Tag Archives: Town Hall

Friday Flashback #45

Last weekend, the United Methodist Church celebrated the 50th anniversary of its home on Weston Road.

“06880” recounted the history of the church. It’s been here, in one form or another, since 1790.

From 1850 to 1908, congregants gathered in a building at the corner of Myrtle Avenue and Main Street. A law office now occupies that site. This photo — from Seth Schachter’s postcard collection — shows that church.

Note the fence on the lower right, which still encloses what is now Veterans Green. And the hill on the left is where Town Hall sits. It was built as Bedford Elementary School in the 1920s.

Pic Of The Day #62

Seasonal plantings at Town Hall. (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)

Photo Challenge #114

Last week’s challenge was perfect.

It was timely (it looked like an Oscar trophy). It was tough, with several wrong guesses.

But it was not impossible. Elaine Marino was the first — and only — “06880” reader to know that Lynn U. Miller’s image showed one of 2 trophies — there’s a similar one next to it — in the hallway on the lower level of Town Hall, a few feet from the Town Clerk’s office.

They were presented to “Citizens of Westport” by the East Haddam Civic Association, for Best Voter Turnout in the state in the 2000 election (87.54 percent), and the non-presidential year of 2006 (72.7%). Many of us have walked past them often — but never really “seen” them. Click here to see this pretty-cool-to-win trophy again.

This week’s photo challenge again comes from Lynn U. Miller:

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

Again, it’s something many of us see often. But where do we see it? Click “Comments” below.

NOTE TO YOUNGER READERSThe photo shows something called a “pay phone.” Back in the previous century, you would put a dime (later a quarter) in the slot on the upper right. Then you would pick up the “handset” and “call” your parents to come pick you up. Or your friend to say you’d be late.

In fact, you could do anything with it you can do with a smartphone today. Except text, get driving directions, play games, download movies, deposit checks, find someone to hook up with…



O Christmas Tree!

With the help of a gaggle of little kids, 1st Selectman Jim Marpe lit the town Christmas tree this evening, on the Town Hall lawn.

Staples’ Orphenians sang. The Westport Historical Society provided hot chocolate. Youngsters gleefully counted down “3 … 2 … 1!”

Rockefeller Center it ain’t.

But it doesn’t have to be. Another Westport holiday season has “officially” begun.

Luke Rosenberg leads the Staples Orphenians.

Luke Rosenberg leads the Staples Orphenians.

Boys and girls help 1st Selectman Jim Marpe with the countdown.

Boys and girls help 1st Selectman Jim Marpe with the countdown.

The tree is lit. It's on the front lawn of Town Hall, on Myrtle Avenue.

The tree is lit. It’s on the front lawn of Town Hall, on Myrtle Avenue.


Oh My 06880 — Photo Challenge #34

Carissa Baker was the winner of last week’s photo challenge. She nailed Lynn U. Miller’s shot of the columns outside Town Hall. In Carissa’s day it was known as Bedford Elementary School. Either way — it’s a handsome building, and we congratulate Carissa! (To see the photo and comments, click here.)

Here is this week’s challenge:

Oh My 06880 - August 23, 2015

You know the drill. Click “Comments” if you know where in Westport this is — and add any back story you wish.

How ‘Bout Them Apples?

In April, a towering apple tree in front of Town Hall was cut down. Planted in its were several cherry trees.

They have not yet borne fruit. But another big apple tree that remained is producing plenty.

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

(Photo/JP Vellotti)

Just in time for cider.


Out With The Old…

Alert reader JP Vellotti was driving by Town Hall today, and saw this sight:

Town Hall cherry tree planting

The towering apple tree at the base of the hill is gone.

It’s been replaced by a new line of cherry trees.

The view will be different.

Like everything else in Westport, we’ll get used to it.

Some will love it. Some won’t.

And one day — years from now — those trees too will be gone.



From Town Hall To The Transfer Station…

…trees are coming down all over Westport.

Here’s the scene this morning, when an alert “06880” reader dropped off some recycling:

Transfer station

No word on whether the trees were dead. They sure were not going to fall on any power lines.

