Street Spotlight: Keene Road

This is the second in “06880”‘s series highlighting Westport’s roads.

John W. and Katherine Keene were longtime Westporters. In 1953 he bought a tract of land off North Morningside Drive, just south of Long Lots Road.

A house on the property had been built in the 1920s. It faced Morningside.

Keene built 9 more homes. He kept one for himself, and sold the rest.

Keene Estates — now called Keene Road — is convenient to education, recreation and retail. Google Maps misspells it as “Keenes Road.”

The first house he built — typical of the new development, called Keene’s Estates — had 7 rooms and 2 bathrooms, plus a 1-car attached garage. It sold for $20,000.

Keene was active in the VFW. After retiring, he joined the Westport Fire Department. Katherine died in 1968, He died the following year.

Dale Lamberty bought the Keenes’ house. She worked with her friend Martha Stewart in the fledgling “Market Basket” business selling baked goods. She also baked with Sarah Gross, and founded Great Cakes.

Lamberty died 4 years ago. Her house now has only its 3rd owner in 6 decades.

That’s typical of Keene Road (the name was changed from Keene Estates). It’s a quiet, friendly, private and tight-knit community.

Five of the original homes remain. Four replaced teardown. Residents include a mix of old-timers, and families with young kids. Everyone knows their neighbors, a homeowner says.

The entrance to Keene Road, off North Morningside Avenue.

A stream runs underneath the road, near Morningside. Children gather there to catch frogs. Deer and foxes are frequent visitors.

Yet Keene Road is prized for its proximity to plenty: Staples High School, Bedford Middle School, the Burr Farms athletic fields, and the Post Road.

It’s a true blend of old Westport and new. John Keene would be pleased that his “estates” have stood the test of time.

(If you’d like your street featured on “06880,” email dwoog@optonline.net)

 

19 responses to “Street Spotlight: Keene Road

  1. My ex-husband grew up on Keene Road and we raised our family there as well. Our family has been there since the house was built in the early 1950s. It’s a shame that there’s not one original owner left on the street.

    • Thanks, Wendy. I remember the Delsons well — a great family. as to original owners left on the street: If they bought in 1953 at age 30, they’d be 96 years old now!

  2. Susan Hopkins

    Makes me terribly homesick.

  3. Joyce Barnhart

    When we were house-hunting in the early 70’s, we looked at a house on Keene Road. I liked it a lot, but the main bathroom had a slanted roof and my very tall husband could not stand up straight in it. Later we became friends with the more regular-size people who bought it.

  4. Dan – I think she meant the original owners families have gone. No one on the street is 2nd or 3rd generation from Westport anymore.

  5. The Ryan Family were at Number Eight for nearly 25 years.

    I can still smell the mixture of The Sound and the trees in the air, coming through my bedroom window, trying to stay awake listening to Bill White and Phil Rizzuto call Yankee games on WINS and WABC radio.

    Thanks for the memories, Dan.

  6. Some great times on this road….I grew up on the road adjacent…
    The Conroy’s, The Moore’s, the Anderson’s, the Craigs….
    There were some 30 – 40 kids between the 2 roads with bikes, mini bikes, go carts, skateboards etc..
    The road has a very gentle slope, and under the right conditions, you could sled from the circle all the way down to Morningside drive

  7. Michael Pettee

    I think The Durells lived at the end of the street in the 60’s before they moved to Fairfield. This was when we lived on Morningside Lane. Vornkahls on Keene Road too?

  8. Laurence Grayhills

    Love the reports, Dan…but they make me homesick! My friend used to live on Morningside Drive. Someone ran over his street sign *Morningside Drive” and he gave it to me. I believe I still have it~ Wishing you well! Larry

    Laurence “Larry” Grayhills, DMD, MS, MAGD

  9. Abby Peterson

    Anderson’s lived there from 1954-2014. My brothers and I grew up there and then Brad and raised our three in that same house. 3 Keenes will always be a magical place for us. Growing up with all those kids was amazing! Love you my Keene Road cousins!

  10. Keene Rd. epitomized the life of kids growing up together in a setting that only nurtured life’s experiences to the fullest! Growing up there was full of block parties, an “open door” policy and a trust that never wavered. While the original families have moved on, the memories of Keene Rd. live within us forever. Norman Rockwell would be proud! Brian

  11. Tracey Lamberty Daniels

    Dale was my mom and I grew up in that house. She put everything she had into making that house a home and her gardens were like walking through a fairytale. I used to play in that steam for hours on end. I found an arrow head there once. Mint grew naturally along the creek bed and I made “lemonade” with it as a kid. My mom shared all of this with my kids too and they loved being there. Thanks for sharing this, Dan!

  12. Howie Friedman

    Dan- we appreciate your thoughtful article about our road….did not know that #3 was John Keene’s house. It is wonderful to read the comments of our former neighbors….and we miss you all. Still have the annual Summer BBQ and blessed that Brad & Abby are able to attend. We moved to Keene in 1988 and raised three children, now enjoy having our grandson visit….wish we kept that swing set in the back yard!! The new generation of neighbors is similar to the set we had thirty years ago ……. wonderful and caring people, and lots of children to keep our Road vibrant.

    • #4 was John & Kathryn & then became Dale & Tracey’s home in 1970, and now is our home. We have maintained and remodeled the lovely inside and continue to try our best to stay on top of Dale’s “fairy tale” gardens in the back yard. The home is filled with wonderful zen as well as the road! Thanks for highlighting our special place Dan.

  13. Julia Shacklette (Friedman)

    Keene’s road was a great place to grow up. Mrs. Craig would read with me after school. Dale would bring us leftovers from cakes she would bake. The Petersons would let us jump on their trampoline. The Tassel boys would ride their scooters with us over the creek when it overflowed into the road. There are so many more wonderful memories. It was a blessing to grow up on a street where every neighbor cared about the other.

    Best part of this article though–my parents being referenced as “old timers.” Love you Dad!

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