Tag Archives: PJ Romano Field

Glenn’s Bench

Glenn Hightower — the educator, coach, church and civic volunteer, and avid athlete — died on January 1, 2017. 

Today — nearly a year later — friends and family members remembered him at one of his favorite spots. “06880” reader Tom Kretsch reports:

Despite frigid temperatures, a warm group gathered at the former Bedford Middle School on Riverside Avenue (now Saugatuck Elementary School).

They unveiled a plaque mounted on a bench along the track where Glenn spent many hours coaching, running and leading his school community.

(Photo/Tom Kretsch)

His daughters Heather, Holly and Julie were there with their families. After brief remarks by fellow runner Pat Kennedy, Holly read a poem — “Success,” often attributed to Emerson — that was always on Glenn’s desk.

Then — spontaneously — others spoke about personal experiences with Glenn as a runner, parent, colleague or friend. Heather led the group in singing “Amazing Grace,” followed by a prayer from United Methodist Church minister Ed Horne.

Now, as people visit PJ Romano Field to exercise or watch their children play, they will pass this simple bench with a wonderful tribute to a true community leader.

Heather, Julie and Holly Hightower, on their father’s bench.

Staples Cupola Mystery Continues

This morning, I posted a 1913-era postcard of the original Staples High School.

It shows what I called a bell tower — a feature I’d never seen before, in any photo or painting of the brick structure built in 1884 (and torn down in 1967).

Several commenters — calling it a “cupola” — debated whether or not it existed. Some thought it was actually part of another building, in the distance.

Alert “06880” reader Neil Brickley — who grew up in Westport, loves its history, and regularly accesses the University of Connecticut photo archives, which include a fascinating 1934 aerial survey of town — found this view.

Staples aerial view 1934

Staples High School is the dark building near the center of the photo. It’s situated about where the Saugatuck Elementary School auditorium is today — just southeast of the track and athletic facilities (variously called PJ Romano Field and Doubleday Field) that are still there.

It doesn’t seem to show a cupola/bell tower/whatever. And it sure does not look like there’s any building behind it either.

However, a similar photo from a February, 1914 edition of the Westporter-Herald newspaper  — sent by another reader — shows almost exactly the same view:

Staples High School - 1914 Westporter Herald

The same reader sent along another postcard of Staples. This one is from a later date — you can tell, because there are post-1914 cars, and the plantings are fuller.

Staples High School Riverside Avenue without cupola

Perhaps the bell tower/cupola actually did exist once, but was demolished or destroyed prior to 1934.

Or perhaps this photo, and the postcard, were both embellishments.

I’m reminded of another old postcard. This one shows Compo Beach, just after the turn of the (20th) century:

Compo Beach with flying machine

None — not one — of the formally dressed beach-goers and bathers looks up at what must be a very new-fangled flying machine.

Rod Serling, where are you now that we need you?