Tag Archives: Jesup Green

Friday Flashback #154

The opening of the transformed Westport Library brought back memories of the original — and reminders, once again, that it was built on what was once the “town dump.”

Alert — and historic minded — “06880” reader Fred Cantor found a fascinating aerial photo, published by the Town Crier in 1965

(Photo/Robert Lentini)

Back then, the library was located in the building at the lower left of the photo. Today it’s the site of Starbucks, Freshii and other tenants.

Across the Post Road — at the foot of what we now call the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge — is a block of shops and apartments that burned in the late 1960s or early ’70s. Today it’s South Moon Under, and other stores.

But the most fascinating part of the photo is seen beyond Jesup Green and the Taylor Place parking lot. There — in the center of town — sat the Rogers Little League baseball diamond. The dugouts are about where the upper entrance to the library lot is today. (Why is it so bumpy now? Landfill.)

Unfortunately, the photo does not show what lies beyond left and center field. That was the town dump.

It smelled. It attracted seagulls. It was not uncommon for the birds to swoop near unsuspecting outfielders, attempting to catch flies (the baseball variety).

Around that time — perhaps a few years later — Westport artist Arthur Cady drew a series of Westport scenes.

(Illustration by Arthur Cady/courtesy of Jim Ezzes)

This one may have been a bit of artistic license. I don’t think the dump was quite that close to downtown.

But it sure was near to what is now Tiffany, nestling right behind on Taylor Place.

Pic Of The Day #797

The transformed Westport Library opened today. One key feature: a new entrance on Jesup Green. Moments before the ribbon-cutting, youngsters enjoy the once-overlooked sculpture nearby. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Well, It Sure Didn’t Take Long For The Duck To Face Plant Itself This Year

“Sunny” — the enormous yellow duck that serves as great PR for the Sunrise Rotary Club’s annual Great Duck Race — was inflated yesterday on Jesup Green.

Usually it takes a few days — after it’s been moved to the Saugatuck River — for it to topple over.

This year: less than 24 hours.

(Photo/Richard Hyman)

(Photo/Aya Camp)

If you’re wondering: This year’s race is Saturday, June 1 (11 a.m., Parker Harding Plaza). Click here for tickets, and more information.

It Was A Dark And Stormy Evening …

… and it will continue. A severe thunderstorm watch — with possible winds up to 70 mph, and maybe even a tornado — is in effect until 11 p.m.

Meanwhile, this was the scene as the first storm rolled in, just an hour ago.

The day-old palm tree at Compo Beach. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

The Compo Beach neighborhood… (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

… and another view. (Photo/Patricia McMahon)

Jesup Green (Photo/Catherine Calise)

Climate Vigil Tomorrow: New Time And Site

Sunday’s Candlelight Vigil for Climate Protection has drawn interest far beyond Westport’s beach-stickered citizens.

So organizers have moved the event — planned to protest President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord — to a spot accessible to everyone: Jesup Green.

The start time is changed too, to 8 p.m. (Sunday, June 4).

Click here for more information, on the group’s Facebook page.

Nicaragua did not join the Paris Accord because it did not go far enough. Syria did not sign because it is consumed by a civil war. The US is withdrawing after signing because … ?

Maker Faire Makes Its Mark

You can’t keep a good geek down.

Chilly temperatures and a light rain did not deter thousands of folks from descending on the Westport Library, Jesup Green and Bedford Square, for today’s 6th annual Maker Faire.

Every type of STEM creation was represented: robots, 3-D designs, flight simulators, submersibles and more.

The arts were there too: violinists, jewelry makers, sculptors…

And of course local organizations: the Y, Wakeman Town Farm and Rotary Club were among those showing their commitment to creativity and community.

In 6 short years, the Maker Faire has become one of the biggest events of the Westport year. Now all we need is some young guy or girl who can control the weather.

Which I’m sure we’ll see next spring.

Hand-made robots were a huge hit.

Christopher Crowe’s creations drew a crowd.

What better spot to hang out in than the Westport Library’s permanent Maker Space?

State Senators Toni Boucher (front) and Tony Hwang (right) joined 1st Selectman Jim Marpe (left) and Westport Library trustee Iain Bruce at the Maker Faire.

A father gives a hands-on wind tunnel demonstration to his daughter.

Westporter Charlie Wolgast — a professional pilot — checks out a flight simulator in Bedford Square.

Beware!

Westport’s Charter Oak Connections

If you’re new to Connecticut, you may not know about our charter oak. They don’t teach state history in school — I don’t think so, anyway — and most of the state quarters that were minted nearly 20 years ago are out of circulation.

But longtime residents know the charter oak. And one of its descendants may still live in Westport.

The story involves a large white oak tree that dates back to the 12th or 13th century.  Apparently our royal charter — given by King Charles in 1662, to the Connecticut colony — was hidden in a hollow in 1687, to prevent the governor-general from revoking it.

Connecticut's charter oak.

Connecticut’s charter oak.

The tree was destroyed in 1856, during a strong storm. But its legend remains.

So, supposedly, do many of its seedlings.

