Westport's Off-Beat Monuments and Near-Landmarks

Our History of Politics and Perfume, Missiles and Movie Stars.

Forget the Minute Man. Actually, don’t. The Minute Man is an important Westport landmark. But if friends and family come calling this summer and want to learn something while on vacation (!), we’ve found some historical sites that are educational and entertaining.

Golden Shadows

68 Compo Road South

Former residence of Evelyn and Walter Langer

The husband-and-wife team behind White Shoulders, America’s most popular perfume at the time, built this home in the mid-1950s while snapping up over 20 acres of adjacent land. This striking mansion combines an eclectic blend of Hollywood glamour and European sophistication… at least, that was the Langer’s goal. The result is a delightfully tacky vestige of mid-century style, a nonsensical network of rooms in Crayon colors that is part Barbie Dreamhouse, part What Ever Happened to Baby Jane. (Their other scents were Menace and Gay Diversion. Yeah. It’s a timing thing.)

Nike Missile Radar Site

182 Bayberry Lane

During the Cold War, the US Army planted Nike Missile sites throughout the country to thwart a perceived direct threat from Soviet bombers. Nike was a “major caliber anti-aircraft rocket torpedo” (WestportCT.gov) intended to destroy B-17 bombers mid-flight, thereby diminishing potential damage to land and citizens. Despite residents’ protests the army built two in Westport, which today are Bedford Middle School and the Westport-Weston Health Department and the Westport Astrological Society (WAS). The health department housed the barracks, mess hall, and recreation rooms. WAS’s Newtonian Reflector telescope is housed in the old radar antenna tower.

Max Schulman wrote a satirical account of the controversy surrounding the Nike site’s construction, Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!. The novel was the basis of a romantic comedy in 1958, filmed in Westport and starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. They fell in love with our town. And the rest is history.

Disbrow Tavern Memorial

Intersection of Myrtle and Church Lanes

Almost 250 years ago President Washington drank something in a tavern that used to be here. Powerful stuff, that. Legend has it Washington threw one back with his “spymasters” at Disbrow’s while en route to Boston in 1775, though some contend Disbrow Tavern never existed.

If you’re thirsty for more historical evidentiary relics, the lower hall of Christ & Holy Trinity houses what is believed to be the nail upon which our first President hitched his horse while sipping ale at Disbrow’s. If, in fact, he did.

Machamux Boulder

250 Greens Farms Road

Evidently Chickens named this plot “The Beautiful Land.” While deeds around that time show “Chickens” was the nickname of a business-savvy native American, we at Westport Lifestyle would like to believe it was named by a squawk of voluble and appreciative poultry.

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