Tag Archives: Patagonia

Friday Flashback #71

I remember Westport Bank & Trust.

The grand old bank sat at the junction of Church Lane and the Post Road — right between the equally magnificent Tudor-style Westport YMCA , and the very popular Fine Arts Theater.

Today, the Y’s Bedford building is Anthropologie. The Fine Arts is Restoration Hardware.

And Westport Bank & Trust — after crawling through a few incarnations with names like Lafayette and Hudson Banks — has emerged as Patagonia.

(Pink Sumo occupies the lower level, where the safe deposit boxes once stood.)

I even remember many stories about Westport Bank & Trust — including the lengths to which president Einar Andersen would go, making sure that service veterans and other worthy citizens got personal and business loans.

I remember the bank’s tagline: “A hometown bank in a town of homes.”

You can see it (in a slightly briefer version) in Ann Runyon’s photo:

But what I don’t remember is what the image above shows. Apparently, this was a piggy bank.

If you’ve got any Westport Bank & Trust memories, click “Comments” below.

Photo Challenge #106

Sometimes the photo challenge is hidden in plain sight.

Last week’s photo showed a Corinthian pilaster with acanthus leaves, and a brick building — but it wasn’t the original library building. It wasn’t the old Y. It wasn’t one of our first schools, like Bedford Elementary (now Town Hall), Saugatuck Elementary (now elderly housing) or Bedford Junior High (now Saugatuck El).

No. It was the longtime Westport Bank & Trust — now repurposed as Patagonia.

Many of us pass by it, probably every day. But only Nina Skaya, Shirlee Gordon, Sarah Neilly, Ann Friedenberg and Linda Parker (who provided the architectural description I stole above) guessed correctly.

For Lynn U. Miller’s great photo — and all the guesses, right and wrong — click here.

This week’s challenge comes courtesy of Seth Schachter:

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

(Photo/Seth Schachter)

Here’s a hint: It’s not downtown.

That’s all we’re saying. If you think you know where this waterfall is, click “Comments” below.

Gray Skies Are Gonna Clear Up …

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Anne Hardy)

Click on or hover over to enlarge. (Photo/Anne Hardy)

Westport Shows Her True Colors

Severe thunderstorms moved through Westport early this evening.

And then…

Rainbow - July 25, 2016 - David Waldman

(Photo/David Waldman)

(Photos/David Waldman)

(Photo/David Waldman)

(Photo/Robert Mitchell)

(Photo/Robert Mitchell)

Burying Hill Beach - July 25, 2016 - Jessica Isaacs

(Photo/Jessica Isaacs)

Finally, a bit later…

Compo Beach, looking west. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Compo Beach, looking west. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Shovel Brigade

After a midday lull, snow began falling again. This crew braved the elements, to shovel the sidewalk outside Patagonia:

Patagonia

The forecast falls for snow to taper off in late afternoon.

“We Rob Banks”

In 1968 — a few months after the movie “Bonnie and Clyde” swept the nation — a few Staples seniors and friends thought it would be cool to imitate the legendary outlaws.

The high school campus was open; students came and went as they pleased during free periods (and sometimes during not-so-frees). It was spring; giddiness filled the air. Hey, why not?!

Five guys dressed up like ’20s gangsters. They drove downtown, sauntered into Westport Bank & Trust — now Patagonia — and, with a “getaway car” idling outside, pulled out a fake .38 pistol and said, “Stick ’em up!”

Ha ha!

A few customers scrambled for cover. The tellers didn’t know what to think, but eventually realized it was just a prank. Cops were called, and hauled the Gang of 5 across the street to the police station.

The Westport Town Crier covered the “let’s pretend” robbery jovially. They described the teenagers’ suits and fedoras in detail.

Times sure have changed. Banks — not to mention the ATF, FBI and NSA — don’t look kindly on fake stick-ups.

If this stunt happened today, a full-scale investigation would be held. School administrators and the Board of Education can’t have kids dressed as bank robbers leaving school in the middle of the day, then pretending to rob a bank.

And the Westport Police would certainly not allow 5 teenagers, dressed in fedoras and holding cigarettes, to pose jauntily in the station lobby, looking like they’ve just pulled off the heist of the century.

