[OPINION] Clean Up Our Minute Man!

Like many longtime Westporters, Mike Elliot loves the Minute Man. Like the Compo cannons and Veterans Green doughboy, it is a Westport landmark.

However, the 1972 Staples High School graduate writes:

“The grassy area surrounding the stature always look like crap. It is impossible to mow, weeds always overtake it, and frankly it looks awful.

Westport Garden Club flowers temporarily hid the base of the Minute Man monument.

“It needs to be redone — but with a no-maintenance solution.

“My backyard patio has 4 inches of reinforced concrete, with 2 inches of blue stone. It will never have weeds. It always looks presentable.

“The Minute Man doesn’t need that kind of sub base. But if we held a fundraiser to redo the base with a concrete structure and inlay pavers, or cannon balls or some architecturally pleasing finish, it would always look clean and presentable. It would always remain our most iconic landmark.”

Mike has planted a great seed of an idea. Is there any interest in  helping it grow? Click “Comments” below.

Another view.

26 responses to “[OPINION] Clean Up Our Minute Man!

  1. Susan Iseman

    where are the sign police?

  2. Fred Cantor

    Mike, good points.

  3. Peter Mihalick

    Whoever hung that for sale sign on the fence should be shamed! This kind of visual pollution around the entire town needs to be removed. Especially these fly by night businesses that hang these signs and never remove. “There oughta be a law”

  4. To be fair, the sign is from a file photo. It’s not up there now.

  5. Peter Mihalick

    Let’s just hope they got the message and won’t do it again. No statute of limitations on inconsiderate

  6. William Weiss

    Remove the grass. Plant tough, drought resistant and low ground cover junipers at 2’ spacing on the slope. This will form a dense thick green Matt and last for many years and require only occasional weeding of a few tall weeds that may get through.

  7. The rough and tumble weeds match the spirit of the minuteman.

  8. Morley Boyd

    I guess we’re conceeding that our town government is not willing/able to perform regular maintenance at this high profile public monument. While that is quite likely true – just look at our parks – I say don’t let it off the hook so easily. Selectwoman Tooker, can we just agree that the newly restored Minuteman is an important historic site and a beloved part of our culture? If so, can you please direct whichever department is responsible for its maintenance to execute at a level commensurate with its significance to the people who actually own it?

  9. John Richers

    Let’s hear some other design concepts! Certainly blue stone will not work on the slope that leads up to the round monument pedestal. I am not a landscape or monument designer, so I would like to hear some other ideas, thoughts and suggestions. And I would hope that some patriotic and civic-minded professionals might offer their expertise on a pro bono basis with the only compensation being positive exposure to the local market.

  10. William Weiss

    I did that see my comment above.. I am a licensed Landscape Architect…

  11. Jacque O'Brien

    We agree that keeping it natural is the best way to go and low ground cover would not only be keeping with the aesthetics of the monument, but also be largely maintenance free.

  12. Michael Calise

    The Monument base and fence were meticulously restored at great expense a few years ago. If there is a better more appropriate landscape design it is always worth considering for this Westport jewel. Wonder however why do we need to make changes because of dereliction of responsibility by maintenance crews rather than getting to the bottom of the problem. BTW the new wrought iron fencing has been severely damaged in recent weeks with no apparent attention to repair.

  13. Agree, Michael. The restoration of this site to its original condition involved considerable effort and expense. Why lower the bar now? Let’s hold elected leadership to account. That’s what they signed up for. BTW, that is the original fence. Some years ago, Parks and Rec ripped it out and sold it to a scrap dealer. Its plan was to replace the (damaged) original with a cheesy anodized aluminum fence. Luckily, concerned citizens were paying attention and the original fence was rescued, restored and reinstalled. More or less the same thing played out with the big iron gate at Winslow Park. Don’t give in. Push back!

