Tag Archives: Minute Man monument

Friday Flashback #196

Town arts curator and historian Kathleen Motes Bennewitz reminds us that next Wednesday — June 17 — is the 110th anniversary of the unveiling of the Minute Man monument.

In an essay for ConnecticutHistory.org, she describes “Bunker Hill Day,” which drew over 1,000 state residents.

Temporarily concealed by canvas and a bunting-clad dais was a life-sized bronze of a farmer-turned-soldier — with his powder horn and musket at the ready — kneeling atop a grassy pedestal that rose some 6 feet above the roadway. The monument was erected to honor the heroism of patriots who defended the country when the British invaded Connecticut at Compo Beach on April 25, 1777, and in the ensuing two days of conflict at Danbury and Ridgefield.

Created by Westport artist H. Daniel Webster (1880-1912), The Minute Man is sited in the center of the intersection at Compo Road South and Compo Beach Road, said to be the exact spot of the fiercest engagement between British and Continental militias that April evening. After accepting the statue and turning it over to the town’s care, Lewis B. Curtis, president of the Connecticut Sons of the American Revolution, declared that “Westport should always cherish among their brightest possessions, this spot and the monument, which we have erected to commemorate the noble deeds enacted here.”

The Minute Man statue, around the time of his 1910 dedication.

Surprisingly, our Minute Man is one of only 4 honoring those Revolutionary War civilian patriots. The most famous, Bennewitz says, is at Concord, Massachusetts near “the shot heard ’round the world.” The other 2 are also in the Bay State (Lexington and Framingham).

Bennewitz notes that the 1910 unveiling capped an 8-year campaign for a monument. It began in 1902, when the town “secured title to Compo Beach as a public resort.”

As for the sculptor, Webster was just 29 years old when he received the commission in 1909. Three years earlier, he had moved from New York to Westport’s “nascent artist community.”

After modeling the figure at his Westport studio, he had it cast by Tiffany & Co. at Roman Bronze Works, the country’s preeminent art foundry. To complete the monument, he asked nearby residents to donate fieldstone for the foundation wall and large, asymmetrical boulders for the earthen mound and to house the bronze plaques. The finished cost was $2,900.

Our Minute Man (Photo/Tim Woodruff)

Four years after its unveiling, the Minute Man was a destination for owners of newfangled automobiles, who followed George Washington’s route from Philadelphia to Cambridge to assume command of the Continental army.

In 1935 the monument was the emblem for the town centennial; in 1986, the centerpiece of Miggs Burroughs’ town flag.

In 1957, it was even featured on “I Love Lucy.” You can’t get more American than that.

(For Kathleen Motes Bennewitz’s full WestportHistory.org story, click here. For an “06880” account of the Battle of Compo Hill, click here.)

The Minute Man is beloved by Westporters. He’s decorated with Santa Claus caps at Christmas, bunny ears on Easter, even a COVID-19 mask. Some people think it’s sacrilege. Many more think it’s a tribute to our favorite son. (Photo/Topsy Siderowf)

COVID Roundup: Yarn Bombing; Minute Man Flowers; Masks; Movies; More


Anne Craig is familiar to Westporters. She spent 15 years on TV, as an entertainment and features reporter for Fox 5 in New York, and evening news anchor on New Haven’s Channel 8.

These days Anne is home in Westport with her husband and young kids. But  she still loves telling stories — and tells them very, very well.

This one is about Westport’s mysterious “yarn bomber.” We’ve all seen her (or their) (or his?!) work. Now Anne tries to unravel the mystery.


Two weeks ago, Staples senior Lillie Bukzin learned that Oprah Winfrey was organizing a Facebook Live graduation event — and was looking for videos.

Lillie and her friends Sofie Abrams, Meher Bhullar, Reilly Caldwell, Kate Enquist and Cassie Lang went to work. They wrote a mini-script, and Lillie recorded them all saying “Hi! We are from the class of 2020 from Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut and this how we graduate.” They also threw their Staples baseball caps in the air.

On Thursday, they learned they’d be part of Oprah’s event — which aired yesterday. Click below to see their 15 seconds of fame! (Okay, it’s more like 1.5 seconds. But the video is very cool!