The next focus may be the beach. As a planning committee looks at reconfiguring Compo, some trees — perhaps near the drop-off and Soundview lot, on the grassy field or along the median between the shore and parking lots — may be reconfigured. As in, removed.

Nothing has been decided yet. Keep watching. This story has legs — and roots.

Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree…

…at least, not the towering one at Town Hall.

Alert “06880” reader JP Vellotti has long admired the apple tree at the foot of the old Bedford Elementary School, just above the Myrtle Avenue stone wall.

Town Hall 1

In fact, he picks apples from it every year, and makes a pie.

This year, he may have to go to Stew’s.

Yesterday, JP spotted a fresh new sign on the trunk of the old tree:

Town Hall 2

The notice — posted by the tree warden — says that “this shade tree, the property of the Town of Westport,” will be removed in 10 days, or thereafter.

“Any person or organizations” objecting to the removal must appeal in writing within 10 days. The address — 110 Myrtle Avenue — is the very same building at the top of that handsome lawn.

How do you like them apples?




Saugatuck River Winds Up In Town Hall

Most people go to Town Hall for one reason: to do their business. They pay their taxes, pick up a clamming permit, complain about their neighbor’s swing set.

Now there’s another reason to go. And linger.

Clarinda “Rindy” Higgins has just created — from scratch, and virtually alone — a fascinating poster series about the Saugatuck River. Hanging on the 2nd floor (front entrance level), just to the right when you walk in, it’s educational, entertaining and eye-opening.

The 2nd floor exhibit in Town Hall.

The 2nd floor exhibit in Town Hall.

Rindy — a longtime environmental educator  — provides Town Hall visitors with a comprehensive history, and behind-the-scenes (okay, “below the surface”) look at this important artery which, since the time of the earliest settlers, has shaped how our town looks, feels and acts.

As the exhibit points out, the Saugatuck River is such a vital part of Westport that we sometimes ignore it.

Rindy’s posters — which (despite her protests that “I’m no Miggs Burroughs” and “I have limited computer skills”) she designed and printed herself, each one taking 30 hours — highlight its significance. Along with the river’s history, beauty and fragility.

Rindy - 2An introductory panel describes the Saugatuck’s name (“pouring out” of the “tidal river,” from the Paugussett tribe), and notes that it “meanders 23 miles from its headwaters in Danbury.”

Westporters cross the river several times a day, without really looking or thinking about it. The next poster notes the importance of our bridges; they unite the 2 sides of 1 town. Back in the days of ferries, the Saugatuck divided 2 towns.

Panels 3 and 4 — “Bustling Maritime Trade” and “Industry” — show the enormous  impact of wharves, vessels, onions and riverside factories.

The next poster shows the USS Saugatuck — a Navy ship named after the river. I’ve lived here my entire life, but this one’s news to me.

The USS Saugatuck

The USS Saugatuck

“Changing Riverscape” details the effects man and nature have on the water. Whether we fill in the river to create a parking lot behind Main Street, or the tides work their magic, the Saugatuck changes as constantly as any living thing.

Rindy - 5“River Quality = Quality of Life” reminds us that “how we choose to use the land and the water affects not only Saugatuck River and Long Island Sound but also our own properties, livelihoods and quality of life.” Our river is part of a watershed stretching all the way to Quebec, as a we’re-all-in-this-together map vividly shows.

The penultimate panel says “Each of Us Can Make a Difference.” Calling each property a “micro-watershed,” Rindy offers suggestions for making sure that river and coastal water quality begin at home. From our kitchens, bathrooms, laundry and garage to our basements, gutters, driveways and gardens, everything we do can ensure the health of the Saugatuck River (and thus Long Island Sound) for decades to come.

Or it can help destroy it.

This Saugatuck River exhibition was Rindy’s labor of love. Gault Energy, Jim Marpe and Eileen Flug gave donations, but she paid for everything else out of pocket. She even bought the frames (from Walmart.)

Rindy’s posters are well worth a trip to Town Hall.

And as you leave — catching a glimpse of the Saugatuck River in the distance — you realize you will never again think of it in the same way.

Rindy - 3