Category Archives: Photo Challenge

Photo Challenge #329

There’s always a back story.

Last week’s Photo Challenge showed trees reflected in the windows of a building.

It was not, as some readers thought, Staples High School, or “the ugly building” on Gorham Island.

It was, in fact, the side of the Wells Fargo Wealth Management building across from Compo Shopping Center, overlooking Trader Joe’s. (Click here to see.)

John Greenspan, Andrew Colabella, Rob Hauck, Jonathan McClure, Martha Witte, Clark Thiemann and Bruce Salvo were all on the money.

So was Michael Calise, who provided this historical perspective:

The original building design approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission included architecturally interesting forms which broke up the exterior façade, and contained the window openings currently in place.

In a show of hubris, the developers omitted the architectural forms and put in the windows on a flat ugly building wall.

Unfortunately, the P & Z was never able to resolve the transgression. Accordingly ordinary folks are and will continue to be burdened with the current lifeless and unattractive façade, until demolition time arrives.

Today’s Photo Challenge comes from Mark Mathias. He parenthetically wonders: doesn’t “etc.” need more than one “data point”?

(Photo/Mark Mathias)

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

Photo Challenge #328

Last week’s Photo Challenge showed a close-up of a bit of the Compo Beach playground. It was kind of obvious, even though I cropped Patricia McMahon’s image as closely as I could. (Click here to see.)

But leave it to Rick Benson — who has forgotten more about Westport than I’ve ever known — to provide the back story:

This is a wheel from the original playground, taken down in April 1989 to make room for the first Robert Leathers Community Built playground.

When that wore out and the current one was built, this was relocated again to the “new playground.”

The “original playground” Rick refers to was actually just a monkey bar, swing set and whirligig adjacent to the basketball courts.

The plan for the first Leathers playground created an enormous controversy.

Playground opponents — no, that’s not an oxymoron — feared a ruined beach vista. They worried the swings and ladders would be a magnet for out-of-towners, or taken over by beer-drinking, pot-smoking, sex-having teenagers.

The playground controversy brought the first — and only — death threat of 1st selectwoman Marty Hauhuth’s tenure.

Anti-playground activists obtained a court injunction. (They were not playing around.)

As soon as it was lifted, construction began. It was a magical weekend.

The playground quickly became one of Westport’s prime attractions. It did not ruin the view; it enhanced it. And the only problem now is that on beautiful days, too many people use it.

Congratulations to (besides Rick) Rich Stein, Totney Benson, Andrew Colabella, Evan Stein, John Richers and James Weisz.

All knew where to find last week’s Photo Challenge. Even if they didn’t all know as much about it as Rick does.

How about this week’s puzzle? If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Gene Borio)

Photo Challenge #327

When June Rose Whittaker sent a Photo Challenge submission — a colorful shot of letters spelling “Westport,” in a style reminiscent of all those “Greetings From …” postcards — I thought I’d seen it in the alley between Main Street and Bedford Square. (Click here for the image.)

So did the first couple of readers to respond.

But they — and I — were wrong. It hangs (as nearly a dozen folks knew) on the Trader Joe’s wall, just beyond the checkout registers.

Congratulations to Dave Dellinger, Seth Schachter, Deb Alderson, Katie Carmody, Bob Weingarten, Robert W. Mitchell, Cheryl McKenna, Bruce Salvo and Elizabeth Auber.

Yet the Trader Joe’s “postcard” looks very much like the murals downtown. Could they be by the same artist?

If anyone knows who created one (or all) of these uniquely “Westport” works, click “Comments” below.

Which you should also do if you know where in Westport you’d find this week’s Photo Challenge:

(Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Photo Challenge #326

“06880” readers knew pretty quickly that last week’s Photo Challenge was a drone shot of a Westport waterway.

They just didn’t know where.

The Saugatuck River? Longshore? Gray’s Creek?

Nope. Nope. Nope.

John Videler’s great image was of the Burying Hill channel, between the breakwater rocks and Sherwood Island State Park. (Click here to see.)

