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Tag Archives: Compo Cove
The house by the Sherwood Mill Pond footbridge leading to Compo Cove is being raised. You can see the work from Old Mill Beach — and far beyond, at Schlaet’s Point on Hillspoint Road.
It’s an iconic Westport site. Originally a grist mill — destroyed at least once by fire — it has been a private residence since the early 1900s. Like its predecessor, the home straddles the water.
Here’s what it looked like in the early 20th century:
Don Willmott found this postcard — with “Compowe” misspelled — in a box belonging to his father, artist Al Willmott. There’s a note on the back, from “Nina” to “Francine.”
It reads: “Father and I went to Compo Beach today. It was lovely. I wish you could have gone with us. I think this is a pretty card. We had some fine ice cream in Westport.”
Another postcard from the same area and era — this one without any misspellings — comes courtesy of Mark Krosse:
You can’t see the “old mill” that gave the beach and neighborhood its name.
But you can sure tell that the scene is timeless.
Last week’s photo challenge was easy. You might call it a “clam dunk.”
Richard Hyman’s photo showed devices under the 2nd wooden bridge at Sherwood Mill Pond, just before Compo Cove.
They were described variously as a “sluice gate,” “pumps,” “pond gates,” “lock system,” “flood control gates” and “water control mechanism.”
Actually they’re electric gates, installed around 1990. They replaced hand cranks.
Craig Clark provided important context:
They are neither locks or flood gates, but gates to keep water in the pond after high tide. The escaping water was then used to run the grist mill. On an incoming tide there was about 2 feet of clearance under the gates. Many of us swam under them, much to the distaste of the lifeguards.
As the tide changed, the gates would close and hold water back, hence the name Mill Pond. The gates were raised yearly to flush out the pond and allow any repair work to be done to the stone coffer dams, and flush out some of the other stuff that would accumulate.
The Mill Pond has gotten a lot shallower over the years, due to sand coming from Compo Cove and the state park. Farmers used to harvest the salt hay that grows on the flats, and the channels were cut for mosquito control. The Mill Pond is one of Westport’s and the state’s true treasures.
Congratulations to the 24 alert readers — a record! — who knew their onions: Fred Cantor, Luke Garvey, Lisa Marie Alter, Vanessa Wilson, Matt Murray, Craig Clark, Andrew Colabella, Rich Stein, Bob Stalling, Susan Granger, Robert Mitchell, John Brandt, Martin Gitlin, Stan Skowronski, Jill Turner Odice, Antony Lantier, Julie Fatherley, Peter Swift, Jay Tormey, Joelle Malec, Michael, Pettee, Rosalie Kaye, Linda Amos and Don Jacobs. (Click here for the photo, and all responses.)
Since last week’s photo challenge was so easy, here’s a tough one. If you recognize this sign, click “Comments” below.
Alert “06880” reader — and longtime Westport observer — Chip Stephens writes:
Those of us who have been around a while remember that not so long ago, Sherwood Mill Pond neighbors had the sand in front of their houses replenished once a year. A barge would recover sand washed into Compo Cove from their beaches by storms and high tides. Big Kowalsky front-end loaders spread it out, recovering private beaches up and down the cove.
In recent years, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has restricted that activity. You can see what’s happened by not replenishing the beaches from Hillspoint Road. Landowners see it more painfully from their windows.
We’ve long been told that the reason the sand washes away is that the Army Corps of Engineers made errors when they replaced reefs and stones on Sherwood Island and Compo Beach. That caused misdirection of natural currents, sweeping away sand on those local beaches into the Mill Cove flats.
Now the landowners face difficulties with DEEP and local boards in placing erosion controls, walls or reefs to save their beach, their land and their houses.
DEEP’s answer is to plant the beach with grasses and plantings. Unfortuantely, even modest storms wash them away.
What will happen? Well, time and tide wait for no man…
Anyone driving on Hillspoint Road has seen Compo Cove — the couple of dozen homes between Old Mill Beach and Sherwood Island. However, many Westporters don’t know they’re accessible only by a foot path near the Sherwood Mill Pond.
Plenty of Westporters do know about this hidden gem, though. And Fred Cantor, Matt Murray, Kathi Sherman, Rich Stein, Robert Mitchell, Michelle Saunders, Andrew Colabella, Susan Huppi, Elayne Landau, Rick Benson, Jann Colabella and Lynn Betts Baker all identified the gate, which was last week’s photo challenge. Click here for the photo; scroll down for comments.
(Fun fact: Back in the 1950s and ’60s — before most homes were winterized — the area was known as “Psycho Path.” The reason: Many summer residents were New York City psychiatrists.)
Today’s photo challenge should be tougher. If you know where in Westport you’d find this scene, click “Comments” below.