In 1906, Westport got a library.
It was a gift from Morris Jesup. A successful businessman, whose money came from selling railroad supplies, he endowed the building on on the Post Road (then called State Street), near Main Street.
The cornerstone was laid in 1906. Michael Calise, Daine Silfen, Matt Murray. Michael Brennecke, Stephanie Ehrman, Rosalie Kaye, Lawrence Zlatin, Janice Strizever, Robert Mitchell, Bobbie Herman, Eva Lopez Reyman, Jonathan McClure, Seth Goltzer and Dede Fitch all recognized Lynn U. Miller’s image. To see last week’s photo challenge, click here.
The library grew, expanded west, then took over the 2nd floor. In 1986 it had outgrown its original home, and moved across the street, past Jesup Road and up the hill, to landfill that had once been the town dump.
The old library is home now to (among others) HSBC Bank, Starbucks and Freshii.
Today, the library is in the midst of another transformation. But none of it would have been possible without Jesup’s philanthropy.
The Westport Library was not Jesup’s only gift. He was a major benefactor of the American Museum of Natural History. He also commissioned a 5-year anthropological expedition to Alaska and Siberia. The northernmost piece of land in the world, at the tip of Greenland, is named Cape Morris Jesup.
In 1908 — just before he died — he donated his old home as a parsonage for the Saugatuck Congregational Church.
This week’s photo challenge comes from Molly Alger. If you know where in Westport you’d find this Stonehenge-like formation, click “Comments” below.