9 property owners to receive Historic Preservation Awards
Published 2:39 pm, Monday, October 28, 2013
Nine properties have been singled out to receive the annual Westport Historic Preservation Awards.
The properties, selected for the distinction, by the Historic District Commission, will be showcased in an awards ceremony set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Town Hall auditorium.
Following is a listing of the nine properties and a description prepared by the commission on the reason that each merited the recognition:
28 Clinton Ave. (Rehabilitation)
Fillow-Wall House, c. 1910, Victorian Eclectic style
The Fillow-Wall House was constructed in 1910/11 for Everett Fillow who was one of the original owners of the Fillow Flower Co., which had greenhouses located on both sides of Clinton Avenue. The HDC recognizes the sensitive rehabilitation to the original, wrap-around porch supported by turned posts, the replication of the original front door, the appropriately scaled expansion of the garage, the replacement of the wooden clapboards, and general maintenance and updating of roof and gutters. The owners retained the style of one over one, double hung sash windows and removed the previously installed shutters. The house continues to contribute to the architecturally significant 19th and 20th century streetscape.
38 Compo Road North (Barlow Cutler Wotton Award for Architecture)
Hurlbutt-Whitney House, c. 1715, Cape style
Through their skills as professional architect and landscape designer, the owners searched for a historic property close to downtown that would serve as their residence and design studio. They purchased the long-vacant John Greene/Gideon Hurlbutt House c. 1710 across from Winslow Park. By obtaining a Special Permit 32-18 for Historic Residential Structures, they were allowed to convert the original historic house into a home based business use while building behind it, on the same lot, an architecturally compatible, new energy efficient residence. The authentic restoration of the house included the removal of inappropriate additions and the use of historically accurate building materials. The landscape surrounding the modest house and the approach to the new construction displays indigenous plants appropriate to the period enhanced by native stone walls and walkways.
154 Post Road East (Adaptive Reuse)
Fomer U.S. Post Office, c. 1935, Art Deco
Ansley Westport Partners, LLC (Alon Panovka)
Post 154 LLC (Joe Kelly)
While in many cities and towns surplus post office buildings have been torn down or altered beyond recognition, Westport's Art Deco style building has been given new life. The exterior brick was cleaned, new compatible replacement windows were installed, and the limestone veneer blocks and pilasters retained. The original Post Office incised lettering remains prominent under the front eave of the building and the transom displays the original envelope motif grate. A galvanized metal canopy was installed over the entrance and colorful fabric awnings placed above the façade and Bay Street windows. Important original features of the structure were preserved while making modifications necessary for the conversion of the building to its new use in a manner that respects and enhances the character of the National Register landmark building.
Compo Mill Cove Island House (Restoration)
Vernacular Style, c. 1747
With an outsized presence for such an undersized structure, the Island House on Rocky Hummock Island is a landmark structure known visually to virtually every Westporter. Probably known more colloquially as the Compo Mill Pond shed, this little building sits on a rock only slightly larger than its own footprint, out in the middle of the pond. Like numerous other buildings as old as this, it wasn't built in its current location and for its current use. Town records indicate that this modest building was built in 1747 as the cooperage (a structure for making wooden casks or barrels) for the first tidal grist mill on the Mill Pond, located alongside the tide gates on the south side of the pond. According to the current owner, whose family has been associated with the shellfish operation in the Mill Pond for multiple generations, the shed was moved out to the island in about 1870 by the Nash family who were the owners at that time. It was relocated to the middle of the pond to serve as a guard house to protect the shellfish beds from poachers. It has been serving that purpose ever since. Over that period it has been inhabited by a series of solitary figures. After the last occupant left and Sandy flooded it completely, the present owner, decided it was time for a total renovation. The little building has been refreshed but still retains its simple primitive character and, hopefully, will remain as a focal point for the mill pond landscape for many generations to come.
2 Old Mill Road (Rehabilitation)
Beach Cottage, c. 1927
This 1927 beach cottage was successfully elevated following Hurricane Sandy. At that time, it was sensitively modified by keeping the character and mass of the original structure. The rehabilitation was an opportunity to integrate a shed dormer into the mass of the main house. The combination of board and batten siding on the first floor and wooden shingles on the second floor reduced the sense of height given the necessary elevation to protect it from flooding. A small porch was integrated into a natural recess on the first floor façade. The original position and six over six style windows were kept. The award is being given in recognition of the cottage's important location and its contribution to the streetscape of this historically significant neighborhood.
80 Wright St. (Helen Muller Preservation Award for a property in a local historic district)
Allen Renoud House, c. 1854
The Helen Muller Preservation Award is being given in recognition of the sensitive renovation of the Allen Renoud House, c. 1854, in the Kings Highway North local historic district. As is appropriate, all materials and design reflect the original character of the house. Multiple small porches were removed in order to restore the simple lines of the Greek Revival style. The removal of inappropriately placed windows and shutters enhance the classic features of the house. The owners are to be commended for their stewardship of a cultural resource that contributes to the character of the historic district.
39 West Parish Road (Rehabilitation)
Vernacular, c. 1894
Brittany and Jonathan Steel
A 2007 photo of the Vernacular style house shows an oversized 20th century enclosed porch that is now removed. Modern shutters were also removed and a new two-story addition on the right side was appropriately set back from the gable end front façade. The renovation of the house harkens back to the original house built by Silas Sherwood for his wife Sarah, c. 1894. This award is being given in recognition of the preservation and rehabilitation of this important historic resource.
69 Morningside Drive South (Reconstruction)
John Couch House, c. 1859
David Mayo and Carol Quinn
Fortunately, the new owners appreciated the importance of the character and style of the original John Couch House, c. 1859. When planning their new home, which was significantly larger than the existing historic house, the owners chose to save the underlying structure and form of the original while expanding it with a large, compatible addition to the rear. Although most of the original exterior of the house was lost, the new work was informed by the character of the original with regard to detail and finishes. The gable front central block with its Italianate porch remains the defining architectural feature of the house on the street frontage. The HDC applauds the owners for using the historic structure as an inspiration to retain the design of the house with its iconic porch and its significant presence in the Greens Farms neighborhood.
651 Post Road East (Preservation and Adaptive Reuse)
James Smith, director of store planning and development
Urban Outfitters, Inc.
This award is being given for the dramatic transformation this company has made to what was formerly an auto dealership with an expanse of open paving and a small neglected historic house located in a prominent corner of the property. Terrain took the empty auto showroom and repair shop and converted into an "industrial chic," outdoor furnishings and garden center retail facility that adds an attractive commercial entity to the Post Road. The site has been sensitively landscaped to display the products being marketed while screening much of the parking. Following extensive discussions with the HDC and other preservation advocates, the retailer agreed to save the historic house that was initially going to be lost to additional parking. The HDC applauds Terrains' decision to keep the house as a reflection of the historic residential character of the Post Road before it was subsumed by the commercial strip use that prevails along much of its length today.