PS: In other Staples/national graduation/famous people news, tonight (8 p.m., multiple platforms) is when former president Barack Obama gives a speech to the Class of 2020. It’s the direct result of a social media campaign spearheaded by Lincoln Debenham, who grew up here and spent 2 years at Staples before his family moved to Los Angeles.

The Class of 2020 may graduate virtually, but together they rock!


The Westport Garden Club had to postpone their annual flower sale. But the 96-year-old organization is growing new roots, with their “Friday Flowers” project. All around town, they’re brightening our days. Here’s one example — at the gateway to our newly opened beach.

(Photo/Ellen Greenberg)


Here’s another interesting shot. David Squires calls this “our new (ab)normal.” Personally, he says, “I prefer the fuzzy dice.”


In month 3 of COVID, you’ve gone through nearly every Netflix, Showtime and Disney title available.

But you may have missed “Batsh*t Bride.” Filmed locally — including Christ & Holy Trinity church, Longshore and Pearl restaurant — the comedy stars Meghan Falcone as a bride who pranks her fiance by saying they should break up. Unfortunately, he feels the same way. Everything spirals out of control from there.

It’s available just about any way you can watch: Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Xbox, FangangoNOW, Hoopla, Sony Playstation Video Application and console, AT&T, DirectTV, Dish, iN DEMAND (Comcast, Spectrum) and Vubiquity (Verison Fios). Enjoy the trailer below; then click here for the direct links.


There’s not a lot to laugh about these days. But people walking past Saugatuck Congregational Church have to smile when they see the signs below.

Too young to know the reference? Google John Cleese and Monty Python.

(Photo/Molly Alger)


And finally … the beach parking lot reopening was timed perfectly with the arrival of actual spring weather. Well done, Westport!

Weekend In Westport: Pandemic Edition

Spring is here. And here’s what Westporters saw this weekend:

As always, the Minute Man saves Westport. (Photo/Bruce Becker)

The Senior Center is closed — but open for beauty. (Photo/Molly Alger)

As he did in life, Cameron Bruce provides a ray of sunshine. His garden is at the corner of Old Hill Farms and Winding Lane. (Photo/AnneMarie Breschard)

Walking — carefully apart — on Canal Road. (Photo/Gene Borio)

Park Lane (Photo/Molly Alger)

Baron’s South (Photo/Molly Alger)

Sue Terrace (Photo/Molly Alger)

Saugatuck Shores (Photo/Gene Borio)

Waiting to meet, properly socially distanced at Winslow Park. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Pics Of The Day #975

Special “morning ice in Westport” edition!

This morning’s ice, on Cross Highway …  (Photo/Tom Wambach)

… and Old Hill Road … (Photo/Joel Treisman)

… and Edgemarth Hill Road … (Photo/Nicholas Hatsiandrou)

… and Indian River Green … (Photo/Betsy P. Kahn)

… and Compo Beach … (Betsy P. Kahn)

… and in Greens Farms … (Photo/David Squires)

… and the Minute Man … (Photo/Tammy Barry)

… and Longshore … (Photo/Tammy Barry)

… and the Old Hill neighborhood … (Photo/Chuck Greenlee)

… and the Compo Beach playground … (Photo/Dave Dellinger)

… and Bittersweet Lane, off Cob Drive … (Photo/Ellen Patafio)

… and Greens Farms Road at Maple Avenue South … (Photo/Dick Lowenstein)

… and Highland Road … (Photo/Ellen Wentworth)

… and Keenes Road … (Photo/Johanna Rossi)

… and Greens Farms Elementary School, from Crate & Barrel. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Pic Of The Day #876

Our Minute Man (Photo/Tim Woodruff)

Pic Of The Day #868

Minute Man: The Hill and the Monument (Photo/Dan Woog)

Behind The Minute Man Wall

It’s one of the most visible properties in town.

The new Compo Road South house — finished this spring — sits just east of the Minute Man monument. It’s right next to Minute Man Hill.

But joggers, bikers and anyone driving by can’t really see it. It’s hidden by a high stone wall, topped by an equally high fence.

(Photo/Matt Murray)

Thanks to a drone and the Higgins Group website though, we get a peek at the 6-bedroom, 9-bath, 8,950-square foot home, 1-acre property. FYI, it’s “New England rustic traditional (that) interweaves with West Coast modern sensational.”

