Friday Flashback #25

A few weeks ago, alert “06880” readers were identified the 1920s-era Flambeau Tea Room.

Now how about the Westover Inn?


The front view of this postcard — courtesy of Seth Schachter — looks like it really could be in Westport.

Or anywhere else in New England.

I’ve never heard of it. Seth hasn’t either.

But — according to the back of the postcard — it was right there on the Post Road.


There’s one clue as to its vintage: the phone number. Those were the days when you needed only 5 digits to make a call.

Sometime in the 1950s, Bell introduced the “CA 7” (for CApital) prefix to Westport.

If you have any memories of the Westover Inn, click “Comments.”

And if you know where it was located, we’d really like to know.

53 responses to “Friday Flashback #25

  1. Ann Marie Flynn

    Do hope some one’s memory is jarred and more information can be had. Does our Historic Society have any books we could browse through. It’s a very attractive structure.

  2. Dorothy Abrams

    Westport Woman’s Club?

  3. Barbara Sherburne '67

    According to an August 22, 2009 post by Bill Scheffler in your column “You Must Remember These,” he said, Westover Inn, Post Road west, now condos.

  4. I googled Westover Inn, Westport. One of the hits was from Dan’s blog, an entry from 8/29/09. In a response to a question about restaurants which had disappeared from Westport, Bill Scheffler listed ‘Westover Inn, Post Road West (now condos).’

    There’s also a Westover Inn matchbook for sale on ebay. (close cover before striking.)

  5. Charlotte (Thomas) Ciardi

    It looks like the original Dolge Family home that became the the Westport Inn. Was later moved back and became Colonial Green.

  6. Bill Boyd (Staples '66)

    The house at the corner of North Ave and Easton Rd was once allegedly a tavern or “public house” and resembles this picture.
    The Calish(?) family lived there in the early 1980s but it seems the address is wrong.

  7. I have a vague memory of this building, not sure just where it was. I think just a bit north of the Imperial Ave. intersection. There was another inn in there too, sort of greenish colored. The sunlight in this photo indicates the eastbound side of the road.

  8. To backstop Peter and Charlotte, I would start with the theory that this structure (originally a Jesup house) is the same one which was moved from the intersection of the Post Road and Imperial to the back of Colonial Green – where it sits today. It’s a place to start, anyway.

  9. According to Bill Scheffler’s wonderful book, “Westport and Weston,” The Postcard History Series, this pic looks almost identical to a postcard he has from 1936 when it was known as the Westport Inn. Bill wrote that it is “the rear building of Colonial Green…having been moved from its original location at the southeast corner of the Post Road and Imperial Avenue.” Seth, with your interest in historic Westport, you should pick up a copy of this book. I believe it’s available at the Historical Society.

    • OK, so it looks this really could be a Jesup House. If so, it would have belonged to Charles, the 3rd of Ebenezer Jesups’s seven children. We know Charles lived across from his childhood home at 245-265 Post Road East (aka the “Jesup Mansion”). If true, this would be the birthplace of Morris K. Jesup. Later the Dolge’s owned the house. In the mid 20’s the same place was called the “Manor House” according to Edward Coley Birge. I don’t know what the Manor House was but it sounds like a hospitality type situation.

    • There has been some confusion about this for me. I had found an article that the Mr. Bedford had a hotel moved that is shown in early photos on the corner of Main and Post, referred to as “Hotel Square” where the old Y is now. It was moved to the back of Colonial Green. The Westover Inn could have been its name after the building was moved. Then someone said it was moved from closer by. It does seem like we had a lot of hotels back in the day. The Bedford property had a hotel on it when he bought it. We had the Compo Inn until the 50s (before that I think it was a Horace (?) Staples Home) We had the Penguin Inn where the Edgewater condos are now. We has the Aaron Burr Inn in on the Post Road which is where Le Chambord was (what’s there now?). I am sure there were more. Perhaps we should have an Historical Society Exhibit of the Hotels and Inns of Westport.

