The location has just been confirmed. They’ll be serving ‘balls in what was, most recently, The ‘Port. The family-style restaurant closed last June.
National Hall, when The ‘Port restaurant was there … (Photo/Dave Dellinger)
National Hall has seen a lot, since it was built in the early 1800s. It’s housed the Westporter Herald newspaper, Horace Staples’ bank (and, very briefly, the first classes of his high school).
It was the site of the town meeting hall, and — for many years — Fairfield Furniture.
In the early 1990s, Arthur Tauck saved the historic building from the wrecking ball. (After decades of pigeon droppings, the roof was ready to cave in.)
… and back in the day. (Photo/Peter Barlow)
He and his family converted National Hall into an inn and restaurant of the same name. Several other restaurants later occupied that prime ground floor space.
Now it’s ready for its next phase.
Arlo Guthrie once sang, “You can get anything you want, at Alice’s Restaurant.”
You can only get meatballs (of many kinds, for sure) at the Meatball Shop.
But — with Arezzo, OKO and Bartaco all just steps away, and David Waldman’s new project at the old Save the Children headquarters moving quickly along — the west bank of the Saugatuck River just got a little spicier.
National Hall: The view from Post Road West, even further back in the day.
Avid “06880” reader Bill Scheffler liked last year’s list of long-gone, much-loved (or, conversely, quickly forgotten) Westport restaurants.
He responded with a list of his own: old local hotels.
It was a great, blog-worthy idea. I was going to run it — honest, I was — but I guess 21st-century life intruded.
Back in the day -- and in another location -- this was the original Westport Inn.
I found Bill’s email the other day. Because bygone buildings have no sell-by date, his list is as fresh as ever.
Bill begins by noting our most recent hotel closing — the Inn at National Hall — along with the Westport Inn’s predecessor, the New Englander.
That’s too easy. Here are others. Some may be dimly recalled by old-time Westporters; others may be lost in the shrouds of time to all. In alphabetical order, they are:
Beachside Inn: Described by Bill as “a large, impressive oceanfront Victorian building in Green’s Farms.”
Compo Inn: Edward Nash bought the old Christ Church on what was then West Church Street (now Ludlow Road), up the hill from Post Road West — now condos — and turned it into a summer hotel. He added a restaurant (Tony’s), which became a popular hangout.
Golden Door: One of several motels located on the Westport-Norwalk stretch of the Post Road. A few remain (in Norwalk), though from the looks of them I’m guessing you pay by the hour, not the day.
Hawthorne Inn: Located at the southeast corner of the Post Road and Compo Road South (current site of Patriot Bank).
Jassil’s Penguin Hotel and Shorehouse: Known familiarly as The Penguin, even after it became the Miramar and then the Sound View Hotel. An Art Deco landmark on Hillspoint Road — just beyond the I-95 and railroad bridges — it was believed (by my young friends and I, long after its heyday) — to be a bawdy place that, remarkably, rhymed with “shorehouse.”
Mathewson’s Tourist Cabins: A tourist guide listed it as “near the Greyhound Terminal and the Beaches.” Well, the bus depot was in the building where (most recently) the Peppermill stood. And “the beaches” haven’t moved. So I’m not exactly sure where one would have found Mathewson’s Tourist Cabins.
Open Door Inn: Later known as the General Putnam Inn, this was razed to make way for the current police station.
Pine Knoll: Perhaps more of a boardinghouse than a hotel, this old Victorian mansion stood in what is now Playhouse Square (behind the old Derma Clinic). It was owned by the Kemper family, who also owned the tannery that became the adjacent Westport Country Playhouse.
Westport Inn (the original): A guidebook called this, somewhat ungrammatically, “AAA’s only accredited inn at Westport, Conn. Center of Art Colony.” It’s still standing — the white building at the rear of Colonial Green. But it’s been moved twice from its original location, on the southeast corner of the Post Road and Imperial Avenue. The 1st move was to the front of Colonial Green, where Webster Bank now sits.
Thanks, Bill, for the trip down Memory Lane. Which may one of the few places in Westport to never house a hotel.
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