The view looking west, toward Gray’s Creek, Owenoke and Long Island Sound. The Minute Man is barely visible, near the center of the photo.

It’s quite a place. And — in an intriguing twist — the swimming pool is in front of, rather than behind, the house.

(Drone and house photos courtesy of The Higgins Group)

The asking price: $4.9 million.

But you’re too late. It’s already sold.

Minuteman, Spare That Tree!

It’s one of Westport’s most iconic views: The Minute Man monument.

Yet just as impressive as the 1910 statue is the magnificent red oak tree behind, at the corner of  South Compo and Compo Beach Read. It frames every photo. It adds permanence to that historic spot. It’s as beautiful as New England gets.

The tree stands on town-owned property — long a buffer against development. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe from private property harm. Part of the tree makes contact with private property, so ownership is considered “shared.”

The Minute Man Monument, with the magnificent red oak behind

Spec builders — Simple Plan One LLC — hope to develop a home at 280 Compo Road South. The project is moving through various town departments.

The plan does not include removal of the tree. But it could very likely cause the tree to die within a couple of years due to nearby root cutting and root compaction, along with changes to the topography after regrading.

A major threat to the tree is the proposed moving of a WPA-era drainpipe (which has a permanent easement), to make room for the new house. The developer has asked permission to redirect the pipe, expanding the building envelope — thus allowing a significantly larger home to rise on the site.

Moving the pipe appears to run a very real risk of damaging the red oak’s root system.

The tree would not die immediately, if damaged. Its demise could take a year or two.

But it would sure not last the 800 years or so that similar trees, in robust, healthy condition, could live for.

This one is more than 100 years old. It’s still a child.

The Minute Man Monument, around the time of the 1910 dedication. The very young tree can be seen in the background.

Another worry involves construction of a new driveway across the town-owned property onto Compo Beach Road. That would provide a 2nd driveway, in addition to the one the property has long had on South Compo.

(The driveway is now at the easternmost edge of the property — down the road, away from the Minute Man. The new driveway on South Compo would be closer to the monument.)

Neighbors worry that the 2nd driveway, with parking and a garage — passing over town-owned property — also runs a very real risk of encroaching on, and damaging, the tree’s roots.

The reason for the garage there? It’s to insulate the living areas of the home from traffic noise on Compo Beach Road.

One more view.

According to tree warden Bruce Lindsay, the “stately red oak … is in excellent health.” He hopes that it “is not harmed, (and that) proper tree protection systems are put into place to maintain the tree’s health and structure outside the Critical Root Zone, (and) beyond the scope of the work.”

The Flood and Erosion Control Board approved the project on May 1. Since then, it appears that a number of changes have been made to the plans. The tree was not part of that board’s discussion, as it was not a known issue at the time.

The Conservation Commission met on May 15. They held the matter open until a special meeting — set for June 10 — to allow neighbors’ consultants time to review the proposal. Click here for a video of the commission’s May meeting.

The developer hopes to get on the Planning & Zoning Commission agenda this month or next.

Will officials permit the taking of town property for an additional entrance? Will they green-light proposed work that runs a substantial risk of harming a historic, stately town-owned tree?

All of this does not even touch the question of what new, large construction would mean to the streetscape view of the Minute Man Monument, at that iconic corner.

Stay tuned.

The Minute Man himself may not be able to fight.

But concerned Westporters can.

Pic Of The Day #548

The Minute Man guards a new home. (Photo/John Videler Photography)

Pics Of The Day #406

Playing on Veterans Green, after today’s Memorial Day ceremony. (Photo/Ted Horowitz)


After joining the Parks & Recreation Department in 2008, Andrew Colabella maintained the Minute Man monument and 2 other nearby historical sites.

He left the department in 2014, but continues volunteering in free time. He throws down seed, prunes and waters plants, and replaces worn flags with new ones.

It’s his way of giving back to his hometown, and connecting with its long and important  history.

The Minute Man monument, with new flags …

… the cemetery on Gray’s Creek, off Compo Beach Road, where colonists killed in the 1777 battle against the British are buried …

… and the Longshore cemetery, across the creek. Some of these graves may hold the bodies of British soldiers, killed by colonists as they returned to their ship after burning the arsenal in Danbury.