Remembering 70 Compo Mill Cove

On the one hand, it was just another in Westport Journal’s continuing coverage of teardown homes. Last week, they reported that 70 Compo Mill Cove will soon be demolished.

The website noted the facts: “Built in 1922, the 2-story cape has 1,000-square-feet of living space, four bedrooms, one and a half baths, piers, a deck and a finished upper story.”

It’s just one more loss of an old house — though more visible than most, to anyone gazing across Old Mill Beach, while walking on Hillspoint Road.

70 Compo Mill Cove (Photo courtesy of Westport Journal)

But this is a particularly historic house. It belonged to longtime town historian — and beloved civic volunteer — Allen Raymond.

It also was the scene of one of my most memorable moments as publisher of “06880.” In the early spring of 2014 I was privileged to be with Allen, as he made his last visit to the home that had belonged to his family since 1922.

He was 91, and dying. But as we sat in a sun-filled room by the water, his eyes shone.

It was both a difficult piece to write, and an easy one. The words flowed, but I knew they had to be right.

Here’s how I began:

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Allen Raymond has lived on Compo Cove since 1922.

The unique, beautiful spit of land drew his parents to Westport nearly a century ago, and kept Allen here ever since. (He added a house on King’s Highway, which is perfectly fitting. It’s the most historic part of town, and no one knows Westport’s history better than Allen Raymond.)

Allen is 91 years old now, and his heart is failing. This afternoon — the first sparkling day of spring — he visited his beloved Old Mill home. It’s rented out, but he sat on the porch, gazed at the rippling high tide and spectacular views of Compo Hill, and reminisced.

Allen Raymond this afternoon, in the Compo Cove home he has loved for 91 years. (Photo/Scott Smith)

Allen Raymond this afternoon, in the Compo Cove home he has loved for 91 years. (Photo/Scott Smith)

Allen spoke about his childhood days on the water, his summers growing up, and the life he’s lived here — and loved — ever since.

What a remarkable 9 decades Allen has spent in town.

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You can click here to read the rest of the story, and learn more about the amazing Allen Raymond. (Spoiler alert: He’s one of the main reasons the town owns Longshore today.)

We should not forget people like him — the men and women who made Westport what it is.

And though it soon will be gone, we should not forget the small homes like his, which nurtured his lifelong love for the town — and contributed mightily to its beauty.

Allen Raymond, March 2014. (Photo/Scott Smith)

 

18 responses to “Remembering 70 Compo Mill Cove

  1. Thank you for posting this.

  2. Well Done Dan, We’ll Done!

  3. Patricia McMahon

    Absolutely wonderful Dan!!!!

  4. Reread your wonderful piece about SIR Allen. Grateful I had the honor and pleasure to consult with him a few times about historic listings I had in the past – so generous of his time, knowledge and kind spirit. Sorry to see his family home needs to go.

  5. Beautiful, Dan. I knew Al Raymond and you captured him well.

    • Inspiring and lovely — thanks.

      • Thank you for this wonderful piece about Allen Raymond and Compo Cove plus the Old Mill Beach. Al was a wonderful
        Part of Westport and our community at the Old Mill I live at 25 Old Mill for many years and often saw him in the parking lot. Another small functional home gone from our history. Mine is still there but due to Sandy dramatically different.

  6. Emily Bernhard and Joe Brunette

    I will add my gratitude to those of others for having known Allen. Thank you for the reminder, Dan. Ken Bernhard

  7. Thank you, Dan, for this timely reminder of one of Westport’s true historic figures.

  8. As yourself is Dan, one of the true glues that keeps our town together…

  9. Thank you, Dan. Allen Raymond impacted our community in so many wonderful ways. Both the man and his legacy are remarkable.

  10. A Westport icon.

  11. Allen Raymond was at outstanding Westport leader for over fifty years. Barbara and he met at the UofMichigan and settled in Westport. Allen had decided as a little boy living in Buffalo and spending summers in Westport that when he grew up he wanted to live here. A warm, loving kind hearted man who was the ultimate gentleman. He will be long remembered by Allen Raymond Lane at the YMCA where he was president and later chairman of the board. Shame that we will lose his cottage home at Compo Cove

  12. BEAUTIFUL MEMORY. THANKS

  13. Just a shame…

  14. Alan was indeed a gentleman and a scholar! I was fortunate to know him on the Board of what was then the Westport Historic Society. One day, as I brought some out-of-town guests on a tour of Compo Cove, Alan appeared in his garden. Within minutes we were escorted into the yellow house for a cocktail and heard the marvelous history of his neighborhood Truly a special memory!

  15. I was one of the very fortunate ones, who lived at 70 Compo Mill Cove. I rented the Raymond’s house in 1993/94 with my sister and future husband. I spent my days planning my wedding, breathing in the salty sea air and watching the cycles of the moon.

    Living there was like living outside in nature. It was magical. During the icy winter I walked along the beach, conscious of the ebb and flow of the tides. Green parrots squawked and pecked the sand, and the wind made my skin glow.

    Walking down then concrete sidewalk, and over the bridges was a meditation.
    Passing by the houses tucked away for the season, giant bushes of rosa rugosa to snack on and a few neighbors to say hello to. People crabbing, shooting stars and the glowing phosphorescence when the tide was right.

    The Raymond’s house was very special indeed. It felt like a sacred site as did all of Compo Mill Cove. I hope the new owners feel the vibrancy and beauty of this small spit of land. And of course…thank you Al.

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