In the wake of our most recent snowstorm — for some reason, it had no name — alert “06880” reader Howard Silver took this photo of one of Westport’s most beloved institutions:

Black Duck

And, he wondered, “how does the Black Duck stay on land?”

Coincidentally, Mary Palmieri Gai posted on Facebook’s “You Know You’re From Westport … If …” page yesterday. It’s from a 1910 Norwalk Hour story:

DESTROY THAT OLD HULK: There was talk sometime ago regarding the destroying of the old Hulk south of Saugatuck carriage bridge but yet nothing has been done about the matter by the selectmen. Since it was understood that the promise to do away with this unsightly blot on the third page of Westport’s beauty, many citizens are wondering why they have not made good on the promises.

The expense would not be great and there is no question but that the outlay that would be necessary to do away with this old hulk would be money well spent.

So the citizens of the town are hoping that the officials do something immediately toward improving the appearance of the scene south of the Saugatuck Bridge by destroying the old time boat that has rested on the mud flats at that point for a great many years.

A lively debate followed. Some folks thought the story referred to the Duck. But, owner Pete Aitken said, the restaurant — originally a barge — was not hauled there until 1961.

Perhaps the “old Hulk” is the vessel mired in mud immediately south of the Bridge Street bridge — visible only (but always) at low tide.

As for Howard Silver’s question of how the restaurant survives?

That’s just more proof that everyone loves the Duck.

Including God.

The Duck survived Hurricane Sandy too.

The Duck survived Hurricane Sandy too.

9 responses to “Duck!

  1. The Duck should be given Landmark status.

  2. Bobbie Herman

    Actually, I think it has to be 50 years old to qualify, which it does. But I think the owner has to make the application.

  3. Sally Campbell Palmer

    Long live The Duck!

  4. Joyce Barnhart

    I was a docent for Jennings Trail tours, and I’m very sure that the outline seen in the river at low tide is the remains of an onion barge. Could that be the old Hulk? Maybe, but I think tthen hey’d call it a barge, not a boat.

  5. Ellen Greenberg

    Check out the oyster boat in the Grey’s Creek as you leave Longshore. It has ridden out many a store anchored in the creek including Sandy. Something about the ice got to it yesterday. It started to list, and then this morning it was completely on its side. But hurry, as I write the owner has a line tied to his truck on the Longshore exit road and as the tide comes in the owner is righting the boat. He says it will be just fine. .I just love Yankee ingenuity and resilience.

  6. Glenn Ferrari

    If you read the menu you will find the Black Duck was an old barge that has been dated to around 1840.

  7. Jane Johngren

    The storm was called Nika. I believe The Weather Channel cooked up the idea to name winter storms.

  8. Great idea to remove the “Hulk” south of the bridge! This is all remains of the last schooner built in Westport, lets please erase this from our towns history, who would want anyone to know that Westport was once populated by sea captains, farmers and oystermen. Its ironic that the lumber from this boat was scavenged and used to build the original section of Allens Clam House, which has also been erased from our town history, by the town. Hey, lets go after all buildings built before 1850 and force their demolishment while were at it.
    P.S. Ford Macheskie brought the barge that the Duck now sits on up the river to its current location and blew out the planking using one stick of TNT.