On the Market: Antique colonial with a patriotic history

WESTPORT — It’s not just for the Fourth of July that the American flag was proudly displayed on the front and back of the antique colonial house at 16 Morningside Drive South. The star-spangled banner has been a fixture there year-round for decades.

“My mom was the biggest patriot in the world,” said Janet Beers, whose mother — the late Anne Beers — owned the home from the late 1970s until her passing just over a year ago. Anne Beers held dear that flag and all it stands for.

According to Janet Beers, her mother served as a pharmacist mate in the U.S. Navy and when she was discharged in 1946, she went to Tufts University. Additionally, Janet Beers said, her mother marched in every Westport’s Memorial Day parade wearing the exact uniform she wore in the service. She was honored at Town Hall the year before her passing at age 94.

The nine-room, 3,236-square-foot white house with green shutters sits on a property of just over one level acre in a very convenient location in the Greens Farms neighborhood, within easy walking distance of Greens Farms Elementary School, and shops and restaurants on the Post Road (Route 1).

“Walk right out your door to the Greens Farms Elementary School and playground. ... You literally can walk or bike ride to almost everything Westport has to offers such as Barnes & Noble, spas, restaurants, food stores, beaches, and the Greens Farms train station,” according to the co-listing agents.

The convenience is compelling but so is the home’s history, which only came to light after exhaustive research was conducted by Bob Weingarten, house historian for the Westport Museum of History and Culture, formerly the Westport Historical Society.

Weingarten scoured deeds and other documents, uncovering at least four different spellings of the original owner’s last name and the correct date of the home’s construction: 1901. The latter was helped along by Anne Beers’ son Dan, who provided Weingarten with a photograph of a wood beam in the home’s basement into which was carved Charles Banetz BILT 1901.

That information prompted Weingarten’s further research which confirmed the build date, nine years earlier than previous thought because some documents were overlooked due to the various spellings of Banetz’s name.

Weingarten wrote a lengthy article about this house and its history titled “Written in Wood or Stone,” and published in the Greens Farm Living publication in July 2017.

More Information

STYLE: Antique Colonial

ADDRESS: 16 Morningside Drive South

PRICE: $924,900


FEATURES: 1.01-acres, level property, oversized wrap-around deck, proximity to Greens Farms train station, short drive to local beaches, walking distance to Post Road (Route 1) shops and restaurants, across the street from Greens Farms Elementary School and playground, cable - available, wet bar, skylights, one fireplace, zoned central air conditioning and oil heat, 30-gallon water heater tank, full partially finished walk-out basement, attic, detached two-car garage, public water and sewer connection, four bedrooms, two full baths

SCHOOLS: Greens Farms Elementary, Bedford Middle, Staples High School

MILL RATE: 16.71 mills

ASSESSMENT: $753,800

TAXES: $12,709

In it, Anne Beers was quoted: “Without his research and persistence we would not be able to identify the history of the house.”

It is now recognized as the Charles Banetz House c. 1901, complete with a Historical Society plaque at the front entrance.

The plaque attracted the attention of two Banetz relatives recently. Janet Beers said she and her brother Dan noticed a car driving by several times and pointing to the sign.

“We were home so we went out and talked to them and invited them in to tour the house and showed them the beam in the basement that Charles had carved out,” Janet said. Turns out they were the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of Charles Banetz, who emigrated from Hungary in 1893, settling in Westport.

“This home was loved and enjoyed by three generations of family. The exterior of this home is very charming and is sheltered by tall trees, specimen plantings, and framed by a classic old stone wall with a white picket fence,” the agents said.

The Beers family spent time entertaining and having dinner on their deck almost every summer night, they said. This beautifully designed, oversized deck is right off the kitchen and family room, which offers a vaulted ceiling, skylights, wet bar, ceramic tile floor, and floor-to-ceiling red brick fireplace. Below the deck is a stone patio.

The formal living room has a fireplace and multipaned doors to the extensive deck. The dining room has a picture window view of the deck and yard. In the kitchen there are granite counters and glass-front cabinetry. The master suite is on the first level and the additional three bedrooms and a bath are on the second level.

The lower level game or recreation room has a fireplace and the detached two-car garage has a full unfinished loft that could easily be converted into another an in-law or au pair bedroom and bath, a recording or art studio, or a home office.

For more information or to make an appointment to see the house contact Doris J. Rowe and Tara Rowe Hawley of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage; Rowe at 203-767-0920 or rowehouses@aol.com, and Hawley at 203-331-5939 or tara.hawley@coldwellbankermoves.com