Photo Challenge #328

Last week’s Photo Challenge showed a close-up of a bit of the Compo Beach playground. It was kind of obvious, even though I cropped Patricia McMahon’s image as closely as I could. (Click here to see.)

But leave it to Rick Benson — who has forgotten more about Westport than I’ve ever known — to provide the back story:

This is a wheel from the original playground, taken down in April 1989 to make room for the first Robert Leathers Community Built playground.

When that wore out and the current one was built, this was relocated again to the “new playground.”

The “original playground” Rick refers to was actually just a monkey bar, swing set and whirligig adjacent to the basketball courts.

The plan for the first Leathers playground created an enormous controversy.

Playground opponents — no, that’s not an oxymoron — feared a ruined beach vista. They worried the swings and ladders would be a magnet for out-of-towners, or taken over by beer-drinking, pot-smoking, sex-having teenagers.

The playground controversy brought the first — and only — death threat of 1st selectwoman Marty Hauhuth’s tenure.

Anti-playground activists obtained a court injunction. (They were not playing around.)

As soon as it was lifted, construction began. It was a magical weekend.

The playground quickly became one of Westport’s prime attractions. It did not ruin the view; it enhanced it. And the only problem now is that on beautiful days, too many people use it.

Congratulations to (besides Rick) Rich Stein, Totney Benson, Andrew Colabella, Evan Stein, John Richers and James Weisz.

All knew where to find last week’s Photo Challenge. Even if they didn’t all know as much about it as Rick does.

How about this week’s puzzle? If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Gene Borio)

19 responses to “Photo Challenge #328

  1. John Greenspan

    450 Post Road East office building, overlooking Trader Joe’s Compo Acres.

  2. Staples high school

  3. Andrew Colabella

    Building next to Trader Joe’s on the hill next to The Mews

  4. RE: The Playground — a now-deceased P&Z member objected on the grounds that the wood used to construct it would be laced with “huge amounts” of arsenic as a wood preservative, sickening the children playing on it.

  5. Shirlee Gordon

    Staples High School

  6. The Wells Fargo Wealth Management building facing Wells Fargo Bank

  7. Jonathan McClure

    Wells Fargo Wealth Management building up from Trader Joe’s

  8. Martha Witte

    Wells Fargo building facing Trader Joes Always bright at sunset!

  9. Michael Calise

    Hard not to know. The original building design approved by the P & Z included architecturally interesting forms which broke up the exterior façade and contained the window openings currently in place. In a show of hubris the developers omitted the architectural forms and put in the windows on a flat ugly building wall. Unfortunately the P & Z was never able to resolve the transgression. Accordingly ordinary folks are and will continue to be burdened with the current lifeless and unattractive façade until demolition time arrives.

  10. Lucy Kiermaier

    Ugly building on Gotham Island.

  11. Clark Thiemann

    Wells Fargo building

  12. Charles Gies

    The controversy over the playground well illustrates the BANANA principle. BANANA stands for “build absolutely nothing anywhere near anyone.”

  13. The office building on Gotham Island : only one with “gold” windows in Wspt.

  14. Where is the answer??

  15. Wells Fargo building partial west elevation overlooking Trader Joe’s
    Parking lot.

  16. Scott Brodie

    Dan, a “whirligig” is a wind-driven device, usually set up as a lawn ornament or weather-vane, with a rotating element such as arms, wings, or a propeller, possibly activating a simple mechanical linkage. The playground feature was a simple rotating bench — perhaps a rudimentary carousel or merry-go-round.

  17. It is the Wells Fargo building, overlooking Trader Joe’s. I did not know the back story of the facade — thank you, Michael Calise. And I never thought it looked like Staples High School, but now I can see the resemblance.