Friday Flashback #33

It’s been nearly 3 years since Westport’s Boat Locker sailed off for Bridgeport. But owner Scott Hardy still proudly displays a mid-1980s poster of his home town.

The other day, Jeff Manchester was in the store. He’s a 1980s Westport guy himself — a former Staples wrestling star, now back here raising his own family.

The poster brought back many memories: Soup’s On, Party Barn, Allen’s Clam House, Pancho Villa’s, DeRosa’s, Ships, Westport Bank & Trust.

Some of the businesses — Mitchell’s and Sakura — are still around. And some of the views will never change.

Take a look. Think about how Westport has changed.

And how it hasn’t.

Then — whether you grew up before or with Jeff, or moved in yesterday — click “Comments” below.

Click on or hover over to enlarge.

15 responses to “Friday Flashback #33

  1. Michael Nuzzo

    Lots of great “Old Westport” memories in that poster. It’s nice to see that Scott still has a fondness for his home town.

  2. Is the poster for sale?

  3. Peter and Pat Kelley

    The Boat Locker sign brings back a lot of nostalgia! When we were much younger, living and making our way in Manhattan, still with my parental ties to Westport, my wife Pat and I bought a series of small O’Day sailboats from Jim Zarbock, one of the original (?) owners of The Boat Locker. It was a smaller world back then: Jim, who had previously spent years in the publishing, editing and writing fields, had known my father, an editor of the New York Herald Tribune. They were both grads of Columbia Journalism. And I was also a recent Columbia grad. Jim was a well-connected man, and trusting us because of this connection, was able to secure for us a “temporary” slip locally for the boat from a friend, while we sought more permanent dockage elsewhere. At least until a year later, when the slip owner became nervous about being found out! A practice still frowned upon today and prohibited by the authorities, I might add. Limited dockage has always been a given when boating anywhere on Long Island Sound.

    But that’s how Jim was able to sell us the pretty 1976 O’Day 25, “La Rondine”, which we still sail today out of Centerport, Long Island. She’s taken us to many beautiful spots all over the many years we’ve owned her. We had also formed a friendship with his assistant at the store, Jean, and her husband Ken, who also owned a sister ship to our 25. We cruised Long Island Sound with them for the few years longer that they remained in Westport until being transferred away. We talk often of Jim, Jean, and Ken getting us into sailing, and the image of the poster brings back many fine memories of growing up in Westport. We found ourselves returning to visit my parents and sail upon its waters on weekends and often over the years, even after we settled across the Sound in Centerport. And of course, the Ed Mitchell’s sign, is another landmark, as I used to be a faithful customer, only to find out that they now have a branch right next door to us here in Huntington, Long Island. Westport has now come to us!

    • Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

      Jim Zarbock! I wonder if he is the dad of Linda, Heidi and Sarah Zarbock. Mrs. Zarbock was one of my Girl Scout leaders. They had a TV before we did and we watched President Eisenhower take his oath of office at their house. If it is the same Zarbock, Linda was my best friend and sadly got sick and died in Maine in, I think, 1956. Mrs. Zarbock was a talented Rug hooker and even wrote a book on the subject.
      The poster brought back many memories but your post also sparked favorite memories. Sailing on Long Island Sound coming into Cedar pointe……Those were the days…….

      • Peter Kelley

        Yes, that’s the same Jim Zarbock. Jim passed away in 2010 according to an obit I found from Bowdoin College from where he graduated. Hope it helps if you want to try to contact your friend.

        • Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

          Thanks! I’ll give it a try. The Zarbocks and my parents were good friends. Sailing and hooking rugs were common interests and if memory serves me, they shared the same wedding date.

  4. Paula Schooler

    Is Pearls in that collage . ?

  5. Scott Kuhner

    My father, Russell Kuhner worked as a teller at the Westport Bank and Trust Company all during the depression. The war came and he went in the army. After the war he came back to Westport and when he walked into the bank, Inor Anderson, the president said, “Oh Russ good to see you back! When do you want to start?” My dad said, “I am not coming back. I am going to become a photographer!” Knot Anderson replied, “Well you will probably need some money to get started. I’ll be glad to make you a loan.”
    Photography had always been his hobby. In fact he met my mother while he was photographing a fashion show in Stamford before the war. She came out on the runway wearing a wedding gown. They got married a soon thereafter my brother Craig and I were born (we are identical twins). In the early fifties my mom, Elizabeth Kuhner, wanted to do photography. So as not to embarrass dad, she went to Greenwich and put a ad in the local paper calling it “A day in the life of your child!” Soon they became a wonderful team doing both family photography and fashion photography as well. In fact for many years they had the Van Ralt Lingerie account.
    The picture of the old YMCA reminds me of the years that every other Friday night we went to Miss Comer’s Dancing Class to learn the Waltz the foxtrot etc and, as Look Magazine put it when they did a six page article on Craig and I getting dressed up in a grey flannel suit and white gloves and going to Miss Comer’s to learn the social graces. What a fabulous town Westport was to grow up in during the fourties and fifties with all the artists and writers.

    • i remember your dad at the bank, and i certainly remember Miss Comer and
      her sister, who played the piano for us to dance to. i earned my tuition there
      by checking coats !

  6. Peter Prigge

    Does anyone remember The Stage Door on the Post Road in Greens Farms or what in the building on Riverside Ave that is now the Minute Man Cleaners?

  7. Bobbie Herman

    Well, now I feel like a native! I moved to Westport in 1983, and I remember all of the places on the poster. I enjoyed so many meals at: Polo’s, Soup’s On, Allen’s, Tanglewood’s. The Three Bears and DeRosa’s. And who can forget Arnie’s Place? I moved here the week Arnie chained himself to Town Hall and threatened to call in the Hell’s Angels, which they objected to.

  8. Helen Ranholm

    How about the Red Galleon, Klein’s, Rippe’s Farm Stand, Purcells’, Tracey’s Mens Store, Greenbergs, A&P, and Charles Meat Market. Can there were even more.

  9. Eric Pearson

    I know the poster could not include, even approach, all the amazing establishments. But no Players Tavern, let alone the Playhouse? Way too important to ignore. I didn’t see but could be wrong.
    Or, maybe we need a special poster about those two adjoining centers of talent.
    Dear Dan, although involved in many of these icons, I now live elsewhere, the ball is now in your court.

  10. My best friend in elementary school lived behind the Boat Locker and naturally we used to play inside the boats. Thankfully we never got caught (or hurt). Nearby was the candy store and Rippe’s Farm where cider and corn on the cob and juicy tomatoes were aplenty. And on South Turkey Hill a house had chickens in the back yard and my mother made regular stops there for eggs. I used to ride my bike to a nearby farm on Hulls Farm Road and pick peas for a couple dollars. Also nearby: the bowling alley and skating rink. All fond scenes of vanishing Westport.

  11. Sharon Paulsen

    This prompted many poignant memories.

    I recognize this poster/compilation of images, but cannot recall exactly where or when … I just know that I’ve seen this before.

    In any case, it took me “back”, in wonderful ways.

    Thanks Dan!