    • Seth Schachter

      Fred– I have the book. 🙂 What page in the book are you referring to? I’m trying to find the image that you mention looks like ‘Westport Inn’

  10. Well, the 1941 Westport Directory gives the address of the Westport (not Westover) Inn as 113 E. State St.; while the 1948 Westport Directory lists a Westover (not Westport) Inn at the same address. So the Westover Inn succeeded the Westport Inn at the same address.

    As far as where 113 East State Street is located, that currently lands on the north side of the Post Road, across from what is now Bank of America. BUT, I have run into street re-numbering issues in the past, although not with the Post Road. Still . . .

  11. Meanwhile, my other favorite source of local info, the Town Clerk’s Office (online records search) shows Westover Inc. leasing and then purchasing a site on East State Street in 1946 / 1948, which Westover Inc. then sold in 1951. Which is when I suspect the Westover Inn ceased operations.

  12. Suzanne Solon Aubin

    I’m an nerd. Don’t judge…
    According to an ad in the Westport City Directory from 1948 featuring a picture of the Westover Inn, the owner was Ray E Marquis.
    The address in the ad is listed as 113 East State St, (I guess near where Specs is now on Post Rd) Same phone – 2-2751.
    HOWEVER – two other business entities are listed in the same ad – Marquis Realty Co and Whirlpool Carraige, Inc.
    So, it’s *”possible* that address was the site of the other business and not the Inn, itself.
    So, more data, no fewer solutions

  13. Kathie Bennewitz

    the original “Westport Inn” was first known as Know as the “Westport MANOR HOUSE” on State Street in the 1920s and 30s. The “Westport Manor House” was an inn/boarding house run by Florence Dove (ex-wife of modernist painter Arthur Dove) and Anne Mazzanovich (wife of painter Lawrence Mazzanovich) from 1919 to 1928/29, then taken over in 1929 by an H. Lasher. It was a haven for celebrity writers, actors and artists of the era.
    In “Westport, Connecticut, Making of a Yankee Township” (1926; p 11) it says the “Dolge place” was the site of the “Manor House” of Mazzanovich and Dove. It was known as the Westport Inn by 1943 when Mrs Mazzanovich died (1941 directory list Westport INN at 113 E State).

  14. Page 177 of Westport…a special place by Westporter Eve Potts (1985) depicts the exact same building. Eve writes “Westport Inn was originally the home of the Dolge family. The setting has totally changed and the house altered. The house is still in existence, but was moved back from the road to become the rear building in the Colonial Green shopping center”. We know with reasonable certainty via Edward Coley Birge, that Charles Jesup owned this house before the Dolges, so I’m still feeling sort good about my original theory: this is the Charles Jesup/Dolge/Manor House/ Westport Inn/Westover Inn. And it’s still above ground.

    • Seth Schachter

      Thanks Morley! I took out my Eve Potts book and turned to page 177. Maybe its just me but the house pictured as ‘Westport Inn’ doesn’t appear to look the same as the ‘Westover Inn’ image that I passed along to Dan. . But….. maybe its the angle or maybe the Inn had a makeover at this point in time.

      • It’s the same 5 bay building as is depicted in your postcard – your image shows it with a more conservative trim program, that’s all.

  15. Charlotte and Morley confirm my first thought that this house/inn was close to the Imperial Ave. intersection and I seem to be the only one so far who actually saw it there. Maybe someone else will furnish a photo of the house in its present location. I’m glad it wasn’t torn down.

  16. Nat Greenburg bought the Westover Inn in 1954. It describes it as having been a residence. And the plan was to call it Colonial Green.

  17. Kathie Bennewitz

    See Westport in Connecticut’s History, 1835-1935– map on p 72-73– the “Westport Inn” in no. 51–at today’s Post Rd and Imperial as noted above.

  18. Kathie Bennewitz

    Here are some descriptions of inn life at the Westport Manor House–to be be renamed The Westport Inn:

    Colonial manor house offers delightful Winter home, charmingly furnished rooms, open fireplaces, delicious food, attentive service, excellent heating system, atmosphere of cordial hospitality, interesting community life: Winter rates $25 week. WESTPORT MANOR HOUSE, Westport. Conn. Phone 316 Westport. Conn.

