Friday Flashback #32

The Westport Historical Society’s “School Days” exhibit — highlighting Westport education from 1703 to the present — closes tomorrow. Visitors give it high marks.

Westport schools have come a long way in 3 centuries. Two in particular are worth noting.

Today, Saugatuck Elementary School is located on Riverside Avenue. It’s the same building that previously housed Bedford Middle School. Before that, Bedford Junior High School. And before that, it was Staples High.

Yet Saugatuck El started out on Bridge Street. That building is now “The Saugatuck” — senior housing.

But that’s the 3rd incarnation. Prior to Saugatuck Elementary, a wooden building on the same spot was called the Bridge Street School.

The postcard above was printed before 1916. That’s when a new wing was added.

Meanwhile, across town, the handsome, Charles Cutler-designed Greens Farms Elementary School we know so well opened in 1925.

But it too was not the first school on the site. Here’s the original building:

That building was not torn down when its replacement was constructed. Like so many other structures in town, it was moved. It is believed to still stand, not far away on South Morningside or Turkey Hill.

[UPDATE: According to alert “06880” reader Chris Woods, the structure is on Clapboard Hill Road, between Morningside and Turkey Hill. It’s currently being renovated — again.)

(Postcards courtesy of Jack Whittle)

19 responses to “Friday Flashback #32

  1. The old Greens Farms El is on Clapboard, between Morningside and Turkey Hill, currently being renovate again. – Chris Woods

  2. My mother and grandmother both referred to it as Bridge St School even when it was Saugatuck School …4 generations of my family went there

  3. Nancy Powers Conklin

    I believe the Munroe family purchased the old Greens Farms School building and lived in it for quite some time. I attended school with Victoria Munroe and her two younger sisters were in the lower grads back then. Their mother, Enid, I believe is still alive. Their father died a number of years ago.
    We used to have Girl Scout meetings there at the house. That was when I first learned that it had been the original Greens Farms School.

  4. Dorrie Barlow Thomas

    The post card says Greens Farms (for the school and the part of town) but the building itself says Green’s Farms. I know you, Dan, and many others have discussed this apostrophe situation. I forget which is considered accurate, but thought it was amusing that both ways show up in the same postcard.

  5. Ah, let’s open this local debate up again, shall we? Green’s Farms, Greens Farms, or maybe even Green’s Farm? Based on my persnickety attention to historical accuracy, I personally favor Green’s Farm (there was a farmer named Green, and he was one of the original Bankside farmers, yadda yadda).

    But there are few things to keep in mind on this wonderful topic:

    1. Apostrophes are not used with place names, at least not in signage referring to the place – and then, eventually, when referring to said place in writing. Harpers Ferry or Pikes Peak are good examples. Greens Farms (the road, or the part of town) might be another.

    2. If we are going to return to accuracy in our Town references, we have a LOT of work to do. Green’s Farm, Hill’s Point, Lees’ Pond, Hales Road, Lyons Plains Road (ok, that last one is a guess).

  6. Hale’s Road, and Lyon’s Plains Road!

  7. Seth Schachter

    Still hoping to find images from the 1925 (early days) of Greens Farms School (at current location at Morningside). I have been trying to track down early photos after Charles Cutler designed the school and no one seems to have any. Is anyone in touch with any of Charles Cutler’s descendants???? If so, maybe they would have early images or architectural drawings????? If anyone has any info etc, can you please email Dan? Thanks !!!! Great post Dan !!!!

    • Charles Cutler designed my parents’ house at 69 North Sylvan Road. It would be interesting to see a group of views of Cutler-designed houses in Westport.

      • Seth Schachter

        Charles Cutler was the architect of a house built in the 1920’s for Emily McLaury (Emily was Charles’ wife cousin) and then later used for a few years by the Westport Historical Society (across the street). I think I read somewhere that he also designed the Fairfield County Hunt Club – Club House, the Saugatuck Fire House, the former Westport Post Office, and the Coleytown Fire Station (in addition to other homes around town). But… I’m not sure if anyone can verify these other locations as Cutler designed.

      • I should add that my parents commissioned Mr. Cutler to design their house on Sylvan Road and it was built in 1928 or 29.

  8. Seth Schachter

    I forgot to mention a very high profile building Charles Cuter designed back in 1924 (one year before Greens Farms School was built)- Westport Bank and Trust Co (where Patagonia currently resides). Charles Cutler also designed his own home at 79 Kings Highway North and another home at
    12 Old Hill Road, referred to as the ‘Shambaugh House’ (1923).

  9. Thank you, Dan! A bit complicated but your guide to the transformations of said schools really helps an old timer like me who was last in Westport in 1962!

  10. In 2010 I put together a list of houses by Cutler. Some of sources of information. I will add the ones mentioned above. If anyone has more, please contact me.

    Charles Cutler Designed houses or modifications to already standing houses.
    16 Woodside Avenue Researched ok 1922
    200 Long Lots Road in HRI 1929 house
    59 Beachside Avenue HRI 1928 in HRI “finest non-Tudor in Westport”
    75 Kings Highway North Kings Highway write-up mentions Cutler
    79 Kings Highway North HRI Kings Higwhay write-up mentions Cutler
    174 Long Lots Road HRI Two Barns by Cutler
    174A Long Lots Road HRI
    Greens Farms Elementary School HRI
    274 North Avenue HRI to early 1700s Mentioned in HRI
    1 Old Hill Road Cutler believed to have designed two story addition to the rear of the house.
    5 Old Hill Road built 1925 for Ada Fay
    12 Old Hill Road HRI 1923 mentions Cutler
    50 Sylvan Road North HRI 1928 mentions Culter
    41 Wright Street – Dorothea Malm says house was restored by Cutler in 1980 report.
    Patagonia Building – need address.

    Said lived at 25 Cavalry Road from 1911 to 1919, bought from Charles A. Jennings (purchased in 1890) – sold to Peters in 1919.

    • Thanks Bob! Still hoping someone out there unearths an image from Greens Farms Elementary from the early days of 1925-1935 time period after it opened. Also- you can add the address for Patagonia Building: 87 Post Road East- former Westport Bank and Trust Company Building

  11. Bob Weingarten

    Seth, the National Register of Historic Places of the Greens Farms School mentions that it has two photos of various views of the school in 1925. If you have problems in obtaining the photos please send me an email. If anyone else wants to see them then also send me an email or call the WHS and leave me a message with an email address.

    • Seth Schachter

      Thanks Bob! I will reach out to them to try to obtain the images and if I get them I will share them with you. I had left a message for National Register of Historic Places (National Park Service) a while back but never heard back from them. I’ll try again.

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