Danish House Follow-Up: No, No, It Really Is The Philippines!

This morning’s “06880” post — about the 1964-65 World’s Fair Danish Pavilion that ended up in Westport — started out:

It’s an urban suburban myth: The Philippines (or Indonesian) (or Danish) pavilion from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair ended up as a residence at the end of Compo Cove.

The piece described how the Danish pavilion actually became a Danish furniture store near the Sherwood Island connector. In the final paragraph, I wondered whether that was the same house everyone speculates is on Compo Cove.

I should have checked with Fred Cantor first.

The very alert “06880” reader/avid historical researcher sent along a document from 1991. The 11-page application to the National Park Service — signed by state historic preservation officer John Shannahan — requests that 22 buildings comprising the “Mill Cove Historic District” be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here’s the interesting part: One of the cottages at the south end of the district has “an unusual history. Originally, this building was a bamboo hut built for the Phillipine [sic] Exhibit at the St. Louis Exposition in the late nineteenth century [sic]; it was dismantled and re-erected on this site about 1900.”

(Well, a bit later. The Exposition was held in 1904.)

The houses that came from the Philippine Exhibit are at the far right in this Google Maps photo. Beyond them (to the right) is Sherwood Island State Park. To the left is the path leading to Old Mill Beach.

The houses that came from the Philippine Exposition are at the far right in this Google Maps photo. Beyond them (to the right) is Sherwood Island State Park. To the left is the path leading to Old Mill Beach.

But wait! There’s more! “A smaller cottage to the rear is also a re-built bamboo hut but it has retained its form and some exterior materials.”

UPDATEAlert reader SW Reid posted in a comment (below): “Brooks Jones built the guest house behind the ‘pavilion’ maybe 25 years ago. He wanted the unit to look like the original structure on the water.”

So there you have it. The house is Filipino, not Danish. But how and why it ended up in Westport remains a mystery.

Until, that is, Fred finds out.

BONUS FUN FACTSThe 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair — also called the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition — was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the purchase of the Louisiana Territory by the US from France.

The Philippine Exhibit was the largest (47 acres, 100 buildings), most expensive ($2 million) and most popular at the entire fair.

A bird's-eye view of the mammoth Philippine Exhibit.

A bird’s-eye view of the mammoth Philippine Exhibit.

There were about 1,100 Filipinos at the Philippine Exhibit. They were shown in various stages of cultures, from primitive to highly cultured.

The head-hunting, dog-eating Igorots were the greatest attraction at the Philippine Exhibit, not only because of their novelty, the scanty dressing of the males and their daily dancing to the tom-tom beats, but also because of their appetite for dog meat which is a normal part of their diet.

(Hat tip to Virgilio R. Pilapil — and Google — for the above information. Read much more from him about the Philippine Exhibit by clicking here.)

Philippine Exhibition

 

5 responses to “Danish House Follow-Up: No, No, It Really Is The Philippines!

  1. I remember that Danish furniture store, but forget the name. Worth pointing out that quite a number of today’s larger Westport/Weston homes resemble commercial structures. The huge motel-like structure currently for sale on Lyons Plain Rd for example. I’ve also seen faux French Provincial in Weston that’s a a dead ringer for the “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” ride at Universal Studios/Orlando!

  2. Take me to St. Louie, Louie. Take me to the fair…

  3. Sharon Paulsen

    Wasn’t it called “Scandinavian Home Furniture” for a time? Maybe early 1990’s? Not sure if that’s the same exact location that’s being discussed here. (The Garelick and Herbs building?).

  4. Brooks Jones built the guest house behind the “pavilion ” maybe 25 years ago. He wanted unit to look like the original structure on the water.

  5. It was indeed, brought from the 1904 World’s Fair to Comp Mill Cove, I believe by Herman Bumpus, from whose estate my brother Bruce (Staples ’65) bought the house in the mid-70’s. At that time, the interior walls were actually bamboo screens. Bruce kept the existing structure (and the beautiful stone fireplace in the downstairs room) but modernized the house and brought in boulders to protect it from storms. And, as mentioned by another reader, hosted some amazing parties. I’m not certain about the original cottage also being from the Philippines – it was more of a classic beach cottage style. Family friend Brooks Jones bought both the house and cottage after Bruce’s death in 1991, and Brooks put his own stamp on the property, including the beautiful cottage he designed with New York architect Rebecca Rasmussen.