Tag Archives: Veterans Green

Roundup: Veterans Day, Jazz, Entitlement …

Hundreds of Westporters gathered yesterday at Town Hall, as the town honored its — and America’s — men and women who served in the military, on Veterans Day.

As he has done for decades, Korean War vet Bill Vornkahl helped organize the ceremony.

Participants included the Westport Police Department, Connecticut Air National Guard, 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker, Greens Farms Academy student Jared Lessing, Westport poet laureate Jessica Noyes McEntee, and the Westport Community Band.

The World War I doughboy statue on Veterans Green, at dusk on Veterans Day. The holiday began as Armistice Day, honoring the 11 a.m., November 11 official end of “the war to end all wars.” (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

A luncheon at Veterans of Foreign Wars Joseph J. Clinton Post 399 followed the official town ceremony.

A table is always set at the Riverside Avenue club, in remembrance of prisoners of war and those missing in action.

Yesterday, it was decorated especially for Veterans Day.

(Photo/Johanna Keyser Rossi)


Last night’s “Speaking of Music” series at the Westport Library focused on jazz.

A large crowd listened — and learned about — America’s unique genre.

The event was organized by Staples High School Class of 1966 graduate Roger Kaufman and friends.

Vocalist Audrey Martells was a star of the show.

From left: Bill Harris, Ben Kinney, John Fumasoli. (Photos/Ted Horowitz)


There are thoughtless people.

There are obnoxious people.

And then there are people whose sense of entitlement is so mind-blowing, they defy description.

Mike Hibbard spotted this yesterday, on an Aspetuck Land Trust trail:

“Someone thinks there is a Poop Fairy, and left this bag for it,” Mike says.

“I wonder what will be under that person’s pillow in the morning?”


Stephen Kempson is not your usual tailor.

Tradition rules at the bespoke clothier’s shop. But there’s always something new and different too.

Next up: “Sip and Shop, With Live Jazz.” It’s this Thursday (November 16, 5 to 8 p.m.), at the intriguing Post Road Space overlooking the Saugatuck River.


Over the years, our “Westport … Naturally” has run dozens of deer pictures.

Readers have spotted them all over town, in all types of poses.

But this is the first time I’ve ever seen Bambi at the beach.

Patrick Riordan took this shot yesterday morning, soon after sunrise:

(Photo/Patrick Riordan)


And finally … on this date in 1984, Madonna released her 2nd studio album. “Like a Virgin” became her first #1 record in the US. The producer was Chic front man — and not-yet Westport resident — Nile Rodgers.

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Minute Man, Doughboy: New Looks For Old Heroes

For over 100 years, Westport’s Minute Man has crouched, alertly and patriotically, near the entrance to Compo Beach.

He’s our beloved town symbol. And these days, he looks better than ever.

His dark metal shines. His lines are smooth. Even his historical plaque has been restored to its old glory.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Representative Town Meeting member and Staples High School graduate Andrew Colabella was intrigued by the project. He’d seen an “06880” of a man working alone, power washing the statue.

(Photo/Jamie Klein)

He wanted to learn more. Mike West, Parks & Recreation Department parks superintendent, told Andrew the man’s name is Francis Miller. He’s repaired and restored artwork since 1991.

On Monday, Andrew spotted Francis working on Veterans Green, across from Town Hall.

(Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Andrew is fascinated with hands-on, labor intensive niche work, like welding and metal restoration.

He asked Francis how he restored both the Minute Man and doughboy.

He heats the metal with an acetylene torch, burning off foreign material. As it cools, he applies a mixture of waxes he made himself (it’s been approved by the National Parks Service and Conservation Department).

Francis uses a shoe polish brush that gets into the metal, but leaves no striations, grooves or runs. The waxes seal and bond to the metal.

Veterans Green doughboy. (Photo/Andrew Colabella)

Andrew’s questions were not idle ones. He recently completed his own metal restoration project just a few yards away.

He’d found the old, discarded solid brass “Public Notice” board in a dumpster.

Andrew kept the original imperfections and marks, dating back over 70 years. It’s now been re-hung in front of Town Hall — a great addition to the “new” front entrance.

Andrew Colabella’s restored Public Notice board, before installation outside Town Hall.

Andrew is impressed by Francis Miller’s restoration work. He hopes the rest of Westport will be too.

So as you head to the fireworks tonight — or any other time you’re near Compo Beach or Veterans Green — check out our newly restored Minute Man and doughoy.

And don’t forget the new Public Notice board either. It too is a beauty.

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Memorial Day: We Remember

The photo below shows the World War II memorial on Veterans Green, across from Westport Town Hall, where a ceremony takes place after today’s parade (approximately 10:30 a.m.). Other monuments there honor veterans of other wars.

World War II is particularly important today. The grand marshal — Battle of the Bulge Purple Heart awardee Ben Pepper — will ride in the parade. His grandson will then read his speech, at Veterans Green.

If you’ve been to a Memorial Day ceremony on Veterans Green, you know how meaningful and powerful it is. If you’ve never been: make this the year.

[OPINION] Time To Rethink Architecture, Design Choices

Longtime Westporter and alert “06880” reader Elisabeth Keane keeps a sharp eye on this town. She’s not pleased.

Elisabeth writes:

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing at Bridge Square. The formerly charming historic waterfront has turned into absurd “farm-style” buildings. Yellow and green paint, and tin roofs and windows befit the “style du jour” architecture. (Most builders and architects are on the same design page, in the same design book.*) It is ugly and inappropriate.

