Tag Archives: 39 Cross Highway

“Historic Homes Of ‘06880’” House Tour Set For November 5

Have you ever wanted to peek inside 29 North Avenue — the tiny house on the left heading north toward Staples High School, now lovingly renovated by Annette Norton (and chronicled last spring on “06880”)?

29 North Avenue

What about the oldest house in Westport — built around 1683 on what is now Long Lots Road, and the only pre-1700s structure still in town?

The oldest home in Westport. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Maybe a tour of 39 Cross Highway, the extensively remodeled home near the corner of Weston Road that recently won a Historic District Commission Preservation Award?

39 Cross Highway

Or — further up Cross Highway — a barn that stood when the British marched by on their way to Danbury, and is now a handsome/funky/very cool artists’ studio?

Cross Highway barn.

This fall, you can see all of them.

In one day.

The 4 unique properties are part of “06880”‘s first-ever “Historic Homes Tour.” The event — Sunday, November 5 (2 to 5 p.m.) — is a perfect event for our hyper-local blog.

“06880” often celebrates Westport’s rich history. We honor homeowners who preserve the past, while enhancing their neighborhoods by giving new life to old properties.

“06880” tells stories. As you explore all 4 houses, you’ll learn the stories behind each one.

Homeowners, and members of “06880”‘s board of directors, will point out cool aspects of each home. We’ll answer questions. You’ll get a brochure explaining the 4 houses too.

Our friends at KMS Team at Compass are sponsoring the “Historic Homes of ‘06880’ tour.”

Tickets are $60 each, $100 for 2. Proceeds help fund “06880”‘s work — which, as always, chronicles Westport’s past, present and future.

Click here for tickets. It’s our “Donate” page. Please note “Historic Homes of ‘06880’” with your order.’

Questions? Email 06880blog@gmail.com.

Roundup: Fox News, Teardowns, THC …

Yesterday’s historic $787.5 million settlement by Fox News in its defamation lawsuit was huge news, all over the country. (Except on Fox).

And a big part of that news was due to the work of Dominion Voting Systems’ co-lead attorney, Stephen Shackelford.

The Harvard Law School graduate and former Justice Stephen Breyer’s clerk’s already high reputation in the legal community has skyrocketed.

But in Westport we know him, his wife Stefanie and 4 kids as our neighbors. And in District 8, residents know him as their RTM representative.

On behalf of American democracy: Thank you, Steve!


Yesterday’s “06880” Roundup included 2 homes that fell to the wrecking ball. One was on Roseville Road; the other on South Compo.

Today, Carl Addison Swanson sends a photo of one that has been lovingly restored.

39 Cross Highway — just west of Weston Road — is a house we all pass by often. After years of neglect, it’s gotten a ton of TLC. Today, it looks great.

Known as the Charles Chapman House, this is one of 10 homes that will be honored by 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker and Westport’s Historic District Commission on May 4 (7 p.m., Town Hall auditorium). It’s one of 4 earning a Preservation Award.

Old Mill Grocery & Deli will receive a Legacy Business Prevention citation. A year ago, a small group of neighbors organized an effort to save the former Elvira’s/Joey’s by the Shore market from probable sale to a develop.

Old Mill Grocery & Deli. (Photo/Matt Murray)

Green’s Farms Church will be cited too, for its extensive renovation.

Green’s Farms Church (Photo/Bob Weingarten)

The other 7 Historic District Commission honorees:

• 35 Post Road West –Davis Taylor House – Preservation
• 276 Main Street – Patrick Rice House – Helen Muller Preservation Award
• 8 Mayflower Parkway – Preservation
• 19 Soundview Drive – Stevens Cottage – Preservation
• 161 Cross Highway – Legacy Business Preservation
• 163 Cross Highway – Excellence in Ongoing Care and Maintenance
• 21 Danbury Avenue – Preservation

19 Soundview Drive – before (left) and after.


Last week, the Westport Police Department conducted unannounced compliance inspections of 12 establishments that sell tobacco products and/or e-cigarettes.

All 12 were found “compliant” with laws regarding sales to anyone under 21.

However, WP Convenience at 1761 Post Road East — in the Westfair Shopping Center, opposite Stop & Shop — was found to have “a large number of illegal vape and THC products for sale,” police say.

