“Kayak House” Slated For Demolition

It’s one of the most well-known houses in Westport.

But it won’t be for long.

The small yellow cottage on Bridge Street — the first one past the William Cribari Bridge heading east — sports a “Demolition” notice on a nearby tree.

The 572-square-foot home was built in 1932.

No word on what will replace it.

Or where all those kayaks in the yard will go.


19 responses to ““Kayak House” Slated For Demolition

  1. Andrew Colabella

    Wish I knew it was for sale I would’ve bought it and restored the home

  2. Matthew Mandell

    Yeesh, this is the third tear down on Bridge Street this year. See the new prefab going up, so much bigger to those next to it.

  3. I was soo bummed to read this the other day. We grew up on Bridge Street in the 60’s and this was a cottage of immense fascination for us especially on Halloween. A lady with long hair always answered and handed out red apples, never candy. Another iconic Westport landmark about to go down. Sad. Wish someone would have bought it and saved it.

  4. Mary Cookman Schmerker '58

    Save it if you can. Someone will build a huge I structure in its place and things like drainage will be become a problem, not to mention traffic and parking.

  5. So sad! The town is becoming a cookie cutter set of McMansions!

  6. Peter J. D. Kelley

    This house was Vincent MacIlvain’s old home, catty corner from the Imperial Ave. intersection on Bridge Street. Was formerly painted red in the ’50’s and into the mid ’60’s. Vinny was a teacher for many years at my Alma Mater, Fairfield Prep, and he was indeed a prince. He and his family spent many years there from the early 1950’s on, and my parents knew them well, as we lived close by on Imperial Avenue for awhile, moving away in 1952. God rest him. And so goes Westport with its many tear-downs.

    • Seems like if it’s not worth a million plus and 5000 sqft+, it can’t stay standing in Westport today. Sad. That little cottage greeted everyone coming in and out of town via Bridge Street. It always meant we were home.

  7. Loretta Santella Hallock

    I grew up on Ridge Drive and always loved looking at that little cottage when I left Imperial Avenue. Too bad the town didn’t buy it for open space. The prefab on Bridge Street looks ridiculous on that little patch of land. On the otherhand we have a small house on over an acre and cannot subdivide. Zoning laws don’t make a lot of sense in Westport .

  8. David Mark Brown

    My name is David Mark Brown and I have owned this property since 1995 and have remained friendly with the surviving widow from the Dolan/McGael family clan that erected the structure on the property back in the 1930s. I am a keen supporter of the William F. Cribari Memorial Bridge. If anyone is interested in reading my 850-word ‘broadside’ to the DOT from last summer, contact me at davidmarkbrown@hotmail.com.

    Born and raised in the mountains and TVA lakes of East Tennessee, I am an ex-sneaker designer and worked for brands based in the EU. As a result, I have horrible pronunciation in more than a few languages –including English. I am a decades-long resident of the Lower East Side. AND, I’m actually a fan of Westport’s ‘Teardown of the Day’ site so I knew this was coming. 😉

    First, I feel a neighborly need to address some of ‘yawls’ various comments:
    – The property was never ‘For Sale’. As noted above, I have owned the property since 1995.
    – My intentions are not to make the road ‘less “scenic”’. In my own simplistic world, I would prefer that Bridge Street revert back to the days of the Pequot’s.
    – ‘Halloween’ is my favorite holiday of the year but I do love the holiday lights on the bridge.
    – Regarding my building an ‘I-structure’; I haven’t a bloody clue as to what an ‘I-structure’ is?
    – Regarding my contributing to the problems of traffic and parking; I do not own a car or a boat or even a golf cart. I walk or bike from the train station to the Westport Library or Compo Beach.
    – And no ‘cookie cutter McMansion’, will ever go up on that property on my watch!

    Second, as the structure’s exterior from the road is obvious, I do feel a need to give an enhanced property description.
    – The interior has all the charm and amenities that the old Soviet MIR Space Station had back in the late 1990s. I’ll leave that to everyone’s imagination.
    – On the Saugatuck River side, there is a ‘balcone in legno’ –aka a 176-square foot deck with Southern Exposure and breathtaking views of the I-95/Connecticut Turnpike and the Amtrak/Metro-North rail line. Unfortunately my dermatologist has forbidden me to enjoy my ‘balcone in legno.’
    – In addition to the 572-foot interior, there is an authentic Grotte du Vallonnet aka 150-250 feet of ‘dugout’ basement. Wonderful if someone happens to be a troglodyte. Regrettably the most recent census of Fairfield County does not list one single troglodyte.

    Additional pulsating excitement comes with the ‘exposure’ to accelerating traffic coming off the Cabrini Bridge. Almost every year, some commercial vehicle has crashed into the 12 Bridge Street stonewall trying to avoid someone turning up Imperial Avenue. A few have mowed down my wonderful kayaking tenant’s mailbox. Last year, a truck ripped the light meter completely off the side of the house. None of these incidents’ damages have ever been recovered by myself! Simply because they are non-local trucks that often don’t know the road, don’t care, and pay no notice to Westport’s signs that say “Drive like your kids live here.”

    So regarding the ‘ifs’ and ‘whens’. ‘If’ anything replaces that structure it will hopefully be just as obscure as the structure that is there now. And the ‘when’ will not occur in 2017. Nothing will happen overnight or under cover of darkness.

    In fact, I’m holding off on any current survey until the leaves are down. Plus surveying at this time of year might entail breaking branches off of trees for survey sightlines, which I’m not enthusiastic about.

    Yes, it is my property and, like all of you, I do have dreams and visions. AND it’s also good that Westport is a place where people are concerned. So, I do appreciate all your comments.

    David Mark Brown

    • Michael Ronemus

      That was probably my favorite comment ever on this site.

    • That’s a very thoughtful (and humorous) post, David. I might be wrong, but I don’t think I can recall someone taking the time to explain their thinking as it relates to a demolition the way you just did. It’s evident that you’re sensitive to the scale and special setting of 12 Bridge. I’m sorry to learn about the chronic vehicle mishaps, etc. and wish you the best with whatever plans develop in the future for this wonderful little gateway property.

  9. Back in the day, Keith Frew rented the little house. It was just enough of a house and surprisingly it seemed to be away from it all when you were sitting in the little yard, over looking the river. Even though the road, train and highway were so close you felt tucked away there.

    • We grilled many a bluefish over an open fire when Frew rented that little house! Fond memories! Sad to see the house go, as with much of Westport, as well as Frew! RIP!

  10. Good comment, David. Thanks.