(Photo/Dan Woog)

How did this type of  renovation (certainly not an improvement) get past avoid the town’s guidelines?  Yikes.

Are there any architectural guidelines for Westport?  The architectural charm of Westport is being devastated.

They ruined Sconset Square too, which used to be charming and New England-y. Now it resembles just another somewhat upscale strip mall, with tin roofs and black-appearing windows. I know it is still under construction but…

Sconset Square (Photo/Dan Woog)

Not to mention the sketch I saw of the the former Westport Inn (aka Delamar Westport).

At this rate, I don’t have high hopes for rejuvenating Main Street either. I think those uninspired strings of lights along both sides of Main Street more closely resemble the rows of lights strung up for a week above street fairs in the city. There’s nothing wrong with that, but for me those undistinguished strings of lights do not convey any artistic, unusual or thoughtful way to light our Main Street, in this still artistic and talented town. Did anybody consult a resident or local lighting professional (perhaps theatre or movie lighting) for advice?

Then there’s the chain link fence at Veterans Green. Seriously? One  might want to have that special place accessible.

Speaking of Myrtle Avenue: Whoever will be doing it better be very careful restoring Town Hall, and not messing up the exterior or interior.

And speaking of interiors: I hope the current interior decorating fad in public buildings will fade soon. Restaurants for some perverse reason seem to follow along lamely, with hard surfaces everywhere. The noise level is through the roof. Sound reverb requires everyone to speak LOUDLY. Seating is hard, not comfortable. The high bar stools are not for everybody — maybe in a corner of a bar, but not in a restaurant.

Restaurant ambiance is more than the food; it involves comfortable seating, and conversing in a normal tone, not yelling as at a sporting event.

*Design book: Look at all the houses built c. 2003-2005-ish, with faux Palladian windows. Is there really only one architectural design book? It’s cheaper that way, and it shows. I can only imagine what our most skilled and creative architects must think as they see these things…

Memorial Day: We Remember

The photo below shows the World War II memorial on Veterans Green, across from Westport Town Hall, where a ceremony takes place after today’s parade (approximately 10:30 a.m.). Other monuments there honor veterans of other wars.

If you’ve been to a Memorial Day ceremony on Veterans Green, you know how meaningful and powerful it is. If you’ve never been: make this the year.

Pic Of The Day #1784

Veterans Green tableau (Photo/Fred Cantor)

Photo Challenge #336

You’d think a plaque honoring all of Westport’s veterans — “living or dead” — would be located in a prominent spot. Veterans Green, probably. The VFW, perhaps.

You’d also think that because it was dedicated in 1975, plenty of people would remember where it was.

You’d be wrong.

Wendy Crowther, Joyce Barnhart and Michael Calise were the only “06880” readers who knew where last week’s photo challenge can be found. (Click here to see.)

It’s not what our veterans deserve. The plaque is where Long Lots Road feeds into Post Road East, just west of Shearwater Coffee and One River Art (before that, Bertucci’s/Tanglewoods/Clam Box). A memorial flagpole once stood nearby. I can’t imagine many people ever see the plaque now.

Yet there’s a reason it’s there. For several decades, a Doughboy statue graced the median, between the restaurant and the hardware store across the way.

It was relocated 25 or 30 years ago to Veterans Green (though it was not called that then). It’s certainly a more appropriate — and accessible — spot.

Last week’s challenge was fitting: It was the day before Memorial Day. (And today is D-Day.)

This week’s photo has no tie-in to anything — except it’s somewhere in Westport. If you think you know where it is, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Dinkin Fotografix)

Memorial Day: We Remember

The photo below shows the World War II memorial on Veterans Green, across from Westport Town Hall, where a ceremony takes place after today’s parade (approximately 10:30 a.m.). Other monuments there honor veterans of other wars.

If you’ve been to a Memorial Day ceremony on Veterans Green, you know how meaningful and powerful it is. If you’ve never been: make this the year.

Our Doughboy

Today is Veterans Day.

We celebrate November 11 because — 102 years ago today — World War I ended. The armistice took effect at 11 a.m., on 11/11.

Twelve years later — on November 11, 1930 — we dedicated our doughboy statue.

That was 5 years after the town voted to erect a monument to soldiers in “The Great War.” According to Woody Klein’s history of Westport, the commission was offered to Laura Gardin Fraser.

Yet her design — showing a bronze relief figure of Victory — did not meet the committee’s approval.

Three years later the Veterans of Foreign War and American Legion raised $10,000. They commissioned J. Clinton Shepherd, an illustrator, sculptor — and pilot — to memorialize a soldier from “the war to end all wars.”

The doughboy statue. (Photo/Amy Schneider)

Six months after Westport’s first-ever Memorial Day parade, the Doughboy was dedicated. But it was not at Veterans Green, across from what is now Town Hall (and was then Bedford Elementary School).

The original site was the grassy median on on the Post Road 2 miles east — across from what is now Shearwater Coffee, near the foot of Long Lots Road.

A crowd of 3,000 turned out for the dedication of the 20-ton statue. Governor John H. Trumbull was there, along with hundreds of veterans, and 7 bands. Children pulled ropes to unveil the statue.

The doughboy was moved to its present location in 1986. A formal re-dedication ceremony was held on Memorial Day 1988.

Pics Of The Day #770

A Memorial Day salute (Photo/Carminei Picarello)

Stars and Stripes forever, on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. (Photo/David Squires)

Doughboy at Veterans Green (Photo/Dan Woog)