“Many of these items did not display the required QR codes and/or were packaged to look like candy. These colorful packages resemble popular candy and snack foods, but their contents often contain high doses of THC, which can cause marijuana toxicity, especially in unsuspecting children.”

Police confiscated the items, along with “a number of canisters of suspected marijuana.” WP Convenience does not have a dispensary license.

Police note: “Westport zoning regulation prohibits all sales of retail (non-medical) cannabis products, including Delta-9 THC and Delta-8.”

Besides WP Convenience, the 12 retailers found compliant with laws about selling tobacco and e-cigarettes to anyone under 21:

  • Merritt Country Store – 337 Main Street
  • Country Deli Store – 332 Wilton Road
  • Sunoco Food Mart – 240 Riverside Avenue
  • Westport Shell – 322 Post Road East
  • Cumberland Farms – 690 Post Road East
  • Wheels – 786 Post Road East
  • Westport Cigar & Vape – 1248 Post Road East
  • Exxon Tiger Mart – 1510 Post Road East
  • Shell Food Mart – 1530 Post Road East
  • Mohegan Smoke Shop – 1803 Post Road East
  • Mercury – 1830 Post Road East

items sold illegally at WP Convenience. (Photo courtesy of Westport Police Department)


Savvy Kings Highway Elementary School parents (and nannies and other caregivers) know that there’s a way to beat the afternoon car pickup line, which can stretch along Post Road West almost to Norwalk:

Just park in Nash’s Plaza, the small shopping center between the school and the animal hospital.

Make your kid a “walker.” He or she walks a few yards to your car, and you’re outta there.

That does not sit well with the merchants there, who see their patrons’ parking spots taken up every afternoon by non-patrons.

Which is why this sign has appeared there:

What’s next? Carvana, across the very dangerous street?

It would be nice if kids could, um, take the bus.

But with the current school day, some of them get home around midnight.


Westport Community Gardens is accepting applications for membership. Limited space is available for new members. It is distributed on a first come, first served basis.

The site, adjacent to Long Lots Elementary School, is a community of people who grow flowers, herbs and vegetables in a sunny, fenced-in (deer-proof) location. Members range age from 5 to 95,

To learn more about the Community Gardens, click here and here. If you’re interested in a plot, click here.

Westport Community Gardens is a true community.


Here’s a sure sign of spring: the 44th annual Minute Man Race is set for Sunday, April 30.

As usual, Compo Beach will hum with family activity for the Westport Young Woman’s League event. 100% of the net profits benefit charities in Westport and Fairfield County.

Since 1956 — even before the long-running (ho ho) event began — the WYWL has distributed over $4 million in grants.

The main events are certified USA Track and Field runs of 10K and 5K, and a 5K walk.

A Kids Fun Run includes a 50 yard dash (ages 3-5), 100 yard dash (6-7), 1/2 mile run (8-9) and mile run (10-12).

The event also features a Kids Zone with fun activities — and for the first time, food trucks during and after the race.

Click here to register, and for more information.


The Westport Weston Family YMCA joins in 5 Days of Action (April 24-28), a campaign that equips and empowers organizations to protect children from sexual abuse.

The Y encourages all adults and organizations to help make the community a safer place. For more information and resources, click here.


There were smiles all around yesterday, as the Westport Rotary Club received the Charles Pettengill Award as “The Best Club in Rotary District 7980.” For non-Rotarians, that’s the 4 coastal counties of Connecticut — 57 clubs in all.

The award recognizes excellence in all 5 areas of service: community, international, youth, vocational and club.

The last 3 COVID years were difficult on all community organizations, but Westport Rotary responded creatively. They held LobsterFest virtually in 2020 — and raised a record amount. The 2021 and ’22 LobsterFests built on that.

More than $250,000 will be distributed to local, regional and international projects from LobsterFest 2022.

So make plans for LobsterFest ’23. Save the date: September 23. Tickets go on sale in July.

From left: Selectwomen Jen Tooker and Andrea Moore present the “Best Rotary Club” citation to Westport Rotary Club president Karl Merganthaller and past president Leslie Robert.


Sprite Island — looking west from Canal Road on Saugatuck Shores — is the misty subject of today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature.

(Photo/Nancy Axthelm)


And finally … thanks again, Steve Shackelford:

(Another day with tons of Westport-related news, all covered by “06880.” Please click here to support our work. Thank you!)

