This Old House #9

Narrowing down the neighborhood for last week’s “This Old House” was easy — it said Canal Street, right on the back of the 1930s WPA photo.

But which house exactly? After extensive back-and-forth, both Morley Boyd and Peter Barlow nailed it: 4 Woods Grove Road. This also happened to be the 1st house on what is now a well-populated road (running behind Coffee An’ and Ace Hardware) — and also home to the renowned Westport School of Music. To see the photo and all the comments, click here.

The next house in the series — which asks “06880” readers to identify homes that may or may not still stand, in advance of a Westport Historical Society exhibit on the changing face of local residences — is this:

This Old House - April 29, 2015

The only identification on the back says: “On Training Green.”

Was that where the Revolutionary War militia gathered, near the Kings Highway North/Old Hill Road intersection? Or someplace else — say, Crawford Road off Partrick?

If you can identify this house — or have any information on Westport’s “training green” — click “Comments” below.

13 responses to “This Old House #9

  1. Adam Stolpen

    it’s 1-3 Old Hill Road isn’t it

  2. I’m pretty sure its 5 Old Hill Road Dan. Is there an email address where I can send a photo of what it looks like today and you can see if you agree

  3. ‘As we come nearer the ford, just a little northeast of the King’s Highway is the old “Training Green,” which was thrown open for this purpose by the father of Seth Taylor. Here on the first Monday in September, to the music of life and drum, the militia trained to be in the readiness for a “call to arms”. It is fifty years now since the lat training day was observed in Westport.’

    This book was written in 1901 and entitled “The Colonial and Revolutionary Homes of Wilton, Norwalk, Westport, Darien and Vicinity” by the Connecticut Daughters of the American Revolution, Norwalk Chapter. Source: https://books.google.com/books?id=pnBIAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA73&lpg=PA73&dq=%22training+green%22+westport&source=bl&ots=iVv68JKMj_&sig=TL5Rab5PimxT2Fp25xodArUlM9g&hl=en&sa=X&ei=LwdBVY3jFIG_ggTFkYGYAQ&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=%22training%20green%22%20westport&f=false

  4. Re: training green. I believe there is a bronze and stone WHS marker on the triangle at the corner of Kings Highway and Old Hill road marking the spot of the old training ground.

    • Oh, to have the knowledge of Eve Potts!! I love YOUR book!! Westport, A Special Place!! It is absolutely delightful!! When you read that narrative from the 1901 book, can you recognize all of those houses on Kings Highway? I get lost! I especially don’t know which one she’s talking about at the Bank of the River. Unless it was the one that got knocked down last year on Wilton Road? By the way, I have a copy of a handwritten letter of Westport’s Militia gathering for training from 1835. The minutia in it is amazing. I live on Daybreak Lane across from where Molly lived. We met a couple of times! Westport misses you, Eve.. move back to town!!

  5. This is #5 Old Hill Road (Fred & Ethel’s house)

  6. BEATUS, CARYL

    IS IT POSSIBLE THAT IT WAS ON OR NEAR A GOLF COURSE?

  7. Eve,
    Yes there is a plaque on the green. The title is “Jennings Trail” and the subheader reads “Kings Highway North Area Historic District”. The text says “The area first called Taylortown contains some of the earliest homes. Family names were Taylor, Nash, Wright, and Hurlbutt and can be found in the Kings Highway cemetery. The green was the drill ground established by Seth Taylor during the French and Indian War.

  8. Bob Weingarten

    Bravo to all. I thing that you have found this house even with the major modifications to its exterior. It appears to be 5 Old Hill Road although there is still an issue I have with its identification.

    I’ve driven by the house and found the following. The roof line on both sides is consistent with the WPA 1935 photo, the top centered window, a 4-by-4 glass pane, seems to be in the correct place and the chimney is consistent with the WPA 1935 photo in both appearance and location although it now appears that it is based in newer dormer.

    I complement all in being able to see past the modifications made to the structure at 5 Old Hill Road. But I’m still a bit skeptical about the building 1935 building being the same as the current structure.

    My concern is that the houses photographed in WPA 1935s were supposed to be historic/antique houses which were built about 100 years prior to 1935. According to further research this house was built in c.1925 for Ada Fay according to the Westport tax records and the information from the historic information at the Westport Historic District Commission.

    I called the state library to understand if they had any information as the criteria for the WPA 1935 photos, i.e. antique status of the houses. But there was no further information on this house and I was told that perhaps this house was not registered as an historic or antique structures but just submitted as a potential antique house.

    Considering that the houses at 1 Old Hill Road and 6 Old Hill Road were part of the WPA 1935 photographs I believe it was possible that the photographer took the photo of 5 Old Hill Road and thought that was also an antique house. Since the state library information doesn’t list any survey information can only confirm my thoughts. But this house was part of the WPA photographs and will be recognized as one of the significant houses in Westport.

  9. Bob Weingarten

    Just wanted to add a bit of information that I found in the Judge Adams 1951 manuscript. When I looked at the upper window it looked a bit low as opposed to todays location. Now I know why.

    “Mrs. Wood deeded a small lot Fay’s mother in 1924 and a house was built (5 Old Hill Road) which was sold to Powers in 1946. Ray Coleman bought the old house in 1931.

    In 1943 this house was almost totally destroyed by fire. In 1944 Driscoll and Sweeney bought the property and rebuilt the house following as closely as possible the lines of the old house. Holman and Mildred Scott bought the house in 1943 and in 1948 Lionel Phillips was the owner.”

  10. Ginger Propper

    Hi Dan
    #5 Old Hill Road is my house
    My husband and I have owned it since
    1988. I believe the data I just read is incorrect about my house . It never burned down .. The house was built in the 1920’s and we renovated it
    In 2004 .. Working with the historical society .
    Ginger and Adam Propper