Richard Craig was first with the answer — just 10 minutes after the posting went live. But he was the only one.

We’ve got plenty of interesting waterways in town. From the air though, they all look alike.

Now take a look at this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport (duh) you’d find it, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/June Rose Whittaker)

Photo Challenge #325

Many “06880” readers know what a disc golf course looks like

Many others have seen one at Sherwood Island — even if they had no idea what it was.

Plenty of readers know both: that last week’s Photo Challenge offered an overhead view of one of the disc golf “holes,” at Connecticut’s first state park.

Janine Scotti’s image showed a basket with chains above it. When a “disc” (Frisbee is the trademarked name) hits the chains, it drops below. There are now over 8,000 courses, in 54 countries. (Click here for the photo.)

These readers knew one — or both — elements of last week’s Challenge: Rindy Higgins, Ellen Greenberg, Rich Stein, Chip Stephens, Clark Thiemann, Janet Amodio, Luke Garvey, Molly Alger, Wendy Crowther, Ralph Balducci, Brad French, Howard Potter, Laure Goldberg, Jalna Jaeger, Amy Schneider, Seth Braunstein, Janet Avon, Diane McCoy and Bruce Salvo.

Okay, sports fans: Here’s this week’s Challenge. If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments.” below.

(Photo/John Videler Photography)

FUN FACT 1: The name “Frisbie” comes from the Bridgeport-based Frisbie Pie Company. In the 1950s they supplied pies to Yale University, where students  started the fad of tossing empty pie tins stamped with the company’s logo.

FUN FACT 2: Staples High School had one of the first “Ultimate Frisbee” teams in the nation. Click here for details.

Photo Challenge #324

As Staples High School’s head boys soccer coach, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time at the Wakeman Fields.

I know the turf. I know the grass. I know the ridiculous parking situation.

But — until Elaine Marino sent me a photo — I had no idea a log-lined, wood chip-filled path led from Wakeman to North Pasture. (Click here to see.)

Nor did any other readers — except Julianne Low.

She nailed it. Every other guess — Earthplace, the Lillian Wadsworth Arboretum, Winslow Park, Baron’s South, a cemetery — was wrong.

So to all my fellow coaches, plus parents, athletes, dog walkers, model plane flyers and everyone else who enjoys Wakeman: We have to look around more.

And, of course, park better.

This week’s challenge Photo Challenge is less “straightforward.” If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Janine Scotti)

Photo Challenge #323

Last week’s Photo Challenge showed an image in downtown Westport.

But it’s an obscure one: a star-shaped sculpture, on the side of 215 Main Street. That’s heading north, past Parker Harding by Veterans Green. I guess most people never have a reason to look up and over at the nondescript green building.

To be honest, I never have either. But click here to see.

Rachel Halperin-Ziberman, Vanessa Bradford and Stephanie Ehrman were the only 3 readers who knew the spote. And, Stephanie fessed up, that’s because it’s her office (“during non-COVID times”).

This week’s Photo Challenge shows a path that Elaine Marino recently discovered. Now that she has as rescue dog, she’s seeing things she never noticed before.

What about you? If you have spotted this — with your dog, or without — click “Comments” and tell us where in Westport it is.

(Photo/Elaine Marino)


Photo Challenge #322

Last week’s questions should not have been: “Where in Westport would you see this?”

It should be: “When did you first see it?”

Tons of readers quickly identified Molly Alger’s image as the bathrooms (aka “bathhouses”) at Sherwood Island State Park. It’s at the western end, past the concession stand and near the Nature Center. (Click here to see.)

For years, Connecticut’s first state park — 232 acres of prime beach, woods and walking trails, smack in the middle of Westport’s shoreline — was our town’s best-kept secret.

Then COVID struck. Compo was closed. It opened soon, though to limited capacity.

Seeking wide-open spaces, room to exercise and much-needed beauty, Westporters “discovered” Sherwood Island.