39 Cross Highway: Past Meets Present

Alert “06880” reader — and proud homeowner — Deborah Howland-Murray writes:

In 1985, my husband and I purchased our antique home at 39 Cross Highway. Like any house over 200 years old, the walls held undiscovered mysteries.

Decades later, they are beginning yielding their secrets. Sifting through original hand-calligraphed parchment documents, my son Galen and I are learning that our cherished home of 33 years was equally cherished by generations of one family, all the way from pre-Revolutionary times until 1927.

We are realizing that the story of our house is interwoven with the story of Westport. We are also finding out how precarious is the fate of our antique repository of history, and of those like it in Westport.

Our house tells a tale of a people birthing a country. Captain Phineas Chapman, farmer and carpenter, built his home on land acquired in 1742, the year of his marriage to Sarah Ketchum. The home housed their family of 10 children: 7 sons and 3 daughters. We have come to know the part they played, and the price they paid, in our nascent democracy.

39 Cross Highway

Capt. Chapman’s forebears arrived in 1635. His father, Rev. Daniel Chapman, was the first pastor of Greens Farms Congregational Church.

The minister’s male descendants were highly respected for their accomplishments. Phineas was made lieutenant in the Connecticut Militia in 1755, then promoted to captain for distinguished service in the French and Indian War.

His son Joseph was this area’s first physician. Sons Daniel, Albert and James bore arms in the American Revolution. James and Albert were highly decorated; Major Albert received the paramount honor of admission to the Society of the Cincinnati.

The oldest part of 39 Cross Highway is lovingly maintained.

Our home bore witness to Gen. Tryon’s wrath during the Danbury raid in 1777. His advance toward Danbury took him along Cross Highway, arresting patriots along the way — including Captain Phineas and his brother Dennie. The same fate befell Daniel in Ridgefield.

Upon his return, Tryon was thwarted from crossing the Kings Highway bridge by Benedict Arnold. Instead, he forded the river upstream and flanked Arnold by marching through Chapman farmland.

The 3 Chapmen men were transported to a New York City sugar house turned prison. The 2 older ones were eventually released. Daniel died there. His health broken by the dank, horrifically overcrowded conditions, Captain Phineas died 5 years later.

The 1784 distribution of Phineas’ estate shows that he left a parcel of land a bit over 1 acre and 20 rods, with “dwelling and barn.” As we followed the land deeds throughout history, this parcel and dwelling — the “old homestead” — remained constant in description.

At some point, Phineas Jr. (1766-1823) was instrumental in building a school diagonally across from his house. The Chapman family valued education. Many relatives — including some of his 11 children — graduated from Yale.

The Cross Highway schoolhouse. The back of the photo says “Cross Highway near Daybreak Nursery on green.”

Through marriage, the Chapmans became linked to one of the most influential families in Westport. Their cousin and admirer, Morris Ketchum, was a financier and locomotive manufacturer who brought the railroad to Westport. His meetings with friend Salmon P. Chase, Lincoln’s Treasury Secretary, led to the issuance of war bonds and the printing of our first paper currency.

Three Westport homes built by Capt. Phineas still remain: our own; the house built for Albert, comprising the oldest part of 150 Compo Road; and Dr. Joseph’s home (incorrectly called Charles Taylor House) at 268 Wilton Road, beautifully preserved and expanded.

268 Wilton Road

Ketchum’s Hockanum and others are nearby. Not located in a designated historic district, they are in peril of meeting the same end as the Redding home Daniel built with Captain Phineas, unceremoniously demolished in 2006.

Our research took on new meaning as I placed our home on the market. We met with representatives of the Historic Commission and the Westport Historical Society to determine what protections would keep our home safe from the developer’s bulldozer. I was astonished to find that there were virtually none.

Dedicated organizations have the power to forestall, but not prevent. Registering the house as a historical landmark will take more time than I have. And the restrictions are so severe that even an antique lover is dissuaded from purchase. There does not seem to be a middle ground.

I support progress. But there are uncountable new builds for sale in Westport. Is it progress to destroy homes that speak to us of our ancestors, of their sacrifice to create the democracy we enjoy? Shall we lose the opportunity they afford to teach our children about the entrepreneurial spirit that created our town, and country?

As a native Westporter, I sincerely hope not.