Ade’s Vanishing Saugatuck

The 9-foot bulletin board in the lobby of the Westport Senior Center is available for 1 month, to any artist or arts group that wants to showcase their work.

October is Ade Van Duyn’s turn.

Ade Van Duyn, with her exhibit at the Senior Center.

A painter, she lived with her husband and 4 children on Hillspoint Road. She shopped at Max’s Art Supplies, Klein’s, the Remarkable Book Shop and Greenberg’s. She enjoyed the Ice Cream Parlor too.

Ade always loved Saugatuck. It felt intimate and friendly — like an old-fashioned village.

Driving up and down Saugatuck Avenue near I-95 Exit 17, she never questioned its lack of a sidewalk, driveways or access to homes.

Recently, while looking for an interesting subject to paint, she was fascinated by the appearance of some of the properties.

But, Ade says, her fascination took on a darker tone.

She painted a concrete wall with a door cemented shut.

A door sealed shut …

A house on a hill with “endless stairs to an invisible entrance.” An empty store disappearing into the hillside.

… and stairs to nowhere.

“My paintings turned into a message: These places are the ugly symbols of a vanishing community,” she says.

And, she asks, “Should we preserve those that are still whole, alive and healthy — those that are still there?”

8 responses to “Ade’s Vanishing Saugatuck

  1. Julie Fatherley

    Thank you, Dan…our history and those who continue to live in these communities still need to feel a place in our society of upwardly mobile members. It is the continual Ying and Yang of life.
    We live in a community of very generous people but history for those on
    lower incomes who still live here needs to be recognized.

    Julie Fatherley

  2. Great work Ade. You really captured an old part of Saugatuck. Before I 95 those properties ran all the way down to the street with lawns in front of them. Of course then Saugautck Ave. was only one lane with an occasional car going by. I 95 did destroy the old village and only bits and pieces are left. I am sure this story happened to all those little villages all along the way when the highway was being built.

  3. We sure should

  4. Beautiful work by Ade ! One of the hoses in question belonged to the DiMeo sisters, Palma and Lyn. They had to climbs the steep steps to get to their house. Not to forget all the cats they were lovingly feeding ! It’s going to be a lost era!
    Thanks for the memory Ade !

  5. Sylvia Robinson Corrigan

    The little red brick place with the store front belonged to a young woman who had an up and coming catering business there back in the 90’s. She has moved on. Are the DiMeo sisters still around? I used to work with Palma at King’s Highway School.
    Thanks to Ade for painting these places that reference some good people and their homes or occupations, even if now in the past.

  6. One of Westport’s true remaining artists, seeing Westport only as a true Westporter can – what’s there, what used to be there, and what is about to be lost. Thank you for capturing it so beautifully!

  7. The paintings are shown at the Westport Center For Senior Activities. during October The title is: SCARS OF A TRAGEDY. The center is open 8:00 to 4;00, daily except Sunday. Just walk in! Ade’

  8. Mom, your work is beautiful! Even though I’ve looked at your paintings several times I feel as if I am walking in old Saugatuck browsing the curious old streets and iconic buildings…more discovery’s to be made, so much rich history…I hope we can share this with generations to come, Thankyou for utilizing your great artistic talent and passion to keep our town’s history alive. Always an inspiration!

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