Old Tree + New Home = ?

For decades, this Bluewater Hill tree has been a neighborhood landmark:

Bluewater Hill tree

But the house will soon be torn down.

Will the tree be sacrificed — or saved?

No one knows.

And everyone worries.

10 responses to “Old Tree + New Home = ?

  1. No it will not especially if SIR Realtors gets ahold of it.

  2. All trees have life spans.

  3. I know a lot about this tree, more important than the tree , is the man who used to own this house. Ray Armstrong was a kind, thoughtful, brilliant, family loving man and a GREAT neighbor. Please read about Ray, and then read about the tree.

    Armstrong, Raymond
    Raymond Joseph Armstrong, 87, passed away peacefully with his family by his side at home in Westport, on Thursday, February 21, after a 5-year battle with prostate cancer. He was predeceased by his wife, Joyce McGuire Armstrong in 1951; his wife of 49 years, Maureen Kiely Armstrong in 2003; as well as sisters: Ann Helene Whelan, Hope Sharman and Norma Lodge. He leaves behind his grieving children: James R. Armstrong and his wife, Gail of Jacksonville, FL, Terry Armstrong of Brighton, MA, Sean Armstrong of Westport, Siobhan Armstrong of New York, NY, Dan Armstrong of Braintree, MA and Kerry Armstrong Cheney and her husband, Andrew of Washington DC; three grandchildren: Charlee Armstrong, Alison Cheney and Vivian Armstrong; his partner of ten years, Regina Brauer, also of Westport; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
    Raymond was born on June 23, 1925 in Providence, RI in his family home on Academy Avenue, to the late Anna Josephine and Joseph Raymond Armstrong. After their deaths in his youth, he was raised by his aunt and uncle, the late May and James Armstrong, also of Providence. He was a graduate of Classical High School in Providence (1942), Brown University (1946) and the Harvard Business School (1953).
    After attending OCS at Northwestern University, Raymond served as a Lieutenant in the Pacific Theater and participated in the liberation of the Philippine Islands.
    Raymond was employed by General Electric Company for five years before receiving his MBA, and briefly taught Advertising at Harvard Business School before joining Owens Corning Fiberglass, where he was Advertising Manager. In 1960, he moved to Starwood Corporation, a small Manhattan investment concern formed by Julius Rosenwald, the philanthropist and President of Sears Roebuck and Company. Raymond was named President of Starwood in 1970, where he managed assets for the Rosenwald family, notable individuals and pension funds.
    In 1981, he was selected by President Ronald Reagan to manage the Presidential Blind Trust during his term in the White House. At the time, an article in the New York Times stated: “Financial experts describe Mr. Armstrong, the 55 year old president of Starwood Corporation, as an adept trader with a good sense of the market, a keen ability to judge companies and a calm, analytical approach.”
    He later went on to become President of Geneve Corporation, a diversified industrial and financial holding company he helped to form in Greenwich, and Armstrong Shaw Associates, an investment advisory firm he founded and where he served as Chairman and CEO of Armstrong Shaw until he retired in 1996.
    A resident of Westport for over 60 years, Raymond was an avid tennis, golf and bridge player, a founding member of possibly Westport’s oldest book club and an enthusiastic traveler. Always appreciative of a good story and teller of many, he made friends from all walks of life. His appreciation for fine dining made him well known in restaurants all over the country and beyond, many of whom have lost their best customer.
    More than anything, Raymond loved his friends and family. A man whose tireless generosity and grace touched the lives of many, he was self effacing and compassionate to a fault, a warm and joyful soul whose loss will be sorely felt in lives of many near and far for years to come

    After Ray’s wife passed in 2003 we talked about the trees that were between our properties and we decided to remove them because they were decades old, weak and dangerous. In their place we planted a hedge, it offers privacy, yet it is tough during storms. The one tree, the one and only tree that Ray wanted to remove 11 years ago, was THIS VERY TREE! At that time the tree professional said, ” if you keep the tree trimmed it will be healthy and pose no danger”. Literally every year until his passing Ray would say, “look at that tree, I should have cut it down”, we used to laugh about it! I have to admit, every day I look at that tree and I think of Ray, yet Ray said in one of our last conversations, “whoever buys this house will have to take this tree down”. The tree that mattered to Ray is the huge evergreen tree in the front yard, he planted that himself. He knew the sentimental evergreen would eventually have to go, he once joked that, although it is a big beautiful tree, it is probably not big enough for Rockefeller Center! I am happy that the family that recently bought Ray’s house is a wonderful family and Ray would have really liked them. The tree lived a beautiful life, just like Ray. Life goes on, may the memory of the tree and of Ray be a blessing for all of us that knew Ray, and live in this beautiful neighborhood.

  4. Beautiful. My best wishes to Totie and Terry.

  5. Is that the correct tree in the picture? It doesn’t look like an evergreen. Perhaps it is the green tree along side the one in the picture

  6. OUCH! As an “old time Westporter” the grand trees have always been part of the landscape–treasured (or a bit taken for granted), climbed in, peeped at in their Fall glory…and when our family homestead was sold to a builder–we rejoiced at his keeping the CORE of the house, having pitched the idea that the 200+ year old farmhouse of early Westport get MOVED BACK from the busy Wilton Road (and the impending YMCA construction and promise for MORE traffic). It was sad for family, friends, peers who had known and loved the James & then James-Shook HOME. Reading 06880, I know we are not ALONE with this experience of changing Westport, tear down and expansion FEELINGS. When I went to see the MOVED BACK HOUSE at 268 Wilton Road, what I was totally unprepared for was that ALL the major trees had been CUT DOWN, the maples, dogwoods, towering copper beech, pines, a magnolia (a tree planted by the wonderful actress Dorothy Tutin and her husband Derek Waring who both starred in Portrait of a Queen on Broadway, one of the plays my Dad produced. They had borrowed the house for a short stay and planted the tree that flowered every spring). I’m told current residents and home buyers treasure BIG KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS…and perhaps these are more coveted than magnificent trees in our new universe.

  7. Cathy, reread the story…s l o w l y…

  8. Thank you, my dad loved the evergreen tree, we all loved the maple, he would have been happy to be remembered, thank you
    Terry Armstrong