Teardowns gets tons of publicity. The loss of familiar streetscapes — and their replacement by (often) bigger, more modern homes — is hard to miss.
Renovations are harder to see. Much of that work goes on inside. But they’re an important part of Westport life too.
Tracey Ialeggio Kelly was born and raised in Westport. Her father Tony Ialeggio — an architect for over 40 years — instilled in her a love for historic houses.
She graduated from Staples High School in 1991. Nineteen years later, she purchased a 1927 home on Colonial Road that was a prime candidate for demolition.
She restored it beautifully. In 2012 the Historic District Commission honored her with a Westport Preservation Award. It noted her sensitivity to the mass and scale of the historic Greens Farms Congregational Church neighborhood.
“It is an example of how a small, modest house can be successfully preserved, expanded and adapted to the needs of a modern family on a small parcel of land,” the award said.
But Tracey was not through. Last July, she bought another historic house, on Sylvan Road North.
She asked Westport Museum of History & Culture house historian Bob Weingarten to research it. He found that the property was purchased by Charles and Frederick Fable — brothers who created Fable Funeral Home — in 1939, from Edward Nash.
Frederick died a few months later. His son — also named Frederick — continued to build the house, with his uncle Charles. It remained in the family until 1985.
Tracey’s friend Andy Dehler surprised her on Christmas with a historic house plaque. It’s one of many that remind everyone who passes that history continues to live in town.
We just have to know where to look.