Friday Flashback #285

174 Hillspoint Road is the house everyone loves to hate.

Built in 1968, and located not far from Old Mill Beach, it looks vaguely Mediterranean. Westport Journal’s Thane Grauel described it as “a single-story house with a sort of terracotta mansard roof, white stucco-ish sides, narrow vertical windows and greenhouse windows like a fern bar.”

Historic District Commission members were happy — no, thrilled — to waive a 180-day period before demolition.

“When we put the (demolition) sign up, people walking by started applauding,” said chair William Harris.

So why is this “offspring of a Burger King and a diner” (architect Christopher Pagliaro’s words) part of this week’s “Friday Flashback” feature?

Because eagle-eyed “06880” reader Scott Smith saw a connection between it and another, now-long-gone structure.

For years, the architectural of 174 Hillspoint Road has reminded Smith of photos he’s seen of the Longshore bathhouse. It stood near the entrance to the pool and tennis courts, right about where the pavilion and snack bar are today.

Smith was not around then — the bathhouse was torn down in the 1970s — but in 2010 he chaired Longshore’s 50th anniversary celebration.

Here are 2 photos of that bathhouse:


Of course, that’s the same architecture that was seen for years at the current Parks & Recreation Department office, across the parking lot from the Longshore golf course pro shop.

Even after a renovation, you can see elements of the Longshore bathhouse — and 174 Hillspoint Road:

 (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Smith says that the bathhouse photos — many other images, videos and historical documents — were included on a website the Longshore 50th Commission created, with other committee members.

They were hosted on what was then called the Westport Historical Society’s website.

The WHS took down the content shortly after the anniversary. The committee gave the WHS a hard drive full of digitized historical material, along with a modest surplus from the group’s fundraising efforts.

“If anyone’s interested in further digging, that may be a good place to start,” Smith says.

18 responses to “Friday Flashback #285

  1. The bath houses!! Wow, that brings me back to the 70’s when I was at longshore pool every single day. Thanks for the memories!!

  2. I go back even further, but still remember the musty moldy smell inside the bath houses even more clearly than their exterior appearance.

    • So do I, Adam. there was some serious mildew going on there. And boy, was it dark. I also remember the “matron,” Anna, who was in charge of the bathhouses. She was old (probably 60!), and scared the hell out of me and every other kid I knew.

      • Anna Gilardi. A very kind woman. Her brother worked on the golf course. He might have been the caddy master.

  3. Michael Pettee

    is 174 Hillspoint Road the house which is built around an indoor pool?

    • Yes, I took care of that property for the Tse family for years. Indoor pool always had an odor when I was inside.

  4. The structure didn’t only house the locker room facilities; on the far right of the bottom bathhouse pic was the tennis pro shop. One of the best tennis players—boys—back in the day was Adam’s brother Barnaby.

    And, yes, Dan I am almost certain you are right that the name of the woman in charge of the locker facilities was named Anna.

    One final note: I think Howie “The Horse” Samuels was a weekend or summer resident of either 174 Hillspoint or the house next door.

  5. The Boathouse was constructed by FE Lewis to house his many watercraft. Parked alongside the complex was his massive yacht with a crew of 55 that burned tons of coal at see per day. He donated the ship to the US Navy during WWI and it patrolled Battery Park in NYC against U Boats.

  6. Richard Johnson

    It may also have been inspired by the original house and stables at Bluewater Hill, which also have red tile roofs and cream stucco siding.

    • I also took care of that property and the carriage house and the old caretaker’s house and cottage.

  7. I won’t miss the pseudo-Mediterranean house on Hillspoint and I hardly remember the Longshore bathhouses, but I do like the the house being used by the Parks & Recreation Dept. It’s a period piece, to be sure, but nicely designed, and with a balance of lines and shapes. I hope it stays.

  8. Lawrence Zlatkin

    I moved to Westport in 1992, and I remember the bathhouse or something similar– an older decrepit structure– near the pools and tennis courts until the new structure was built sometime in the late 1990s. Am I losing it? You noted that it was torn down in the 1970s.

  9. As a child the bathhouses were scary. My mom played tennis everyday. When I was little I roamed around quite a bit, there. I always thought Farrah had rented the house on Hillspoint for one summer in the late 70’s. That was the word on the street when I was 10 — about 77.

  10. supposedly Judy Collins also rented the Hillspoint house for a summer or two, but that may not be verified. Some may remember that the surrounding neighborhood had a nickname based on the last names of three families who lived there. Not fit for a family publication, unfortunately, but through coincidence all three names describe parts of the male anatomy.

  11. Michael Calise

    There is another story to this house. It was built by one man (Don Miro a local builder) who completed all except the electrical and heating with his own hands from the original excavation to the top of the roof. My recollection is that it took him three years from start to final completion.

  12. Michael Pettee

    If it’s the house I am thinking of, Downer Renshaw and family lived there and I think he was builder / developer for the rest of Lamplight Lane. I also remember that the electrical wiring in the house was all low voltage, everywhere. And it had a microwave oven long before they were common.