In 1965, a “Committee for the location and care of the Charter Oak Tree” was formed. Its purpose was to “accept the seedling  descendant of the Charter Oak from Mr. John Davis Lodge, care for it during the winter, select a location in which it can be planted in the Spring, and organize a planting ceremony.”

Lodge — a former governor of Connecticut and ambassador to Spain, and future ambassador to Argentina and Switzerland — lived in Westport.

Minutes of a November 20, 1965 meeting show that a seedling was intended to be donated to Staples High School in the spring.

Legend has it that the seedling was planted in the school courtyard on North Avenue. No one today knows authoritatively if that was done, or exactly where. If it ever existed, it was bulldozed away during construction of the new building more than a decade ago.

Connecticut state quarterThe committee also discussed the best location for another seedling, downtown. Members — including representatives of the RTM, Westport Garden Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Daughters of the American Revolution — agreed that Jesup Green was the best area. It could be “the first step in setting a centrally located civic center.”

Discussion then turned to the erection of a plaque, commemorating the gift to the town by Lodge.

“It was agreed that watering and care after the planting should be delegated to a Town employee who would be responsible for its care,” meeting notes read.

Arbor Day in April was suggested as a good time for the planting, and that school children should be involved.

The committee then went outdoors to study possible locations. They agreed to store the 2 seedling oaks in the “cold barn cellar” of Parsell’s Nursery. Garden center owner and civic volunteer Alan U. Parsell was a committee member.

And that’s the last bit of information I dug up about Westport’s charter oak.

Maker Faire Makes Its Mark

Geeks are cool.

Up to 10,000 science, math, music, robotics, environment, agriculture, art, drone, woodworking, etc. geeks — of all ages, genders, and from more than 100 miles away — descended on Westport today.

The 5th annual Mini Maker Faire made our town the center of the creative universe — okay, the creative region.

Demonstrations, exhibits, games, food — it was all there, at the Westport Library and Jesup Green.

It continues all afternoon (Saturday, April 30), until 4 p.m. There may still be time to get your geek on!

Outside the main tent, a "human foosball" game was played. As in many real soccer games, the goalie is bored.

Outside the main tent, a “human foosball” game was played. As in many real soccer games, the goalie is bored.

A Maker Faire luthier introduces a young boy to the wonders of music.

A Maker Faire luthier introduces a young boy to the wonders of music.

A father and son bond over physics.

A father and son bond over physics.

A self-proclaimed Kook Nerd.

A self-proclaimed Kool Nerd.

Indoors and out, the Maker Faire took over the Westport Library and Jesup Green.

Indoors and out, the Maker Faire took over the Westport Library and Jesup Green.

Among the exhibitors. Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service offered free CPR training.

Among the exhibitors. Norwalk Hospital volunteers offered free CPR training.

Some youngsters found a way to "make" their own fun.

Some youngsters found a way to “make” their own fun.

Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #26

Summertime, and the livin’ is — well, for this week’s photo challenge Lynn U. Miller has gone to her wintry files. If you think you know where she shot this scene, click “Comments” below. Of course, add any back stories you wish.

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Meanwhile, last week’s photo challenge was the toughest yet. It took 3 days, but thanks to a cross-continental collaboration between Wendy Cusick of Norwalk and Nancy Hunter (Vancouver, British Columbia), Lynn U. Miller’s mystery was finally solved.

The image was part of a plaque from the Lions Club, commemorating America’s bicentennial in 1976. This was the clue:

Oh My 06880 - June 21, 2015

Here’s the full image:

Lions Club plaque - Jesup Green flag pole

It was located — still is, in fact — at the base of the flagpole on Jesup Green. As I said, hidden in plain sight. Lynn and I got all of you (except Wendy and Nancy!)

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

 

Maker Faire: Westport’s Greatest Collection Of Nerds, Geeks, And Way Cool People

Westport’s 4th annual Mini Maker Faire is in full swing today. Up to 6,000 creative, inventive folks of all ages are expected to flood Jesup Green and the library. They’ll spend the day building, designing, creating, hacking, learning, connecting, eating, drinking, listening and playing.

And that’s just at one of the hundreds of interactive, interdisciplinary, interesting exhibits.

The Maker Faire runs till 4 p.m. today (Saturday, April 25). The inspiration will last forever.

“The Great Fredini” is constructing an entire scale model of Coney Island, with a 3D printer. Faire-goers could have their own body scanned — and printed — to be included.

Anyone can play regular foosball. It takes a certain type of person to be part of a human foosball game.

Anyone can play regular foosball. It takes a certain type of person to be part of a human foosball game.

Getting set for the Nerdy Derby: a Pinewood Derby with no rules.

Getting set for the Nerdy Derby: a Pinewood Derby with no rules.

A scavenger hunt includes -- naturally -- QR codes. As noted, this event was developed by the Kids' Committee.

A scavenger hunt includes — naturally — QR codes. As noted, this event was developed by kids. Participants earned a free download of digital goodies; the randomly selected 1st prize was a gift certificate to robotics camp.

Where can you find a real live violin-maker? At the Maker Faire, of course.

Where can you find a real live cello-maker? At the Maker Faire, of course.

But sometimes it was fun just to play with a low-tech toy: the sculpture outside the library.

Sometimes it was fun just to play with a low-tech toy: the sculpture outside the library.