Westport teardowns happen so often, they’re not news.
This one might be.
A 5,400-square foot, 5-bedroom, 4 1/2-bathroom 1930 Tudor at 36 Green Acre Lane — well known by visitors to nearby Haskins Preserve — will be demolished soon. A 180-day waiting period set by the Historic District Commission has expired.
Westport Journal reports that property was sold in 2020 for $2,570,000.
Who you gonna believe?
The sign on Jersey Mike’s says “Permanently Closed.” A couple of screen shots on social media show the Westport location as “Temporarily Closed for Renovation.” The app and website list it along with all the others as open.
Meanwhile, the phone rings there, but no one answers.
It’s late March. April 15 — Tax Day — is closer than you think.
Help is closer than you think too — at least, for preparing your forms.
No-cost, full-service tax preparation assistance is available, with special attention to seniors and low- to moderate-income households.
The program — offered by Westport’s Department of Human Services, through VITA/IRS volunteers — includes both personal counseling by appointment at Town Hall and the Senior Center, and virtually through a secure website.
Counseling at Town Hall is available Mondays (1 to 6 p.m.) and the Senior Center (Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.). Appointments are required; call 860-590-8910.
Click here for the virtual option.
The free Tax Assistance Program is available to all individual filers regardless of income or age. Last year, more than 5,000 returns were prepared and filed – almost all electronically – by the counselor group that services Westport. Federal refunds totaling $4,500,000 were received by clients..
Staples High School Class of 1972 graduates Tom McCann and his wife Mary-Jo Birtwell McCann live on Nantucket now.
But they’re helping Ukraine relief efforts. And they invite Westporters to participate.
For the past 10 days, Mary-Jo shopped and shipped for items to send to 2 refugee centers in Poland. Next week, Tom and 4 others from the island will head to those centers, to assist personally.
Financial support is needed for the mission. Venmo this link, or send a check to: Tom McCann, 35 Hummock Pond Road, Nantucket, MA 02554.
Speaking of Ukraine: Steve Taranko reports that a recent shipment of tourniquets — donated by generous Westporters and others — has arrived overseas.
Unfortunately, they’re desperately needed.
Bob Knoebel — longtime Westport YMCA aquatics director and Water Rats coach — now lives in Idaho. The other day, he traveled east and visited with his own Staples High School swim coach from 51 years ago, Bruce Gardiner.
Bruce is retired, after a long career as director of admissions at Lehigh University. Bob posted a photo on Facebook, adding: “Thanking you properly for being a fantastic coach, and apologizing for the awkward, tongue-tied thank you I delivered at the banquet as team captain in 1971.”
Bob also sends along an update on his godson Enrique, profiled 4 years ago on “06880”:
He’s graduating from Bates College in May with a double major in economics and Latin American studies, and landed a job at First Republic Bank in San Francisco.
In the Small World Department: He worked remotely from campus this year for native Westporters and Water Rats David and Danny Platow who are at a New York branch of First Republic.
Bob had nothing to do with it, though. Enrique was linked to them by his boss, after interning for her last summer in San Francisco.
Staples just wrapped up a very successful World Language Week.
Each day began with music related to the Language of the Day — Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin and Mandarin. Morning announcements (including the Pledge of Allegiance) were made by students, in the language of the day.
Language clubs raised awareness — and funds for less fortunate youngsters in other countries.
The Italian Club, for example, collected $400 for at-risk youths in Napoli. The club also offered Italian pins, bracelets, lanyards and Italian goodie bags. Grazie! (Hat tip: Bruno Guiduli)
In September, the Westport Unitarian Church high school youth group embarked on an intensive environmental initiative. The goal was to become more mindful of how everyday decisions profoundly affect the Earth.
That effort culminates next month in a trip to Alaska, to see the effects of climate change close up. Members hope to return both nourished by nature, and awakened to the realization that we live on an amazing planet that we often take for granted.
To help fund their trip, the youth group presents an “Afternoon of Music and Laughter.” It’s this Sunday (March 27, 2 p.m., both in-person at the Unitarian Church and via Zoom). The program includes vocal music, classical piano and guitar, comedy routines and more.
Tickets are $25 each. They’re available at the door, and online (click here).
Thomas Howard, a well-respected economist, lifelong adventurer and Westport resident, died last week while mountaineering in the Adirondacks. He was 63.
His family says, “Many will remember him for his deep morality, thoughtfulness, loving nature, intellectual capacity, generosity, and playful sense of humor.”
He was born in 1958 in Richmond, Virginia. At both the Highgate School in London and Hopkins School in New Haven he was an avid track and cross country runner, at one point setting the 10K record in Britain for his age group.
At Dartmouth College he studied math under John Kemeny. and became his teaching assistant. He completed an honors thesis exploring the equations and logic required to teach computers to talk. He earned a doctorate in economics from Yale University, where he expanded on an interest in econometrics and completed a dissertation on employment uncertainty under advisor Robert Shiller.
