Bob Weingarten nominates Carol Leahy as this week’s Unsung Hero. He writes:
For 22 years Carol Leahy has served Westport. She started as a part-time employee in the selectman’s office, then in 1990 was named full-time Historic District Commission administrator and certified local government coordinator. She retired in 2018.
Prior to those posts, she was active in the League of Women Voters, including board service of for a number of years.
In her role as Historic District Administrator, she helped countless Westport homeowners understand preservation issues for their homes.
She obtained funding for preservation projects from the state. She also assisted the Historic District Commission by setting up agendas for monthly meetings, notifying homeowners, providing town reference material and documenting meetings for public review.
Leahy created the annual preservation award program, which recognizes owners of residential and commercial properties who demonstrate outstanding efforts to protect the historic character of exterior structures. She helped the HDC with the awards presentation, preparation of award narratives, and the annual display of house award photographs.
Among her many achievements, she helped restore the Minute Man Memorial.
Leahy is a lifetime Connecticut resident. She moved to Westport in 1972 and raised her 2 children, Wendy and Michael, here.
After she retired, HDC members decided to fund a Westport Museum for History & Culture plaque to honor her contribution to the town. The ceremony was held recently via Zoom.
1st Selectman Jim Marpe says Leahy “played a critical role in organizing and structuring the work of the Historic District Commission. Her knowledge and understanding of the grant funding and historic designation opportunities made her the go-to person for Westport residents looking for support in designating historic properties. Her positive and professional demeanor created a calming presence in all her Town Hall interactions.”
Last year, Leahy received the Janet Jainschcigg Award from the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. At the ceremony, State Senator Tony Hwang said Leahy “made history come alive, working with both developers and owners of historic properties.”
(Do you know an unsung hero? Email nominations: email@example.com)
Wakeman Farm Town announces a slew of interesting events.
A “Rockin’ Lawn Party” (Wednesday, August 5, 6 p.m.) includes live music and a customized picnic box by Terrain Cafe. Tickets ($80 for 2; ages 21+ only) include a donation to WTF. BYOB (blankets — or chairs — and beverages). Click here to order.
An outdoor movie — “The Pollinators” — is set for Friday, August 7 (gates open at 7:30 p.m., film at 8:30). The filmmakers will be on hand, and WTF hopes to sell honey from their hives. The ticket price of $15 includes fresh popcorn from Sport Hill Farm; wood-fired pizza is available to order. Click here to order.
Noted chef and caterer Alison Milwe Grace celebrates summer’s bounty with a 4-course farm feast on Tuesday, August 25. The $90 ticket includes a WTF donation. Click here to order.
To learn more about WTF — including an online workshop on CBD (Monday, August 3), click here.
Tomorrow’s ReOpen Westport Advisory Team meeting welcomes a special guest.
David Lehman — commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development — joins the discussion, and answers questions from the community.
The Thursday, July 30 virtual event begins at 11 a.m. The meeting will be live streamed on www.westportct.gov, and broadcast on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. Residents may email questions prior to the meeting (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Lehman will provide an update on modified rules for business sectors, and the decision to delay Phase 3 of reopening.
Your house may be old. It can also be famous.
The Westport Historic District Commission is seeking nominations for its annual Westport Preservation Awards. Properties should show:
Rehabilitation and Adaptive Re-use: making a property compatible for new use by preserving features that convey historic, cultural, or architectural values.
Restoration: returning a property to its form at a particular period of time.
Reconstruction: new construction depicting the original form, features and details of the non-surviving historic structure.
Special recognition of individuals or organizations that advance the cause of historic preservation.
A structure must be at least 50 years old, and fit at least one of these criteria:
designed by a significant architect
the property is associated with a significant event or person;
the structure is indicative of a significant architectural style or period.
Nominations can be made by private residents, not-for-profits, commercial firms, and government institutions and officials. Please include photos and a brief narrative describing why the property or person deserves an award. Nominations should be emailed to email@example.com, by August 14.
A 2018 Preservation Award winner, at 75 Kings Highway North.
Next up in the Westport Library’s Camp Explore program: science TV host Emily Calandrelli.
The “Bill Nye Saves the World” and “Xploration Outer Space” star will be online this Monday (August 3, 4 p.m.).
Calandrelli makes science-related topics easily understandable, for audiences ranging from from Google, Pixar, MIT and CERN to colleges and schools around the country. Her topics include science communication, space exploration and women in STEM.
