George Washington was born in 1732. Two hundred years later, Westport celebrated the bicentennial of his birth.
Nearly 100 years after that, he’s created a mini-controversy.
A couple of months ago, Jeff Manchester and his son were out riding bikes. They stopped at the little grass triangle at the intersection of Kings Highway North and Old Hill — across from the Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church cemetery — and discovered a plaque. Dedicated in 1932, it marked the 200th anniversary of our first president’s birth.
The image Jeff sent was last week’s photo challenge. Tom Ryan, Bob Grant and Jill Turner-Odice quickly got the answer.
But Elaine Marino and Bob Weingarten disagreed. They said the plaque can be found at Christ & Holy Trinity Church itself, on Myrtle Avenue.
Elaine offered proof: a 1959 Westport Town Crier article:
According to tradition, George Washington, while en route from Philadelphia to Boston to take command of the Continental Army, stopped at the old Disbrow Inn, which then stood on the present site of the church; he stood underneath the elm which grew before the door of the Inn as he drank from the water of the well close by. This tradition (which is well substantiated by subsequent historical research) marked the old elm as Westport’s oldest and most historic landmark. When the parish was established in 1860, the old tavern was demolished to make way for the church, but the tree was carefully preserved.
During the Washington Bi-Centennial Celebration in 1932, the Compo Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed their bronze plaque at the base of the tree.
The plaque Jeff and his son saw on Kings Highway doesn’t indicate who placed it there.
Nor does the one at Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Elaine headed there on Tuesday, and sent a photo.
The plaque is more weather-beaten than its cemetery counterpart. It says: “George Washington stopped for refreshments at this tavern, June 28, 1775.” It also has the bicentennial dates: “1732-1932.”
Too bad we can’t ask George Washington about the 2 plaques. He’d never tell a lie.
(Click here to see the plaque photo; scroll down for comments.)
Here’s this week’s photo challenge. It has nothing to do with George Washington. And there is no controversy over where it is.
If you know the answer, click “Comments” below.