This Old House: #2

Last Wednesday, “06880” inaugurated our “This Old House” series. Each week, we’ll run a photo of an old home that will be shown at an upcoming Westport Historical Society exhibit on preservation.

We began with a house the WHS had already identified. Several readers — not many! — knew it’s now the site of the Tavern on Main restaurant, downtown.

But the rest of the homes in this series — all taken in the 1930s by WPA photographers — have stumped even Historical Society experts. We’ll highlight the photos in the hopes that at least one alert “06880” reader knows something about the house.

Lost house - March 11, 2015

The inscription on the back reads (vaguely): “Warner; S. of NW Cor. Cross Hgwy. toward Coleytown.” Like all the photos we’ll run in this series, we don’t even know if it’s still standing.

Got info? Click “Comments” below.

17 responses to “This Old House: #2

  1. Peter Barlow

    I have no idea where that house is, or was. It could easily date back to the 1860s. But that “box” of a room over the porch came much later and doesn’t look very good, at least in the picture – it’s too big for the porch and must have strained those spindly posts.

  2. Susan Hopkins

    Dan … this is all good and great fun! One small note, however: At the conclusion of “This Old House: 2015”, you’ll throw in one REALLY obvious photo all of us can guess, right?! ; )

  3. I’m pretty sure the Warner’s were proprietors of the Blue Ribbon Farm during that time period, and their farm was on the corner of Cross Highway and North Avenue (thus Blue Ribbon Drive). Only two old houses left in that area of Cross Highway – one on the SW corner and one on the NE corner if going “toward Coleytown” on North Avenue.

  4. Dale is right re the Warners.

  5. Jack Whittle

    Further to Dale’s info, Carl (69), Pearl (59) and their son Eathan (36) are shown in the 1930 census living and farming property located on Cross Highway in the 1930 census. It’s shown as a dairy farm in the 1940 census. As for the precise location of that property, the 1929 Town Directory lists Carl and Pearl (proprietors of Blue Ribbon Farm with a residence on Cross Highway corner of North Ave. I think their farm abutted or was across the street from the Wakeman farm (then operated as the Cross Highway Dairy, “on Cross Highway near North Avenue” per an ad in the same 1929 Town Directory.

  6. Jack Whittle

    I should have also noted that I don’t readily see a connection to a “S. Warner”, however.

  7. Peter Barlow

    I remember the Blue Ribbon Farms. They had an ice cream stand out on Cross Highway with at least 20 flavors of ice cream. My favorite was Butter
    Pecan which I discovered there. My family pronounced it Pe-CAHN. When I asked for that at Achorn’s Drug Store where they also sold ice cream, Mrs. Achorn said I sounded “snooty.” I like the old house in this picture, minus that thing on top of the porch, – reminds me of a house I used to know.

    • Susan Hopkins

      Peter, my family also pronounces it Pe-CAHN. My husband, who hails from the South, pronounces it Pe-CAN. Call me snooty, but I’ll stick with Pe-CAHN, thank you very much! The “thing” on top of the house is a bit “Bates Hotel-ish”!

    • Janice Beecher

      I took riding lessons at Blue Ribbon Farms when it was owned by the Burchetts in the ’60s. I also worked there to pay for my lessons. This house doesn’t look familiar to me. It wasn’t on the farm property when I was there. I think that it may not be there anymore, because I rode my bicycle from near N. Compo to N. Ave. every weekend to work.

  8. Jane Lincoln Taylor

    Since it follows a semicolon, I would guess that the “S.” is not a person’s initial but rather an abbreviation for “South”–perhaps “South of the Northwest Corner of Cross Highway [and North Avenue], [looking] toward Coleytown.”

    • Sounds like a correct interpretation of the punctuation to me, too, Jane.
      — from Jo, somewhat further N. of the NW Cor. Cross Hgwy. IN Coleytown in an old Coley house!

  9. Jack Whittle

    by the way, here’s a Saturday Evening Post cover painted by Stevan Dohanos in 1950. According the SEP editors, this cover was painted in Westport, Connecticut, at the “Blue Ribbon Dairy Farm and Cow-Posing Academy”

  10. So interesting, Dan! I always learn something reading your posts and the accompanying comments.

  11. I think the Blue Ribbon Farm was also associated with that white, front gabled Greek Revival house at the corner of North and Cross Hwy (#123)(originally built for a Meeker girl as I recall). When the Town restored the house at 99 Myrtle Ave, dozens of paper milk caps were found in a wall cavity near the kitchen. They read: Blue Ribbon Farm. These were carefully gathered up and placed together with other found objects in a box in the attic when the work was done. Perhaps the house in the image has been lost but the awkward remedial structure added above the first floor porch was once a fairly common sight around here in pre-air conditioning days: a sleeping porch.

  12. Jack Whittle

    I’m actually leaning towards the house kitty corner from 123 Cross Hwy, being 118 Cross Hwy, as the Blue Ribbon Farm location – still has the red barn, it was there in the 1934 aeriel survey (tax card shows it built in 1860), and most imporpant, the house itself, when viewed from the rear, is a strong candidate for the house shown in the photo above, showing the same gable end side, and the rear lower porch (now enclosed) with some subsequent modifications.

    Just confirmed that 118 Cross Highway was the Blue Ribbon Farms location (title passed from Blue Ribbon Farms Inc. to WYLLIE, AMELIA W in 1934, and then on up through 6 subsequent owners to the present owners). Now, about the house located there . . .