New Fence At Old Mill

One of the most scenic views in Westport — Sherwood Mill Pond, as seen from the walking path between Old Mill and Compo Cove — no longer looks quite as lovely.

Nearby residents — and the many folks who enjoy strolling and fishing there — were stunned yesterday to discover a new fence. It runs the length of the property.

Though the town of Westport owns much of that land, it does not own the strip where the fence was erected.

It’s built on private property, owned by the Northrop family. They also own the oyster house on Hummock Island in the middle of Sherwood Mill Pond, and farm oysters in its waters.

The Northrop family has not yet commented on the new fence.



23 responses to “New Fence At Old Mill

  1. IMO it looks like a liability issue to me to not have a fence there.

  2. Ive lived here all my life, and ive noticed tihs pattern over and over, no one can enjoy anything in this town without it eventually being controlled, restricted, commodified or watered down via public opinon/interference. Ive fished at that spot for years, beautful piece of scenery, NOPE, gotta put up a fence, cant let anyone enjoy MY view from MY land that I OWN with MY MONEY. liability wah wah wah. reminds me of the old native american saying, “when the last tree is cut down and the last river dried up, the white man will realize you cant eat money”. Westport and westporters love to take natural areas and ruin them. such an ugly town with ugly people. wealth clearly doesnt buy good taste

  3. “Mr. Northrop, tear down this wall.”

  4. Cheryl McKenna Kritzer

    Well this is the same family that tried to put the oyster guy that owned Gloria boat out of biz. Well I won’t be buying their oysters anymore … maybe they understand money more than sharing land and views …

    • Susan Farley (NYC)

      that isn’t true re the Northrop Family trying to put Al Sterling out of business, Al greatly miscalculated where they were working V what were his ‘leased oyster bed areas’. The Northrop Family was actually incredibly kind to Alan re his unfair criticism of them. (they’re too nice to clear that up publicly So I will).

      • Cheryl McKenna Kritzer

        One man one boat and many years in court fighting with this family to farm his oyster beds . I’m sure that the Northrop family does not want to shine another light on this issue . Call it class if you want . I call it a savvy move to stay silent least we all stop buying their oysters and taking the tour to the oyster house . I think this killed our local oyster man . Northrop’s are a Norwalk clan I believe… I may be wrong here …
        it’s a sad story known by many ……

        • Susan Farley (NYC)

          I don’t blame you for thinking all of that, I did too! but when I heard their side and then Alan finally explained to me the full story and the rationale behind his accusations, the ‘confusion’ cleared up. he actually ‘sold’ the leases to his oyster beds a few years before he passed away so he was very comfortable those last few years. (Dan Woog, Skip Lane helped him to get that done and in that process he acknowledged he was more upset he hadn’t been able to keep up technology wise than that Northrop Family had infringed on his oyster beds, because in fact they def had not done that). again, I totally understand your feelings I had the same feelings before we really got to know exactly what the problem was, who was doing and not doing what … I like to think Alan is happy this confusion came up again so people who didn’t know the truth can = they can stop thinking Northrop did anything wrong, inconsiderate, etc., because they had not.

          • Cheryl McKenna Kritzer

            Susan I have a boat slip next to his dingy he used to get to Gloria at Longshore. I spoke to him every weekend . He was still telling me they killed his business right up until his death. I’m sorry but I don’t believe your story but I’ll check with Skip and Dan . He was sad and beaten down … one man one boat is the real story . He was not well off at the end in my humble opinion.

            • def go and check, i.e., I think you’ll feel better when you know the whole story. Also check with the coast guard who at least twice officially did surprise heli-fly over-checks to follow up on his complaints.

              I’m a little restrained in what I can say about Alan after he ‘sold the leases to the oyster beds’ because I still really feel for him, but what had him depressed physically and emotionally was much more than oyster beds, not being able to keep up with technology, feeling out manned because he was indeed one man, one boat, i.e., after Gloria passed away … again, I think, esp if you’re not the only one who still holds this misconception, it’s good this misunderstanding popped up again … to be cleared up.

  5. Kathleen Fazio

    Oh how lovely. I have often wondered if the 2nd structure they added in the pond is legal- I only ever remember there being one small cottage out in the pond

  6. Thomas A Orofino

    Does the Northrop family own the land or just the fishing right to the Mill Pond?

  7. How sad… and how selfish.

  8. Oyster guy was a close friend of ours, Alan Sterling. Great man. I just happened to walk by this today and noticed the new fence. seems very out of place to me and probably anybody who has ever enjoyed the walk over the two bridges…. really bummed me out. But even with the fence in place, people (kids) can just climb on the bridge and access the “private land”. I just wonder if the next step is a security guard to monitor this property. Sad.

  9. Let’s see, for decades there was no fence there — it was my favorite lovely spot to end a walk in, maybe spot a horseshoe crab or two, and admire the view before turning back. What can they be thinking?! not just any fence but THAT fence?? Can anything be done?

  10. Sheila Wittenberg

    So how are his customers who illegally park all over Burnham hill, sherwood drive and my road, lamplight lane, and other roads going to use to get on to his gas powered motorboat for $100 with no refund to eat oysters on an island with no running water, electricity, and two floating port-a-johns?

    I’m all for the oystering. However, the tours and now the fence and embarking/disembarking on town property has got to stop.

  11. Curious, 99% of the photos posted on 06880 are attributed to the photographer, why not these?

  12. Readers: Check out the follow-up story – the fence is temporary.

  13. Ugly. A town as classy as Westport can do better. To what purpose?

  14. Melinda Hemson

    What ever the reasons are and no matter how ugly the fence is, the owner has the right to put up a fence on his privately owned property. To be honest, I’m surprised there wasn’t one there before. Any insurance provider would be aghast at the liability here. Just last summer, I was threatened with non-renewal because I didn’t have a railing on one side of my deck stairs and there is only 3 steps. How did he go this long without some insurance person insisting on a fence years ago being that the general public can and does walk there daily. That is not the case at this point, I know, I’m just putting it out there.
    Look, I grew up in Westport. My family goes back many generations in town. I have not lived there in 20 years however, this seems like another example of how Westport has become a town of entitled residents. They seem to forget that while they were able to access this property all this time, it did not belong to them or the town so they have no right to it and since they don’t pay the taxes or insurance, they have no right to complain.