Friday Flashback #57

The transformation of the Westport YMCA into Bedford Square has brought big changes to downtown.

But that area is always changing. We may not notice it — but our commercial center constantly evolves.

Even the Saugatuck River looks different now, compared to a few decades ago.

In 1985 — to honor the 150th anniversary of the community’s founding — the Westport Historical Society produced “Westport … A Special Place.”

A 2-page photo spread highlighted the many changes that had taken place over the previous 30 years — when Wells Studio took an aerial shot.

Clicking on or hovering over the image shows downtown before:

  • Landfill for the library and Levitt Pavilion
  • Police headquarters on Jesup Road
  • Parker Harding Plaza behind Main Street — also landfill — narrowed the river
  • The 4-story Gap building, and Brooks Corner across the street
  • Demolition of several industrial buildings on Riverside Avenue
  • Save the Children (formerly Famous Artists) on Wilton Road.

Much has changed in the 32 years since 1985, of course — including the current renovation of Save the Children.

What else do you notice in the photo above? Click “Comments” to share your thoughts.

2 responses to “Friday Flashback #57

  1. “Before Alice got to Wonderland, she had to fall.”

  2. Wendy Crowther

    Before one-way traffic on Main Street.

    Based on the shadows, this photo was taken in the late afternoon. There’s only a small traffic back up seen on the east end of the Rt. 1 bridge. There’s no back up at Rt. 1 and Riverside – hardly a car to be seen there. Perhaps the photo was taken on a Sunday? What I do know is that it wasn’t “before traffic.”

    Before I-95 came to town in the late 1950s, there were terrible traffic tie ups in downtown Westport because all the commercial vehicles used Rt.1.

    In the early 1900s, as the automobile began to populate our roads, the Post Rd. became subject to parades of people taking weekend motor jaunts to New England or making their way to football games at Yale. Residents didn’t like that these motorists were speeding, driving recklessly, kicking up dust, and acting like yahoos. The Merritt Parkway helped solve that problem later.

    Traffic – what’s old is new again.