Exit 18 - Westport CT residents and ex-residents

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1795     Captain Ebenezer Coley builds a home for his son at 25 Avery Place, which would eventually become the home of the Westport Historical Society.
1834     Cornerstone laid for Christ and Holy Trinity Church, at the corner of the Post Road and Ludlow St.
1835     Universalist Church established at 215 Main St.
1852     Saugatuck Bank founded by Horace Staples. The first office was across from the train station, but was soon moved to National Hall, becoming the First National Bank, later the Westport Bank and Trust.
1853     Winslow mansion, called Compo House by Winslow himself, built at the corner of the Post Rd. and North Compo Rd. The building and grounds later served as a sanitarium, until purchased by Baron Walter von Langendorf in 1967. The grounds are now Winslow Park.
1870     National Hall built at 2 Post Road West. Served at various times as a bank, a newspaper, a business, meeting and dance hall, school and theater. From 1993 to March of 2010, it was an upscale inn and restaurant.
1884     New metal bridge built to replace the original wooden bridge on Bridge St.
1890     Allen's Clam and Lobster House built by sea Captain Walter Allen.
1891     The house at 25 Avery Place is left to Julia Wheeler, becoming known as "Wheeler House," later the home of the Westport Historical Society.
1892     New railroad station at Green's Farms built, largely to accommodate Edward T. Bedford, whose home was close by.
1896     Electric trolley replaces horse-drawn trolley on Riverside Ave.
1900 April 22     The yellow brick First Church of the Assumption dedicated.
1908     New red brick library building on State St. dedicated. This is now the "old library" building, housing a restaurant and shops.
1908     New Town Hall built on State St., of native stone.
1918     Central Hall of Hall-Brooke sanitarium built.
1919     Edward T. Bedford buys the Westport Hotel, building in its place a Tudor-style YMCA, completed in 1923. The new fire station next to the YMCA replaced the stables of the former Westport Hotel.
1924     Westport Bank & Trust Company opens its doors, in its new building near the YMCA.
1934 July 1     Construction of the Merritt Parkway begins.
1938 June 29     The section of the Merritt Parkway from Greenwich to Norwalk is completed.
1939 November     The section of the Merritt Parkway from Norwalk to Trumbull is completed.
1945     Famous Artists Schools is launched by illustrator Albert Dorne. The FAS artists included Norman Rockwell. Offices were first located in the old Sasco Mill building at 1869 Post Road East, but then built headquarters on Wilton Road, at the intersection with the Post Road, behind National Hall.
1955     Compo Shopping Center expands to nearly double in size.
1955 June 27     Parker-Harding plaza opens. Before the plaza was built with landfill, the Saugatuck River came up to the back of the stores on Main St.
1956     New wing built for the library.
1957 March 7     The Nike Missile Site opens on North Ave. The town had strongly opposed the Nike site, and so contentious were the RTM meetings over the issue that a CBS News crew was sent out to film a meeting for Eric Sevareid's Sunday afternoon television show. Westport author Max Shulman wrote a satirical novel about the episode, Rally 'Round the Flag Boys!, turned into a movie in 1958 starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.
1958 January 1     The New England Thruway opens. The Thruway, running through the middle of Saugatuck, had displaced 42 homeowners, and the Saugatuck Methodist Church.
1963     Ed Mitchells relocates to the Westport National Bank building on Colonial Green.
1964     A year after president John F. Kennedy's death, an eight-foot long bronze plaque commemorating Kennedy is placed on the outside wall of the Staples High School administration building: "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
1964     The Willows Medical Center, affectionately called "Fort Apache" is built.
1968     New boat marina at Longshore dedicated.
1970     Stauffer Chemical company breaks ground for new offices at Nyala Farm, after a long and bitter dispute within the town.
1973     The Levitt Pavilion opens, on top of the former town dump. For several years visitors to events at the pavilion were treated to occasional whiffs of gas erupting from the landfill below.
1977     Rippe's Farm closes, replaced by Harvest Commons, the first condominiums in Westport.
1981 February 23     Wheeler House, at 25 Avery Place, is purchased from Christ and Holy Trinity Church as home of the Westport Historical Society.
1983     The Red Barn is restored.
1983     The Gorham house on Gorham Island is knocked down by a developer, who replaces it with a 40,000 square foot office building.
1986     When the state proposes replacement of the historic metal bridge over the Saugatuck on Bridge Street with a "McBridge," Westporters vociferously object. After much wrangling, the state DOT agrees to completely restore the bridge. After a temporary bridge is built to the side of the historic bridge, the bridge is disassembled piece by piece and completely restored.
1986     The Mobil station at 90 Main St., an inherent part of downtown Westport for nearly 50 years, is torn down and replaced by a retail store with condominiums on the upper floors.
1986 September 1     The new library built on top of previous landfill for the town opens.
1987     Arthur Tauck of Tauck Tours buys the Fairfield Furniture Store, converting it into a top-notch inn and restaurant called National Hall.
1990 -1992     Post Road bridge widened.
1992     Phase I of The Riverwalk and Gardens is completed, running from the new library to Jesup Green.
1994     Bridge St. bridge widened.
1996 November 29     The new ice skating rink at Longshore opens.
1997     The Teen Coffeehouse opens at historic Toquet Hall, providing a gathering place for Staples and Green's Farms Academy students.
1997     A new pool is installed at Longshore.
1999     Phase II of The Riverwalk and Gardens is completed, running from Jesup Green to the Post Road.
1999     During renovation of the ground floor at 44 Main St. by Banana Republic, workers discover a 28-foot-long mural created by Edmund M. Ashe. The mural had been hidden behind drywall for 50 years. Banana Republic chose to preserve and restore the mural, now featured prominently in the store.
2000     The Kids' Wall project is initiated. The 6-foot by 44-foot wall is composed of 64 individual panels, each panel created by one of the 64 art classes in the Westport Middle Schools, and is installed at the children's pool at Longshore.
2010 March 8     The Inn at National Hall closes down, as the result of the effort of the owners of the building to sell it. As of this writing, National Hall is closed, the building has not been sold and is unoccupied.
2011 May 20     An unnamed attorney purchases the U.S. Post Office building at 154 Post Road East, with plans to convert it into a 10,000 square foot space for retail and restaurant use.