On the one hand, it was just another in Westport Journal’s continuing coverage of teardown homes. Last week, they reported that 70 Compo Mill Cove will soon be demolished.
The website noted the facts: “Built in 1922, the 2-story cape has 1,000-square-feet of living space, four bedrooms, one and a half baths, piers, a deck and a finished upper story.”
It’s just one more loss of an old house — though more visible than most, to anyone gazing across Old Mill Beach, while walking on Hillspoint Road.
But this is a particularly historic house. It belonged to longtime town historian — and beloved civic volunteer — Allen Raymond.
It also was the scene of one of my most memorable moments as publisher of “06880.” In the early spring of 2014 I was privileged to be with Allen, as he made his last visit to the home that had belonged to his family since 1922.
He was 91, and dying. But as we sat in a sun-filled room by the water, his eyes shone.
It was both a difficult piece to write, and an easy one. The words flowed, but I knew they had to be right.
Here’s how I began:
Allen Raymond has lived on Compo Cove since 1922.
The unique, beautiful spit of land drew his parents to Westport nearly a century ago, and kept Allen here ever since. (He added a house on King’s Highway, which is perfectly fitting. It’s the most historic part of town, and no one knows Westport’s history better than Allen Raymond.)
Allen is 91 years old now, and his heart is failing. This afternoon — the first sparkling day of spring — he visited his beloved Old Mill home. It’s rented out, but he sat on the porch, gazed at the rippling high tide and spectacular views of Compo Hill, and reminisced.
Allen spoke about his childhood days on the water, his summers growing up, and the life he’s lived here — and loved — ever since.
What a remarkable 9 decades Allen has spent in town.
You can click here to read the rest of the story, and learn more about the amazing Allen Raymond. (Spoiler alert: He’s one of the main reasons the town owns Longshore today.)
We should not forget people like him — the men and women who made Westport what it is.
And though it soon will be gone, we should not forget the small homes like his, which nurtured his lifelong love for the town — and contributed mightily to its beauty.