Longshore Lighthouse: The Back Story

For decades, no one thought about the Longshore lighthouse.

Yesterday, I published a photo of it as part of “06880’s” Friday Flashback series.

I had no idea that Westporters Dick Stein and Tracy Hinson had just offered an oil painting of that same scene to the town, as a gift.

Dick told official curator Kathie Motes Bennewitz that he found the painting behind an upstairs desk at last year’s Red Barn tag sale. Owner Tommy Nistico asked Dick if he knew where the lighthouse had been located. Dick remembered it instantly from  his youth.

The painting — by artist Harriet Horowitz, who moved from Westport in 1972 — was dusty and dirty. But Dick bought it, hoping it would one day hang in the Parks and Recreation Department office — at Longshore.

He had it cleaned and lightly repaired. Now he’s given it to the town.

Longshore lighthouse painting by Harriet Horowitz

That’s a great story. But there’s one more part.

According to alert “06880” reader Peter Barlow — who sent the lighthouse photo along for the “Friday Flashback” — in the late 1960s a popular Parks and Recreation Commission official ordered the demolition of the lighthouse.

Years later, he admitted it had been a mistake.

The commission member’s name?

Lou Nistico — father uncle of Red Barn owner Tom Nistico, who sold the lighthouse painting to Dick Stein.

9 responses to “Longshore Lighthouse: The Back Story

  1. Lou Nistico……also proud owner of Arrow Pizzeria and ardent supporter of Staples athletics (particularly football) in 50’s. Remember him well and fondly.

  2. I was there the day the tower was razed. Randy Eaton, the head of Recreation Maintenance at the time, thought it would come down easily, since it was condemned and off limits to the public. He and his men tugged on it with a chain attached to a backhoe. The chain broke and the tower didn’t budge. A second chain pulled it to the ground like a felled tree. Randy and I both rushed in before the dust settled to salvage the weather vane from the roof. Randy won.

  3. Warren Bloom

    I remember it very well . I was there during the summers of 56,57, 58 & 59. WB

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  4. Tom Nistico’s father was Frank. Lou was his uncle.  Angie Arcudi McKelvey

  5. Hallie Stevens

    My mother said in the late 30s and early 40s, when she and her siblings would go to swim at Longshore the lighthouse was “closed ” however, she and her sister would go up the very rusty spiral staircase anyway. It was still there in the early 70s when my family moved into the Longshore neighborhood. But all we would do is come down to swim in the pool after hours. Life was more relaxed then

  6. I’m not surprised at all

  7. Louis probably did us all a favor. If it was a real (old) light house …it was completely contaminated with mercury that today would have cost millions to clean up. Why not build a replica and give it a utility. Rent it out for parties, as photo ops for brides and use as a perch for world media when Andrew makes his next hole in one when they play a big tournament there.

  8. Warren Bloom

    Hi Dan , I knew Harriet Horowitz . Her nephew , Dr. Henry Hurwitz , is one of my very best friends. He now lives in Maryland. I used to walk past that lighthouse everyday in the summer. Even in the fifties , no one was allowed to climb to the top because it was too dangerous. Harriet took artistic license in her painting. There were no mountains in the background and as I remember it , the doorway was on the other side ! I’ll follow up on this.

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