We’ve reached another milestone: Month 3 of our online art gallery.
For the past quarter of a year — yikes! — our readers have shared their remarkable creativity and spirit. Throughout the pandemic — and now, the latest social upheaval — you’ve sent us your work. Your many moods are reflected in your paintings, collages, sketches, photos, sculptures, cartoons and videos.
Please keep ’em coming. Professional, amateur, old, young — we want it all. Student submissions are particularly welcome!
The only rule: It must be inspired by, reflective of, or otherwise related to the times we’re going through. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“COVID Studio Cleanup” (Nina Bentley)
“After the Pandemic” (Lawrence Weisman)
“Dead Man Walking: ‘I Can’t Breathe'” (Karen Weingarten)
Werner Liepolt — an alert “06880 reader/William F. Cribari Bridge neighbor/member of the Connecticut Department of Transportation Project Advisory Committee for a new, rehabilitated or (long shot) basically unchanged span — read with interest yesterday’s post about $40 million in possible funding for the project.
Then he noted with equal interest that the DOT has pulled (“temporarily?” he wonders) the Cribari Bridge project from its web page. (Click here for the error message.)
However, he does have 2 public documents — sent to Advisory Committee members — showing plans for the “restored” bridge. Here they are. Click on, or hover over to enlarge:
Around the corner is the William F. Cribari Bridge. In 1987 — the first time the century-old span was slated to be replaced by a modern one — Westporters succeeded in gaining National Historic Structure designation for it.
The William Cribari (Bridge Street) Bridge is the gateway to Bridge Street. (Photo/Fred Cantor)
In November 2015 — with plans once again afoot to renovate or replace the Cribari Bridge, and spillover impacts likely for Bridge Street and beyond — Liepolt began a quest to get National Historic District status for his entire neighborhood.
The longtime Westporter knew that many of the houses on his road had contributed to Westport history. Over the years, he’d heard stories from older residents about who grew up where, which families were related, and how beautifully the forsythia had bloomed.
He saw historical plaques affixed to many homes. But to submit a Historic District application, he needed to learn more.
Morley Boyd — Westport’s historic preservation expert — directed Liepolt to a history of the town, and an 1869 document in which Chloe Allen “dedicated to the public” the road between her house (still standing on the corner of Bridge Street and South Compo) and the Saugatuck River.
Chloe Allen lived in the Delancy Allen House at 192 Compo Road South. It was built in 1809.
That half-mile stretch now boasts more than 20 historical resources. Thirty-one properties are eligible for Connecticut State Historic Preservation plaques.
Wendy Crowther noted that a New Yorker cover by Edna Eicke shows a little girl celebrating July 4th on the porch of her 1880 home, on the corner of Imperial Avenue and Bridge Street.
That’s the same house where John Dolan — keeper of the manually operated swing bridge — lived until the 1940s.
The New Yorker cover of June 30, 1956 shows this 1880 home, at the corner of Bridge Street and Imperial Avenue.
Liepolt also researched what it means to be a National Register District. Benefits, he found, are modest — and obligations non-existent.
A homeowner can do anything to and with a house that any other owner can. An owner who makes restorational repairs may enjoy a tax benefit.
Liepolt learned too that if any federal funding, licensing or permitting is involved in development in a National Register District, that agency must take into account the effects of that action on historic properties, and consult with stakeholders.
Liepolt says this means that a possible Connecticut Department of Transportation plan to use federal funds to widen Route 136 — Bridge Street — as it feeds the bridge over the Saugatuck would require the Federal Highway Authority to consider the effect, and consult with property owners there.
The 1884 Rufus Wakeman House, at 18 Bridge Street.
The goal of this consultation is to mitigate “adverse effects,” Liepolt explains. These can be direct or indirect, and include physical destruction and damage; alteration inconsistent with standards for the treatment of historic properties; relocation of the property; change in the character of the property’s use; introduction of incompatible elements; neglect and deterioration, and more.
In February 2016, Liepolt asked Westport’s Historic District Commission to make a formal request for designation of the Bridge Street neighborhood. It was approved unanimously.
Liepolt worked with HDC coordinator Carol Leahy and an architectural historian to complete the research, take photographs, compile materials and write the final application to the National Parks Service.
The 1886 Orlando Allen House, at 24 Bridge Street.
This past April, the application was approved. Bridge Street is now added to the list of Nationally Registered Districts.
There was no big announcement. I’m not sure if anyone in town really noticed.
But we sure would notice if — without this designation — the look and character of the Bridge Street neighborhood ever changed.
Liepolt drew upon his Bridge Street neighborhood, his garden, his hiking experiences in Maine and the Adirondacks, and boating on Long Island Sound. He loved those places, and wanted to show them to others.
The Bridge Street Bridge inspired this work by Werner Liepolt.
Early recognition came at Seven Arts Gallery in Ridgefield. Fellow Westport teacher Paul Fernandez included 5 of Liepolt’s botanical illustrations in a show.
Liepolt — a longtime visitor to Mount Desert Island — submitted several pastel works to a juried competition sponsored by the Rockefeller Land & Garden Preserve there. Two were accepted. They’ll be shown starting Tuesday (August 8).
Great Marsh in Acadia National Park, by Werner Liepolt.
He also participated in an invitation plein air “Paint the Adirondacks” conference with 80 top artists at Lower St. Regis Lake.
Underneath his daughter’s boxes of pastels, Liepolt found water colors. Last spring, he began studying with Kristie Gallagher at Silvermine.
He notes, “I’ve had the good fortune to teach in a community that supports good education. I’ve found a receptive audience for my plays and screenwriting, and am enjoying the rewards of expressing my take on the world through visual expression.”
Werner Liepolt at work.
As an undergraduate, Liepolt heard John Cage speak. The composer cautioned students not to succumb to a corporate job.
“What will you do when there is no one to tell you what to do?” he asked.
Werner Liepolt painted his son fishing in the Rockies.
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