Pic Of The Day #192

1 Wilton Road — and the Wright Street building. (Photo/John Videler)

20 responses to “Pic Of The Day #192

  1. That Wright St. building looks a bit empty and dismantled too. Well, you could wish.

  2. Haven’t we seen enough of 1 Wilton road ? The repeated posts make this seem personal and vindictive which I suspect isn’t the case,.. I appreciate and enjoy your writing and have never thought to respond. Just sharing an opinion,.. Scott Tomoda

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. One crime superimposed upon another. And they both had permits.

    I’ve been asking the Westport Historic District Commission for a year now to reform the broken demolition ordinance that has now resulted in the destruction of 1 Wilton Road.

    Everybody who ought to know, knew the ordinance was vulnerable – and they knew exactly how, too.

    I sent the HDC email after email after email after email.

    Not a single commission member, nor its full time staff person ever even had the courtesy to respond.

    Not even once.

  4. Celeste Champagne

    It appears to this bystander that the building is now being restored not demolished. I hope this is the case. And I have appreciated seeing this work in progress captured in photos to follow the story.

  5. Our offices being at 8 Wright Street, I have had a bird’s eye view of the rear of 1 Wilton Road from the parking deck for many years. (My parents and grandparents having opposed the Wright Street buildings so vehemently when they went up, I am sure they would not be happy that we are there). In any event, since the yarn store left, the structure had gone into severe decline. There was a fair amount of rot, leaning framing and breached roofing. It was great to see a crew come in finally, but in the early stages I was as concerned as many here that the building (which we remember as the long-standing Corner Spirit Shop – at least since the 60’s or earlier) was being overly, and seemingly unnecessarily, dismantled. The structure had some really great hand-hewn framing that was being removed and discarded in a dumpster. The side addition was completely removed and its foundation replaced and re-poured, and the chimney was demolished and its brick discarded. I was half-resigned that a modern structure might be going in its place. Lately, however, I have come to think that this may have been too pessimistic. Most of the wood that was removed was possibly either rotted or overly compromised from age and could no longer support the structure. I have noticed workers recently taking pains to determine which boards could stay and which could go. Original support framing now seems to have been “sistered” so it can be retained. The roof and attic window are still in place, and it now appears that the original dimensions are being preserved. So, it may be that what has been done to date actually was necessary. If finished properly, this could end well and be very close to the original structure. We can hope anyway.

    • I’ve seen the approved plans for 1 Wilton. The building will be robbed of nearly all its exterior character-defining features, thus its interpretative historic value will be erased forever. With a pastiche of modern elements pasted on it will be neither fish nor fowl. In the right hands it could have been a superb restoration which, contextually speaking, would have worked nicely with the other historic structures at this intersection. And yes, it could have been moved back as well.

  6. It’s a bit odd that Vita(the owner of the building) has not to responded, corrected, justified or denied any of the comments. I wonder whether that’s due to laziness, guilt or simply lack of community interest.

  7. Frankly I would like to the see that building g moved if it is salvageable to another location So that the road and intersection be widened to allow traffic to pass while drivers turn left over to route 1.

    • Dick Lowenstein

      However we got to where we are with this structure, perhaps it’s an opportune time to finally improve this intersection with a left-turn lane. R.I.P.

  8. Michael Calise

    A left turn lane to a parking spot on the bridge. Putting a section of two inch pipe in a one inch waterline is not going to move the water faster

    • Dick Lowenstein

      Choice is between the current rush-hour, mile-long “parking lot” to a short, faster one on the Post Road. It’s also depends on the time of the day. Wilton Road always has lines.

  9. Looks more more like ‘sequential demolition’ in progress disguised as restoration, and thankfully within the same footprint. I was never particularly fond of the old building but I am glad the intersection is not disfigured by another oversized pedestrian cookie cutter structure, like all new new condo/apartment/store construction along the Post Road. Everyone uses the same blueprints everywhere it seems. So much for character…

    Wilton/ Post Road intersection has thankfully (so far at least) been allowed to keep its historical character and old buildings. Remember when there was talk about potentially demolishing the old firehouse?

  10. I appreciate Morley’s efforts to preserve this town and the deep knowledge he has on the history of our community.

    I can’t go into the details of historic preservation specifically on this project. However, it’s important to shine the light on the fact that the renovation process in general isn’t perfect or without alteration, especially on a project like this. The myriad unforeseen and unexpected issues that arise with an older building can call for on-the-spot decisions re: safety and preservation that can change the original intention. This does NOT make the project or the people behind the decisions malicious or deceitful.

    I can speak to Lucien’s character as a fellow member of the community and as an architect. He is one of the most thoughtful, professional, honest people I have ever met. He has an infectious interest in both preserving and reviving the integrity of the architecture within this community.

    It would serve all of us to communicate with one another and about each other with a more forgiving tone and not assume the worst about someone’s intentions.

  11. Melissa have you been directly or indirectly encouraged by Lucien Vita to post this in advance of tonight’s public hearing regarding the Demolition Delay for 1 Wilton Road – or is it just a remarkable coincidence?

    If it’s the former and you are, like some others, attempting to influence the outcome of that hearing, I have a few thoughts: Firstly, just to clarify, it’s not a parole hearing; your associate could be an unrepentant criminal and it wouldn’t matter. It’s simply a normal hearing that is legally required when anyone, such as your associate, intends to demolish a structure over the age of 50.

    Secondly, by any possible measure, 1 Wilton Road had been horrifically and insensitively vandalized. In a word: demolished. And when the project, as currently conceived, is completed, any cultural, contextual or historic value the building once possessed will be extinguished. Period.

    Which brings me to my final thought: If your associate is, as you say, truly interested in “preserving and reviving the integrity of architecture “, tonight would be the opportunity to explain how he intends to preserve and revive the historic integrity of 1 Wilton Road. Because that’s essentially the intent of the Westport’s demolition delay ordinance.

    • Morley, it’s clear you have conviction around this issue and I think that’s great because without someone with your history, knowledge and perseverance I am sure many things around town would go unnoticed.
      At the same time, there is a way of discussing people, their intentions and their behaviors that can create misinformation and harm to reputations and livelihoods. And that should not be taken lightly.

      I’d also add that just because someone doesn’t post a response to your remarks on this blog doesn’t mean they aren’t being responsive and professional in their conduct or that they aren’t taking action. Sometimes the best way to respond is where and when it will make a difference instead of getting caught up in the moment.

      I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I am not an “associate” of Lucien’s, nor did he ask me to post anything. I came up with this idea all by myself! He did encourage everyone to attend the hearing tonight if they are able so that they can speak their mind and I hope they do!

      I understand this is a matter that is dear to you. It’s obvious that you care very much about this building in particular. All I’m saying is that there is no malice behind this.

      • I understand. No malice to be sure. Just the promise by the applicant of free food at the Port after the hearing.

        • Why are RTM, HDC, ARB, ZBA meetings held simultaneously, in separate rooms?

          • This spreads the load more evenly. We used to put everyone in one room but the building kept tipping over.

            • I’m being serious. Are all meetings public? If so, how can anyone attend each, especially when information from each meeting affects the next?

            • Nevermind. I just watched tonight’s video town hall meeting.
              No public, only RTM. Why does the First Selectman sit in the wings?