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Tag Archives: Saugatuck River
Nearly 3 years ago — on April 17, 2017 — “06880” introduced a new feature: Pic of the Day.
Here’s what I wrote:
Let’s give a hearty welcome to the latest member of our online community: the Pic of the Day.
Every night around 9 p.m., I’ll send out an image of Westport. The photos will be recognizable and relatable. Some will be artistic; others whimsical or surprising. One might have cool angles or shapes; the next might make you look at a familiar scene in a different way.
All will be cool. None will be more than a few days old.
There won’t be any text, beyond a caption and photo credit. The plan is to provide a quick snapshot of Westport for you, before bed (or first thing in the morning). [NOTE: That rule is not hard and fast. Sometimes there is text. Like today.]
Any image anywhere in town is fair game. However, I’ll stay away from sunsets. That’s WestportNow’s specialty! [NOTE: I break that rule occasionally too!]
Lynn U. Miller — Westport native, longtime friend and very talented photographer — will provide many of the shots. (She also came up with the superbly punning “Pic of the Day” name.)
But I’ll also rely on a stable of other fine photographers, like John Videler, Amy Schneider and Katherine Bruan.
And you. If you’ve got a photo you think would work for this feature, send it along: firstname.lastname@example.org.
So here — without further ado — is “06880”‘s very first Pic of the Day. Enjoy!
Westport’s waterways look beautiful.
You just don’t see the bacteria.
Harbor Watch — the Earthplace-based research and education program — has just released a study of water quality in rivers throughout Fairfield County. All 4 of the Westport rivers studied are not as healthy as they look.
Muddy Brook — which discharges into Sherwood Mill Pond — and Pussy Willow Brook, a Mill Pond tributary, exceeded state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection criteria for E. coli.
Sasco Brook failed DEEP criteria for bacteria. So did the Saugatuck River — which, with 2 sewage spills last summer, also showed elevated Enterococci concentrations.
The good news: our rivers are pretty good in terms of dissolved oxygen. That’s an important water quality indicator, because many aquatic species rely on it for survival.
Overall, 77% of the 123 field stations studied by Harbor Watch exceeded either 1 or both of the state criteria for acceptable levels of baceria. Click here for the full report.
Last week’s Friday Flashback — an aerial view of downtown from the 1930s — drew a number of comments.
Readers noted the old Saugatuck River bridge, and wondered if vessels passed beneath it. They talked about the importance of maritime commerce to the growth of downtown, and mentioned the majesty of National Hall.
And they commented on the trolleys that once rolled along the Post Road.
The photo inspired alert “06880” reader Chip Stephens to send along this painting.
For many years, it hung in Dr. Peter Ferrara’s dental office here.
Drawn by Al Willmott — a noted illustrator in the late 20th century — it shows a Westport from decades earlier.
It’s all there: National Hall. The bridge. A merchant ship.
And — my favorite — the trolley.
This aerial fascinating photo of downtown Westport in the 1930s was posted to Facebook by Bill Stanton.
The view is toward the east (top).
Among the intriguing sights:
- At the bottom is National Hall. Just to its north sits a substantial-looking building that must have been torn down long ago. Today it’s the site of Bartaco.
- The bridge across the Saugatuck River is much narrower than the current span. The river itself is wider than at present. Parker Harding Plaza has not yet been built. Water laps up against the back of buildings on the west side of Main Street.
- The Westport Public Library (now a pop-up art gallery, at 1 Main Street) is the large building just to the left of the eastern end of the bridge.
- Look closely (top center). You can see the gas station that is now Vineyard Vines.
What else do you notice? Click “Comments” below.
Bistro du Soleil — the French-Mediterranean restaurant in the old post office on Riverside Avenue — has a loyal following. But it does not get enough attention, either for its food or the ever-changing art on its walls.
This Sunday (November 3, 4 to 7 p.m.), there’s a reception for Westport photographer Tom Kretsch’s photos of the Saugatuck River — the water that runs directly behind the restaurant.
His new exhibit is called “River Take Me Along.” Tom writes:
“The River that Flows Out” is the translation of the word Saugatuck. The Paugusset Indians gave this 23-mile river, with its origins in Danbury, its name.
This treasure of a resource served first as a place of early settlements by Native Americans. Later, settlers farmed along its banks. In the 19th century it was a large shipping port, with warehouses nestled by the edge.
Today this winding river, flowing through the heart of our community, serves as a wondrous resource for physical and spiritual reflection. From the fishermaen who cast their lines off the Cribari swing bridge to those who fly fish up stream, from the rowers who ply its waters both solo and in team sculls, to the many who simply stop and pause to sit on a bench by the library, the Saugatuck River holds a place in the hearts and souls of many Westporters.
Living close to its banks for 45 years sparked my interest to capture the many magical moods of this flowing body of water. Its ancient path that winds its way, sacred and slow, through woods, ponds, reservoirs and finally into Long Island Sound has provided me a palette to create my impressions of its spirit and soul.
From vantage points on a kayak floating slowly down the stream, to walking along its wooded banks, to standing on a bridge on a misty morning, the river can truly “take our breath away,” as Dar Williams sings eloquently in “The Hudson.”
In my series of images I have tried to create both impressionistic and realistic photographs of this ever-changing body of water. I hope the work will speak to you, and draw you into the beauty and spirit of the river.
I hope too it makes you pause and appreciate what a great natural resource this river is for all of us.
Perhaps it will inspire you to take time to explore the Saugatuck’s many nooks and crannies, or simply pause on a quiet summer evening, an early misty morning fog or deep in the fall foliage season to gaze at this gift we have been given.
My journey on this water is always evolving. I continue to look for those moments that speak to me; to capture the many hidden treasures it holds, and that can only be captured in the light that breathes life into our treasure, the Saugatuck River.
(The reception this Sunday is free, and open to the public. Tom Kretsch’s exhibit runs through December 28.)