Westport's first filling station was not on the well-traveled Post Road, but on Cross Highway. It opened in 1912 and remained in business until sometime in the 1970s or '80s.

That structure, several other early-20th-century buildings and the vintage farmhouse on the bucolic 1.67-acre property at 113 Cross Highway fell into disrepair and were spared the wrecking ball only because of the protracted efforts of the owners. They are now looking to sell to a like-minded buyer, who appreciates the past and sees value in preservation.

Their preservation efforts included remediation of the landmark property as well as restoration of the five barn-red outbuildings and the historically significant, award-winning William Meeker House, built circa 1830. Another document refers to it as the Meeker Elwood House. It is listed on the state's Register of Historic Places.

According to an article in the April 24, 2009, edition of the Westport News, the homeowners received support from the Westport Historic District Commission, Westport Historical Society, Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and the public as they waded through a torrent of outdated zoning regulations that "while not intentional, had the practical effect of encouraging demolition."

The owners perseverance and preservationist mindset not only led to saving this property, but provided the impetus for Westport's zoning reforms including creation of the 32-18 regulation, a key preservation measure, according to Bob Weingarten, house chairman of the Westport Historical Society and member of the town's Historic District Commission. The regulation allows, in part, for the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and historic accessory structures and is considered the strongest historic preservation incentive in the state.

The owners not only preserved the main house and modernized it for today's lifestyle, they repurposed the filling station which now serves as a home office and design studio with a conference room and general work space for one of the owners, and they salvaged architectural materials from a neighboring Meeker house that was due to be razed, incorporating those elements into the main house at 113 Cross Highway.

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The owners have won multiple awards for their efforts including the prestigious Connecticut Preservation Award in 2009. People in the community refer to this house as the "anti-McMansion" and the 2009 Westport News article referred to it as "the house that everyone in Westport knows about; the old house that dodged the bulldozer."

Originally built around 1830 as a Greek Revival farmhouse, the Antique Colonial was masterfully transformed and updated in collaboration with noted preservation architect Michael Glynn of Westport, who created a fine example of restoration of New England vernacular architecture seamlessly blending it with 21st-century living. Even the heated, in-ground Gunite swimming pool was designed to resemble a feeding trough calling to mind the property's early utility as a farm.

The house has geothermal heat and radiant heated floors. And, yet, it has many authentic historical details. Many doors, floors and windows are original to the house. Others are reclaimed and some are new but made to maintain the home's historic integrity. Some windows were made in Maine and have bronze screens. The wide-planked hardwood floors on the first and second levels are painted with a high-gloss lacquered True Navy Blue, which almost looks black. Pigment-dyed plaster covers the walls of all 11 rooms.

More Information

ABOUT THIS HOUSE
STYLE: Antique Colonial
ADDRESS: 113 Cross Highway
PRICE: $2,399,000
ROOMS: 11
FEATURES: award-winning updated historic house, geo-thermal heating, custom-designed lighting fixtures (some included with the sale), close to Bedford Middle and Staples High schools, heated in-ground Gunite swimming pool, bluestone patio, five out-buildings, 1.67-acre level property, partial fencing, four fireplaces, original and reclaimed wide-planked floors, fieldstone walls, front and rear staircases, circular driveway, easy commuting distance to the Merritt Parkway, two-car detached barn garage, deck, exterior lighting, proximity to downtown Westport, all window treatments, insulated windows, skylight, audio system, walk-up attic, metal and wood roof, plentiful storage, covered porch, laundry chute, wildflower meadow, five bedrooms and three full and two half baths
SCHOOLS: Coleytown Elementary, Coleytown Middle, Staples High
ASSESSMENT: $1,021,200
MILL RATE: 17.94 mills
TAXES: $18,320

The front façade of the house was restored to its 1890 appearance. The footprint was extended with construction of an addition on the rear to create a spacious great room that accommodates modern functionality on the first floor and a generous-sized master bedroom suite on the second floor. Off the great room is a screened-in barn with sliders to the outdoors. The addition expanded the living space to 5,121 square feet.

Adding to the modern feel of the house, the great room ceiling is 12 feet tall. It has multiple exposed, painted beams, poured concrete radiant heat floor, a floor-to-ceiling red brick fireplace with an unusual design element of a wide-honed granite beam. There are wood-paneled walls and built-in shelving with a sliding barn-style door. Two doors provide access to the bluestone patio.

Kitchen features include zinc counters, a large center island topped in soapstone, Viking refrigerator and Viking six-burner range. On the second floor, where there are five bedrooms, the master bath and a secondary bath also feature zinc showers. The master bath has a cathedral ceiling, mirror-lined antique window and soaking tub.

Outside, in addition to the old gas station -- featured in Architectural Digest -- and the new two-car garage there are a potting shed, pool house, original outhouse, a large shed with approval for conversion to a guest house and a post-and-beam carriage barn, which was dismantled from its original location behind the house, moved and reassembled on one side of the house.

For more information or to make an appointment to see the house, contact Billy Nistico of William Raveis Real Estate at 917-626-8588.

ABOUT THIS HOUSE

STYLE: Antique Colonial

ADDRESS: 113 Cross Highway

PRICE: $2,399,000

ROOMS: 11

FEATURES: award-winning updated historic house, geo-thermal heating, custom-designed lighting fixtures (some included with the sale), close to Bedford Middle and Staples High schools, heated in-ground Gunite swimming pool, bluestone patio, five out-buildings, 1.67-acre level property, partial fencing, four fireplaces, original and reclaimed wide-planked floors, fieldstone walls, front and rear staircases, circular driveway, easy commuting distance to the Merritt Parkway, two-car detached barn garage, deck, exterior lighting, proximity to downtown Westport, all window treatments, insulated windows, skylight, audio system, walk-up attic, metal and wood roof, plentiful storage, covered porch, laundry chute, wildflower meadow, five bedrooms and three full and two half baths

SCHOOLS: Coleytown Elementary, Coleytown Middle, Staples High

ASSESSMENT: $1,021,200

MILL RATE: 17.94 mills

TAXES: $18,320