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Tag Archives: Schlaet’s Point
Four water views, from Hillspoint Road:
Alert “06880” photographer Betsy Kahn captured these beautiful colors (and a stray dog) this morning at Schlaet’s Point, near Compo Beach.
With hints of spring in the air, it’s great to know that Daylight Savings Time starts this Sunday.
The only downside is that gorgeous sunrises like this will happen one hour later.
From time to time — most recently in a story about rock formations on local shorelines — I’ve mentioned “Schlaet’s Point.” That’s the strip of land between the end of Soundview Drive (north end of Compo Beach), and the only house on the water side of Hillspoint between Compo and Old Mill Beach (big stone wall; yardarm with the US, Connecticut and Texas [!] state flags).
But I’ve never asked myself: Who was Schlaet? And no one ever asked me, either.
Peter Barlow knows.
The 1947 Staples grad — and lifelong Westporter, until decamping to Pawcatuck in 2005 — emailed info about the long-forgotten man.
And his land.
Peter recalls a stone gazebo located at the end of a long concrete pier, extending from a Japanese-style boathouse.
The gazebo was knocked off its base by the hurricane of 1938, and remained tilted for 30 years or more.
One day in his teens, during low tide, Peter waded from Compo Beach. Using a $3 camera, he took what he calls “possibly the only close-up photos of this ‘landmark’ that exists.”
Peter says the boathouse and pier were part of an estate on the other side of Hillspoint Road. It was enormous, including most of the land from Compo Hill Road at Elvira’s to Minute Man Hill off South Compo.
A mansion — with red-orange tiled roof — and elaborate gardens perched high on the hill. A smaller structure, with a similar roof, is still visible from Hillspoint. It was a guest house, or servants’ quarters.
In 1917, the entire property was assessed at just under $148,000. The owner was Arnold Schlaet (rhymes with “slate”), an investor and co-founder of Texaco in 1902.
Woody Klein’s history book about Westport notes that in 1918 Schlaet donated his 65-foot yacht to the US government, for the war effort. But, Peter says, there is no other information about him. Wikipedia — which includes entries on anyone who has ever lived — has just about zilch.
Perhaps, Peter says, an “06880” reader knows more about Arnold Schlaet. If so, click “Comments” below.
Perhaps, Peter adds, “if he had paid for a school or library, or something, his name would be remembered for more than just a point at the north end of Compo Beach.”
Peter Jones posted a fascinating photo on Facebook today (and David Pogue provided some touch-up magic to it):
It shows the corner of Compo Hill Road and Hillspoint, during Hurricane Carol in 1954.
What is today Positano’s was then called Joe’s Store.
Peter wrote: “Notice the waves hitting Old Mill Beach. After Hillspoint Road was washed out, the town rebuilt and enlarged the jetty at Schlaet’s Point and reinforced the embankment at Hillspoint Road with HUGE boulders, creating sort of a Stonehenge effect.”
Darlene Bora added: “My mom always told me the pillars had been cut down at the bottom of Compo Hill Road (she grew up on Sterling Drive). I never saw them before today.”
Joe’s Store was there in 1954. Cafe de la Plage was there in 1984. Positano’s is there in 2014.
Now though, there’s no telling what that corner will look like — in good weather, and bad — in 2015.
A couple of weeks ago, Compo looked much as it did right after Hurricane Sandy.
By today — Memorial Day, the 1st gorgeous day of the beach season — virtually all the damage had been cleaned up.
Sure, it looks a bit different. The brick wall near the bathhouses is gone:
But the boardwalk has been repaired, and the patio near Joey’s looks just as enticing as ever:
The ever-popular sidewalk between Schlaet’s Point and Old Mill is ready for walkers, joggers, strollers and rollerbladers — with plenty of new stones:
Of course, if you look carefully you’ll see lingering after-effects. The enormous, how-did-they-ever-get-it-there? potted tree on the walkway to Compo Cove has looked like this since October:
And many homes still look like this:
Still, considering what the beach area looked like just 7 months ago, we weathered the storm very, very well.