Demolition notices are posted on Center Street.
Susan Lloyd is not pleased.
A native Westporter who has spent the last 30 years in Green’s Farms — and whose father grew up in the neighborhood (her mom is from Fairfield) — Lloyd passes 4 structures slated for destruction nearly every day.
Although 3 of the structures are old — very old — she knows that halting the process will not be easy.
One of the buildings dates back to 1700. Once classified as a blight house, she says it has been empty at least 20 years.
The 2nd house is 233 years old. Built in 1782, it belonged at one point to Joe Avery (a horseman who worked for the Bedford family and Fairfield County Hunt Club) and Marjorie Rippe Avery (a longtime Klein’s employee).
The 3rd home was built in 1880.
The youngest one — from 1938 — is still 77 years old.
“I realize these houses are not of major historical importance,” Lloyd says. “They’re not on Jennings Trail. George Washington didn’t sleep there.” (He did apparently sleep nearby, in a long-gone house at the intersection of Center Street and Lazy Brook Lane).
However, Lloyd says, “redone right, they would be perfect homes for the empty nesting baby boomers who want to stay in town. Or someone looking for a small, reasonably priced home.”
The developer is scheduled to ask the Historic District Commission to waive the balance of the demolition delay.
Lloyd hopes anyone interested in maintaining the demolition delay, and/or requesting that the developer conserve the oldest house (or at least its bones) for use in the new structures planned for the site, and/or that the structures be professionally and sensitively deconstructed by a company doing professional, historic reclamation work — attend the HDC work session and public hearing on Tuesday, January 12 (7 p.m., Town Hall Room 201).
Some of the houses on Center Street are listed on Westport’s Historic Resources Inventory. “This is good,” Lloyd says.
“But it provides no protection, other than the demolition delay (which can still be waived, so it’s no guarantee either). Maybe if the public spoke up about all the demolition of the oldest houses in town, it would be more difficult to demolish them.”