Friday Flashback #62

The recent kerfuffle over photographs near the Compo Beach showers inspired alert reader Bruce Erickson to send this photo along.

His mother — Florence Brotherton Carlson — is at the far left, with 3 bathing beauty friends. The date was sometime in the 1930s.

Florence has lived here for her entire life. When she was a child, her parents rented a big house off Riverside Avenue. They paid $17 a month.

If  you’ve got memories of 1930s Westport — or you’ve heard stories from your parents (or grandparents) — click “Comments” below. Beach and real estate tales are particularly welcome.

14 responses to “Friday Flashback #62

  1. In the mid 1930s my grandmother, who lived at 13 Windfield Street in East Norwalk, went to a fortune teller. The fortune teller looked in her crystal ball and, “I see that very soon your son will be walking on money!” About two weeks later, my father, Russell Kuhner, got a job as a teller at the Westport Bank and Trust Company.
    My father’s hobby was photography. One day he was photographing a fashion show in Stamford when a beautiful young lady, Elizabeth Stottler, walked out on the runway dressed in a bridel outfit. My dad instantly fell in love and soon they got married and moved to Westport. In 1942, dad was drafted. Because, and because my twin brother Craig and I were born just before he was drafted, he was assigned to work at Chancefaught, where he worked as a photographer for the US Army. At the end of his tour of duty, he came back to Westport and went to the bank. As he walked in, Inore Anderson, the president of the bank said, “Russ, good to see your’e back, when do you want to start?” Dad replied, “I’m not coming back. I’m going to become a photographer.” Mr Anderson replied,” well you will probably need some money to get started. I will be glad to make you a loan!”
    Dad then opened a small studio on the second floor of the red brick building at the corner of Riverside Ave. and the Post Road. In the early fifties, Dad’s secretary quick and mom started to work with him. She soon became fascinated with photography and decided to become a photographer herself. Because she didn’t want embarrass dad if it didn’t work out, she decided to go to Greenwich to take pictures of families. She advertised her pictures as “A Day in the Life of your child. It soon took off and they moved their studio and “darkroom” to 17 Main Street. By the beginning of the sixties mom and dad became a well known team doing both family photography and fashion photography. Amongst other clients they had the Vanrault Lingerie account and were hired by both Bobby and Teddy Kennedy to do their family photographs.

    • I always loved your mom. She took pictures of me and my two brothers as we grew up.

  2. Jonathan Maddock, Staples '73

    I have a picture at Compo taken in 1930. My then 8-year-old father and others are in the picture.

    What’s the best way to post this, or send it to you?


  3. Nancy Powers Conklin

    My mother and her two sisters wore bathing suits just like that at Compo. Although, my mother was the middle daughter born in 1921, they wouldn’t have been in a picture like this for a few more years.

  4. What a fabulous photo!!!

  5. Sharon Paulsen

    Love this photo!

    Amazing how the bathhouse/lockers entrance looks like it could have been from just yesterday!

  6. Seth Schachter

    Agree– Love the photo !!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. A little more about the beach – In the 1930s Compo was not a sandy beach. At high tide it was covered with rocks or stones. They were smooth and rounded and very white, and ranged in size from less than an inch to a couple of inches or more. And tended to be somewhat flat. As a little kid I had no problem with the stones but some people who knew sandy beaches wanted sand. However, as the tide went out there was plenty of sand and at the lowest tide there was all the sand you could want. But the water was way out past the floats which were aground. The floats, in case that’s a new term, were floating platforms anchored a short way from shore and were very popular with teens.

  8. Jacques Voris

    Because I am nosy, and everyone is related to me, how is Florence connected with the Brotherton’s?