-out house to sit like that?

And — remarkably — just a few hundred yards up that same beautiful Partrick Road is this:

The word on the street about this one is very interesting.  Apparently there was a bad divorce 20 or so years ago.  The husband didn’t want his wife to have the home — but he didn’t want to live there himself.  So he pays taxes faithfully every year — and does nothing else.

It’s looked like this — abandoned and forlorn — longer than most residents have lived nearby.

How oddly comforting to know that in a town with such a tear-it-down, build-it-back-bigger mentality, at least 3 traditional homes remain standing.

Sort of.

45 responses to “These Are Not Westport Teardowns Of The Day. But They Should Be.

  1. Maggie Feczko

    The house at exit 41 has had a demolition permit for a few years. As a historic property it came before the HDC for waiver of the automatic 6 month demo delay, but because of its condition and inappropriate alterations over the years, the Commission waived the delay of the demolition. Even if it had not waived it, the delay would have expired long ago. There is a beautiful accessory building and stone wall on the property. I hope someone finds a way to enhance this highly visible entrance to Westport.

  2. The Dude Abides

    I would think there should be town ordinances to enforce such decay. If not in compliance, city officials could fine the owners and eventually foreclose. Just paying taxes should not be enough. It would appear someone is asleep at the wheel particularly in regard to the house on Patrick Lane. In Houston, we had no zoning. We also, in most subdivisions with strong deed restrictions, did not have such eyesores. Neighbors had much more of a strong voice than apparently they do here.

  3. Larry Perlstein

    I live not far from the house at exit 41 and drive past it regularly … and I am so tempted to inadvertently bump my car into it and see if it falls down. Every now and then there’s a new Realtor sign or some hint of activity but then nothing.

    And Dan, you should probably add the old Three Bears Restaurant to the list — it’s starting to look a bit long in the tooth.

  4. Don’t forget the house on Main St just north of downtown. I like the “no trespassing” sign. Ironically I saw someone mowing the lawn, while the house falls apart. There is another one further north on main, though it’s mostly hidden behind a 10 foot tall fence. Feel bad for the neighbors.

    • You’re talking about the one on the left as you head away from downtown, just past the dentists’ office after the King’s Highway light. I have sat in my dentist’s chair for years, talking about it with him and his staff. They have seen it in that state for years, with — yes — occasional yard work being done.

      • Adrian Bowles

        I had a nice chat with the owner of that one once as he was doing yardwork. I believe he’s doing the best he can, and he takes better care of another house across the street that is now a rental. I’ve often wondered if he would welcome a group of neighbors arriving with paint and supplies one weekend to help him out, or be offended by the gesture.

        As for the one with the high fence, that one is owned by someone whose name many locals would recognize as active in the community, albeit a polarizing figure.

        I don’t know about the other houses mentioned, but not all neglect is willful and there are many people who cannot afford to do more than hold on right now. Sometimes it is painful not to be able to maintain what one has while clinging to a hope that things will get better. I’ll bet that a little investigation would yield some fascinating stories.

    • His name is Boo Radley?

  5. Adding to Maggie Feczko’s 1st comment (above):

    Dave Matlow — who photographs the great “Teardown of the Day” feature for — sent along this link from October 18, 2007:

    On that day, the 1 Red Coat Road house was the featured teardown. It was built in 1900, and sold 7 months earlier for $585,000.

  6. x-westporter

    Every town should have an “old Granville House” (“I wouldn’t live in it as a ghost!”-George Bailey). I guess Westport is lucky to have three.

  7. The yellow house on Partrick Road has been owned by Joel Schapiro since 1989 according to public records. The property is over three acres and Mr. Schapiro wanted to sub-divide it so he could build three new houses about 15 years ago. The neighbors did not agree and fought him. The sub-division was not approved and it has sat there neglected ever since.

  8. There are also three really decrepit houses on the Post Road West heading into town on the right just before Riverside Avenue (one was formerly occupied by By Latimer), and also the Telephone Company building on Myrtle Avenue is in need of repair. Something should be done about these local eyesores.

