Since the 1960s, the Post Road East/Roseville Road corner has been known for food.
First Big Top, then Roy Rogers, now McDonald’s — it’s where generations of Westporters have stopped for a quick (first real, then heavily processed) meal.
Previous generations headed to that spot for some slow, important work.
Blacksmith shop next to Roseville Road around 1925. it was torn down in 1928, as part of a road rewidening project. The Linxweilers moved their operation nearby. (Photo courtesy of Peter Morris)
A blacksmith shop stood for years by the unpaved streets. It was owned by the Linxweiler family. Their residence — a few yards west on Post Road East, next to the Fresh Market shopping center — still stands. It’s now part of Homes with Hope’s supportive housing program.
From blacksmitih to Big Top to McDonald’s: progress? Or regress?
But before 2013 is consigned to the compost heap of history, let’s look back on some other Westport trees that are now just a memory.
Judy James maintains a Facebook album called “In Memoriam — Westport Trees.” She writes:
An urban forest provides great value in many different areas, such as increased resale values for residential properties, savings from decreased heating and cooling costs, reduction of air pollution, and control of erosion from storm water runoff. It has been estimated that a tree with a 50-year life span provides nearly $60,000 of benefit over its lifetime.
There’s no indication how many of the trees below were older than 50 years, or diseased or dangerous. But here are 4 photos Judy posted, to show how dramatically the removal of just a couple of trees can change a landscape.
These trees — at the intersection of aptly named Cedar Road and the Post Road — were cut down to make way for the new building replacing the Cedar Brook Cafe.
All it took was the removal of one tree to dramatically change the look of McDonald’s.
Last summer saw the removal of a couple of trees that long stood near People’s Bank, on the corner of the Post Road and North Compo.
I’ve been accused of glorifying the Remarkable Book Shop — making the Main Street store (now Talbot’s) into a symbol for a long-ago unique, mom-and-pop downtown now replaced by faceless, corporate chain stores.
But whether you think I’m a starry-eyed, stuck-in-the-past romantic or a long-time Westporter recalling a funkier community, I dare you to look at this picture and tell me that what’s there now is an improvement.
That was the Big Top, sitting coolly at the corner of the Post Road and Roseville.
Today it’s McDonald’s.
Through the 1960s and ’70s, the Big Top was the place to go for burgers, dogs, fries, onion rings, ribs, chicken and shakes.
An enormous range of people went — teenagers, lawyers, local workers, college kids. Pretty much anyone except mommies with little kids. They hung more at Chubby Lane’s. If burger places were music, Chubby’s was the Beatles. Big Top: the Stones.
Click here to help support “06880” via credit card or PayPal. Any amount is welcome, appreciated — and tax-deductible! Reader contributions keep this blog going. (Alternate methods: Please send a check to “06880”: PO Box 744, Westport, CT 06881. Or use Venmo: @blog06880. Or Zelle: email@example.com. Thanks!)