    THE( New York) SUN AND THE GLOBE, MONDAY; JULY 16, 1923
    MEETING GREAT ONES AT THE WAYSIDE INN. William McFee and Arthur Elder Head List of Notables One May Casually See, Perhaps Be Lucky Enough to Meet

    One rainy evening in Westport I went to dine at the Manor House, as even in this perfect spot it is often necessary to seek the cheer of a tavern. After such food and company as one finds there the spirit of controversy is far away, but each patron most have a certain latent satisfaction in disproving the’ theory1 spread abroad by John L. Sullivan the effect that no bright ides ever did come from a water pitcher.

    At the Manor House one may tipple any lawful beverage, and I’d gone there to browse again on the black bean soup from the hands of Yen, the celestial cook, knowing well that those who partake of this can hardly be called temperate men any longer….

    Generally, I like to loiter in the two great drawing rooms is wait for any chance companion who may glide in, idle as myself. There we sit and smoke and gossip. It’s cool and quiet and just now fragrant with gray and purple iris from the garden….

    At table there was not only McFee, but his friend, Arthur Elder, the painter…. Altogether this rainy night was material for one of the grandest scenes in history…

    There are two owners of the Manor House, Ann Mazzanovich and Florence Dove, Ann Mazzanovich is the wife of Lawrence Mazsanovich, the painter. Her mother was a celebrated journalist and wrote under the name of Amber for the Chicago press. Mrs. Dove, who was brought up in the charming social atmosphere of a college town, writes, entertains and makes one feel that she is somebody on her own account. They were both at home that evening.

    While sitting at table like nobody at all were Mrs. Franklin P. Adams and Mrs. B. L. Taylor. They had arrived home, I’m of the opinion, somewhat after 3 o’clock that same morning, being detained to listen to Henry Raleigh talk philosophy. During daylight this gentleman illustrates for the magazines, but anyone who chances to stay after 2 A. M. is in for listening to philosophy. For a philosopher is as dependent upon an audience as any little mummer that ever mummed.

    Near enough to these ladies, so that the crowding seemed like a typographical error in the Who’s Who, sat Mr. and Mrs, George Wright and Mr. and Mrs. John Held, Jr. Here Held’s chief fame rests upon the trout brook he owns.

    I might also say that Karl Anderson, Ossip Linde, Clark and Nancy Fay the Furhs, the Art Fullers, Wallace Irwin and Angus Mac Donald were at other able, but that wouldn’t be the truth. They all live here and might as well have been there. But, like Lord Loam’s monkeys, they didn’t have the intelligence to know they were spoiling our story by staying away.

    These people, the history of the Westport art colony and the Manor House are so closely related that it is impossible to speak of them singly. The old mansion houses the restaurant was, until not long ago, the home of a good man who built it. He planted the shrubs and trees which flower and shade the broad lawns, and he left there a tradition of hospitality, known by us, and felt by the most casual motorist who stops once to luncheon.

    Twenty years ago, there were no artists here, and then E. M. Ashe came to Wolfe Pit Hill, Norwalk. He invited J. N. Marchand, then successful young illustrator to see him, and Marchand brought his wife here to live. More friends of the colony would come, until the Village has grown to its present state. You’re hardly aware of A “colony”‘ here, although one semi-social leader, once a stenographer, did say that she didn’t ‘”care for these artists,’ as they are generally so poor.”

    One proof of the neighborliness of the village was given the first day the Manor House opened. Here, the taxi companies are owned by the men who drive the cars. Seeing what was going on in their chauffeur-capacities, the gentlemen told the proprietresses that they’d come back and be the first to have luncheon. They went home and came back looking like the well-dressed man of the magazine, and duly opened the Manor House in the most auspicious style.