  9. The Dude Abides

    Anyone remember the ole “Haunted House” behind the Crest Drive-In on the Post Road next to Saugatuck Church????? Nasty.

    • Remember it? I live in a condo on the site of it! Fortunately it’s no longer haunted.

      • The Dude Abides

        Bad karma to that place. Someone fell out of the window there once. Splattered all over my hamburger.

  10. Anonymous III

    Not all neighbors on Partrick Road opposed the sub-division. Interestingly, the leader of the opposition moved away shortly after the proposal was not approved. It’s a beautiful three acre parcel … hopefully it will find an owner that will make it an asset to the community.

    • Princeton '82

      The problem with your hope is that, apparently, it has taken 15 years of nothing done. Ya gonna wait another 15 years? It would appear that if the neighbors have the power to deny the sub-divide, they could move for a foreclosure based on neglect and/or violation of town ordinances?

  11. Would someone please buy the yellow house on partrick. I hear there is gold and oil in the ground, mr schapiro is very motived to sell pleAse call him to buy it.

  12. The neighbors did not have the ultimate power to deny the sub-divide. He had to show hardship to the board and couldn’t. All the neighbors did was express their dislike for what he wanted to do with the property.

  13. How about the charming “handyman’s special” on the corner of Cross Highway and Silent Grove Lane?

    • The Dude Abides

      They are doing “stuff” on this house on Silent Grove. They removed the windows and bricks from the fireplace. Looks to be a long term job. Like to eternity.

  14. abandoned house on Partrick Road for more than 18 years. And now we get to add the burnt house on Partrick to the list. In response to the woman who thought perhaps these houses were abandoned for financial reasons. I know from extensive research I have done that the owner of the abandoned houes on Partrick road is a very wealthy man who just doesn’t care about his property and just pays the taxes. What a disgrace!

  15. I live in the Old Hill area and I too agree that the town of Westport needs to have ordinances to enforce decay, and if owners to do not comply they should have to pay a hefty fine. Because Westport is an upscale town that does not have a blight committe, just having a house boarded up should not be enough. Why should the neighbors have to look at these eyesores; in the case of the abandoned house on Partrick Road for more than 18 years. And now we get to add the burnt house on Partrick to the list. In response to the woman who thought these houses may be abandoned for financial reasons, I know from extensive research that the owner of the abandoned house on Partrick Road is a very wealthy man who continues to pay taxes and doesn’t care about his property. What a disgrace!

  16. The Dude Abides

    Well, it certainly is not helping the market values of his neighbors. I would think that would be enough damages for neighbors to bring suit. 18 years!!?? Jeez, a little self-help proaction is needed!!

  17. Before people get more twisted about all of these houses, the owner of the burned house on Partrick resides in another home in Westport. He was renting the house before the fire and the renters caused the fire. A sign has appeared on a tree on his property – for sale by owner.

    • Travis McGee

      Gee, in this market, that ought to sell like hotcakes. What did he do with the insurance money???? How does one get “twisted”????

      • anonymous IV

        Obama and his buddy Helicopter Ben are doing the best they can to stimulate demand for real estate. Of course,when Ben raises rates and the housing market collapses again; you are on your own.

  18. I am not twisted. I will get more twisted. I hate to see homes that have been neglected in this town or anywhere for that matter. One should take responsbility for one’s property. There is no excuse for this type of neglect and either there should be laws or lawsuits that enforce such lack of responsibility. This includes landlords!

  19. I am one and it ain’t no slum.

  20. anonymous IV

    Gee, maybe we should all pick a house we don’t like and have it torn down.

    • The Dude Abides

      Be careful, Anon IV, they might choose yours? Love the Heliocopter Ben bit. I thought Student Loans were the next bubble to burst. While I realize that you are an anarchist, don’t you really think there should be sanctions for dumps as shown by the Professor. If nothing else, they should be made to put a fence around it? I mean, really, what the neighbors going to think?

