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.
I’ve walked that path — from Old Mill Beach all the way to the edge of Sherwood Island — and I’ve seen that modern-looking, glass-and-wood house. It’s intriguing — but a former World’s Fair pavilion? C’mon!
Yet a recent email from alert “06880” reader/former Westporter/World’s Fair fanatic Doug Davidoff may shed some light on the legend. At the same time, it raises more than a few mysteries itself.
Doug sent along a clipping from the October 16, 1965 Bridgeport Post. It read:
“The prize-winning Danish pavilion at the World’s Fair has been purchased by the Laerkesen Furniture company, 1400 East State street [Post Road East], and will be relocated here on a two-acre tract adjacent to the Sherwood Island connector.”
The Bridgeport Post story described the 130-by-80-foot pine-and-plate-glass building as designed to be disassembled, then reconstructed “like a giant erector set.”
A “World’s Fair Community” website story from 2001 provides further details. Citing a New York Times account of November 22, 1964, it said the structure was planned to be called Laerkesen’s Denmark House, and would display the company’s Danish furniture and household equipment. The “Tivoli Playground” and “Little Mermaid” reconstruction were also to be included. The pavilion — built for $1.2 million — had been bought for $40,000, and would cost $465,000 to move and rebuild.
The story added that Laerkesen’s owner Dominick DeCecco had outgrown his original store at 1460 Post Road East (now the Pier 1 shopping center). The new location would be “on the Boston Post Road at the juncture of Route 18 in Westport.”
Of course, there is no “Route 18.” This must have referred to the Sherwood Island connector, heading to the Connecticut Turnpike (now I-95) Exit 18.
The 2001 website story challenged readers to find “Laerkesen’s Denmark House.” (The name came from DeCecco’s wife, the former Dorthe Laerkesen.)
No one could.
Perhaps the “06880” community can crowd-source this. If you remember Laerkesen’s Denmark House — where it was, what it looked like, or anything else — click “Comments” below.
And if you can provide proof that it’s the same building that now sits as a handsome home at the end of Compo Cove — well, fantastisk.