Click here to register for the Camp Explore event.
And finally … one of the best in our parade of classic summer songs.
In 2011 — as part of its application process to open in town — Terrain agreed to preserve the small house at the corner of Crescent Road.
The Historic District Commission and Planning and Zoning Commission liked what they heard. The small, gray 1900-era building — one of the last examples of a single-family house on the Post Road — stood proudly across from the fire station.
In 2013, this was the condition of the house on Terrain’s Post Road property, at the corner of Crescent Road.
But parking is tight. So in 2013, Terrain tried to gain 8 spaces by knocking down the house. They put in requests to the Planning & Zoning Commission and Historic District Commission (which was involved because the structure was more than 50 years old).
Matthew Mandell was not pleased. The RTM District 1 representative made a video. In it he explained the back story of Terrain’s dealings with the town.
Also in the video, the HDC’s Randy Henkels noted their early support of Terrain, based on promises the store made. Town planning director Larry Bradley described his department’s role.
And RTM member Cathy Talmadge suggested a boycott of Terrain, if they pressed ahead with demolition plans.
They did not. The next day, the company withdrew its request. “0688o” reported, “Terrain is believed to be working with the Planning and Zoning Commission on a parking plan that would preserve the century-old structure.”
It still stands. But — as many Westporters have noticed — it’s looking a bit grotty.
One view of the Terrain house yesterday …
The P&Z is among those paying attention.
Part of the previous deal was that Terrain would not use the house for storage — that way, it would not count toward the number of parking spots needed.
Another part of the deal was that Terrain would maintain it in good condition.
… and another.
Well, it is being used for storage. In fact, the interior has been torn out to allow more space.
And it is most definitely not being maintained.
Storage inside the building.
On Wednesday, the P&Z promised enforcement action.
Will it come in time to save the rapidly deteriorating, yet still somewhat handsome, building?
Between the ospreys and education issues, Westporters’ attention has recently been diverted from the long-running saga of Morningside Drive South. But the Historic District Commission meets Tuesday (Town Hall, 7 p.m.) to discuss a planned development there. “06880” reader Aurea de Souza writes:
Before Walter and Naiad Einsel bought their home and studio, 26 Morningside Drive South was the home of Charles B. Sherwood. Yes, that’s the same Sherwood family remembered today through Sherwood Island State Park, the Sherwood Island Connector, even Sherwood Diner!
Charles B. Sherwood was given 7 acres of land by his father Walter in 1853. That same year, he built his house. It was sold in 1864 to John B. Elwood, who owned it until 1920. The Einsels bought it in 1965, after vacationing in Westport for 4 years.
In 2005 the Einsels received a Preservation Award for their home. In 2007 their home and property were designated a Local Historic District.
The Einsels’ house on South Morningside Drive.
Anne Hamonet and her husband Alberto bought what used to be the barn of the Sherwood property in 2002. They have since restored it, respecting its historic value. Today their home is a Greens Farms sanctuary, cherished by the neighborhood.
The Hamonets raise chickens that run freely through the property. Anne brings fresh cage-free organic eggs to everyone at our neighborhood meetings. They also keep horses on the property. It’s almost like a movie set.
Because of the Hamonets, we all enjoy rooster and chicken noises, horses that can be seen from the street, and the beautifully restored barn.
This is what their bucolic backyard looks like today, right next to the proposed development.
This is an approximation of what it will be when the southwest block of the 16 3-bedroom, 32.5-foot high condos is built, just 15 feet from their fence.
The historic importance of 20-26 Morningside Drive south is huge for Westport. It is about to be destroyed by a developer who purchased property in a historic district. He was well aware of the limitations, but is taking advantage of the 8-30g “affordable housing” statute which can take precedence over historic districts and flooding issues.
The homes will be built on top of wetland setbacks on already flood-prone Muddy Brook – which this week caused the collapse of Hillandale Road bridge.
There is also a safety issue. Westport requires a 400-foot distance from a school driveway for any driveway cutout. Plans for this development shows their driveway directly across from Greens Farms Elementary School.
The developer has presented drawings of the individual groups of homes, but at the Architecture Review Board hearing on March 26, failed to present any documentation on how it will look as a whole.
A Greens Farms United member who is an architect put all of their documentation together in a rough section of what it will actually look like (These do not account for any land modifications; it is simply an illustration of what has been made public).
The house in yellow is the current home, which the developer plans to transport to a new location much closer to the road.
