Category Archives: Photo Challenge

Photo Challenge #282

Since 1947, Roger’s Septic Tanks has provided service — pumping, repairs, installation — from its Post Road location near Maple Avenue South.

It’s not a glamorous business. The property was not glamorous either. But boy, was it an essential service.

The facility itself has been there for 120 years. But it won’t be around much longer. Soon, it will be replaced by new homes.

A little bit of old Westport will be lost then. Hopefully, it will be remembered by folks like Wendy Cusick, Morley Boyd, Bobbie Herman, Jonathan McClure and Ed Simek.

Those 5 knew that last week’s Photo Challenge showed an intriguing view of the tank manufacturer. (Click here to see.) Very impressive!

On a side note, I’m impressed that everyone knows it’s Roger’s — as in, Roger owns it — rather than Rogers’ (as in a family’s last name). Also very impressive.

And this is impressive too: the plaque that forms this week’s Photo Challenge. I’m sure everyone has passed by this spot. But have you ever really noticed it?

If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

Photo Challenge #281

Every Photo Challenge has a back story. I wish I knew the one behind last week’s.

Downtown, a block of Post Road stores between Myrtle Avenue and Anthropologie (the old YMCA) seems to cut off access to Church Lane, and with it the Spotted Horse restaurant and the shops and galleries of Bedford Square.

Unless, that is, you know the “secret” short cut. A narrow alley slices alongside Urban Outfitters, connecting the 2 streets.

What’s more, the passageway is enlivened by some cool art. Most Westporters don’t know it’s there. But Tom Ryan, Andrew Colabella, Michael Calise, Stacie Curran and Seth Braunstein all identified it through Molly Alger’s reminiscent-of-an-island-somewhere photo. (Click here to see.)

How did the alley get there? Was it planned, or an accident? Who created the art — and was it sponsored or guerrilla? If you know the back story to this hidden downtown gem, let us know!

ProTip: There’s another shortcut between the Post Road and Church Lane too, just east of the alley: the parking garage. You can’t drive through anymore, but you can still walk it.

This week’s Photo Challenge is not exactly a shortcut. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

Photo Challenge #280

Once upon a time, there were weddings at Longshore.

Dozens of guests sat on folding chairs behind Pearl. Lovestruck couples exchanged vows, framed by Long Island Sound. The sun always shined.

That scene — without people, but evocative of those days — was last week’s Photo Challenge. Bobbie Herman, Stephen Pratt, Bill Kutik, Michael Calise, Cindy Zuckerbrod, Patti Brill, Antony Lantier, Cheryl Kritzer, Lynn Untermeyer Miller and Seth Braunstein all remembered the scene, captured nicely by photographer Leigh Gage. Click here to see.

This week’s Photo Challenge is colorful too. If you know where in Westport you’d see it, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Molly Alger)

Photo Challenge #279

Last week’s Photo Challenge seemed straightforward: Where would you see a plaque honoring Carl Francis DePalma? Intriguingly, it also included the name “Popeye.”

I expected a few people to know the answer: the golf practice area at Longshore, behind the pro shop.

I did not expect to hear the tragic, poignant back story behind it.

“Popeye” was DePalma’s nickname. He was a bulldozer operator for the town — always friendly and waving. He worked several places, including the town dump and landfill at the site of what’s now the library and Levitt Pavilion, as well as Longshore where the plaque is.

On May 5, 1965 — almost 55 years ago this day — “Popeye” died, when his machine tipped over.

DePalma’s son Billy and his wife Marie now live in Weston. Marie added this: Billy helped the Westport Rotary Club build the bus stop on Canal Street.

When club officials asked how they could thank him, he suggested a plaque at the site of the accident.

Diane Bosch, Michael Calise, Dave Eason, Ann Urciuoli Allard and Andrew Collabella all knew where that important plaque is, and filled in many of those details.

This week’s Photo Challenge is a wistful reminder of days gone by — before social distancing. If you know where in Westport you would have seen this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Leigh Gage)

Photo Challenge #278

Last week’s Photo Challenge featured a Westport favorite: ospreys.

One held a fish under its talons. Both perched on a dock, a wooden duck between them. The scene could have been many places. Where was it exactly?

Off Harbor Road, in Saugatuck Shores. I cropped Mark LaClair’s image so only a few clues were visible: The tip of Stony Point on the left, the Longshore golf driving range on the right. (Click here to see.)

That was enough for Andrea Cross, Tom Risch, Tyler Kupper, Seth Van Beever and Marj Brous. Others hovered in the general vicinity, but were off by a road or direction or two.

This week’s Photo Challenge involves one of the many memorial plaques that we see — but never really look at — all around town.

If you know where this one (with its mysteriously whimsical homage) is located, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Chip Stephens)

Photo Challenge #277

“06880” readers know their onions.

Also, their blue martins.

Last week’s Photo Challenge showed an odd, futuristic assortment of round somethings, on an aluminum pole. I had no idea what or where it was, when photographer Amy Schneider sent it to me. (Click here for the photo.)

But Ann Allard, Nancy McKeever, Wendy Cusick, Chip Stephens, William Weiss, Tina Green, Cindy Zuckerbrod, Jalna Jaeger, Leigh Gage, Joe Clark and Bruce Salvo all knew: a home for migrating purple martins, at Sherwood Island State Park.

