Last week, I posted a story about the day Marian Anderson visited Bedford Elementary School. Buried in the piece was a quick line noting that the building now serves as Town Hall.
Sure, our Myrtle Avenue seat of government looks like a school. But although generations of graduates think about their alma mater every time they drive by or see a reference to it on “06880,” I wonder how many Westporters who moved here since the 1979 conversion realize its history.
Bedfprd Elementary School (Photo courtesy of Paul Ehrismann)
In 1917, the town voted to build a new school to serve children from “East and West Saugatuck, Cross Highway, Poplar Plains and Coleytown.” Major funding came from noted philanthropist (and Beachside Avenue resident) Edward T. Bedford.
Eight years later he helped fund Greens Farms Elementary School, much closer to his estate.
So if Town Hall is now at the old Bedford El, where was it originally?
The Post Road. For decades, our town operated out of the handsome stone building next to what is today Restoration Hardware.
The old Town Hall has been repurposed. Westporters know it now for 2 great restaurants: Jesup Hall, and Rothbard Ale + Larder.
There’s not much to remind you that it was once the center of government. Although the next time you’re in Rothbard, take a close look around.
From the 1950s through ’80s, Westport junior highs fielded interscholastic athletic teams.
Bedford and Long Lots — and, after it opened in 1965, Coleytown — competed against junior highs from Darien, New Canaan and Greenwich in football, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball and track.
Competition was intense — both within the league, and to win the mythical Westport “town championship.”
Interscholastic competition ended in 1983, when Westport schools moved from a junior high model, to middle schools. Ninth graders went to Staples High, and competed on their own freshman teams.
But in the 1950s — and perhaps earlier — local elementary schools had their own intra-town sports teams. I have no idea when they began. By the 1960s, they were gone.
I don’t know what sports they involved either — except for boys basketball, as shown by this Saugatuck Elementary School photo provided by alert “06880” reader Fred Cantor.
Fred adds that a scrapbook from Coleytown Elementary School’s first year — 1953 — describes a girls kickball competition between that school and Bedford El.
If you’ve got stories about elementary or junior high sports teams, click “Comments” below.
Carissa Baker was the winner of last week’s photo challenge. She nailed Lynn U. Miller’s shot of the columns outside Town Hall. In Carissa’s day it was known as Bedford Elementary School. Either way — it’s a handsome building, and we congratulate Carissa! (To see the photo and comments, click here.)
Here is this week’s challenge:
You know the drill. Click “Comments” if you know where in Westport this is — and add any back story you wish.
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