Westport currently enjoys a 4-year moratorium on 8-30g developments, having met the state requirements. This proposal was submitted before the moratorium took effect.
Hot on the heels of the Planning & Zoning Commission’s denial of an application for construction of a 6-story, 81-unit apartment complex between Lincoln and Cross Streets, off Post Road West, comes news of a new plan, on the other side of town.
This one is smaller: just 19 units. As with other applications — Post Road West, Wilton Road and Hiawatha Lane, for example — this one includes an 8-30(g) element. That’s shorthand for the state statute that encourages “affordable” housing — and makes it harder for town officials to deny the request.
Then again, the site is smaller.
It’s 20 and 26 Morningside Drive South.
If the address sounds familiar, that’s because the property was in the news earlier this year.
Those are the sites of an 1853 house, and nearby studio and shed, formerly owned and used by noted artists Walter and Naiad Einsel.
Walter and Naiad Einsel’s South Morningside Drive house.
The plan — submitted by “Morningside Drive Homes, LLC” — consists of 19 3-bedroom townhouses, in 5 buildings. Six of those 19 units would be “income restricted,” in accordance with 8-30(g).
The studio and shed would remain. The 1853 farmhouse would be demolished.
A horseshoe-shaped private road off Morningside Drive South would serve the units. The exit would be directly across from the entrance to Greens Farms Elementary School. The entrance would be 150 feet south.
20 Morningside Drive South — on Walter and Naiad Einsel’s former property — is a candidate for 8-30(g) development. (Photo/Anna DeVito)
As reported on “06880,” a long battle pitted a developer — who wanted to subdivide the property, while retaining the older structures — against preservationists.
The Historic District Commission — with only advisory powers — voted unanimously against recommending approval of the subdivision application.
They sent their comments to the Planning and Zoning Commission. With only 1 abstention, the P&Z voted down the request to subdivide.
With this new 8-30(g) application, odds are good the P&Z is not finished with South Morningside.
Homeowners who put time, money, energy and love into preserving old homes don’t do it for a prize, or even praise.
They do it because they love Westport’s past. They want to honor and keep it.
But it doesn’t hurt to say “thanks.”
Next Monday (October 15, 7 p.m., town Hall auditorium), 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Historic District Commission chair Francis Henkels and members of his committee will present the 2018 Historic Preservation Awards.
The properties can be found all over town. They represent a variety of architectural styles. We should all be grateful, for all of them.
17 Canal Street
Street Keeler House, c. 1830
Jocelyn and Addison Armstrong
When the Braxton Armstrongs purchased 17 Canal Street in 2002, they wanted to “honor the past while making the home comfortable for the future.” They kept all original windows, including the elaborate lunette windows on the gable ends, doors and clapboard visible from the street.
They replaced all aluminum gutters with copper, and reinstalled a wooden shingle roof. They used antique knives to cut trim to match existing and lost trim on the façade, reused doors restored by soda blasting them, and reused hardware miraculously found in the basement.
Throughout the project, they remained committed to the original architectural elements. While the property is not a locally designated landmark, the owners consistently demonstrated their sensitivity to historic preservation and maintaining the integrity of this significant structure.
27 Long Lots Road
Site Rehabilitation William Nash House, c.1812 Federal Susan and Stuart Adam
This house was built in 1812, after William Nash bought the property from Daniel C. Banks. It remained in the Nash family until the death of Polly Nash, when the property was sold to Samuel Elwood. James Godfrey and Albert Fresenius owned the house in the 1920s.
It has retained many of its original historic features, and evolved with sympathetic and modest side additions. The current owners, who have lived in the house for just over a year, restored portions and carefully rehabilitated the front area of the house by removing obstructing vegetation and trees, and building a stone wall. Now the beauty of the original Federal style house can once again be admired.
75 Kings Highway North
Helen Muller Preservation Award Francis Converse House, c. 1922 Colonial Revival
Kathryn and Brian McGarvey
This award is given in recognition of a significant contribution to the maintenance, preservation and conservation of the Kings Highway North Local Historic District in honor of one of Westport’s most prominent preservation advocates, Helen Muller.
When the McGarveys purchased this prominent house in 2015, it came with an impressive history. It is thought to have been designed by one of Westport’s most important local architects, Charles Cutler. Barbara and Allan Raymond whose tireless devotion to the history of Westport is well known, lived in the house for 50 years.
