I wouldn’t call last week’s Photo Challenge a curveball.
But the handsome house shot by Peter Barlow (click here to see) is definitely not where “06880” readers thought it was.
Guesses included Baron’s South, Bridge Street, Main Street, Long Lots Road, Riverside Avenue and the Saugatuck Congregational Church parsonage.
It could have been any of those places. All are admired for maintaining a decent number of historic homes, despite the teardown epidemic.
But the Queen Anne structure is on the old Nyala Farm property. That’s the office complex between the Sherwood Island connector and Greens Farms Road, not far from I-95 exit 18.
It took a while. Finally, Kieran O’Keefe, Morley Boyd, Susan Lloyd and Michael Calise checked in with the correct answer. Susan noted that the house was where the dairy manager lived; Michael said it was the home of the Horace Lanute family.
Westport Historical Society house historian Bob Weingarten added this:
The house was built by George Fairchild, Sr. in 1879 from land he purchased from Frederick Sherwood in 1864. After a few other owners, Edward T. Bedford purchased it in 1913. It was used as the herdsman house. It passed to Frederick T. Bedford in 1931. During World War II the house was occupied by Ruth Bedford Foster. It was purchased by Stauffer Chemical company in 1970, and used as a corporate guest house. Now it is part of the Nyala Farms property.
Not long after, Eve Potts added:
That house was slated to be demolished, way back when I was chairman of the Historic District Commission. I made an appointment with the powers that be at Stauffer, who owned the property, and pleaded with them to save the historic house. The reason given for the demolition was that the fire chief felt it was too close to the main building for safety’s sake. Stauffer agreed not to demolish the house. They restored and refurbished it, and used it as a guest house for visitors.
“It’s in pretty clear sight from Greens Farms Road — at least in winter, when there’s less foliage,” Barlow says. “It’s near the main gate to Bridgewater.”
Nyala Farm was once a working farm. In the 1970s — after intense zoning battles — it became the site of Westport’s first international corporate headquarters.
Stauffer — the now-defunct chemical company –built the complex. The main tenant is now Bridgewater. Through herbicides and hedge funds — and thanks to a very strong, Greens Farms Association-driven zoning agreement — the house has remained.
“I think this is an easy puzzle,” Barlow says. “But somehow people just drive past this house without noticing.”
He’s right. I’ve lived here all my life. I saw cows get milked at Nyala Farm. But I never knew that house was there.
I do know where this week’s Photo Challenge is. If you do too, click “Comments” below.