Not A Road We Want To Go Down

Minute Man with real estate sign

Can we all agree the Minute Man monument is off limits to commercial signs?

Especially on 4th of July weekend!

41 responses to “Not A Road We Want To Go Down

  1. Kevin Russell

    I assume (hope) someone took it down and threw it away, right?

  2. Len Peterson

    You were very considerate not to highlight the offender’s name.

  3. Celeste Champagne

    Totally disgraceful and would seem a fine is in order for such placement!

  4. Morley Boyd

    Over a year ago, after noticing that the newly restored Minuteman statue was being treated as it had been before its restoration, I asked the town what guidelines were in place to safeguard this sacred memorial to those who gave their lives fighting for our freedom. The answer: none. And none were going to be forthcoming either. So whether it’s a charity event or an open house – have at it people. No one in charge cares.

  5. Phillip Perri

    I understand political signs of this type are considered free speech and cannot be legislated against but isn’t anyone else sick and tired of seeing these eyesores all over the Town, for everything from contractor services to tax preparation? When will someone take action to outlaw them? In this case someone obviously had to jump the fence to do this…is that not trespassing on Town property? A fine at least. The offending person and company should be ticketed, as the broker company (and broker of record) is legally responsible for the actions of its agents. I am only sorry the picture doesn’t show the agent’s name clearly.

    • It’s pretty clear if you hover over or click on the photo: Rick Shelman.

      • Touche! I did just that when I saw this disturbing photo. I’m glad it’s posted here so clearly because indeed, the line was audaciously crossed — both figuratively with its crassness and literally by infringing the boundaries of town property. Such Chutzpah. Shameful.

  6. Jonathan Maddock

    I sent a note to Rick Shelman and politely asked him to remove the sign.

  7. Dusty Ford

    You should see the signs on the corner of Brookside , and Richmondville Ave . Its a whole list of things , that one can’t do ???

  8. Kathie Bennewitz

    Yes I do agree! It’s a local landmark and something to honor and respect year and especially on the 4th.

    • Morley Boyd

      Kathy, I know you were one of the people the helped make this restoration so successful. As Westport’s Town Curator, do you have any thoughts about how to insure that this site is honored and respected? What policies and guidelines have other municipalities adopted regarding the care and feeding of their important public sites, memorials and art? After all the hard work by you and others, I hate to see this iconic symbol of our town degraded.

  9. Mary Ruggiero

    I believe Westport has signage rules, fairly strict ones. Maybe they need an addition?

  10. Mary Ruggiero

    Maybe Rick would like to make a small donation for maintenance?

  11. Jim Cooper

    This worked famously in his favor: ‘ALL publicity is GOOD publicity…!’
    (The sign was simply stuck between the rungs.)

  12. Judith Rodriguez

    Take that sign down!
    I lived in Westport a long time ago and loved the Minuteman Statue. A friend of mine lived near the round about and everytime I went to visit I asked myself the same question: Why is the Minuteman facing away from Long Island Sound? Maybe I don’t know history, but I thought the Tories arrived via the Sound.

    • Iain Bruce

      Redcoats, not Tories. Tories (or, as Nancy Hunter Wilson might prefer, Loyalists) generally refers to civilian supporters of the Crown. The Redcoats did indeed land by sea to raid Danbury. My recollection (not from actual presence, obviously) is that Connecticut citizens were unable to rally rapidly enough to impede General Tryon’s progress to Danbury, but were able to harass him on his return. The Battle of Ridgefield and the Battle of Compo Hill were the result. Connecticut’s General David Wooster died at the Battle of Ridgefield, and is commemorated today in the names of two streets in Ridgefield and the name of the town of Wooster, OH. General Benedict Arnold led the minutemen in a series of skirmishes more or less paralleling the Saugatuck river, commemorated in part in the name of Red Coat Road in Westport. The minuteman statue faces north because the minutemen faced Tryon’s forces as they retreated from the north.

      • For a Canadian, Iain knows a lot of American history. He got this one 100% correct. Thanks, Iain — and happy Canada (formerly Dominion) Day!

      • Thank you, Iain.

      • Morley Boyd

        Actually we did manage to get a piece of the redcoats before they left our area. The very first shots in the raid on Danbury were fired near the intersection of Compo South and the Post Road. As the mile long British column marched up the Great Highway (aka Compo South) I believe our guys killed an officer and, I think, wounded two regulars before running for their lives.

  13. Pam Barkentin

    Shame on Rick Shelman. I’m all for good natured seasonal decoration of the minute man, but not commercial promotion. He should know better. This just makes him look like a jerk in my humble opinion.

  14. Polly Temple

    Yes we can



  15. S. Cenatiempo

    It’s amazing how many “trashy” signs there are in Westport that are littered EVERYWHERE but if you own a business in town and want to put a sign in front of your store, you have to apply for a permit and of course pay an annual fee.