The McGarveys wanted to reconfigure the front yard and driveway to make it safer for their young family. They installed a white wooden picket fence and circular drive with gates on either side. A 2-story addition complemented the original structure, with original materials, a matching cedar shingle roof and 6- over-6 wooden windows. The Raymonds would be pleased to know the McGarveys are now stewards of this treasured homestead.
6 Great Marsh Road
Queen Anne Style, c. 1887
Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club
In 1690 William and Mary, reigning monarchs of England, bestowed a royal grant for a tidal basin known as Great Marsh. The decree allowed for private ownership of the land under the water located at the mouth of the Saugatuck River.
To whom this grant was bestowed, remains a mystery. Not until 1893 did state records recognize a land transfer of the Great Marsh to Henry C. Eno, owner of a grand Queen Anne manor house on the abutting property. In 1887 he added a richly detailed stable situated alongside the tidal basin land grant.
The picturesque board-and-batten sided stable is massed with a projecting gable pavilion, and double-leaf paneled loft doors on the 2nd level. A copper-roofed cupola accents the ridge of the gable roof. The original horse stalls and their accouterments remain, as does the distinctive herringbone patterned brick flooring where guests of J. Anthony and Frances Probst, third owners of “Great Marsh,” danced summer nights away.
A reversal of fortune caused the family to sell the 100-acre estate. A marina was included in subdivision plans. Landscape architect Evan Harding designed what became Saugatuck Harbor Yacht Club. In keeping with the original aesthetics, the stable was converted to a clubhouse, with an addition and balcony added to the south end. The underwater marsh land was dredged to create a harbor, the first of its kind on the Eastern Seaboard to feature an underwater bubble system allowing boats to remain moored year-round.
79 Newtown Turnpike
Rehabilitation Lewis Burr Fillow House, c. 1800/1925 Chabad Lubavitch of Westport
This spring, Chabad Lubavitch of Westport celebrated the grand opening of its space in the old Three Bears restaurant. The rehabilitation of this historic building was sensitive and creative.
Exterior and interior architectural elements were preserved and restored. The renovation — designed by Robert Storm and carried out by Able Construction — encompassed over 9,000 square feet of the original property, and 10,000 square feet of complementary new construction.
The project blends New England vernacular-fieldstone and shingle features with the historic core structure. The site that has served as a stagecoach stop, inn, restaurant is now a new Jewish center for prayer services, educational programs and meetings.
15 Bridge Street
Bridge Street National Register District Mary Dolan House, c. 1880 / David Bulkley House, c. 1880 Veronica and Tom Hofstetter
This Italianate-style c. 1880 house was built on land sold in 1879 by Isaac Allen to David Bulkley. The carpenter built a gable-ended, side hall plan, 2-story original home. Current owners Veronica and Tom Hofstetter purchased the house in 2004. They made their first addition the next year, incorporating a new master bedroom, kitchen and enlarged basement.
In 2017, the Hofstetters continued a 137-year-long tradition of stewardship by working with Vita Design Group. Their commitment is a good example of expansion to an existing historic structure in a manner that reflects appropriate design details. The house is a contributing resource in the Bridge Street National Register Historic District, established earlier this year.
36 Evergreen Parkway
Excellence in Care and Maintenance Cape Cod, c. 1937 Cynthia Wallace
Cynthia Wallace acquired the property in 1960, and has been its faithful steward ever since. This home is a circa 1937 1 1/2-story Cape Cod, a loosely based Colonial Revival style with origins in the simple wooden folk houses of New England.
It is a rectangular plan building with a symmetrical façade and center entrance. A brick chimney interrupts the asphalt shingle sheathed roof. The exterior is clad in wood shingles. The attached 2-bay garage, presumed to be a later addition, has carriage doors and an entry door. A rear dormer has been added.
The award acknowledges the contribution an architectural archetype of the mid-20th century has made to our present suburban landscape. The HDC cites this as an example of how, with sensitive modifications — including expansion, care and maintenance — a house of a different era, though not that long ago, can represent what a good neighbor can be.
The Westport Historic District Commission has a full agenda for next Tuesday’s public meeting (August 14, Town Hall, 7 p.m.).
They’ll hear a request by the Westport Historical Society to place a commemorative plaque in a new downtown area — the former site of a largely black boardinghouse to acknowledge the contributions made by African Americans in Westport.
They’ll talk about demolition permits for Bulkley Avenue South, North Main Street, Bayberry Lane, High Point Road, Island Way and Compo Road South.
