Tag Archives: Willowbrook Cemetery

Photo Challenge #205

Westport’s cemeteries are important places.

Like most boneyards, they feature row upon row of gravestones, markers and monuments. This being New England, many are old. Some are historic. All mean something.

But cemeteries can be beautiful too. Willowbrook — established in 1847 — is more than final resting place of generations of Coleys, Burrs, Nashes, Bedfords, Bradleys and Hurlbutts.

It’s a place of rolling hills, specimen trees, shrubs, a pond, the famed Daffodil Mile — and last week’s Photo Challenge.

Mark Jacobs’ image showed a lovely brook, running underneath a handsome viaduct. (Click here for the photo.)

Only one “06880” reader — Dan Herman — knew where that photo was taken: by Carriage Lane, just off Main Street.

Perhaps the end of the Thanksgiving holiday kept the number of correct guesses low.

Or maybe we all need to spend more time hanging out in Westport cemeteries.

This week’s Photo Challenge —

(Photo/Stan Skowronski)

— can be found in a hangout of a different type.

Hint to young “06880” readers: The object above is a “pay phone.” Once upon a time, you fed coins into the slot (upper right), dialed or punched in a phone number, and talked to them using the “handset” (middle, with cord).

Another hint to young readers: This phone is located in a place you’re very familiar with. Now you know what it is!

Readers of any age, who know where in Westport you’d find this: Click “Comments” below.

Daffodil Mile In Bloom

It’s been a long, hard winter. Sometimes this feels not like April 21, but January 111th.

Don’t tell that to the daffodils. Willowbrook’s famed “Daffodil Mile” is now in full bloom.

That’s great news for the thousands of drivers who pass the Main Street cemetery every day — and the many more bikers, joggers and walkers who wait patiently for the display.

Over the past 10 years, families and friends of Willowbrook’s “residents” (aka dead people) have donated 35,000 bulbs. Each year the line of yellow flowers grows.

Next year, 10,000 more bulbs will be planted.

And in the coming months, cemetery trustees will release details on a new cherry blossom mall.

PS: The cool weather is good for one thing. This year, the daffodils will bloom longer than usual.

(For more information, click here for the Willowbrook Cemetery website.)

News From The Boneyard

The latest news from Willowbrook Cemetery includes a new president, longtime Westporter Sal Lucci; more daffodils, plantings, trees and irrigation, and a renovated mausoleum section.

Also this: A large expansion of Section 14, with over 5,000 new graves.

A press announcement attributes this to “increased demand.”

Apparently, people are dying to get in.

Daffodils at Willowbrook Cemetery. Frederick Law Olmsted helped design the Main Street property.

 

UPDATED – New Photos! — Memorial Day: Back In The Day — The Sequel

This morning’s post — with photos from Westport Memorial Day parades past — inspired 2 alert and historically minded “06880” readers to send in their own.

Jack Whittle found this shot on the Gault 150th anniverary website. It shows a 1920s-era parade — minimalist though it was — passing Willowbrook cemetery on North Main Street. Leonard H. Gault drove the fire truck.

Leonard H. Gault driving fire truck in parade by Wilow Brook Cemetery

Ann Sheffer sent along 2 photos. Here are some Girl Scouts circa 1955 (with her mother, Betty Sheffer, as a troop leader):

Memorial Day parade 1955 - Girl Scouts - Ann Sheffer

This one from 1961 shows the parade on the Post Road (the Mobil gas station is now where Finalmente is, across from the old post office):
Memorial Day parade 1961 - Ann Sheffer

Here was the scene in 1966. Fairfield Furniture stores has of course been converted back into its original “National Hall” form.

Memorial Day parade 1966

Mark Potts offers this scene from 1972. Staples band leader Bob Genualdi (tie and jacket) leads his musicians up the Post Road, in front of the bizarrely named S&M Pizza. (Note the group sitting — as kids did back in the day — on top of the adjacent store.)

Memorial Day parade - 1972 - Mark Potts

Remember: the 2016 version steps off at 9 a.m. Monday (May 30). Get your camera ready — don’t forget to charge that cell phone!

Hurry! This eBay Offer Won’t Last Forever!

You can get anything you need for your life on eBay.

For death, too.

Right now, for example, you can bid on a Willowbrook  cemetery mausoleum. It fits “two (2) caskets and one (1) urn” comfortably.

The Willowbrook mausoleum.

The Willowbrook mausoleum.

The starting bid is just $2,900.  Thanks to PayPal, 12 months financing is available.

The sellor (loulou0605) has 100% positive feedback.

But that’s not all! There’s “free local pickup”!

The auction ends Wednesday, at 10:25 a.m. So act now.

This offer will expire before you do.

(Here’s the direct eBay link to this mausoleum offer.)

Accidents Happen

“You should write about all the automobile accidents in Westport,” an “06880” reader wrote.

Why? I wondered.  They happen with such regularity, they’re just a fact of life here.

Covering car crashes would be like blogging that “the sun rose in the east today,” or “a new women’s store opened on Main Street.”

But Wednesday’s 3-car accident grabbed my attention.

2 of the 3 cars involved in Wednesday's accident. The other vehicle was just as mangled. (Photo by Dave Matlow)

It was early afternoon.  Skies were clear.  The stretch of Main Street in front of Willowbrook Cemetery is straight and well-paved.

Yet somehow the driver of a Ford Taurus managed to smash into both a Pontiac and Mercedes.  The Taurus driver had to be extricated.

All 3 vehicles were totaled.

Readers of WestportNow.com, which first reported the crash, weighed in.  One suggested speed was a factor.  Another figured cell phones.

I’m guessing both.

Is there any place in Westport that’s so important to get to that we have to drive like madmen (and women)?

Is there any reason for racing through every light and stop sign; tailgating every guy (and gal) ahead of us, and doing it all while yapping into a device glued with one hand next to our ear?

Driving past cemeteries is fine.  Ending up in one because some other Westporter (or New Yorker) thinks the world revolves around him (or her) is not.

I’m always amazed when parents bitch about the poor driving habits of teenagers.  Kids don’t grow up in vacuums.  They take their cues from everyone around them.

And they don’t start at 16.  That baby strapped in the car seat watches — and wants to mimic — everything you do.

A bumper sticker says:  “Shut Up And Drive.”

Amen.

Do it at a normal rate of speed, too.

If not for me and you, do it for our kids.

And yours.

Photographer Dave Matlow captures the aftermath of Wednesday's crash -- on a clear day, along a very straight stretch of the road.