Question Box: Answers #3

Our Question Box is once again full.

Here are the latest answers — to the best of my ability, anyway. I’m stumped by many of these queries. So readers: Please chime in with any additional information. Click “Comments” below.

And if you’ve got a question for our box, just email


Where does the name “Compo” come from? (Art Hayes)

What a great, basic question!

Compo (“Compaug”) means “bear’s fishing ground.” It’s a Native American name, from the early Paugussett tribe.

it’s been a while since a bear went fishing at Compo. But that’s where the name of the beach comes from.


A recent photo showing the “bridge to nowhere” off Parker Harding Plaza started the wheels of memory turning. Was it there in the late 1960s? (Susan Hopkins, Elizabeth, Colorado)

Westport’s favorite bridge to nowhere: Parker Harding Plaza (Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

Another excellent question! It was built — I believe — in the early 1970s. I’m not sure, however, who sponsored it, or why.

If any readers have the back story, let us know!


What’s up with the missing/deactivated blinking yellow traffic lights at the Westport Fire Department’s headquarters on Post Road East?

Formerly, 2 cables held 2 blinking lights each. They turned red to stop traffic in all directions when fire trucks exited the station.

A few months ago, the cable that held the pair of blinkers facing eastbound traffic lay on the ground opposite the fire station. Did the cable break? Were the lights removed on purpose? The cable holding the 2 lights facing westbound traffic are still in place, but deactivated. (Wendy Crowther)

Deputy chief Michael Kronick says: “The computer that controls the light died earlier this year. We have contacted a vendor to replace and upgrade the system.

Unfortunately, the computer is on back order because of the worldwide microprocessor order. We have no timeline for when the controls will be available.”

Fire headquarters, near the (now-non-) blinking lights.


From time to time, we see wildlife with tags like the one below. Who tags them — and why? (Gail Berritt)

(Photo/Gail Berritt)

I’ll pass this one of to our wildlife experts. Click comments below, please!


A recent posting on Facebook about Carvel elicited plenty of likes and comments. But no one seems to know when it opened. Do you? (Fred Cantor)

Nope! But you and I both remember it from our high school days in the 1970s. And I remember it from earlier — with a huge ice cream cone on the top of the building. That’s been long gone, victim of either a hurricane or zoning regulation, no doubt.

There must be former Carvel employees out there who know when the ice cream stand — one of the longest-running businesses in Westport — first opened. Let us know!

Iconic Westport.


Have a question for the Question Box? Email




21 responses to “Question Box: Answers #3

  1. About the goose… CT DEEP (or in some states it could be another group) tags (bands) them. I’ve helped band them in the past. Sherwood Island is one of the usual banding spots. It helps track their migration (or in the case of Canada Geese lack of). All of the rounded up geese are given a leg band that is registered with US Fish & Wildlife. Hunters report the band number when they kill a goose. As a hunter all the geese I’ve ever taken around Westport have been banded in… Westport. They don’t move around much. The neck collar is a state thing. Sometimes DEEP (or volunteers) will go around and record collars since they are easy to see.

  2. Barbara Sherburne '67

    I went to high school with the daughter of the owners of Carvel, and I believe her name was Bonnie Faltings. It would be a miracle if I got that right. I was at Staples from ’64 to ’67, so it was there in ’64 at least. Many an afternoon we walked there and got an ice cream cone. Those were the days!

  3. The “Bridge to Nowhere” was constructed as a requirement of the settlement of the final piece of litigation over development of Gotham Island. (There were several law suits and appeals)

  4. That should read, Gorham Island of course

    • the lawsuit came about, I believe, because the old Victorian house on Gorham Island was torn down figuratively (if not literally) in the middle of the night, when the zoning was changed from residential to commercial. Am I right, Larry?

  5. Wendy Crowther

    I reported my sighting of Goose H290 to the USGS (US Geological Survey) about a month ago when I saw it walking on Compo Beach. They reported back to me that it is a female that was hatched in 2016 or earlier. She was banded by the Ct Dept of Environmental Protection in North Franklin, CT.

    And thanks, Dan, for the answer to the traffic signal issue at Fire Headquarters.

  6. The ice cream cone above Carvel, as well as the giant red and white bucket over Kentucky Fried Chicken, came down in the 1970s at the direction of the town’s Architectural Review Board, in an effort to make the Post Road look less commercial.

  7. Harris M. Falk

    Carvel opened in August 1954.

  8. Bob Weingarten

    There was also a Frazier Forman Peters stone house on Gorham Island which was also demolished. Not sure if this was also torn down at night!

  9. Kathy Herstein Weiss

    I,too, went to school at Staples ’64-’67 with the daughter of the owner of the Carvel at that time. Yes–her name is Bonnie Faltings and we sat together at our 50th class reunion in 2017. Her dad owned the store and she told me how she would go there every day after school to work. What a busy and fun place it was “back in the day!!”

    • Barbara Sherburne '67

      Thank you, Kathy Weiss. So I had the name correctly on my first post. I checked the yearbook, and she is not in there. Did I miss her somehow? It’s funny, but I don’t remember Bonnie working there every day after school. I vaguely seem to remember that she had an older sister who worked there. That might be an incorrect memory though. It’s going back a lot of years.

  10. It brings me great joy to see generational delight in a Carvel cone! Conjures up great memories of years past!

  11. No Dan, you’re not right on 2 counts: the house, which looked beautiful photographed from a distance on a Westport poster, had actually been moved from a prior location to the island and was used to house workers on the I-95 project. It was full of dry rot and insect damage so when a small CAT was run against it – in the daytime – it simply collapsed. We offered the lintels, window frames, mantlepiece and other elements that seemed of historic value to anyone who would take them, but there were no takers.

    More importantly, however, the island, which is and was accessible from Parker Harding Plaza, was already zoned for commercial use when it was acquired by my client. That was consistent with the zoning of all of the neighboring downtown properties, but had apparently not been recognized by the planners. So it came as something of an unpleasant surprise that my client proposed to develop it for a use for which it was (inadvertently) already zoned, which is what led to all of the litigation and attempts to derail the project.
    The building itself was the result of an architectural competition, and the walkways through the wetlands were something the Conservation Commission wanted to have included in the ultimate settlement,

  12. Richard W. Alley

    Mr. Faltings was the original owner of Carvel. He had 3 daughters, Bonnie, Mary Jane and Eleanor. When he retired, Eleanor Faltings and her husband ran the store for many years. Her married name was Eleanor Schurman.

    • Barbara Sherburne '67

      How very interesting, Richard. I did not know Mr. Faltings was the original owner of Carvel, and that it started in 1954. It was always there as far as what we kids knew growing up.

  13. Richard W. Alley

    As to timing, Ellie graduated from Staples in 1956 so the Carvel store was open prior to that time.

  14. Suzanne Wilson

    Compo is also a material used to decorate picture frames. All these years I thought that was the origin, considering Westport was an artist’s colony!–
    “frame decoration is made of composite or ‘compo’: a moulding material usually consisting of Gilder’s whiting (chalk powder), glue, oil and rosin. Compo was invented in the late 18th century as a cheaper and less time-consuming alternative to carved wooden decoration.”