May 4th, 2019
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Created to give participants insights into Westport’s history Stroll Through Saugatuck shows how resilient Westporters are in retaining the character of our town, even as the landscape changes and Saugatuck undergoes an impressive renaissance.
As you make your way through the neighborhood that sits along the tracks near the Westport train station, guide Bob Mitchell, Westport Historical Society Board Member, will discuss Saugatuck’s past as a manufacturing hub and the tight-knit, predominantly Italian community it was to become. Most of what we now know as Westport was once called Saugatuck, after the river, though when the town was incorporated in 1835 from parts of Norwalk and Fairfield, it was given the name Westport.
The walk will begin at the NY-bound side of the train station, where rail service was launched in 1848, making Westport more accessible for visitors and, in turn, giving residents better access to New York City. Railroad construction brought an influx of jobs, filled mostly by Irish and Italian laborers, and the young community eventually was called Little Italy. In 1958, a swath of buildings bisecting Saugatuck was demolished to make way for the Connecticut Turnpike.
Here are some bits of Saugatuck lore you’ll learn about: The Saugatuck Grain & Supply Company (1929), Luciano Park, the Westport Bank & Trust branch office, the Hedenbury Tin Shop, the Baynham Coffin Tack Factory, the first Saugatuck firehouse, the mattress factory, the William F. Cribari Bridge (the oldest movable span in Connecticut), and the Saugatuck Manufacturing Company, which made buttons from Brazilian ivory nuts.
Online pre-registration $8 for members, $12 for non-members. Day of $10 suggested admission for members, $15 for non-members. Students, $5 with ID. Tickets are nonrefundable. In the event you must cancel, we will consider your purchase a donation and will happily issue you a donation receipt. Register online here or call (203) 222-1424 x5.
Meet in the Saugatuck Railroad Station, New York-bound side. The tour covers 1-2 miles of sidewalk walking, please bring water and suitable outdoor attire. Join us at the Black Duck after the tour for a complimentary drink.