Yesterday’s “06880” post — on 3 Evergreen Avenue — brought plenty of comments on the importance of preserving older homes. Several readers referenced 20 Maplewood Avenue. It’s off Main Street, just before Clinton Avenue heading east.
Jennifer Tedesco Alfano provided great background info. She writes:
My kids are the 3rd generation of my family to live in our house on Maplewood — and 5th generation Westporters. My husband and I are both veteran Westport teachers. The issue of this town being essentially “wiped out” is near and dear to my and my neighbor’s hearts.
We are a modest neighborhood consisting of (but not limited to) teachers, a freelance writer, a retired Gault employee who is also a special police officer, a tile layer and a musician.
Back in the day there was my dad, acting assistant fire chief Larry Tedesco. Frank DeMace (Mario’s owner), who was my godfather, lived in my house on Maplewood before my parents bought it when I was a toddler.
Currently 3 homes, including ours, consist of native Westporters. Maplewood is a street not only with lots of architectural and structural history, but a lot of “old Westport” history, too.
New or native, we love the charm and quaintness of our neighborhood so much that we felt it was worth fighting for. We have not had one teardown.
The most dilapidated home was refurbished a couple of years ago by Robert Mills IV. His family owned one of the houses next door to 20 Maplewood. #20 is a near-100-year-old house, once the home of Jim McKay.
The public notice for “demo” of #20 was placed toward the back of the house, where no one could see it. We felt that the builder was trying to hide it, so my kids delivered 2 sets of letters to the neighbors to alert them to what was happening.
Robert Mills IV doesn’t even live there. He rents the home. But he was so concerned, he came to a Historic District Commission meeting to speak out against the teardown. So many neighbors showed up, a partition was opened so more people could sit.
Award-winning restoration expert William Dohme did what he’s done to numerous Westport buildings. He made it impeccable.
We are now going to try to get our street registered as a historic district, as more than half the homes on Maplewood Ave. were built in the early to mid 1900’s.
Neighbors should know that they can make a difference and perhaps change the mind of someone who wants to just make a profit on their street. I had never been to an HDC meeting before. I was amazed at the background, knowledge and experience of the people who serve on this committee.
Thanks to their careful consideration of our argument and dismay that a perfectly well maintained, 100-year old home would be demolished for no reason other than profit, a delay was granted.
Maplewood Avenue is not going down without a fight. I hope that more residents who live on the few streets like ours that are still left will stand up for what is right.
We made a difference. At least, for now!