Today’s Friday Flashback is a 3-fer.
This circa-1976 image reminds us of when:
- Fairfield Furniture was the long-time occupant of National Hall. (FUN FACT: After Arthur Tauck bought the building — which once served as a bank, newspaper office, town meeting hall and the first site of Staples High School — with plans to turn it into a boutique hotel, he found tremendous structural damage. The roof had been weakened by decades of bird droppings.)
- There were woods — not a mammoth office building — on Wright Street, behind Wilton Road.
- Winters were cold enough to freeze the Saugatuck River.
(Friday Flashback is a weekly “06880” feature. Please click here to help us continue flashing back. Thank you!)
Thanks for the memories, Dan. As the Town’s ZEO at the time, it was my job to take the rickety freight elevator to inspect all floors of the building and report back to the Planning & Zoning Commission when Tauck was acquiring the property.
I can attest to the prodigious pigeon population (and excrement) on the uppermost level prior to the building’s renovation.
Nowadays, such inspection would require a HazMat suit & gear, a WFD escort and hazardous duty pay.
Apparently not only am I older than dirt, I’m also older than National Hall pigeon poop. 🙂
This is a great shot and what a wonderful history recap…thank you.
When I was a young Westporter I never understood why they called it Fairfield Furniture. They never called Westport Hardware Fairfield Hardware. I always thought Westport Retailer of Sofas and Sectionals made more sense. Of course I was ahead of my time. It’s good to be back and to behave.
This was one of my favorite shopping experiences with my family! Hiding amongst the furniture groupings pretending I lived there in various stagings. We went several times a year. And many times, followed by the library visits and West Lake for dinner. For some of us, that is the ultimate Westport life in the 60s. Thanks for the memories and I’m surmising from your post that the Saugatuck River no longer freezes over as it did back in the day.
I used to hide up there too. Never saw you. I thought I was alone.
So Eric, i have loved your contributions to Dan’s blog over the years. Back when It was the wild wild west here of anonymous commenting, your spars with WC! I was in hilarious stitches every morning when you called her/him Water Closet. Those were some days. It got crazyy! I agree with much of what you post and maybe close to all 😅😅 just so you know.
I’m back, but I had to agree to certain conditions to get here. I have to be a kinder, gentler Westporter. I’m going to use ChatGPT.
So glad! Personally, I’ve always thought your comments to be honest and enlightening. Nice that the blog has lightened up over the years. Can you imagine that some have had to resort to various personas after being exiled for petty “crimes”, instead of being given a warning?
This is progress.
Not to be too private on Dan’s public blog but you have been very kind to me. I feel like we must have crossed paths somewhere – Camelot perhaps? Naaah, it could have only been Old Westport. Powers is a proud surname among movie stars (Stephanie??? OMG!!!! That name Stephanie brings back my PTSD!!!! Make it STOP!!!) and Old Westporters. Thanks again. This ChatGPT is a Godsend!!!
My guilt is eating me up. By using a pseudonym, I have reconnected with my home town. Sorry.
I look forward to reading (won’t be able to reply) your terrific comments onwards. They make me smile and remember the good old days. Cheers and take care! (Gotta go before Dan reads this!)
Well, good for you. You got me. I spend a couple of hours a day moderating comments — making sure people play nice, play by the rules, don’t make ad hominem attacks, don’t libel anyone, etc.
It’s a lot of work. I could make people register to comment, or I could hold comments before they’re posted, but I trust people to be honest, and try to manage things as best I can.
I give up, Krista. Do whatever you want. Keep posting under whatever name you choose . Take full advantage of my good nature, and my blog. You win.
I always thought painting that building white was a mistake. Brick buildings look good with the color of brick. They don’t need painting. That’s excellent lettering that says Fairfield Furniture but it’s too crowded between the windows. I can’t imagine going to Staples when it was here but I did go to the “old building” on Riverside Ave.
White was Westport’s favorite color when this picture was taken. Back then it also cost a lot less to repaint a building. Today the downtown developers have to bring in “grey market” labor from Bridgeport. That’s why they stick to natural surfaces.
Like when they painted Yankee Stadium White in the late 60’s. Ugly!
When we moved to Westport in ‘73, FFF was THE place to furnish your home 🥲
It was also a State Police barracks as well.
I painted the side of that Fairfield Furniture building from a rope & plank scaffold one summer, maybe several years before that photo was taken! It had already been painted white, but the color had faded.
Pulling ourselves up the side by the scaffold ropes was surprisingly exhausting – almost like doing non-stop pull-ups. We’d been at it maybe an hour and were about 30 feet above the river when my arms began to give out, as my side began slipping downward at an ever more perilous angle! In a scene worthy of Laurel & Hardy, this necessitated my companion to come to my aid to tie us off, as we now added all of our weight to my dipping end. The possibility of plunging into the Saugatuck below was of no comfort, since it was low tide. Nearly vertical, we tied off at that last possible second!
With a flash that seemed like genius, it then occurred to us that if we worked from the top down, we could forgo the pull-ups altogether! Somehow we survived and finished the entire side of the building by the end of the day!
Hi Eric, Glad to hear your exile is over. Your comments remind me that if you scratch a cynic you’ll find a disappointed idealist. I think you’re a big marshmallow at heart.
Hi Gloria, thanks you have me dead to rights but I’m only 5’7”. I wrestled at 147 at SHS ‘67-‘68. (my heart may be big but I’m not – except in my own mind) Only competed my sophomore year (found out that marshmallows don’t make the best wrestlers – who woulda thunk?) with the late Doug Sheffer of the great (but overly modest and forgotten – except by young Old Westporters) Sheffer family that was so gracious to the Museum of History and Culture (I propose with respectful affection that it’s time for the nickname MoHaC – sounds hip, urban and oh so Nouveau Westport tres chic doesn’t it) OK, it’s settled: Your Delta Tau Chi name is: wait for it!!!! MoHaC, not Flounder (that was the large size pledge on Animal House – my favorite movie).
As Easter arrives, so does contrition. And confession!! I was never exiled. I broke the bond (what happens in Westport stays in Westport – I’m in Ohio) and was critical of a Westport organization that I had no right to criticize given that I haven’t set foot in it since before Paul Newman died and Joanne Woodward became less active. I kept doing it (being critical) and was repeatedly counseled by a patient and kind man. Yet I did not stop. For me, it was like eating peanuts (with both hands at once tastes great going down but what goes down must come out – as I’ve learned the hard way). But, realizing that I could not stop, a week ago I asked to be locked out. The only reason I’m back is because I couldn’t stand being away from my Old Westport friends and having fun thumbing my nose, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable just like the old days when Westporters could be honest with one another and still be friends. And one of my oldest Westport friends, a guy who is patient to an fault, allowed me to return. Now that’s a story of redemption at the most joyous time of the year. I’m as serious as a good tile wall is when it’s being removed and put in cold storage. Hope this makes sense rather than makes cents.
I was in a mall in Clearwater, Florida, I think in 1973, and there was a painting for sale of the bridge and Fairfield Furniture with the title “Bridge to Fairfield”.