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Tag Archives: Compo Beach bathhouse
Two of the biggest Compo Beach controversies in recent years involved the South Beach bathrooms and the playground. Opponents of both projects worried they’d block scenic views of the Sound.
That didn’t happen, of course. But for many years — through the 1960s, in fact — our vista was quite different.
Enormous wooden bathhouses stretched from what is now Joey’s to the pavilion near Soundview Drive. (The concession stand was located then at the current volleyball courts.)
I have very dim memories of the bathhouses. They were dark and musty. The floors were sandy and wet. My friends and I played inside, but it felt like danger lurked around every corner. There were many corners.
The bathhouses went through several incarnations, before they were finally torn down. Here are a few.
Last week’s Photo Challenge was a tad different. Peter Barlow’s photo showed an object in the ground. But — as the story explained — that’s not where it originally was. (Click here for the photo.)
It’s one of the spires from the Compo Beach bathhouse.
Peter — a longtime but now former Westporter — says that one of the spires, and some brickwork, fell off in a long-ago hurricane.
He dragged it over to the sand, photographed it, then used the image in several paintings.
At some point, he says, the town decided to remove all the spires. They were knocked off with sledgehammers, with no attempt made to save them.
Peter asked Randy Eaton, on the Parks and Recreation Department’s maintenance staff, if he could have one or two. Randy took a couple for himself, and told Peter he could have any others.
He took 5 or 6 home, in his car — one at a time. (“They’re large and heavy,” he notes.) He’s often thought about restoring one, but never got around to it.
Peter says that at least one of the spires still exists in Westport. But, he adds, “I don’t know if the current owner knows what it is.”
Jonathan McClure was the reader whose guess came closest. He wrote, “Concrete architectural finial from a long ago demolished Compo Beach structure?” The bathhouse is still there, though the spires/finials are just memories.
Peter also sent along this photo:
If you know where in Westport you’d find this, click “Comments” below.
Hint: Unlike the Compo bathhouse spire, this one is definitely still standing.
The press release is simple:
The Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a Special Public Meeting on Thursday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium. The purpose of the meeting is to determine whether to repair and renovate the current Compo Beach bathhouse and pavilion structure or replace the structure with a new facility.
Knowing Westport — and the history of the beach — the debate is certain to be lively.
As America — and Westport — vote, what better way to celebrate than with Pat Gold’s red-white-and-blue photo of a favorite subject.
Tomorrow, we’ll have a new president.
But Compo Beach will still be there.