[UPDATE] Gazebo

Yesterday’s “Friday Flashback” — a 1914 postcard showing a gazebo on a rocky outcropping somewhere in Westport — unleashed a torrent of guesses about the site.

Several readers were sure it’s still standing. They say it’s at 29 East Ferry Lane — very visible to rowers, kayakers and boaters on the Saugatuck River.

Others are not so sure. They think it’s unlikely a rickety structure would survive 103 years of New England weather. They wonder whether the shape is the same.

Here’s the old image:


And a new one, taken from a different angle by Wendy Crowther:

(Photo/Wendy Crowther)

Here’s another angle, taken by Marcella Lozyniak. She’s pretty certain it is not the gazebo in the postcard.


And this from Mary Gai:


You be the judge. Click “Comments” below.

26 responses to “[UPDATE] Gazebo

  1. Can we get the reverse angle? Presumably the schist hasn’t moved much.

  2. Joanne Joseph Luciano

    This is definitely rebuilt…..much different in every way.

  3. John F. (J-period) Wandres

    Have we considered that the Vikings may have installed the original?

  4. I think we need forensics experts to analyze this. Maybe James Comey can help us out; he doesn’t have too much on his plate right now

  5. My guess is still that it is the same location, but the structure was rebuilt one or more times since 1914. I’d also guess that the current version was built by a carpenter from Poland, as it is in the “Zakopane Style.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zakopane_Style_architecture

    • Thank you for the link to this Wikipedia article Mr.Blau! VERY beautiful traditional Polish architecture. It reminds me of William Morris. Or Bloomsbury style fairytale illustration.

  6. It’s the old Law School! 🙂

  7. My old neighborhood!

    Manitou road in just off East Ferry lane. Our house in the 50’s was at 15 Manitou road.

    Today, it’s a McMansion. That simple old neighborhood built by George Ruckert, isn’t simple anymore.

    It’s a symbol of east coast wealth.

    I live in Chicago now. A simpler life where I raised my family and built a nice business.

  8. The old Sheridan property (classic Greek revival home with southern exposure at end of East Ferry Ln). Mrs Sheridan was our Girl Scout leader and we commanded the 3rd floor. I remember that gazebo looking over the Saugetuck. (Late 1950’s.)

    • Cathy Smith Barnett

      I remember that gazebo too Sally…yes our GS troop met there….my mom Marilyn Smith shared troop leader duties with Mrs Sheridan

  9. Thanks Wendy, this is very helpful. It certainly appears that the current structure is perhaps a partial or complete rebuild of the one in Seth’s postcard (assuming this is the E. Ferry Lane property which, to be fair, not everybody is 100% on). Wish we had a current image of the rock and structure shot from the other (downstream) side of the rock formation. In other words, an angle which approximated what seems to possibly be the original view as depicted in the 1914 image. Any of you hardy boaters feel like going on a mission?

    • Marcella Lozyniak

      I have a picture going up river. There isn’t a hill behind it. I will send it to Dan. If it is on the Saugatuck River it would be closer to Longshore I believe.

      • Thanks Marcella. You likely know the neighborhood way better than I. Do you think there’s any possibility that the hill in the far background of the historic image is the land rising up to meet Ferry Lane East – sorta in the area after it takes that sharp jog to right?

        • Marcella Lozyniak

          I’ve been thinking about this one all day. I’m going to take the boat out to look around. If it is on the river it would appear in the picture to be built on top of a hill rather than the bottom.

          • i got the distinct feeling, months ago when I showed the property to a builder, that there had been other outbuildings and other structures by the water. There was at least one old staircase that led to nowhere. It also looks like ithe Rock structures could have been a base for a small lighthouse at one time. It’s one of the most interesting pieces of land I have ever seen. The dredging of the Saugatuck River was a big deal back in the day…with mentions of it in the national budget in the late 1700s or early 1800s. It could have been an un-navigable waterway with big rocks…necessitating a lighthouse. There is more history here to uncover…I have some pieces…just need to put it together.

            • Mary, speaking of previous uses, Wendy Crowther and I are of the opinion that this property is possibly the site of the former Disbrow Ferry which began operation in the 18th century as a way to cross the river. We have the feeling that the shallow cove/ landing area and fieldstone retaining wall just upstream and behind from the gazebo was where the ferry tied up. We have exactly zero proof of this, but our sense is that Ferry Lane (East) originally went straight, more or less, down to this landing area since it seems to be the only place where it’s physically possible. Plus this location is nearly opposite what would have been Ferry Lane West. What is your opinion of our theory?

              • I looked into the Burritt Ferry over 25 years ago and lost that info several computers ago, unfortunately. I only heard of the Disbrow Ferry a several years ago. Burriits Landing is where the Mr. Burritt’s Ferry Landed, hence the name. There was a very early carriage bridge down on Canal st, and later the bridge on the Post Road. The last one to have been installed was is the Saugatuck bridge. I think Disbrow ran his ferry earlier and ran it downtown. I do have a feeling the Burritt ferry took people to places where the land was low and possibly to a couple of different spots. Stony Point is a very old road but too high to have easy access for horses and people to board. The spot next to the bridge in Sauatuck to where the boat launch is now is probably where the Ferry ran from or to an it landed into Burritt Cove. I think there were two different Ferries just like there were more than one wharf along the river. The ferry was a floating wooden platform // raft, I believe.

                • Thanks Mary. I did not know about the Burritt ferry. Very interesting. From what I’ve read, the Disbrow’s ferry seemed to possibly run on a rope between the two banks of the river.

                  Until the King’s Highway bridge was built, the Cable family ran a ferry at the “fording place” where the King’s Highway crosses the Saugtuck. The beautiful little Cable house is still there at the corner of Kings Highway and Canal. Someone else ran a competing ferry from the bottom of Edge Hill. But I don’t know who that was.

                  • Let’s not forget the Disbrow Ferry started in 1746. There isn’t much likelihood that the same service lasted 150 years but there was a service running in Saugatuck before the bridge was built. Ferry services were probably mundane and their operators weren’t necessarily socially acceptable. It’s not surprising there’s little information. I am sure I came by my information researching the Burritt family many moons ago. If I find the source, I will let you know.

        • The plot thickens (pun intended)…

  10. It’s not Ferry Lane. I live nearby. There isn’t the sloping rock face.

  11. Aside from clearly being two entirely different structures — the rock formation & surroundings in both photos do not seem to resemble each other at all. (Even considering changes in trees & vegetation over 103+ years). I don’t think viewing the present site from another angle would change that (*she states cautiously whilst preparing to duck from flying objects thrown* 🙂 ).

    Does anyone have a clue what that pole on the top was put there for? A light (given how dangerous this rock looks to boats etc.) or a flag?

    I think the only thing we locals can all agree on here is that we remember more than one old gazebo in town… & also rocks… 🙂

  12. Not the same

  13. Along the Saugatuck somewhere…looks like a home in the background of Mary Gai’s photo. By the way the Sheridan estate did have a gazebo off the back of the house but that was in the 50s so could be gone now

    • This is the old Sheridan estate definitely. And the old Law School. Same place chock full of history. It may have been a triage for the 1912 Train Wreck and it may have also been an Inn. It had many lives!