An alert “06880” reader — a man who works in downtown Westport, and has a keen sense of the area’s past, present and future — wandered down Church Lane.  He gazed at the Federal-style Sherwood House across from the Y — now being renovated into a restaurant — and sent this along:

I’ve been wondering about the worth of totally gutting a “historic” building in the name of preservation, when the fact of the matter is there’s hardly anything original about the building once the renovation is complete.

The future home of the Grey Goose restaurant is a case in point. There’s more daylight in this old building than wood.

As I was snapping this photo and thinking “what’s the point?” the builder came across the street and asked what I was doing.  He seems like a nice guy.

When I mentioned to him that it seemed a costly sham to just leave a few timbers up, he said there was actually a lot of original timber left in the building — and a lot more of it just lying around.

He said there are some cool pieces, including mantels, that he doesn’t know what to do with.  I’ve seen some of it — hand-hewn beams with ax marks plainly visible.  The wood’s got to be 200 years old.

I told him I’d mention it to you in case you wanted to ask your readers how best to recycle these vintage — and historic — pieces of Westport’s past.

Okay, “06880” readers:  Game on!

You’re a creative bunch.  You respect yesterday, while looking forward to tomorrow.  Click “Comments” to let the Grey Goose builder know exactly what he can do with his timber.

33 responses to “Timber!

  1. First choice – incorporate as much as possible into the “new” building – even if it means changing things as you go along – fireplaces in a restaurant – of course!

  2. I wonder how long this “Grey Goose” eatery is gonna last?

    • There’s a Grey Goose restaurant in Southport which is SRO every night. If this is related, perhaps it will bring some good eating to Westport.

  3. It’s wood. How about the First Night bonfire?

  4. maybe the Y should take it and sell it and put the funds towards their new building? or give to some other non-profit in westport to sell and make some money.

  5. it’s wood – but with a Westport history – not scrap.

  6. Put it on the market and see what it is worth. If someone wants it, they can buy it.

  7. Am I mistaken when I say that I read this was going to be a renovated historic building? I think I read alot about how it was going to be a historic restaurant space. So I’d think that the builder was going to use alot of it. Is he not? I certainly didn’t expect it to look like that.

  8. cant wait for it to open sounds like a fun place !

  9. Since the developer “picked up” the damn building and moved it 5 feet closer to the sidwalk and now gutting it for whatever ridiculous reasons some architect preceived to be practical, this whole project is a cluster%#&*. It seems to be the poster child for tax reform in this country.

    • Balancing commercial, coded construction, and historic demands is never pretty. This type of construction is the most expensive, but it presents a hurdle to demolition and re-use that we all benefit from.

      I would also add that construction is a very challenging process to evaluate in the middle of the project, knowing 90% of everything you do will never be seen again. Sheetrock and paint go a long way. This project is far from finishes.

      But let get together there on a snowy evening and clink glasses in front of a roaring fire. Surfs Up!

  10. Habitat ReStores in CT:
    and NY:

    Another builder is probably the best idea – someone who has a truck and can come pick it up. People shooting for LEED certification are probably a good bet, as they need to use recycled materials.
    http://www.bpcgreenbuilders.com/ (203) 563-9909 (Wilton)

  11. The Dude Abides

    Use the wood to patch the wall at Compo Beach.

  12. Good one, Dude!

  13. I think the builder should incorporate as much of the original wood and such back into the building.

  14. I believe that this Developer is also the one who has an application pending at P&Z to tear down the victorian next to the Y and put up a 5 story building on that property. And given that the property in question is an a hill, it will be equal to a 7 story building on main street. Is his “saving” of this building an attempt to get some good PR so that the town forgives his planned monstrosity? Just wondering.

  15. Hey John that would not be davivd all about me waldmen would it

  16. Hey John that developer would not happen to be David (whatever is good for me) Waldmen would it?

  17. Waldman earned his money the ole fashioned way: He inherited it.

  18. A six story building on a narrow street – that should look wonderful!

  19. And Just Asking – is that application going to come before the present P n Z or the next one? Looks like more meetings to attend.

  20. He can shiver mine.

  21. The pointed attacks on this developer’s character are totally incorrect.

  22. I know David Waldman. Do I know him well? No, but I do know him from being in the real estate industry and socially about town. To say “he earned his money the old fashioned way, he inherited it” comes off as a bit obnoxious and offensive (just my feeling). I understand facts and the fact is he did inherit money, but he works hard and is not just living off an inheritance (even if he did, that’s his business). I was at his father’s funeral and saw a son completely distraught and devastated over the tragic and completely unexpected loss of his father. He would give up all the real estate to have his father back. They were very close. Many people I know have inherited money and have trust funds, and they are drunks. David took over the business and has become very successful and has done a lot for the town. I happen to love what he did with The Market Place. It was a dark brown eyesore, vacant for years and it now is updated, looks gorgeous and is filling up quite nicely. You may not approve of everything he has done; I happen to like much of what he has done. I like having revenue in the town, updated buildings, and seeing someone take their father’s legacy and turning it into their own. This man lost his father when he was in his twenties and managed to do really well for himself. I congratulate him on that and will always feel for him for losing his father the way he did. Again, I may not agree with him on all his visions for the future of Westport, but there’s a way to state things and a way to treat my fellow Westporter’s. In the future he may develop property, I may have an issue with it, but I will debate the issue of the development, not the issue of his inheritance, as it is just NONE of my business. He’s on the Downtown Merchants Assoc., again, I don’t agree with everything, but at least he’s doing something for the town. He’s doing more than I do right now. He volunteers his time for the betterment of Westport – yes, it is his vision, but he’s doing something! I commend him for taking action, whether or not I agree with the action.

    I think he’s a good guy … he’s always been really nice to me. It just makes me upset to see so much negativity. We are luckier than most. I just like to show the other side of the argument.

    • Arthur Champlin

      Waldman is like Trump. Both have a vision and if you don’t agree, he will buy it out from you. No compassion here. I am not sure the sensitivitiy about inheritance either? Half of Westport got there money that way.

  23. Judi is very right.

  24. I’m sure these people would gladly buy the wood http://www.antiqueandvintagewoods.com/index.htm

  25. This was a decrepit old house a year ago… Soon it will look brand new and have a great restaurant that you can bring your friends and family to.
    You can’t expect every piece of two-hundred year old wood to be preserved…

  26. poeple in this town just complain about everything ! cant wait to move next week.