This Old House #13

Trust your instincts.

Westport Historical Society house historian Bob Weingarten thought that last week’s “mystery house” was the current site of Dream Spa — the handsome building at the entrance to the Crate & Barrel shopping center, between Green’s Farms Elementary School and Fortuna’s.

Then he thought it wasn’t. But research by the inestimable Wendy Crowther and others convinced him he was right all along. (Click here to see a 1930s photo of the house, and comments.)

This week’s house is a great one.

This Old House May 13, 2015

We know exactly where this very handsome home once stood. According to a state database of WPA photos, the house — built around 1823, and owned originally by “Wheeler or Capt. Gresham Bradley” — was “formerly situated on the present site of the Fine Arts Theater in State Street.”

That’s great. But the Fine Arts Theatre opened around 1920 — more than a decade before the photo was taken. It closed in 1999, and is now Restoration Hardware. And State Street has been renamed the Post Road.

So where was this house when the photo was taken?

Hopefully it has not been torn down in the interim.

If you know its whereabouts, click “Comments” below. The WHS is seeking info on this and other “mystery houses,” in preparation for an upcoming exhibit on the changing face of Westport.

Bonus photo: Here is what the Fine Arts Theatre looked like, a decade or 2 after it opened.

Fine Arts theatre black and white

8 responses to “This Old House #13

  1. 3 Myrtle Ave

  2. If it’s still standing, the irregular window, door and chimney placement should be great clues.

  3. Jack Whittle

    61 Compo Road North, modified after the move?

  4. Dan Herman

    The house is #23 Jesup Rd. The chimney has been removed and the house widened to the left (for stairs?).

  5. I think Dan Herman is correct after seeing a picture of what 23 Jessup Rd looks like now. It is the same shape and the area is close to where it is supposed to be…

  6. Morley Boyd

    I believe Dan has it. This once nice structure was moved over to Jessup and, up until around 2005 retained much of its original fabric. Unfortunately, despite the fact that it is within the bounds of a Business/Commercial District, Historic (BCDH) and therefore subject to design review, it was essentially drained of its historic integrity after P&Z staff failed to notice that the structure required said review and just green lighted the assorted architectural crimes that were being proposed. The mistake was soon discovered but it was too late, the permit had been issued and the crimes were now legal.

  7. Bob Weingarten

    Before asking Dan Woog to post this unknown location I had considered the building at 23 Jesup but because of the significant changes from the WPA 1930s photo I was a bit skepical. But with the confirmation of Dan Herman, Jill Turner Odice and the explanation of the history of the structure by Morley Boyd I do believe this is the correct location.

    I am amazed by various comments in this series about the history of either the neighborhoods, people and houses that are provided. This information will be placed in the WHS archival files so that this information can be kept and reused. So those that read this, please keep sending in comments that identify historical information about our town.

  8. Here is the store front in 2005 when it was still Ship’s Corner. It looks like a closer fit here.