The best use of the Baron’s South property is still a subject of debate.
But a group of Westporters want to make sure that whatever it is, it includes Golden Shadows.
The 1959 Colonial Revival-style structure — built as a private residence by the perfume magnate Baron Walter von Langendorff (hence the perfume-scented name “Golden Shadows”) — sits in the middle of the hilly property, between South Compo Road and Imperial Avenue.
It’s unoccupied — save for some books stored there by the library, and perhaps some woodland creatures — but it’s still in decent condition.
Golden Shadows is listed on Westport’s Historic Resources Inventory. Last April, the Historic District Commission voted unanimously to support its designation as a Local Historic Landmark Property. Now, concerned Westporters want the RTM to weigh in with their vote too.
“On the heels of the Planning and Zoning Open Space Subcommittee’s January 8 vote to recommend re-zoning Baron’s South as open space,” a petition submitted to the RTM reads, “we thought it might also be an appropriate time to establish similar protections for Golden Shadows.”
The petition says that the home could be re-purposed as office space, event space or some other municipal use. (New Canaan did something similar with Waveny Park; Norwalk did it with Cranbury Park.)
The “landmark” designation would help conserve the building’s historic features, preventing it from demolition or inappropriate alteration, while also permitting the town to earn a grant for a needs assessment and plan of preservation.
The designation would not force the town to do anything. But it does raise Golden Shadow’s profile, and — if passed — flags it as something the RTM deems important.
2015 will see continued debate on Baron’s South. Now, that debate will include a possibly historic landmark home, standing right in its midst.