  16. Laurie Goldberg

    Ok this is a little off-topic but I can’t resist. Almost every day I get a post card in my mail box from some real estate person or another, touting their latest sale, proclaiming their superior real-estate skills. So every day I have another few useless pieces of paper to send to recycling. Yes, this is just an annoyance, and yes, they are not defacing or obscuring some historical marker, but, it pisses me off none the less. You just sold a house for millions of dollars? Good for you. How is your bragging relevant to me?

    ok off soap box, thanks for listening.

  17. Robert Mitchell

    Thanks to all the respondents for honoring the spirit of the Minute Man Monument. Defacing in any fashion is disrespect to our heritage.

    The town does have sign ordinances regulating sign usage and placement: Zoning and Subdivision Regulations #33. (Ironically, the indexing system on the Town website currently prevents accessing that one section – clicking on #33 takes you to #32 – but I’m sure it is a coincidence.)

    • Phillip Perri

      Robert: Thanks, I am aware of Town sign ordinances but those typically apply to permanent signs. Sometimes a Town will allow temp signs for a period of time (“for sale” house signs, “car auction” banners, etc.) perhaps 30 days. I can’t tell what Westport allows because, you are right, you cannot access the zoning code subsection on signs on line! I’m talking about a ban on these non-political, wire-based removable signs that proliferate on every open corner in Westport that fronts a heavily travelled roadway. I seem to remember something about the person who places such signs is responsible to remove them but again, that is not a ban. Although a good idea, Eva, having people stopping to grab them is a potential traffic accident waiting to happen…too dangerous. We need our Town representatives to do something about this. BTW, I also emailed Mr. Shelman and requested the sign come down. Thanks.

  18. Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

    There aught to be a law………

  19. Common sense would seem to dictate ….. then again. Obviously some fool thinks it is within his/her purview to place signage in this spot. The offender probably falls into the category of those who think July 4th is one giant beach party/bender. And so it goes…

  20. Susan Reilly

    Yes!! Off limits for sure!!

  21. Susan Huppi

    Yes…please all respect the minuteman and Westport history!! Happy 4th of July to my old hometown. Love hearing all the history too!

  22. Steve Axthelm

    Gee, I wonder what this fence is for?

  23. Eric Bosch

    It’s just wrong to do such a thing, and Rick knew it at the time. Perhaps this is his 15 minates of fame. I hope he enjoys the blow back. Selfish stupidity shouldn’t be allowed to run wild in our town or our country.

  24. Absolutely YES!
    Why don’t we just remove them as we travel past them (and dispose of them in a reponsible way). It’s an easy stop on the side of the road on the way to the beach.

  25. Rick is a good guy…he was my next door neighbor for many years.
    I’m sure he is totally embarrassed and was rushing about and was obviously not thinking “monument.”

    NOT a bad guy 😉

    Happy 4th !!

  26. Stacy Prince

    Monument or just public property, it’s all game. Against the law, maybe, but there’s no enforcement. In winter it’s snow-removal signs on telephone poles. In summer it’s paving or mosquito “eradication” (<– as if) ads at every other crossroads. How 'bout the guy advertising mattresses at the corner of PRW and King's Highway North, on the land Chase just vacated? These free-for-me, eyesore-for-you irritants undo all the good our zoning laws do to maintain what character Westport has left.

  27. Daniel Katz

    Your comment about Rick being a good guy is generous and I am glad to have seen it just before I wrote my planned diatribe and boycott suggestions. It is, nonetheless, astounding that he did not have the foresight to think about the reaction his thoughtlessness would engender

  28. Deb Alderson

    Thank you Tom Feeley for your comment about Rick. He is a good guy. For all you outraged haters out there – did anyone ask Rick what the story was with the sign? Dan you certainly didn’t. You just posted a link to his website so that he could receive hate mail and nasty phone calls.

    • Morley Boyd

      Irrespective of one’s goodness, by choosing to affix an open house sign to a (recently restored) Revolutionary War memorial just before the 4th of July, one very clearly runs the outside risk that some unintended consequences may occur as a result.

  29. Pat Saviano

    When I drove by the tent sign was on the pavement in front of the fence – not on it. There might be another side to this story if anyone cares to ask.

    • Does it really matter if the sign was “on the pavement in front of the fence” or on the fence itself? Has anyone seen any other signs — for a town cause, or a business or realtor — on the fence OR in front of it? Can you imagine if everyone followed this realtor’s lead? This is our town monument — our version of the Lincoln Memorial. Do you see signs anywhere near that? Judging from the majority of comments, most Westporters are opposed to any signs anywhere around the monument.

      • Morley Boyd

        Well put, Dan. Just substitute our Doughboy monument in front of Town Hall or our 9/11 monument at Sherwood Island and then ask the same question. Monuments, like words, mean things. In any event, nobody is stopping the signista from explaining his “side”.