Tag Archives: Westport immigrants

We’re All Immigrants. Westport Historical Society Wants To Know How We Got Here.

We may not realize it. But Westport — like America — is a land of immigrants.

From the Bankside Farmers of 1648 to the Irish in the mid-1800s and the Italians a few decades later, then to the many international executives and their families we’ve welcomed recently, our town has served as more than just a home.

Whether for economic or education opportunity, or religious freedom — and yes, we are very different from neighboring suburbs when it comes to the latter — Westport has promised freedom, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness to many, for many years.

In January, the Westport Historical Society installs a new exhibit: “Liberty to Set Down: Migrants and Immigrants in Westport.”

In the 1920s — when Italian immigrants made Saugatuck a thriving community — Esposito’s gas station stood on Charles Street. Today it’s Tarry Lodge.

To make the new exhibit work, the WHS needs your help.

You can:

  • Share your family’s immigration story. Whether your people settled here in the 1700s or you arrived just last week, tell how they or you came to Westport.
  • Loan artifacts or photos that represent your family heritage. They’ll be displayed as part of the exhibit.
  • Participate in a video oral history project. Describe a highlight of your or your family’s story, as part of an online exhibit that will live on the WHS website.

The exhibit runs from January through June. It launches in conjunction with the Westport Library’s WestportREADS book selection. “Exit West” follows the plight of a couple forced to flee their war-torn homeland.

To participate in the Historical  Society’s exhibit, email info@westporthistory.org, or contact them via Facebook or Instagram (@westporthistory).