But they won’t discuss the proposed — and very controversial — demolition of 20 and 26 Morningside Drive South.
Those are the sites of an 1853 house, and nearby studio and shed, formerly owned and used by noted artists Walter and Naiad Einsel.
As reported on “06880” earlier this month, a long battle pitted a developer against preservationists.
Now the battle has halted. Tuesday’s HDC agenda — published yesterday — says that all 3 demolition proposals were “withdrawn by applicant.”
Somehow though, this does not seem like the end of the war.
Walter and Naiad Einsel’s South Morningside Drive house.
The last time I wrote about Walter and Naiad Einsel was in 2016. The story was about their estate sale. Collectors flocked from many states to the 1853 Victorian farmhouse that for over 60 years had been home to the husband-and-wife artists. Both were inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame.
Walter and Naiad Einsel
The couple were Westport icons. They worked together and independently on book and magazine illustrations, posters, ads and package designs.
They were the first married couple to create stamp designs for the US Postal Service. They also produced 55 figures — with intricate details and moving parts — for Epcot Center.
And they were important members of Westport’s arts community. Naiad designed our Bicentennial Quilt, sewn by 33 women and on display in Town Hall since 1976. She earned a Westport Arts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
Most importantly for this follow-up piece: In 2006 the Einsels received a Preservation Award for their South Morningside Drive home.
Now, in 2018, that house may not be preserved much longer.
In fact, a demolition permit has just been filed for the entire property.
As far back as 2007, Naiad was thinking about what would happen after her death (Walter passed away in 1998). Morley Boyd — then chair of the Westport Historic District Commission — spent plenty of time on her porch, discussing her vision for the future.
Ultimately, Naiad applied for a Local Historic District designation for her 2 contiguous properties. She and Walter had previously subdivided, facing the possibility that they might have to sell 1 lot — a square one, in front of Walter’s gallery — to fund their retirement.
Walter and Naiad Einsel’s South Morningside Drive house.
The Historic District Commission supported the designation. They hired a professional architectural historian to document the property’s history, and assess the structures’ architectural integrity.
That report cited the historic and cultural heritage of the structures, while noting that the site reflected the rich agricultural history of Greens Farms — and represented fast-disappearing open space.
Naiad died in April of 2016. The property was marketed as sub-dividable, and sold to a developer.
The development company redrew the lot lines, extending 20 Morningside Drive South all the way back to wetlands. The firm then submitted a Certificate of Appropriateness application to the HDC, to build a house at #20. Preservationists and historians called the design “stylistically inappropriate,” and warned it would damage the historic integrity of the structures and their setting.
The Commission denied the request, citing historic open space and farmland as additional considerations. In response, the developer sued the town of Westport.
In the late 1960s, Naiad Einsel’s “Save Cockenoe Now” posters were seen everywhere in town.. Eventually, Cockenoe Island was saved: a nuclear power plant was never built there.
Next, the developer submitted plans to subdivide 26 Morningside South. Two new houses would be stuffed around the historic building.
The Historic District Commission — with only advisory powers — voted unanimously against recommending approval of the subdivision application. They sent their comments to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The developer responded with a vague commitment to preserve the historic structures.
Assistant town attorney Eileen Flug offered her opinion: Open space and historic significance may be considered by the P&Z when weighing a plan to sub-divide.
The Greens Farms Association weighed in too. They said that the proposed subdivision of #26 — coupled with the development proposed for #20 — “drastically degrades if not destroys the district.”
They added: “We cannot imagine that crowding out one of the few remaining mid-19th century farmhouses in the town of Westport with 4 new homes aligns with town guidelines in favor of open space and historic preservation.”
The P&Z voted down — with only 1 abstention — the request to subdivide.
Which brings us to the present. Demolition permits have been requested for all 3 structures on the property: the 1853 farmhouse, a small barn that is believed to date to the same period, and Walter Einsel’s culturally significant barn-style studio.
Demolition would allow for “new construction.”
One of the demolition notices on the former Einsel property.
Neighbors, artists and others throughout town wonder: Who would buy an entire Local Historic District, knowing it had been the home of 2 beloved Westport artists, understanding all the regulations that apply — then set about surrounding it all with other inappropriate buildings?
And — when that doesn’t work — destroy it all. Literally.
“The preservation of these structures and their setting is ensured by an ordinance enacted by the RTM,” Boyd says.
