Downtown Westport: Seen Through the Camera’s Eye

March 6th, 2004 until May 16th, 2004

All Day

March 6 – May 16, 2004


The Westport Historical Society invited Westporters to take a trip down memory lane with their exhibit documenting downtown Westport over a 20-year period-its quaint charm, architectural integrity, commercial pulse and its ongoing adaptation to the changing scene. Downtown Westport: Seen Through the Camera’s Eye featured over 75 photographs by Westporter David Matlow. Since 1983, Mr. Matlow has been capturing the changes on Main Street as they have occurred. Main Street treasures such as The American Pie Store, Dorian’s Drug Store, The Selective Eye and The Ship’s Restaurant are all featured. Many of the photographs were taken on Christmas Day, so as to avoid visible street traffic in the images.

Also on view in the exhibit are paintings Library Park, on loan from the Westport Schools Permanent Art Collection, and artist Kathy Jakobsen’s Main Street, on loan from the Sheffer-Scheffler Collection. Many additional photographs from the Society’s archives are also on display.

“The theme of this exhibit highlights the ongoing challenges of preserving our streetscapes, as well as our antique houses. It ties in perfectly with our current exhibit This Old Westport House, as well as the accompanying Old House School lecture series,” said Joni Andrews, the Society’s president. “Our goal is to inspire members of the Westport community to cherish and preserve our remaining antique buildings.”

David Matlow moved to Westport in 1973 and for years commuted to New York for his marketing management position with a major corporation. In 1984, Matlow started a Westport-based strategy consulting business for corporate sales forces, RCP Inc., now known as the IMPAX Corporation. In 1983, Matlow began to photographically record downtown Westport on a periodic basis. He captured both its changes as well as its retained architectural facades over the years.

In an introduction to the 1920 book Main Street, written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis, it is stated, “Main Street is the climax of civilization.” Similarly, Matlow’s romance with Westport’s Main Street dates to his birth on the main street of a small coal-mining town in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Matlow feels that Main Street is at the magnetic center of Westport’s attractions. So many others who love Westport have idolized it with personal and cherished photographs and artistic renderings. This exhibit of the recorded history of our Westport’s Main Street over the past twenty years documents its quaint charm, its architectural integrity, its commercial pulse and its adaptation to the gentrification movement of the 1980s and 1990s.

Matlow and his wife Ann reside in Westport.