Saturday, December 30, 2006

Paul Rudolph House: More Details

[Read 'Modern,' our new blog about mid-century modern houses, here.]

The Westport News has some interesting additional information about the probable destruction of the Paul Rudolph house, near Compo Beach.

The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation will try to get the house listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which will give it some status but no real protection; the trust is hoping the owner, Dr. Louis Micheels, will not object. An objection would block the listing.

Micheels has a deal in place to sell the house to a Westport developer named David Waldman (who everyone quoted in the Westport News seems to think is an outstanding specimen of civic virtue) and apparently has agreed to let Waldman tear the house down before he owns it (which seems risky on the part of Micheels, but I guess that’s his business):

Waldman does not own the property yet, he received a signed document from Micheels authorizing the house's demolition, according to Steve Smith, director of Westport's Building Department.

It was Waldman’s contractor who put tarps over places where windows and the roof were removed (here's a photo). The chairman of Westport’s Historic District Commission thinks that any rain that got into the house before the tarps went up might not have done as much damage as people feared.

WestportNow, an online newspaper that has been following the issue closely, is owned by a former TV newsman named Gordon Joseloff, who is now the town’s First Selectman (which I had forgotten). Joseloff has been to the site at least once although it’s not clear what role he’s playing, if any. WestportNow has referred to him in a story without bothering to mention his role in WestportNow, which is odd. On the other hand, it’s a bit petty of the Westport News to refer to WestportNow merely as a website, just as it seems irresponsible of an elected official (and perhaps hypocritical of a newsman) not to return phone calls from a reporter, as Westport News says of Joseloff when it sought comment on his role in the Paul Rudolph mess.

The Connecticut Trust and the state courts will try to deal with it all next week, although it seems all but inevitable that the house will come down.

[For more on the issue, see The Destruction of Paul Rudolph's Micheels House in the right hand column.]



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