The request by owners to demolish the 112-year-old, 8,500-square foot home at 114 Beachside Avenue is remarkable enough.
As first reported by Westport Journal, the Tudor mansion includes 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, 2 half-baths, a wooden deck, and a brick patio and terrace.
Alert “06880” reader — and longtime Westporter — Don Willmott writes:
“The owners in the 1970s were family friends. I have fond memories of running around that gorgeous house, the biggest one I had ever been in. The sweeping lawn, which sloped gently down to the Sound, was stunning.”
But that’s not all.
As Don notes, the home was later owned by Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas. Her “diva-like antics there were memorialized by her disgruntled butler in the nutty 1990 tell-all book, ‘That Girl and Phil.'”
“it’s sad to see it go,” Don says. “I hope someone salvages the beautiful woodwork before the bulldozer arrives.”
As large as Phil and Marlo’s mansion was, it’s dwarfed by new construction closer to Long Island Sound. Take a look:
The newer and spectacularly larger house is at the bottom of the property. Clearly, the 1911 home has to go.
But that’s not the only multi-million-dollar shoreline home that will soon be torn down.
In fact, demolition of 34 Owenoke Park has already begun.
That 4,600-square foot, 5-bedroom, 4 1/2-bath house was built in — are you sitting down? — 2016.
The owners are demolishing it — along with the property they own next door — to build a new one.
Because … well, because.
There are some interesting items on next Monday’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting (April 3, 7 p.m., Zoom). They include:
- A request by the 1st Selectwoman, on behalf of Westport PAL, to remove the Doubleday clubhouse at PJ Romano Field (behind Saugatuck Elementary School), and replace it with a new, larger structure.
- An application to convert the existing 120-bed skilled nursing facility at 1 Burr Road (next to from Kings Highway Elementary School) into a 68-bed memory care facility.
- A pre-application meeting (no public comment) on a proposed 8,000-square foot commercial recreational facility, behind the electrical sub-station behind Coffee An’ and The Grapevine.
Also on the agenda: an expected pro forma request to release the site bond for 1076 Post Road East. That’s the supposed site of an Amazon Fresh grocery store, replacing the former Barnes & Noble.
Exterior work has been completed, along with parking lot and sidewalk improvements. So — according to law — the bond must be returned.
Even if, as seems increasingly likely, Amazon Fresh will never move in.
(Click here for the Zoom link to Monday’s Planning & Zoning Commission meeting.)
Carl Addison Swanson — a Staples High School graduate and Vietnam veteran — writes:
The 2017 Vietnam War Veterans Recognition Act recognizes the over 3 million Americans who served in our military from November 1955 to March 1975.
[Signed into law by President Trump on March 28, 2017], the date is particularly significant. It marks the date we finally left Vietnam for good (March 29 1975).
Forty-four Westporters served in Vietnam. Five did not come home, as noted on the plaque in Veterans Green across from Town Hall.
Over 58,000 Americans lost their lives in Vietnam in combat. Over 300,000 have died in the decades following, due to exposure to Agent Orange.
Today is a day to remember those who made it home, those who didn’t, and a reminder that although our country was deeply divided during Vietnam, most of our wounds healed. Eventually. Maybe? Some day?
US Attorney for the District of Connecticut Vanessa Roberts Avery was joined by leading law enforcement representatives at last night’s “United Against Hate: Identifying, Reporting and Preventing Hate Crimes” session.
The Westport Library hosted the interactive program, in collaboration with the US Attorney’s Office, Westport PRIDE, Westport and Norwalk chiefs of police, and the Connecticut State Police’s Hate Crimes Unit.
Only 3 days remain in The Great Westport Pizza Contest.
There are 8 categories (Best Slice, Personal, Meat, Gluten-free, Veggie, Plain, Delivered and Flat Bread Pizza), and 14 participating restaurants (Cuatro Hermanos, Gallo Express, Golden Pizza, Joe’s, Julian’s Kitchen, La Plage, Old Mill Grocery & Deli, Outpost Pizza, Pizza Lyfe, Rizzuto’s, Romanacci, The Spotted Horse, Tutti’s and Via Sforza).
Anyone can vote online. Every voter is entered in a drawing, to win a free pizza from one of the 8 winning restaurants.
Winning restaurants receive plaques from the sponsoring Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce. For more information and to vote, click here.
Bedford Middle School students do know rocket science.
And many other types.
Last weekend, 2 BMS Science Olympiad cleaned up at the Connecticut championships.
After a long, grueling day in Coventry, they won 15 out of the 23 gold medals. Events ranged from Anatomy & Physology and Bio Process Lab to Codebusters and Experimental design.
The teams have practiced since the fall, under the guidance of teachers Dr. Daniel Cortright and Kathry Nicholas.
The wins earn the Bedford squads a trip to Kansas in May. They’ll represent Connecticut in the National Science Olympiads.
“Gold Coast Mystery Series” author Timothy Cole reads and chats at the Westport Book Shop next month (April 13, 6 p.m.).