Specifically, it’s on the south side of the Nature Center, which is on the east beach of the park.

More specifically, Tina adds these details:

They are purple martin gourds, of which I am the martin landlord.

I started the colony in 2013 at the park when Phil Donahue donated 24 of his gourds to Sherwood Island after selling his Beachside Avenue property, where he maintained 48 gourds in his colony.

The martins began arriving last week. Soon at least 24 pairs will be back and nesting. The gourds are numbered, as I record how many eggs are laid, hatched, and fledged from each nest.

DEEP comes to band our juvenile birds every year in early July. By early August they will leave and migrate to Brazil for the winter.

Who knew? As usual, plenty of “06880” readers.

But do you know where this week’s Photo Challenge was taken?

It shows a pair of ospreys. One has a fish under its talons. If you recognize where 2 of Westport’s favorite raptors were hanging out, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Mark LaClair)

Photo Challenge #276

Water, reeds and trees. That describes a lot of places in Westport.

Perhaps Gray’s Creek. Maybe Lee’s Dam. Or plenty of other spots in town.

Dick Lowenstein’s could-be-anywhere Photo Challenge last week was identified correctly by only one reader. Fred Cantor knew it was Sasco Creek, on the Westport/Fairfield border (Westway Road, to be exact).

Congratulations, Fred. And for the rest of you in 06880: His answer came from all the way in Laguna Niguel, California.

Perhaps someone in Westport will know the answer to this week’s Photo Challenge. If you — or anyone else, anywhere — does, click “Comments” below.

(Photo challenge/Amy Schneider)

Photo Challenge #275

You’ve got 2 choices as you turn from Compo Beach Road into the main entrance. (We’re talking about the pre-, and hopefully post-, coronavirus days.)

You can look right, into the entrance drive between the basketball courts and playground.

Or you can look left.

Most people are intent on getting into the beach. But the view to the left is of Craig “Doc” Davidson’s house.

It’s a handsome old beach house — recently flood-raised — on the corner of Bradley Street.

And there — on the chimney — is the anchor that was the subject of last week’s Photo Challenge. (Click here to see.)

Some Westporters thought it was at Ned Dimes Marina. But Pat Saviano, Lyne Kiedaisch, Diane Silfen, Lynn Untermeyer Miller, Brian Duchan, Jonathan McClure and Mary Ann Batsell all knew it belongs solely to Doc.

Who is he?

Doc is a 1970 Staples High School graduate. He’s a realtor. And a documentary filmmaker. (His nickname came long before that career.)

In addition to his wonderful chimney, Doc owns the most interesting fence in Westport.

The inner side — visible only to Doc and his guests — is a fantastic, faithful mural rendering of Ebbets Field. You can read about it (and see it) here.

Doc is a huge baseball fan. One of his films is about the great Satchel Paige. Click here for that story.

Now that you know everything about the chimney, the house, and the man who lives there, it’s time to play ball.

With this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Dick Lowenstein)


Photo Challenge #274

Every so often, a Photo Challenge sends readers all over town.

Yet seldom have the responses been as far afield as last week.

Howard Silver’s image showed 3 large, colorful figures stuck to trees in the back yard of a Hitchcock Lane home. But where did they hang originally? (Click here to see.)

Not in any of the schools, stores or even Starbucks readers mentioned. Not at the old Westport Arts Center. Nope, nope, nope.

Cheryl McKenna knew, though. She remembered them from the tallest building on Main Street: the one we now know as The Gap.

Back in the day — after the furniture store at that site burned to the ground — a new 3-story structure arose. It was filled with small stores and offices.

It never worked. Westporters were not used to shopping vertically. (The Gap is a different story — it’s just one store.)

Those dancing figures hung in the atrium. Cheryl knew the artist too: Elise Black. She even remembered the original owner of the building: the Senie family.

Truly impressive.

Now it’s on to this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

Photo Challenge #273

There are a lot more sheer rock faces in Westport than I thought.

“06880” readers took a break from hand washing, social distancing and toilet paper hoarding last Sunday to guess where the latest Photo Challenge might be.

Michael Tomashefsky’s rock wall (click here here to see) was — according to numerous wrong guessers — either off I-95 Exit 17; behind the Sherwood Diner; behind the Gault barn on South Compo; in the parking lot behind Trader Joe’s; at Erickson’s Pond (where is that?), or near the bridge by the Levitt Pavilion (huh?!).

It is, in fact, near 95 — but Exit 18. The exact location is behind the commuter parking lot on the Sherwood Island Connector, diagonally across from the transfer station.

There’s plenty of rock there. As well as history. In the early 1700s, that area was the site of the very first Greens Farms Congregational Church meetinghouse.

Congratulations to Brian Taylor, Andrew Colabella, Wendy Cusick, Jerry Kuyper and René Fontaine.

Special props to Fran Taylor, who nailed it despite having lived in Kentucky for the past few decades. Then again, she grew up right around the corner from the Photo Challenge wall.

I guess it’s her rock of ages.

Before responding to this week’s Photo Challenge, please read carefully:

We’re not looking for where these figures are today (behind a home on Hitchcock Road).

We want to know where would you have seen them from 2001 to 2008?

If you know, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Howard Silver)