Tag Archives: Wilton Road

Photo Challenge #292

On a hot Sunday last week, “06880” offered a cool view.

Harrison Gordon’s image showed the back of a Wilton Road house, near the Kings Highway North intersection. The view was from across the Saugatuck River, by Parker Harding Plaza. (Click here to see.)

The home was designed to maximize its view. As Harrison’s photo shows, it sure does.

Wendy Cusick, Bob Grant, Susan Iseman, Rich Stein, Andrew Colabella, Ralph Balducci, Diane Silfen, James Weisz, Seth Schachter, Ken Gilbertie, PK Cleary, Lynn Untermeyer Miller and Mary Ann Batsell all nailed this one. Congrats!

Before moving on to this week’s Photo Challenge, here’s a note on the one before last. It featured “Alvord Beach” — the name of Sherwood Island State Park’s East Beach, which virtually no one has ever heard of (or used). No one around here has ever heard of “Alvord,” either.

But MaryAnn Meyer — who lives not far from Sherwood Island — found an “Alvord Genealogy” online. It mentions Nelson Alvord’s home at 295 Greens Farms Road.

Nelson Alvord began a carriage-making business in Torrington, in 1835. The genealogy notes:

He was a pioneer in shipping top vehicles to Ga. These were used for distributing merchandise through the country long before the advent of railroads in that section of the South.

He built up a large business, probably the largest in the state, employing at times 125 men. Before the railroad was built through the Naugatuck Valley, he had to transport his wagons by team to New Haven, thence by water to Savannah, Ga. He continued in active business until he retired in 1863, and removed to Green’s Farms, Conn., on the shore of Long Island Sound.

See you at Alvord Beach!

Meanwhile, see if you can identify this week’s Photo Challenge. If you know where in Westport this is, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Lee Scharfstein)

Pic Of The Day #1106

Intriguing lines, at the Post Road West/Wilton Road intersection (Photo/John Videler for Videler Photography)

A Bridge To Somewhere

The other evening, KMS Partners threw a fundraiser for Food Rescue US.

Food trucks and a band filled the site of the former Save the Children building, on Wilton Road. Next to the real estate firm’s new headquarters, it’s the future site of an architecturally intriguing 12-unit condo complex.

As I sat next to the Saugatuck River — the sun setting, and downtown beckoning just across the way — I thought, “It’s so close. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk there?”

Parker Harding Plaza, from the west bank of the Saugatuck River. (Photo/Dan Woog)

I could have used the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge, of course. But the Post Road span is not pedestrian friendly. And it deposits you at the dicey, traffic-filled intersection with Parker Harding Plaza.

Once upon a time, there was discussion of fora pedestrian-only bridge. It was part of David Waldman’s plan to develop that Save the Children site.

Working with Roger Ferris + Partners architects, he wanted to move the house — at that point, a former yarn shop — at Wilton Road/Post Road West — to the Save the Children property. That would provide room for a turning lane at one of the state’s worst intersections.

As part of the plan, Waldman offered $100,000 toward the engineering and design of a pedestrian-only pontoon bridge.

The town rejected the idea. The developer reworked certain aspects of his design. The office portion has now been built. The condos are next.

But the landing area on the Wilton Road side is still available. A bridge could still be built, providing relaxing access from another point between the river’s west bank, and downtown. It could connect to Gorham Island, or perhaps the walkway near Rye Ridge Deli.

The walkway near Rye Ridge Deli could be one end of a pedestrian bridge across the Saugatuck River.

It’s not a novel concept. The Westport Arts Center once proposed a bridge from its then-headquarters on Riverside Avenue, to the library and Levitt Pavilion on the other side.

There are great spots to eat and shop on both sides of the river. But Westporters and visitors tend to think of them as 2 separate places.

A pedestrian bridge between Wilton Road and Parker Harding would probably cost $500,000 to $1 million.

Is the idea worth pursuing? If not, what’s another way to tie the energy and attractions of the quickly growing west bank to the close-but-sometimes-seems-so-far “downtown”?

What do you think? Click “Comments” below. We want your thoughts!

Famous Westport Building Bites The Dust

First it was world headquarters for the Famous Artists School. Joined later by Famous Writers and Famous Photographers Schools, it made Westport known all over the globe — on matchbox covers and magazine ads — as the place to send your artwork, writing and photos to become, well, famous.

Not.

Later it served as world headquarters for Save the Children.

Today, alert “06880” reader (and locally famous photographer) Chip Stephens was across the Saugatuck River, when the 60-year-old Wilton Road building was demolished.

