Roundup: Historic Homes, Homes With Hope, DMV, More

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The Historic District Commission meets on March 9 (7 p.m., Zoom). Among the agenda items, they’ll discuss demolition requests for 70 Compo Mill Cove.

From 1922 until his death in 2014, that was Allen Raymond’s home. A beloved civic volunteer who gave time, talent and money to Westport in countless ways, he paid a final visit there exactly a month before he died, age 91.

70 Compo Mill Cove

Also on the agenda are demolition requests for:

  • 10 Scofield Place
  • 32 Owenoke Park
  • 19 Old Orchard Road,

In addition, the Historic District Commission will be asked to approve:

  • An application for exterior repairs, new windows and siding at 18 Post Road West (National Hall), in a National Historic District
  • Eligibility for a Historic Residential Structures Special Permit for 188 Cross Highway
  • Exterior repairs at 39 Cross Highway, a local history property.

Click here for the full agenda, including log-in information and details for public comment.

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Today is Giving Day. Homes with Hope — Westport’s wonderful supportive housing organization — is asking for help.

Just as they offer a variety of solutions — shelters, single-family homes, apartments and affordable housing, plus food and mentoring — there are several ways to support neighbors in need.

You can make a donation (click here).

You can post on social media, and ask your network to help.

You can create your own fundraiser too.

The tagline for Giving Day is “give where you live.” For people with nowhere to live, Homes with Hope can be life-saving.

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Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d type: Thank you, DMV.

When my driver’s license renewal came up, I was not one of the lucky thousands who can do it online. Dutifully, I made an appointment. And prepared for the worst.

But the pandemic has goosed the notoriously inefficient, user-unfriendly department into new ways of working.

And boy, do they work.

I drove to Norwalk. My temperature was checked; then I was checked in quickly. I got a number. Two minutes later, it was called.

The clerk — a Westporter! — was friendly and funny. The paperwork was quick; the photo was, well, a driver’s license photo. I thanked her, and headed home.

Total elapsed time, door to door: 39 minutes.

I’ve waited longer than that while talking with a DMV clerk at his window in the past.

Like I said: Thank you, DMV!

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What have you been dying to ask superintendent of schools Thomas Scarice?

This afternoon at 3:15, you get your chance.

Just head to Instagram Live (@WestportMagazine), and fire away.

Can’t wait. You can DM your questions ahead of time: @DaveBriggsTV.

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During the pandemic, “CBS This Morning” has been honoring some of the 500,000 Americans who have died of COVID.

Tuesday’s show paid tribute to Sonny Fox. The longtime Weston resident — a legendary kids’ TV show host, among many other accomplishments — died last month, at 95.

Click here to view. (Hat tip: Larry Perlstein)

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And finally … today we celebrate 3 important holidays. February 25 is National Toast Day …

… and National Chili Day …

… and National Rubber Ducky Day.

14 responses to “Roundup: Historic Homes, Homes With Hope, DMV, More

  1. So Happy you are highlighting the work of the HDC. They do important work without any fanfare. They don’t get paid and spend their personal time to do many hours of prepping for each structure in addition to the many hours at the meetings all to save Westport’s character & history. My wife and I restored 2 historical homes in Westport and rely on the HDC to keep them protected from demolition and disfigurement with less then the protections they deserve. We should give them more tools to do it better.

    • Mark, more of the details of the mysterious town-owned stone bridge preservation project that the HDC voted years go to move forward with are coming back to me: I now recall that you wife (whom is, um, a sitting member of the HDC) was on the very HDC sub-committee which was tasked with making that stone bridge historic designation project a reality. I believe I sat in on a meeting or two. Perhaps you could just ask her what happened to the project. I’m thinking maybe a dingo ate it. But that’s just me.

  2. Mark, maybe you could learn whatever happened to the hdc’s plan to designate our town’s endangered stone bridges as local historic properties. It voted to move forward years ago after the idea came up on 06880 and received cosiderable public support.

  3. Thank you again Allan Raymond!
    Allen is a true hero of Westport.
    For those who may not be familiar with or would like a reminder of Allen’s contributions, please follow this link Dan has referenced above:
    https://06880danwoog.com/2014/04/01/thank-you-allen-raymond/

  4. Years ago I sat on a committee with Allan and he held a meeting at his beach house. We were all charmed. I always look for it when driving by the beach, happy to see that bit of history sitting between all the McMansions. I’ll be sorry to see it go.

  5. Our HDC has substantially no power other than to delay teardowns and to approve or not approve exterior changes to houses that have, I believe, limits based upon historic character set forth in the land records for the house or as to structures covered by certain historic designation rules adopted by Town bodies. As with most volunteer Town bodies, the volunteers do commit quite a bit of time. My personal judgment is that even without legal power, our present HDC could be more aggressive in addressing historic issues and preservation. Recently, I e mailed the HDC and asked the members to consider submitting comments to the P&Z Commission to see if anything could be done by that Commission to preserve the Hotchner house. That house was being torn down by the developer of the four acre Hotchner site. The HDC was advised by Town counsel that such personal efforts of persuasion by any member of the HDC to another Town Body to try to preserve an historic home was inappropriate. I disagreed with that legal advice, but what most troubled me was that no member of the HDC appears to also have questioned that advice. That is an example of what I mean when I use the word aggressive.
    Don Bergmann

  6. Went to renew my license a couple of years ago. I always take a book to these kinds of things to use the time well. I was reading a 1200 page biography, and the woman in front of me saw it and suggested that I might not have brought enough reading!

  7. Peter Jennings, Greens Farms Church Historian

    What a shame that the long time Town Historians favorite house is slated for demolition. I feel the earth rumbling as Allen and Barbara Raymond are turning in their graves at even the thought of this !

  8. Any support to move the house to Long Shore? Seems like it may be an appropriate location for someone who gave so much. It looks like a fairly small cottage and it’s a short distance. Maybe there is a more appropriate spot? Nope…I have no idea of the total logistics involved in such a feat. But it’s been done before and this town may have the resources to do it. Side note: What happened to the house going up at the Positano’s location?

    • A cease-and-desist order was placed on the Positano’s house construction, due to permit violations. That was months ago. Nothing has happened since.

  9. Thanks for the update! Dan, your archived article on this house and man who owned it really speaks to the fabric of Westport.

  10. Does anyone know if Allen Raymond was related to Eli Raymond?
    My dad had lots of stories about his friend Eli Raymond.

  11. Sad that it has come to this for Allen’s place. Of course, he was opposed to the very preservation tools which would have saved his house from demolition. He even took issue with those historic plaques that some people put up. If memory serves, he called them “scarlet letters”.

    • Bill Strittmatter

      Indeed. I only knew him in passing – he was friends with my father-in-law – but I doubt he would be that worked up about it much less rolling over in his grave as suggested previously. He would more likely take the position that the previous owners of a house we own took – after telling us why they did certain things in the design, they said “It’s your house now, do what you want with it”.

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