Restoring Historic Homes, One By One

Teardowns gets tons of publicity. The loss of familiar streetscapes — and their replacement by (often) bigger, more modern homes — is hard to miss.

Renovations are harder to see. Much of that work goes on inside. But they’re an important part of Westport life too.

Tracey Ialeggio Kelly was born and raised in Westport. Her father Tony Ialeggio — an architect for over 40 years — instilled in her a love for historic houses.

She graduated from Staples High School in 1991. Nineteen years later, she purchased a 1927 home on Colonial Road that was a prime candidate for demolition.

She restored it beautifully. In 2012 the Historic District Commission honored her with a Westport Preservation Award. It noted her sensitivity to the mass and scale of the historic Greens Farms Congregational Church neighborhood.

Tracey Ialeggio Kelly’s Colonial Road home … (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

“It is an example of how a small, modest house can be successfully preserved, expanded and adapted to the needs of a modern family on a small parcel of land,” the award said.

But Tracey was not through. Last July, she bought another historic house, on Sylvan Road North.

She asked Westport Museum of History & Culture house historian Bob Weingarten to research it. He found that the property was purchased by Charles and Frederick Fable — brothers who created Fable Funeral Home — in 1939, from Edward Nash.

… and her house on North Sylvan. (Photo/Megan Kelly)

Frederick died a few months later. His son — also named Frederick — continued to build the house, with his uncle Charles. It remained in the family until 1985.

Tracey’s friend Andy Dehler surprised her on Christmas with a historic house plaque. It’s one of many that remind everyone who passes that history continues to live in town.

We just have to know where to look.

Tracey Ialeggio Kelly, with her historic home plaque. (Photo/Megan Kelly)

5 responses to “Restoring Historic Homes, One By One

  1. Michael Calise

    Tony has a long history of historic preservation and functional improvement of existing older homes. It is a pleasure to see Tracy’s interest and respect for the beauty and quality of Westport’s older construction. Thanks Dan, for highlighting this important and valuable part of our housing stock.

  2. Mary Schmerker

    Oh the joy this brings to my heart. Down the line of the Fable family was my brother’s good friend Freddy Fable. They were also business partners and ran C & F Texaco on the Post Road in the mid 1960’s. Thank you Tony and Tracy.

  3. Sally Kellogg

    Kudos!!!! My Grandfather Kellogg’s 1st wife (who had died at a very young age) was a Fable. The Nash’s were Wakeman, Bradley & Allen cousins on my mother’s side. (You may remember my Mom as Sally Deegan who worked in the Principal’s office at Staples.)

    Could you consider 3 Roosevelt Road built by my Kellogg grandparents? Dutch colonial facing the yacht basin? Last I looked, it was still standing.

  4. Glad to see a new regard for historic houses – in contrast to WestportNow’s Teardown of the Day. I hope there will be more features of classic Westport architecture.

    Since I knew every house on Sylvan Road I can mention that there were two Fable family houses, side by side, and sharing the same driveway. I remember them being built.