    • Peter Mihalick

      It’s apparent that our elected officials feel it’s more important to get their pictures taken at a transgender party than protect a town historical monument. News Flash!! The monument is more important and non political. Just passed it a few minutes ago. How did the railing get damaged like that? And for how long have town hall known this condition. It’s seems no one in town hall takes “ownership “ of anything anymore.

  14. Wendy Crowther

    Do town bodies need to be reminded that this is a local historic landmark? It should be treated as such and properly maintained, Redesigning it is not an option. Simple, routine maintenance is all that’s needed. It’s also what it deserves.

    • Mike Stuttman

      Rumor has it they’re going to replace the Minuteman with a big “W” to better coordinate with the town’s new branding.

  15. Valerie Szeto

    Mr. Boyd mentioned a “newly restored Minuteman.” I think that refers to minor repairs to the statue carried out in 2014/2015 (?). Roughly 30 years ago, Linda Merck-Gould, a conservator par excellence (she has worked on the Statue of Liberty, the statue of Freedom atop the Capitol building, works by Rodin, Henry Moore, among others) did a major overhaul of the Minuteman. I believe he could probably use some additional TLC – cleaning, re-patination, etc. It is a beautiful, historically significant work – as Mr. Calise said, “a Westport jewel.”

    • It was a bit more than “minor repairs”. The entire monument was painstakingly conserved by professionals, landmarked and formally rededicated.

      • Valerie Szeto

        Thank you for the information. I’m happy to hear that our historical patrimony is in good hands.

  16. Morley Boyd

    Well, it seemingly WAS in good hands. But now the outlook is maybe less positive. I think we’re about to find out.

  17. Peter Mihalick

    Agree. Maybe the “Pride Movement” should include pride in our towns rich history. Some of us like to take pride in maintaining what historical monument s we have. I guess our Town officials look the other way unless it’s a photo op.

    • Elizabeth Thibault

      Sir, you seem especially pressed that the town leaders went to a privately sponsored Pride event this weekend. This might be shocking to some, but our elected leaders care about a wide range of issues and concerns. Some logistical, like taking care of the roads and garbage, and other more strategic, like the long term planning of the town zoning and development.
      In either matter, the elected leaders are especially responsive to our concerns, and bringing something like this to their attention would get a rapid response.
      I did see both elected (First Selectwoman Jen Tooker) and non-elected officials (former First Selectman James Marpe and Police Chief Foti Koskinas) at the Pride event on Sunday, and I see them at other events such as the Memorial Day Parade, 4th of July Fireworks, RTM meetings, and even some Board of Ed events. My neighborhood has an ongoing issue with Metro North and Eversource, and Ms. Tooker and her office are working to ensure residents are treated fairly. They’re very responsive to voters.
      Instead of spewing negativity online, please reach out to the town officials when you see an issue, to see what can be done. Especially don’t try to use support for a marginalized segment of society and attendance at an event, to decry an official’s effectiveness and slur the marginalized group as unworthy of attention and support.

  18. Peter Marks

    I wonder what “spewing you would do if you called the select woman’s office Numerous times ( goes straight to Voicemail ) leave your name , phone # and never get a return call. That’s ok with you I guess?

  19. Carl Addison Swanson

    As well as many emails to her office which go completely unanswered. I will comment on the Pride event, not for its progressive and quality stance, but instead, in a divided nation, we sure spend a ton of time promulgating the differences in our various citizens instead of the unity as mere Americans, we desperately need. Wonder how many will fly the flag, today, Flag Day?

  20. Peter Marks

    Agree 100%. Sorry your experience with Town Hall is the same total disregard for necessary communications

  21. William Weiss

    It looks like the fence was hit or backed into by a truck or other machine that’s taller than a normal vehicle. (The rock wall surround is not affected.) It may be fairly easy to remove / repair. I live in Weston, but beach stickered for Compo. I pass by the great statue many times and would like to see it fixed. If a like- minded cohort is formed to do this, I would donate $500 to the cause.