The whole point of “06880”‘s “This Old House” series is to help the Westport Historical Society in advance of an upcoming exhibit. They’ll be showing great photos of old homes, to illustrate changes in Westport.
But some images — taken as part of a 1930s WPA project — are hard to identify.
House #4 — posted 10 days ago — has been confirmed. It’s the handsome home of Birchwood Country Club, visible from Kings Highway South. The back of the photo said “Allen (Bailin). Riverside Avenue.”
WHS house historian Bob Weingarten explains the delay in confirmation:
I need to apologize to your readers, especially Marc Isaacs; Jill Turner Odice, who agreed with Marc, and Neil Brickley, who wrote that Marc was correct and I should re-consider this location.
When I first read Marc’s comments [he said it was originally the Josiah Raymond Inn. and was moved to its present location prior to the 1930’s], I reviewed the Connecticut Historic Resources Inventory. It said the house was built in 1835 by Josiah Raymond. The form identified the location as 25 Kings Highway South, also known as The Birchwood Country Club “Clubhouse.”
I discounted this as the house for 2 reasons. First, on the back of the WPA 1930s photo the words “Riverside Avenue” appeared and there was no indication from the history that the house was moved.
Second, the photo I had on file was of the front of the house. Although the WPA 1930s photo does show the front, this architectural design was prevalent in houses of the Federal period in Westport. My mistake was not having a visual view of the side of the building.
After hearing from Neil, I visited the site. With an appropriate photo angle I can visually confirm that the Unknown House #4 is the Birchwood Country Club “Clubhouse.”
Looking at the photo you can see that the front porch does have sidelight windows, the side portion of the building has the same structural elements and windows as identified on the WPA 1930s photo. Too many elements to be a duplicate built house.
Thanks again to Marc Isaacs, Jill Turner Odice and Neil Brickley.