Photo Challenge #269

Last week’s pre-Presidents Day Photo Challenge featured Anne Bernier’s shot of a plaque, honoring George Washington’s November 11, 1789 visit to Westport. (His 4th time here, though his only one as president.)

So where was the old Marvin Tavern — and where is the plaque today? (Click here for the photo.)

As Morley Boyd, Peter Barlow and Amy Schneider quickly noted, it stood on what we now call Post Road West, near Kings Highway South. Specifically, the plaque is at #290. That’s the United Food & Commercial Workers building, next to the empty UBS headquarters. Probably the only people who see the plaque are in the parking lot. Not a lot of foot traffic there.

According to Woody Klein’s history of Westport, President Washington spent the night of November 11, 1789 at the inn of Captain Ozias Marvin. His wife Sarah and her daughters cooked up a mammoth meal: “loaves of brown bread, pies, the finest vegetables from their farm, huge roasts hanging from an open fire.”

However, President Washington asked only for a bowl of bread, and milk. (The rest of his party enjoyed the feast.) In his diary, Washington called it “not a good house, though the people of it were disposed to do all they could to accommodate me.”

Today’s Photo Challenge seems pretty easy.

(Photo/Peter Tulupman)

Obviously, it’s 157 Riverside Avenue.

So here’s the question: Why is this a Photo Challenge?

If you know, click “Comments” below.

24 responses to “Photo Challenge #269

  1. I think it was the subject of a rock song

  2. REO Speedwagon reference:

  3. R E O speedwagon,

  4. Can someone please tell me how 06880 commentators are so intelligent?

  5. Ralph Balducci

    Original REO Speedwagon band members lived there for a time while making an early album and wrote a song about the place.

  6. “157 Riverside Avenue” is the house REO Speedwagon rented and stayed in when they were recording their first album way back in 1970. The song was written by all 5 band members at the time. It’s one of the first songs they recorded in their producer’s bridgeport studio, and is still a fan favorite at their live performances to this day.
    why a band from champaign, illinois ended up staying in westport is still a mystery to this day.

    • I was curious about that too and just read about it. It turned out that the record producer Epic assigned them to work with was based out of Bridgeport—where he had a studio—and perhaps his biggest claim to fame was that he wrote or co-wrote “Na Na Hey Hey…”

      I would like to know if they stopped in and bought some records from Sally at Klein’s.

      • Na Na Hey Hey was a throw away B-side that continuously repeated the last line so DJs wouldn’t play it.

  7. More about the studio:
    Paul Leka and Gary DeCarlo wrote/produced “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” at that same studio. Audio geek alert: It looks like they are using 2″ tape which was just starting to be introduced and used about 1972 on 16 track machines. Manufacturers then designed 24 track shortly after that which was the mainstay of analog recording until the nineties. Almost everything became digital at that point, but in the recent decade, basic tracks are being recorded on 24 track tape again. If I am a gambling man, I’d say that tape machine (and remote) are very early “MCI” products. I can’t tell about the console, maybe “API”?

  8. From one of my recording studio buddies: The tape machine is an MCI JH-16.
    MCI JH-16 Tape Machine
    And I think the console is an MCI 400 series, the first inline console, with API faders.

    I was close. :^)

  9. Song lyrics … who is Lena?

    We flew into town on Sunday, had to find a place by Monday
    Tried Bridgeport and Westport, I found a place that we thought would do
    157 Riverside Avenue

    Saugatuck River’s flowin’, Mother Nature’s colors were showin’
    So cold, so rainy, we couldn’t help feelin’ blue
    Not enough time, too many things to do
    (Get on, baby!)

    We met a young girl on Main Street, wanted just to pass her by
    She was homely but so lonely, she said, “Can I make love to you?”
    We shouted, “157 Riverside Avenue”

    It’s over, Miss Lena, we’re leaving. Such a pleasant stay, I must say
    So nice, so easy, we hate to say goodbye to you
    At 157 Riverside Avenue, yeah
    Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
    Whoo, come on, babe
    That’s right, aw yeah

  10. Jill Turner Odice


  11. According to Zillo, the house there now was built in 2012, so it’s not the place REO stayed in.

  12. Bob Weingarten

    Unless you can fit all band members into that mailbox, you should note that the assessor office and Mls has the house built in 2012. According to Mls it was sold in 2013. But the location is correct.

  13. Looking at the town clerk records, I can find ownership to the mid-seventies. Actually, the MLS shows a single photo of the exterior in 1995. The owner was a Joanne Fodeman.
    Click the following link to view the Listing:

  14. The Illinois connection started in 1966 in their college days:

  15. Here’s a link to the Assessor’s card with a photo of the present house.

  16. I’m with Jack. You people scare me with the stuff you know.

    • Morley: Our work is done. :^)

      Apparently I had a lot of free time on my hands today.

      • Ha! We’re all the better for your downtime today, Matt. There’s this whole group of you that have an amazing, granular knowledge of Westport’s unique and super interesting music history. Thanks for taking the time to share your passion.

    • Morley, Reading 06880 comments continues to amaze me! Dan posts some subject and within an hour, it’s analyzed in depth!

  17. Adam Schwartz '75

    REO Speedwagon was recording their first LP in Bridgeport and couldn’t find anywhere to stay close by so they drove around and somehow found this house for rent in Westport. I believe they stayed there for a little over 2 months in the summer of 1970 until the album was completed. The song was written in less than an hour. (It’s not the most sophisticated song or album.) REO wasn’t that big on the east coast at that time since they were from Illinois. But I was stationed at Tinker AFB, OKC in the late ’70s and they were huge in the midwest. Saw them live in 1979 and I was a huge fan after that! I’ve seen them live 5 times since and didn’t have a clue this song was about Westport until 5 years ago.