The series includes “The Sea Glass Murders” (a Connecticut Book Award finalist), “Murder This Close,” and recently published “The Moscow Five.”
The Greens Farms Garden Club invites everyone to meet Trish Manfredi. The noted floral designer and flower show judge will create art with surprise plant materials, and containers presented by the audience.
The event is next Tuesday (April 4, 11 a.m., Green’s Farms Church). Refreshments will be served.
“06880” has mentioned “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” twice already.
The Coleytown Company production opens this Friday (7 p.m.). at CMS. The show also runs Saturday (April 1, 1 and 7 p.m.) and Sunday (April 2, 1 p.m.).
We normally wouldn’t add another plug. But Inna Agujen Veloso’s video may be the best middle school sizzle reel ever made.
Click here for tickets, and more information.
Bridgewater Chocolate welcomes New York artist and fashion illustrator Kelsey Linnartz to their Main Street store on April 8 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
She’ll customize ivory boxes, using her trademark bright colors — with a purchase, of course.
Longtime Weston resident Joan Williams died peacefully Monday evening. She was 87.
Joan moved to Weston in the early 1970’s with her first husband, commercial artist Paul Williams. She was a very successful businesswoman who worked first for a commercial art studio in Detroit. She moved to a management position at Weston Racquet Club, helping it to flourish through the ’80s.
She later became the first employee of Newman’s Own. Joan worked with Paul Newman and A.E. Hotchner, handling finances of the company for 28 years and earning the tile of CFO.
Joan loved her home. She enjoyed playing tennis, collecting art and antiques, listening to music and singing, reading, gardening, and spending time with her Scottish terriers and cats.
Her family says, “Joan will be remembered for her frank and honest manner as a beautiful woman.”
She is survived by her husband Steve Campbell, stepson Adam Campbell, nephew Mark Kalnow and niece Sheryl Reiber.
At Joan’s request there will be no funeral or public memorial service, just a private gathering. In lieu of cards and flowers, contributions may be made to the Yale Eye Center at Yale New Haven Hospital.
Amy Schneider’s first egret sighting of the season — on the Saugatuck River — is perfect for today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.
And finally …. Amazon Fresh’s finished-but-not-opened Westport store (story above) is not its only one.
A number of the retail giant’s high-tech, “just walk out” stores are fully built out — but empty — across the country.
They’ve been dubbed “zombie stores.” So …
(From Amazon Fresh and the PAL clubhouse, to Beachside Avenue and Owenoke Park, “06880” covers the town. Please consider supporting us. Click here — and thank you!)
It looks like the Beachside house is owned by the same people as the lot in front, so is presumably just being torn down to expand the property, not to build a new one. Still a waste, but actually not as environmentally disastrous as what is happening on Owenoke (people talk a lot about the environmental efficiency of new construction, but most of the environmental damage happens in the construction and manufacturing phases and from the waste of throwing out perfectly good building materials). I hope that the Owenoke people are donating the nearly-new windows, doors, cabinets, appliances, etc., since there are many good organizations who take such things.
Anyone who complains about teardowns of historic properties, should support blanket protections for anything built before, say, 1940, rather than the piecemeal historic district limits we currently have. Outside of those districts, Westport has no such protections, extremely limited incentives to preserve antique buildings, and some of the worst spec builders and architects in Fairfield County. The type of development you see here would never happen in other affluent communities.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if someone was tearing down the Owenoke house to build a smaller, environmentally friendly house?
OK. Here’s the deal:
Complex #1: “The Hamlet at Compo”
Complex #2: “The Hamlet at Beachside”
Affordable housing and beach access for ALL!!!!
How the wheel turns and comes round again.
One of my earliest Westport memories is an estate sale somewhere along Beachside Avenue more or less across from what is now Greens Farms Academy (Kathleen Laycock Country Day). A pre-war mansion on what had to be over 10 acres was being torn down to make way for development of smaller estates.
Now, about a century later, we are recombining those estates into larger plots with ever greater manses.
The early homes were built by robber barons and Wall Street financiers. I’m guessing that modern day robber barons and Fairfield County financiers are the nuveau riche these days.
And the wheel turns…
I remember the event you’re speaking of. It was very memorable. One of the few times we “untermensch” were allowed access.
Phil Donahue and his wife bought the house in front of them that was obstructing their view of Long Island Sound, and tore it down.
this is an example of why an old friend of mine and a member of a well-known Westport family calls the town “Wasteport”
I am curious about the home next door to 34 Owenoke. My grandmother and then my mother owned 36 Owenoke.( We sold 36 after my mother died.) so my curious question is 36 Owenoke being torn down?
No. The teardown next door is at #32.
Thanks Dan. That would be one of the other “newer homes”. My grandmother’s was built about 1890 but moved from the sound side if the road to its current location in 1954.
Some of us have expressed to the HDC to examine if new regulations could be promoted by the HDC to either limit certain otherwise existing rights as to demolishing a classic home or providing incentives to preserve such homes. It is a tricky subject, but one I hope the HDC and the RTM will again examine.