During his 40-plus year career Tom worked as a computer programmer for the Pentagon, a macroeconomist for Fuji Bank, and a consultant for Arthur D. Little and PIRA Energy. He was skilled in forecasting, econometrics, data analysis, and formulating options trading strategies. Other employers included Louis Dreyfus, Statoil and, most recently, the Department of Defense.
Tom was an accomplished mountaineer and hiker. He spent over 40 years climbing some of the most challenging mountains on the globe: ascending Mt. McKinley, Mt. Huascaran in Peru and Xixabangma Peak in the Himalayas, to name a few. He hiked the 273-mile Long Trail in Vermont and the entirety of the 2,000-mile Appalachian Trail, from Maine to Georgia. In October 2021 he crossed the entire White Mountain Presidential Range in one day. Tom aspired to climb the second-highest mountain on all 7 continents. Hw finished the first part of this journey when he scaled Mt. Kenya in the fall of 2021.
Tom is survived by his wife, Zhu Zhang Howard (Julie), and daughters Gwendolyn and Madison Howard. He met Julie while working in New York; they married in 1993, and moved to Westport in 1997. He is also survived by his siblings Margaret Paar of Niantic; James Elbert of Wallingford; Amy Howard Chase of New Rochelle, New York; Mary Howard of Branford; Martha Howard of Guilford, and Emily Howard of Washington, DC, plus many nieces and nephews.
Visitation hours at the Courtyard Marriott, 474 Main Street, Norwalk will be tomorrow (Friday, March 25, 5-8 p.m.). A Funeral Mass will be held Saturday, (March 26, 11 a.m., St. Luke Church), and can be viewed via livestream. A reception will follow to celebrate his life. Masks are recommended.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the name of Tom Howard to Search and Rescue of the Northern Adirondacks, benefitting search and rescue efforts in the Northern Adirondacks, or St, Luke Church.
Today is pretty gray. Two days ago, dogs romped on Compo — as our “Westport … Naturally” feature shows. Their time is limited though. On April 1, they’re banned from the beach for 6 months.
And finally … in honor of Staples High’s World Language Week (story above), and the fundraising work of the school’s Italian Club, here’s a song everyone loves:
Why would anyone want to demolish such a beautiful home? It should absolutely be saved.
Good question, Tracy. The owners of the property should be ashamed to live in town after destroying a beauty such as that…who the the hell do they think they are?
How is the donated Ukrainian aid from Westport getting to Ukraine? Is it consolidated by a charity who organizes shipment?
Shout out to Bob Knoebel and Mary Jo Birtwell and Tom McCabe……total rock stars.
Does anyone know if the tax prep help is only for Westport residents?
Puzzled about the house being a story.
As for it’s beauty, Tudor style is definitely an acquired taste.
As for it’s historical significnace, it might have been built in 1930, and I could be wrong, but I doubt that that is the original structure.
As for why it’s being torn down, maybe it’s horrible collection of code violations that would require a tremendous investment to live in.
The only thing that surprises me is that $2.6 million seems like a lot to spend on house you’re going to tear down.
What code violations does it have? I took a quick look online and did not see any. Or are you just making it up?
This teardown is disgusting. Set aside whether you like the aesthetics, which is a matter of taste (though I’d stack this up against any builder special any day). The environmental impact of throwing out a house that’s built using old-growth wood and other materials that will last centuries when properly maintained to be replaced by a McMansion with plastic windows that will be in a landfill in 20 years is devastating. Not to mention the wasted artistry of hand-carved balustrades, beams, and mantels, which are literally irreplaceable. It is antithetical to the community Westport used to be and still pretends at being – environmentally conscious and artistically focused.
There is a real tragedy of the commons going on. People live in Westport for its beauty and charm, which depends in large part on houses like this. We should not become an upscale Levittown, though we are already well on our way. Time to reconsider strict protections for historical structures townwide, not just in the handful of historic districts that exist.
That house has one of if not the largest residential pools in Westport, there must be a story behind it. I know they used to throw WRAT parties there.
Heartwarming to see Coach Gardiner and Bob Knoebel at Lehigh. I first met Coach Gardiner as a young swimmer at the old Y and he later coached me during my one season on the Lehigh swim team (‘76-‘77). A great guy whose contributions to Lehigh extend far beyond the pool.
Very sad to see houses like 36 Green Acre Lane get torn down for new houses that are inferior build quality. The throwaway culture is sad. If any neighbors that own many acres want to break off an acre, I’d look into moving the house!
We walk past this home every day and I can’t believe anyone would tear down this beauty. If that’s truly the plan, not just to gut it, shame on them for choosing to destroy a historical, irreplaceable gem.
Kudos to all of the students, cafeteria staff, library staff and World Language Department staff for organizing a successful National Foreign Language Week!! The kids had a blast- I am so proud of everyone involved!