Friday Flashback #27

As Bedford Square nears completion — and an Elm Street/Baldwin parking lot land swap is back in the news — it’s a great time for a bird’s-eye view of downtown Westport, 1965-style.

Click on or hover over to enlarge.

Click on or hover over to enlarge.

It’s tough to see the old Y (new Bedford Square), or any part of Elm Street, thanks to the trees. But this photo — by R.P. Lentini, courtesy of alert “06880” reader Matt Murray — intrigues me for several reasons. Among them:

  • The old Victorian house still stood on Gorham Island
  • The Wright Street building was a decade in the future
  • The building between Christ & Holy Trinity Church, and what is now Seabury Center.

What stands out for you? Click “Comments” below.

23 responses to “Friday Flashback #27

  1. I can see the old Pickel Barrel Resturant in the corner of Sconset Square.
    The Paint Bucket in the opposit corner, (both we painted Red).
    The Toy Emporium can be seen with the stripped awnings the 3rd corner of Sconset Square.
    The 2 downtown Fire Houses, one across the river next to the old Fairfield Furnitue building, the other was attached to the old YMCA.
    My last observation is of that great old home on Gorham Island, of which there are very few pictures of. I think 1965ish is just about right.
    Thanks Dan!

    • Jill Nash von Schmidt

      I was going to mention the Pickle Barrel too! It was always a treat going there with my dad!

  2. I guess what stands out most, are two of the worst architectural blights imposed on downtown: the Wright Street and Gorham Island office buildings. One of the houses torn down for the Wright Street horror was a sprawllng Victorian that was the home office of Dr. Isenman, our family’s GP.

  3. Just out of range of the photo — upper left — is the third ugliest blight to be imposed on downtown: the concrete faced, 5-story Geigerich Building. No surprise that all three of these obtrusive, outsized structures are favored by tenants in the financial trade.

  4. Like you Dan, my eye was drawn to the house with the two front gables located between Christ & Holy Trinity Church and what is now the building that houses their preschool – the other thing that got my attention was how large the parking lot in what is now known as Sconset Square appears to be – I’m sure that’s a bit of a distortion.

    In the category of I note the absence of the Wright Street office building which now looms over the Post Road – Riverside Ave intersection. As for the Gorham Island house, note also the house just across the River, also long gone.

  5. Amen to the Blight of those office buildings…

  6. funny, I had put a “sigh” inside of two of these “” in the second paragraph of my note above (“In the category of [sigh]”), but now I have learned that anything you put inside of those signs is hidden from view!

  7. I Googled Giegerich Building (I mispelled it above) and saw an article Dan wrote a few years ago about the changes it heralded, mostly just more office buildings, but also more demand for local services such as restaurants.

    Not sure this is true anymore as far as restaurants are concerned. I don’t have stats but my guess is, compared with 1965, we probabably have the same number of restaurants, and quicker turnover due to high rents and difficulty in filling tables. Office workers don’t go out for lunch very much these days.

    Certainly no longer a diner or luncheonette anywhere near downtown anymore, and we are down at least one deli (Oscars). I do hope the latest re-incarnation of the former Art’s Deli succeeds, but parking is pretty near impossible over there.

  8. How about all the buildings along the river behind Main Street? Also, the house across the river from Gorman Island is still there, Pat Reynolds used to live there.

    • The house across the Saugatuck River from Gorham Island shown in the picture, located on the River (not across Riverside) – is still there?

      • The house in the picture that was across and on the banks of the river from the Gorham Island house was demolished several years ago (15 or so, I am guessing) and replaced on the same spot by a house of debatable architectural merit. So there is one there today, not white or with a rambling porch like the old one, but a muted brownish color with a rather high tech-look.

  9. If this picture was zoomed out enough to include Jesup Green, you would see lots od seagulls atop of our lovely New England Town’s Dump. The odor often flooded the town, and toxins leached, I’m sure into the river. It was located where our Library is…I wonder if President Trump’s EPA nominee from Oklahoma will seek to return our great country to such things.

    Sorry! For my Typo on my initial post here. “Both were painted red”‘ not “we”.

  10. Nice to see Sconset (nee Sherwood) Square before it got upholstered in that soul sucking vinyl siding. Also, I’ve personally never seen an image of the other house that once stood on Gorham Island – reputed to have been designed by Frazier Peters.

    • i have been baby-sat in that house that you mentioned, by the lady
      who was living there at the time, Suzanne Conn. this would haved been circa 1942. i was 6. Dad was fighting Nazis, and mom was shopping in


      • The 1946 Westport Directory lists a Suzanne Conn, widow, interior decorator, living at 115 Main Street. Sounds about right for a Gorham Island house.

  11. Diane Schroeder

    What happened to the Dress Box in Westport. My mother shopped there about 1940’s or so. Not cheap but she looked beautiful.

  12. The bus stop on the Post Rd. bridge. ( CR and L line?) The house on Gorham Isl. where the McLaughlin? family lived. Son murdered his father and then he walked into WPD and shot Officers Andy Chapo and Don Bennette I believe.

  13. What will always stand out for me, a newcomer, is Wright Street. { The cement building was already here}.
    Our family moved here in July 1976. Our son John became a dedicated fisherman. He was 11 at the time. John discovered the bait shop and the river where bunkers were running.
    Now it is the fall and I would drive John over the Bridge to a fishing spot. My breath was always taken away by that Wright Street corner. I thought how lucky am I to be living here – with this palette of color from nature on that hill!
    Did I mention I left him there to fish! at 11 years old!!
    When the complex went in, my heart was broken. I still love this Town and this community. Yet going over the Bridge has never given me the catch in my throat that at one time it did.
    If you ever question zoning, look to this debacle! It was allowed before more restrictive zoning was enacted!! The cement buildings too.

  14. I think that’s me standing at the corner of Main Street and the Post Road. I remember that day

  15. The toy store in Sherwood (now Sconset–why?) Square was called Carousel Toys. It moved there following the devastating fire that destroyed much of the Compo Acres shopping center in 1963, I believe. Loved that store, but it was snakebit–I believe the Sherwood Square building later burned down, as well.

    • The name was changed a few decades ago when the place was remodeled into a faux Nantucket village – complete with wince inducing nautically themed artifacts. The love didn’t last, though. The current owners have raised the non-maintenance of the front landscape area to an art form.

      The Carousel toy store was truly a wonder. A pediatric crack house, really. I can still recall, as a child, feeling almost overwhelmed at the back lit display of Corgi trucks and cars under glass.

      Tragically, the Carousel did burn up. In a way, that was a more graceful exit than the one that would have been forced upon it some years later.

  16. The old victorian house on Gorham Island originally stood on Main Street by what is now the entrance to Parker Harding if memory serves me correctly. I recall it was Monroe House Moving of Norwalk that did the move.