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Friday Flashback #339

Last week’s “Friday Flashback” featured a photo, from Facebook, of National Hall.

When Clayton Liotta took it, around 1976, the handsome building was home to Fairfield Furniture. Clayton’s image reminded us that our downtown is both timeless, and always-changing.

Clayton posted another photo recently. This one shows a structure that exists now only in memories.

(Photo/Clayton Liotta)

The Victorian home on Gorham Island is remembered fondly by many.

The Victorian house on Gorham Island. (Photo/Peter Barlow)

But — as Clayton’s circa 1975 shot, and another one by Peter Barlow (below, from 1973) shows — by that decade it had begun to show its age.

Close-up of the Gorham Island house. (Photo/Peter Barlow)

Within a few years, it was demolished. In its place today is a much less memorable — and, some would say, way out of place — office building:

Gorham Island office building (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)


In its final days, the old house looked spooky.

For good reason.

Around 2 a.m. on the morning of July 4, 1961 Brendan McLaughlin — a former Marine working as a New York advertising executive — shot and killed his father there, during a family argument.

McLaughlin fled. An hour before dawn he burst into the police station on Jesup Road. He pulled out a semi-automatic pistol and fired at 2 policemen behind the front desk, wounding Donald Bennette.

He was chased into the parking lot, where he shot officer Andrew Chapo. A shootout ensued; McLaughlin was wounded.

Chapo and Bennette recovered.  McLaughlin died several weeks later.

FUN FACT: Though it looked like it belong there, the Gorham Island house was originally built on Main Street. It was later relocated to the island.

(Westport has plenty of history — and “06880” keeps it alive. Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)


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