This Old House #4

Last week’s house — the most recent in a series seeking readers’ help identifying homes photographed for a 1930s WPA project — remains a mystery.

Though the caption on the back said “Coleytown,” readers thought it might have been located as far away as Edge Hill Road. Westport Historical Society house historian Bob Weingarten is still trying to track down the answer. (Click here for that story, and comments.)

This week’s house seems to be easy. The back carries clear identification — “Allen (Bailin). Riverside Avenue.” But no one at the WHS — including Bob Gault, whose company has been on Riverside since 1863 — can pin it down.

This Old House - March 25, 2015

It’s pretty clear that this house was torn down. But where exactly did it stand? What took its place?

If you think you know, click “Comments” below. Information is needed for an upcoming Historical Society exhibit on preservation in Westport.

13 responses to “This Old House #4

  1. Since there is a name, wouldn’t the location be listed in the old phone directories in the library?

  2. Dan, wasn’t there a Alan Bailin in our class?

  3. Jack Whittle

    There’s a Ralph Allen (59) living with his wife Viola (30) at 292 Riverside Ave in 1940, his occupation is gardener, at a private residence. But he didn’t live there in 1930, instead he lived on Compo Parkway with an earlier wife (Helene, for those who wonder). So I am not sure if this would have been identified as an Allen house in 1935 – perhaps Bailin was a prior owner of the house shown in the picture, or a maiden name. But there are no hits on Bailin in Westport in the 1930s, or 1920s.

    • Isn’t it possible that “Allen” got misspelled as “Bailin”? They might look similar when written in pencil or pen.

      • Jack Whittle

        Thought about that (the 1927 Westport directory lists ~ 45 Allens), also thought to look for typo variants of Bailin (such as Battin, a family that seems to have summered in Westport), but things narrow down when looking for Riverside addresses. Note that, in the 1927 Directory, there’s also a Landon Allen (sign painter) living with his wife Ella at 312 Riverside, and a widowed Emma Allen living at the same address – and I now see that they were still at 312 Riverside by the 1930 census. I have the strongest feeling about 312 Riverside (seems to have been a family house, although these Allens are also listed as renters) – note that 312 Riverside is also in the present day area of Birchwood Golf course, assuming the street numbers used in the 20s and the 30s have not changed – Main St. was renumbered, for example. I’m not sure when that golf course was built; before Birchwood bought the property in the 40s it was the Westport Country Club

  4. Jack Whittle

    P.S. 292 Riverside is in the area of Rive Bistro, but across the street – Birchwood CC golf course now.

  5. Jack Whittle

    Hold the phone, there’s also a Jessie Allen (45) and her mother Louisa (81) living at 549 Riverside in 1930, but the are sharing / splitting the house with John Wakeman and his wife, and all of them are renters. Bunches of Allens in Westport!

  6. Dan: I believe this was originally the Josiah Raymond Inn which is now the entrance to Birchwood Country Club. I believe , it was moved to its present location ( at the entrance of Birchwood) prior to the 1930’s.

  7. I do not know…but seems like it could be…

  8. Jill Turner Odice

    If you go to the Birchwood Country Club website there is a photo of the front doorway of a house that looks the same …I think Marc is correct 🙂 There are the same skinny windows on either side of the door…
    http://www.birchwoodcc.org/login.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fMember-Central.aspx