“That’s because it was determined by experts that the conservation of this collection of historic resources — together with their original setting — was in the public interest. And because the property owner at that time (Naiad Einsel) wanted it that way.”
I called Fred Ury — attorney for Morningside Drive Homes LLC, the Greenwich-based entity associated with the properties.
Citing ongoing litigation, he said he could not comment.
(Hat tip: Greens Farms Association and president Art Schoeller)
Last night, Westport’s Historic District Commission unanimously supported the creation of a new historic district. Comprising 13 houses on Lincoln Street and 4 on Riverside Avenue — all built between the 1850s and 1930s — the designation could help the town in court, should it oppose a plan for an 81-unit housing development proposed for the area.
Lincoln Street connects Post Road West and Riverside. It is near Kings Highway and Saugatuck Elementary Schools, and Assumption Church.
Here — thanks to alert “06880” reader Tina Torraco — is a glimpse of that historic neighborhood.
Alert — and history-minded — “06880” reader Wendy Crowther writes:
It’s hard for us to imagine today the difficult problem that rivers, streams and brooks posed for Westport’s early settlers and travelers.
At first, traversing even small tributaries required getting wet. Later, rudimentary crossings were built so that carriages and wagons could manage the steep approaches, rocky bottoms, and wetland mud without tipping over, snapping axles, or becoming mired.
These overpasses became more problematic in the early 20th century, when the automobile came into fashion. Smoother transitions across Westport’s many brooks — most notably Willow, Muddy and Deadman’s — were needed.
Which brings us to Westport’s early stone bridges.
Around 1920, a series of 19 Craftsman-style stone bridges were built throughout town. Nearly a century later, 9 remain.
That’s a remarkable number considering they’ve seen nearly 100 years of use. They’ve survived hurricanes and “100-year storms,” and endured the collisions of decades of distracted drivers.
One of Westport’s 9 stone bridges, this carries Greens Farms Road traffic over Muddy Brook (Photo/Wendy Crowther)
Today we pass over these bridges daily. Yet few of us notice their rustic presence. Their stone walls (“parapets,” in bridge lingo) were designed to convey the sense of a park-like setting — an aesthetic popular at the time.
Most blend seamlessly into the roadside landscape, often appearing to be mere continuations of Westport’s many fieldstone walls. They are simple, folkloric, and historically important.
And they are at risk.
The Cross Highway bridge. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)
One of them in particular — on Kings Highway North — has a target on its back. The town has hired a firm to design its replacement.
This concerns me and my fellow Westport Preservation Alliance colleagues Morley Boyd and Helen Garten. We are pushing back against the replacement plan favored by the town’s Public Works Department.
We’ve also made a pitch to the town to collectively nominate all 9 bridges for listing on the National Register.
While we would love to see all 9 bridges thematically nominated, we’re especially worried about the Kings Highway North Bridge over Willow Brook.
It matches the style of the other 8 bridges. More importantly, we believe it may have been built atop even older stone abutments. It’s possible that its enormous foundation stones may date back to the original King’s Highway, built in 1673 to carry mail from New York to Boston. Losing this bridge to a modern replacement would be tragic, especially if portions date back to pre-Revolutionary times.
Large stones in the abutments beneath the Kings Highway North Bridge may be remnants of a much earlier bridge. (Photo/Wendy Crowther)
We’re also concerned that the other 8 bridges will confront a similar replacement plan “down the road.” That’s why we’ve suggested the town pursue a National Register designation. This will help protect the bridges — and may also make them eligible for rehabilitation grants.
To become eligible for a National Register listing, the history of these structures would be fully researched. State Historic Preservation Grants are available to conduct this work.
We feel that these very special bridges possess the integrity of location, design, setting, materials and workmanship to qualify for this distinguished honor.
On a more visceral level, the preservation of these bridges will allow us to appreciate the human craftsmanship that went into building them. By picturing the crew of local men who lifted each stone by hand and mortared them in place, we’ll not just notice these bridges — we will feel them.
Evergreen Avenue (Photo/Wendy Crowther)
The locations of 4 of the 9 bridges have been identified above. Do “06880” readers know where the other 5 are? See if you can find them as you drive around town (or, for the expats, as you travel down Memory Lane).
Tomorrow (Tuesday, January 9, 7 p.m., Town Hall Room 309), our request that the Town pursue a National Register listing for these nine early 20th Century bridges will be heard by Westport’s Historic District Commission at its public hearing.
We hope they are willing to cross that bridge when they come to it.
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