    • anonymous IV

      Not truly an anarchist, but I do know that what goes around comes around. BTW the “it could be mine” moment was intentional as I am sure you know. The student loan bubble is growing, but its bursting can be forestalled by Helicopter Ben. With enough inflation, the value of the student loan becomes insignificant, unless the rate float, then the student is SOL. I am sure that there is a reason each one of the houses in question has not been improved or knocked down or whatever, but keep in mind if some enterprising soul wanted to buy a burnt out hulk, and tear it down, the legal hurdles are not insignificant, not to mention the odd neighbor or two who would wail at the heritage being lost as a result of the tear down. No good deed would go unpunished.

  21. The Dude Abides

    Either way, the student is SOL for no jobs, no Chapter 7 discharge. Perhaps many will think about a school and whether they can afford it or not. And maybe that is a good thing. My view is more minimalistic. If someone can use the property than sell it, no matter what the price. Why have perfectly good land sitting there and not being used? The eyesore label is more for the pretentious. In parts of Vermont, they would die for houses such as those pictured and in the same condition. I would imagine that you would like Johnson on the GOP race. A free marketer.

    • anonymous IV

      Having perfectly good land sitting there is in keeping with the environmentalist’s dream; much land no people. For stricly personal reason’s, I prefer a truly incompetent president to a mediocre president or a competent president; much easier to make money. Ears would be perfect, if it were not for his tendency to mimic Bush’s foreign policy. Carter was perfect; if you could not beat Jimmy, you should have hung them up.

      • The Dude Abides

        Agreed on Ears but he seemingly is business friendly behind his Populist disguise. Seething book out on Goldman Sachs but they were just making money (and Ears largest contributor). I see nobody on the GOP horizon that remotely resembles incompetent. Blundering idiots. My liberal friends want Palin. Sadists all. What is this downgrade by S&P gonna do ????

        • anonymous IV

          70% of Wall Street’s money went to Obama in 2008. Finreg was the payback. The huge firms got what they wanted; a vague law that disproportionally burdens smaller firms and thereby reduces competition. If you want to read about the money river from Wall Street to Obama, read “Bought and Paid For”. The downgrade will do nothing to change Obama’s policies, but it may cost the Dems seats in the House and Senate in 2012. When I say Ears would be perfect I mean, the perfect incompetent like Jimmy “Born Again” Carter who did wonders for bank accounts on Wall Street by having the most inept economic policies since Reconstruction. If Obama and Helicopter Ben continue on as they are, the chaos in the bond market will be similar to that in the late stages of Jimmy’s one and only term. As one of my partners pointed out; not to worry, we have seen this before and we know how to make money out of chaos. We can only hope.

          • The Dude Abides

            In effect, don’t you all money dudes like “ups and down??” My former father-in-law traded petrochemicals (before every one else did) and loved chaotic times. He loved Carter because the price of oil was all over the place (with plenty of supply). The same with Wall Street? So you would rather have a John McCain that Ears? Be serious.

          • anonymous IV

            Only if McCain would have been more reliably inept that Ears.

          • The Dude Abides

            That was a given. He was the “W” of an earlier generation. Party animal at Navy and according to reliable inside sources (“Deep Pockets”), a hot dog flyer. GOP knew they were gonna lose so they gave him and Grizzley Mama the nod. ’12 will be interesting. When Bubba was elected and the economy did so well, I came to your conclusion as well: don’t take much to be Prez. Your ineptness theory is of interest.

  22. I remember the Yellow house on Partrick RD during the 1960’s. At that time it was owned by Sally Johnson. We live a few houses up the road and used to get their mail all the time because we had the same last name. During that time the house and surroundings were one of the best well groomed properties there. I’ve often wondered why it has remain a derelict for so long.

    • Travis McGee

      Apparently because no one gives a crap. Or Kubrick’s philosophy: Ask 100 questions and the answer to 99 is money.