    There” is a charm about this countryside which steals gently on the heart. The sea, with Its excellent beach, lies nearby, and there are hills and rustic solitudes; views and motor roads; brooks which flow over mousy stones in silent, leafy valleys. You have to be here some-time, to know that all this is true….

    My only intention was most seriously to recommend the good food end the peace of the Manor House to all who come this way. But visiting around among the great, and loitering in the sunlight countryside, where the world is fragrant with clover in bloom, and wild strawberries just getting ripe cannot be avoided in Westport if you live here or merely write about it.

  19. Charlotte (Thomas) Ciardi

    I have to mention that I said the house in the back of colonial green because I saw a picture of a house that looks identical in the book Westport……a special place.(Barnes and Noble sold them years ago). If anyone has that book take a look at page 177 on the bottom

    • Bobbie Herman

      Charlotte — In the book, the building is referred to as the “Hawthorne House,” and was said to be at the corner of the Post Road and Compo, “before the shopping center was built in that area.” The two buildings do look the same, though.

      • You’re looking at the wrong image, Bobbie. The Hawthorne Inn is at the top of page 177, the Westport/ Westover Inn is the lower image. Read the caption for the lower image and you’ll see Charlotte’s right.

        • Seth Schachter

          I was having the same issue– For some reason on page 177- the caption for Westport Inn is the first paragraph on top yet the picture is on bottom and for Hawthorne Inn its reversed. That caused the confusion.

        • Bobbie Herman

          In my book, on page 177, the caption for the Westport Inn is under the top photo, and the caption for the Hawthorne Inn is over the lower photo, which looks similar to the photo Dan published. The one for the other photo looks nothing like it.

  20. Charlotte (Thomas) Ciardi

    Bobbie – Hawthorne House is the Picture on the top of the page.

  21. Strange, I looked at the picture a few times and now I’m in the mood for cocktails…

  22. Michael Calise

    after reading the sun and the globe how can anyone make any comment less than Dan’s.

  23. How many editions are there of the Eve Potts book?

    • Bobbie Herman

      There may be more than one. Mine has a sticker pasted on the front fly-leaf, stating: “Limited Edition of 1000 of which this is number 709.” It is embossed with the Westport Historical Society seal, and is signed “Eve Potts 1985” and “Howard Munce.”

      A subsequent edition probably corrected the error on Page 177.

      • Seth Schachter

        I have the same ‘Limited Edition of 1000’ — mine is 284.

        • Bobbie Herman

          Seth — does that mean they’re more valuable, like the upside-down airplane stamp? 😉

          • Seth Schachter

            🙂 Well……..maybe not as valuable as the inverted plane stamp– Would be nice to have a few of those.

  24. I remember the Westover Inn well. It was located where Colonial Green is now.

    My father, Elliot Martin, ran the Westport Country Playhouse in the early 1950s. At that time, the Westover Inn was owned by Lawrence Langner, who also owned the Playhouse and who was my father’s mentor in the theater. My father later became a Broadway producer.

    The Langners often put performers up in the Westover Inn. One summer we had an apartment on the ground floor of the Westover Inn. We didn’t have a refrigerator but had an icebox. My father got tired of emptying the water from the icebox so he drilled a hole in the floor, put a funnel in it, and let the water run through to the ground below.

    The iceman also came to the Playhouse, which was “ice cooled” at the time. Huge piles of ice were piled up in the basement, which had a dirt floor, and huge fans drew the air over the ice and up into the house. I used to love to climb those piles of ice.

    Westport was a very different town then, almost an artists’ colony. It was a great place to grow up. I graduated from Staples in ’62.

    • Rick, thanks for the additional historical info. And I never realized that “air cooled” back then was the result of the type of process you described.

    • The Langner’s also had a beautiful property in Weston.

  25. Buell Neidlinger

    the Westover was a favorite place for getting drunk during World War II when your husband was away in Europe or the Pacific. the children could
    have supper whilst Mom got ripped. not many artists or writers were to be found there during those days. i remember the musty smell of the old furniture, and the sound of women talking about the War.