Friday Flashback #174

Last month, a Friday Flashback featured a handsome Al Willmott painting of old-time Westport, with National Hall, the Post Road bridge, and a merchant ship. For years, it hung in Dr. Peter Ferrara’s dental office.

Now practicing in Shelton, Dr. Ferrara still loves this town. He sent along another favorite Willmott painting from his office.

For a couple of decades, Ships anchored downtown. At the corner of the Post Road and Taylor Place — replacing the longtime Colgan’s and Thompson’s drugstore — it was the restaurant to go, for any occasion: meeting friends. Showing Westport to out-of-towners. In the middle of shopping. Before or after movies a few doors away.

And — on a cold winter’s day, like Willmott painted — there was nothing better than Ships’ lobster bisque.

23 responses to “Friday Flashback #174

  1. What can be said for those of us who grew up in that era, I friggin miss it.

  2. Strange painting! Why are the sides of the building and the lamp post angled outward? After Ships wasn’t this Ed Mitchell’s Clothing Store?

    • Maybe before Ships.

    • Jonathan Maddock

      Yeah, and who’s the giant ghost shaded on the painting?

    • Caryl Beatus

      ED MITCHELLS WASN’T THERE. MY RECOLLECTION IS THAT IT ORIGINALLY OPENED AT THE CORNER OF POST AND NO COMPO WHERE PEOPLES IS NOW LOCATED. IT THEN MOVED ACROSS THE POST ROAD TO COLONIAL GREEN., RE SHIPS I DON’T RECALL IT EXPANDING TO THE CORNER BUT I COULD BE WRONG

    • Eddie Bauer moved in there for a while. After that, it became Tiffany, and as I remarked — “There goes the neighborhood.”

  3. Tom Duquette, SHS '75

    Ed Mitchell’s was further up the road back then and never in that location to my recollection. I have two Willmott pen and ink drawings I inherited from my late uncle and father. One is from 1967 looking across the Saugatuck River with the bridge on the right and Bridge Square and the old Gault tanks in the center. The other is heading into Saugatuck from downtown showing Bridge Square, the Clam House, Manero’s and the traffic light in the snow. They are excellent and remind me of home.

  4. Ships…Mark Kaufman… did landscaping for him at his mother’s house and then his property on Center St. Not the best guy around.

  5. Jill Turner Odice

    Loved the seafood bisque! An ex e.employee actually sent me the recipe for it!
    I lived upstairs briefly, them Mark moved us over to his Mom’s house on Ludlow rd.
    She was a very nice person, him …not so much.

  6. Hanne Jeppesen

    As an au pair that lived in Westport in 1967 and most of 1968, I spend many fun hours at the Ships. On our days of my other au pair girl friends and I would often meet there and have bite to eat and of course a drink or 2. During the week, after we got off from our au pair duties, we would meet there, I met several good friends there, dated some, some just became good friends, some that Dan has written about in earlier blogs, Alan Sterling was one, Jeff Simon another. To this day I’m still friends with a Weston native Val Treadwell, whom I met at the Ships.

  7. The original “Ships” was The Ships Lantern which was a couple of doors to the left, towards Schaeffer Sporting goods. It was long and narrow and owned by Pete Voulgarakis. Great fun and awesome food. It was like a “Cheers” type bar. Two of the bartenders were Bruce and Ralph. I think that is the place of which Hanne Jeppesen writes.

    • Pete was a really great guy. He moved to Weston and became a builder. Enjoyed working for him and trading stories. Haven’t seen him for a few years.

  8. Hanne Jeppesen

    During the week there was a bartender Mario, he was great. On the week end might have been the owner I think his name was Ed or Ernie, not sure he was not nearly as friendly as Mario. Yes, I believe you are right it was called the Ships Lantern, I did realize it moved later on, never the less, sounds like the same kind of place, good solid food, friendly atmosphere.

  9. Joyce Barnhart

    Wasn’t chocolate fondue on the dessert menu? It was a great place for a family supper before the movies or dessert after. I think I remember it closed because someone had fiddled with the payroll, cheating the employees of wages or tips, maybe both.

  10. Mary Schmerker

    Well, now I feel really old. I remember Colgan’s and getting cherry cokes while waiting for the city bus to pick us up after school and take us home. Yes, we walked down the Post Road from what was in the day, Bedford Jr. High. I did not remember that Colgan’s had three large front windows. Perhaps someone can fill in the blanks. Was it that large? I would have placed the door between the two windows.The Bakery was just up the street as was Jimmy De Maria’s Barber Shop, Schaeffer’s sporting goods and to cap the block the Fine Arts.

  11. Ship’s Clam Chowder wasn’t bad either!

  12. Suzanne Wilson

    When I lived in the tiny Frazier Peters stone house on Gorham Island and the floodwater came up to the doorway, I spent a memorable afternoon at “The Ship’s” until the tide receded. It really was like Cheers. I don’t remember if Alan Sterling was there that day or not!

  13. Thomas D Neilly

    Chocolate fondue was indeed on the menu. After a movie just up the block, it was a perfect way to (almost) end a date.