It’s a wonderful place. It’s particularly beautiful now, in the starkness and solitude of winter.

Plus, it’s free.

Congratulations to Pat Saviano, Fred Cantor, Nicholas Eisenberger, Diane Bosch, Ralph Balducci, Bruce Salvo, Jalna Jaeger, Lou Weinsberg, Stephen Axthelm, Judy Reid, Wendy Schaefer, Phil Kann, Hehenberger, Barbara Jay, Lawrence Zlatkin, Robert Grodman and Mary Ann Batsell.

You know your town. Let’s hope more Westporters enjoy this state park in our own back yard too.

Now: Can you identify this scene? One hint: It is not at Sherwood Island.

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

(Photo/Mark Jacobs)

Photo Challenge #321

Last week’s Presidents Day Photo Challenge fooled some of our most historic-minded Westporters.

Sure, in 1775 George Washington stopped (and slept) at the Disbrow Tavern, the site of the present-day Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. He returned 5 years later.

A plaque marks the spot, by the elm tree where Church Lane meets Myrtle Avenue. But that’s not the marker that Kathie Motes Bennewitz’s image showed. (Click here to see.)

A similar plaque is partially hidden near the Christ & Holy Trinity (and Assumption Church) cemetery, on Kings Highway North. It’s across from the grassy area by Old Hill Road that, in Revolutionary times, served as a militia training and parade ground.

Elaine Marino, Bob Grant, Michael Calise and Morley Boyd all knew the correct location of this plaque.

Elaine also pointed out — to my great embarrassment — this was a previous Photo Challenge, in July 2018. (I really should read “06880,” right?)

During the Washington Bi-Centennial Celebration in 1932, the Compo Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a bronze plaque at the base of the tree.

The plaque on Kings Highway does not indicate who placed it there.

The downtown plaque is more weather-beaten than its cemetery counterpart. It says: “George Washington stopped for refreshments at this tavern, June 28, 1775.” It also has the bicentennial dates: “1732-1932.”

That Disbrow Tavern visit — and the next — were not the only 2 times Washington stopped (and slept) here. As president, he spent the night of November 11, 1789 at Captain Ozias Marvin’s tavern, at what is now the north side of Post Road West, opposite Kings Highway South.

Sarah Marvin and her daughters cooked up a presidential feast: loaves of brown bread and pies, vegetables from their farm, huge roasts.

Yet Washington asked for only a bowl of bread and milk. To add insult to injury, he wrote in his diary: It was “not a good house, though the people of it were disposed to do all they could to accommodate me.”

No matter. For years thereafter, Marvin Tavern was known as the Washington Inn.

But enough about yesterday. Here is today’s Photo Challenge. if you know where in Westport you would see it, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Molly Alger)


Photo Challenge #320

Last week’s Photo Challenge’s honored Sigrid Schultz.

As the Chicago Tribune‘s Berlin bureau chief — the first female bureau chief of any major newspaper, anywhere — the pioneering reporter, social justice activist and longtime Westporter played a key role in exposing the growing Nazi threat during the lead-up to the war, and beyond.

A plaque memorializing her was unveiled last year, near her former residence. (Click here for the photo.) Where, the Challenge asked, was that?

The plaque is at Serena & Lily — the lifestyle store in the former Kemper Gunn House. It was moved across Elm Street in 2014, to make way for Bedford Square.

Schultz lived a bit behind the site of the present store, in what is now the Baldwin parking lot. Her home was demolished, to make way for cars.

Dick Lowenstein notes that in 2019 the RTM unanimously named the area “Sigrid Schultz Plaza,” though there is no signage to that effect.

Others who identified the site correctly were Fred Cantor, Linda V. Velez, Wendy Cusick, Wendy Schaefer and Judy Reid.

This week’s Photo Challenge is another plaque. It’s appropriate, because tomorrow is Presidents Day.

If you know where in Westport we honor our first president — and why there’s a Westport tie to him — click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Kathie Motes Bennewitz)