The Town Crier photo of (from left) Thomas Skinner, Stephen Ambrose, Michael Simonds, Frank Rawlinson and Anthony Dohanos. Anthony posted the photo on Facebook. He now lives in Hawaiii -- far from the scene of the "crime."

The Town Crier photo of (from left) Thomas Skinner, Stephen Ambrose, Michael Simonds, Frank Rawlinson and Anthony Dohanos. Anthony posted the photo on Facebook. He now lives in Hawaiii — far from the scene of the “crime.”

 

 

 

Robert Lambdin’s Old Mural Gains New Life

Westport has a poor batting average for saving old homes.

But when it comes to preserving murals, it’s all grand slams.

Restored murals by John Steuart Curry and other noted artists hang in our public schools, fire station and Town Hall.

The Westport Art Rescue Committee — led by the late Mollie Donovan, her sister Eve Potts, Judy Gault Sterling and Ann Sheffer, among others — saved Robert Lambdin’s WPA-era “Pageant of Juvenile Literature” when Saugatuck Elementary School was converted to senior housing. It’s now on display at the Westport Library, admired by hundreds of people every day.

Lambdin also painted the grand “Saugatuck in the 19th Century” — actually 3 works. Two — dating to 1964-65 — were installed in the handsome main lobby of Westport Bank & Trust Company, which commissioned the work.

They remained there as the local bank was swallowed up in a series of takeovers by now-forgotten, bigger ones. The building — in the heart of downtown — is now Patagonia. The cool, functional clothing store has lovingly preserved Lambdin’s murals.

Robert Lambdin's old-time murals lend a touch of Westport history to modern-day Patagonia.

Robert Lambdin’s old-time murals lend a touch of Westport history to modern-day Patagonia.

The other “Saugatuck in the 19th Century” painting was hung at Westport Bank & Trust’s Charles Street branch — in the heart of Saugatuck. It was painted around 1969, when the branch opened.

That large mural depicts a lively Saugatuck. It shows agriculture, stables, the railroad and river trade; businesses like Elonzo Wheeler’s button factory; the Bridge Street bridge, and the Saugatuck Bank (Westport Bank & Trust’s forerunner), whose founding partners included Horace Staples.

Though the view was composed with artistic license, Lambdin conducted painstaking research. Town residents modeled for him, including (at the center) Captain Serano Allen.

Robert Lambdin's Saugatuck mural.

Robert Lambdin’s Saugatuck mural. Hover over or click to enlarge.

The Saugatuck mural was a point of pride in the neighborhood, even as the branch lost its local roots. Eventually it became a TD Bank.

When TD (whatever those initials stand for) closed the branch last November, the mural’s future was unknown.

The building is being sold. The mural is headed for storage.

But — thanks to town art curator Kathie Motes Bennewitz, and the Westport Arts Advisory Committee — “Saugatuck in the 19th Century” has a new life.

After touch-up work, it will hang in Town Hall. An exhibit is planned too.

The gift from TD Bank is valued at $25,000.

But you can’t put a price on preserving history.

Last Thursday, the mural was removed from the old bank building.

Last Thursday, the large mural was removed from the old bank building.

Brrrrring It On!

Temperatures struggled to reach the mid-teens this afternoon.

This shot of Patagonia — taken from the warmth of the Y — sums up the day:

Y ice

Tomorrow will be 25. On Sunday and Monday, expect rain — with temperatures in the mid-40s.

Tuesday, it’s back down to 12 degrees.  That’s the high.

Welcome to New England!

Broad Stripes And Bright Stars

For years, the flag flying over Patagonia has looked pretty ratty.

Not as tattered as the one Francis Scott Key saw over Fort McHenry — but close.

These days, a big, new and handsome flag stands proudly downtown.

Patagonia flag, Westport CT

Just in time for Memorial Day.

An Accident A Day?

Over the past few weeks, pedestrians have been hit crossing the Post Road near Shake Shack and in front of Playhouse Square.

A body was discovered on the I-95 Exit 18 entrance ramp.

And every day, it seems, there are automobile accidents everywhere in town.

This morning around 10:30, a westbound driver on the Post Road near Patagonia suddenly veered across the street, slamming into a car parked in front of Restoration Hardware.

In the words of Sgt. Phil Esterhaus:  “Be careful out there.”