Walk through history: Historical society sets downtown tour
A walking tour of the town’s central business district is planned Saturday by the Westport Historical Society.
The tour, starting at 3 p.m. on Jesup Green, will provide participants with historical information about such properties as National Hall and the former Westport Bank & Trust Co. building. Both are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The walk will be led by Robert W. Mitchell, executive vice president of the historical society. “This tour demonstrates how critical the Saugatuck River was to the commercial and economic development of Westport,” Mitchell said in a press release publicizing the tour. He will also lead the historical society’s Saugatuck walking tour the following Saturday, Oct. 17.
The riverbank area near Jesup Green is where Ebenezer Jesup, one of the town’s most successful early businessmen, had his wharf, warehouse and store. In 1807, Jesup donated some of his land to the Connecticut Turnpike Co. for the Post Road bridge over the river.
From Jesup Green the history tour will cross the Saugatuck to National Hall, built in 1870 by another prominent Westport entrepreneur, Horace Staples, to house his bank. Over the years this red-brick and cast-iron building has been home to a newspaper, a furniture company, a plumbing store and the Inn at National Hall.
The tour will return to the east side of the river, where Mitchell will discuss the old Westport Library, the former YMCA and the wedge-shaped Westport Bank & Trust Co. building.
On the way back to Jesup Green, Mitchell will talk about 76 Post Road East, which was formerly the site of Petrie’s Ice Cream Parlor and the Fine Arts Theater. The theater was remodeled into the present-day Restoration Hardware.
Fee for the walking tour is $10. For more information about the tour and to register, call 203-222-1424