The long view …

The site is being developed by David Waldman into a retail, restaurant and residential complex.

… and a closeup. (Photos/Chip Stephens)

Friday Flashback #61

Westporters have watched with interest as renovations begin on 1 Wilton Road.

That’s the quaint little building squatting underneath the massive Wright Street office project.

Today it’s one of the many frustrating reasons for back-ups at the Post Road West/Riverside Avenue intersection. Plans to move the building to create a turning lane have been rejected (perhaps to rise again, in the future).

Once upon a time, that section of town was less chaotic. Back in the day, a man could stroll down the middle of State Street — past a still-familiar streetscape that includes National Hall (now The ‘Port restaurant).

But I’m sure turn-of-the-20th-century Westporters found plenty to complain about.

Look at that mud! Those rocks, and the wagon ruts!

And I know some folks thought that watering trough didn’t need to be smack in the center of the road.

Our Tax Dollars At Work

Alert “06880” reader/photographer/man about town Miggs Burroughs writes:

After petitioning the state for years, they have finally established a break-dancing zone on Route 33 near the Bartaco parking lot.

Who says government doesn’t listen?

(Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

(Photo/Miggs Burroughs)

 

This Old House #16

With the jury still out on mystery house #15 (click here for photo and comments), we turn now to a very old and interesting home.

This Old House - June 3, 2015

Like all in this series, it was photographed as part of a 1930s WPA project. Now the Westport Historical Society hopes to track down its current location, for an upcoming exhibit on the changing face of Westport.

The only clue we have is: “the ‘Old Dykman House,’ built around 1824. It is said to be in the Wilton Road section of town.

If you think you know where it is today — or whether it has been torn down — click “Comments” below.

West Bank Action

First there was Saugatuck.

Then came Church Lane.

Soon, another sleepy area of town may be revitalized, with the arrival of new restaurants.

This time it’s the west bank of the Saugatuck River. Though an easy walk from downtown, few folks bother. Mentally, that area — behind the Inn at National Hall, next to Save the Children — has been No Man’s Land.

Now it may play Brooklyn, to downtown’s Manhattan.

The Westport News reports that on May 17, the Planning and Zoning Commission hears proposals for 2 new dining spots.

The owners of Fairfield’s Safita hope to open a Middle Eastern restaurant at 6 Wilton Road. That’s the old Vigilant firehouse. It housed a couple of pizza places; more recently it was a kitchen store.

Plans call for 50 seats, a bar and an outdoor patio. Very cool.

The Vigilant firehouse that may house the Middle Eastern restaurant is the slender building in the left-center of this photo. The MOJA restaurant would go on its right.

Also on the menu: MOJA Restaurant & Bar, planned for 12 Wilton Road next door to the former firehouse. The News says the menu would offer Japanese cuisine and “elements of South American flavors to make a very tasty, healthy and distinctive fare that will resonate with kids, teens and adults young and old.”

Despite Westport’s many eateries, we do not have a Japanese/South American spot for every age group. So that’s good.

The restaurants are part of a broader redevelopment planned for the area, including National Hall.

More parking is in the works. But I’d still like to see some kind of footbridge, luring linking people over the river, to the interesting architecture and offerings — culinary and otherwise — across the way.

Until then, here’s wishing good luck to the intrepid owners serving up a couple of new restaurants in a section of town that certainly needs them.

These Are Not Westport Teardowns Of The Day. But They Should Be.

For years, I’ve wondered about the house that sits at the corner of Wilton Road and Red Coat Road.

Who owns it?  How has it existed in such decrepitude for so long?  What must people think as they come off the nearby Merritt Parkway, and see it as one of their first glimpses of Westport?

But it’s not the only area house in such disrepair.

Half a mile away, on Partrick Road, is this:

There was a bad fire there, a year or two ago.  But why haven’t the owners done anything?  Is there a problem with insurance, building permits, or something else?  Isn’t it dangerous for a burned-out house to sit like that?

And — remarkably — just a few hundred yards up that same beautiful Partrick Road is this:

The word on the street about this one is very interesting.  Apparently there was a bad divorce 20 or so years ago.  The husband didn’t want his wife to have the home — but he didn’t want to live there himself.  So he pays taxes faithfully every year — and does nothing else.

It’s looked like this — abandoned and forlorn — longer than most residents have lived nearby.

How oddly comforting to know that in a town with such a tear-it-down, build-it-back-bigger mentality, at least 3 traditional homes remain standing.

Sort of.