THE WALL

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Anyone who grew up in Lordship during the 1960s through the 1970s remembers The Wall. The Wall is the name for the seawall which was the most popular gathering spot in Town for the youth. With two bars, Pops and Skippers, plenty of parking and fresh air, the seawall was a wild place on Friday and Saturday nights. At one time Beach Drive was actually a two way road during the winter, but as soon as the weather warmed up it was changed to the current one way street. In the fall the road would revert back to a two way street. Before that was the battle in 1940 and 1941 to turn the Lordship Pavilion (now Marnicks) into a small hotel with a liquor permit.

October 4, 1940 - LORDSHIP PEOPLE OPEN DRIVE ON BUSINESS INVASION: Opposition To Peggy Doyle Request For Full Liquor Permit Not Personal Van Yorx Says: Newly formed Lordship Association Aims To Make Section Entirely Residential Planning Board Hears Arguments And Reserves Decision: When Mr. and Mrs. Donald Sammis, Councilman Peter Ring, Mr. and Mrs. John Van Yorx and a large number of other Lordship residents announced the formation of a Lordship Improvement Association some days ago, the question was asked around town: What is it really for? A rather cryptic sentence in the articles of incorporation added to the mystery. In the statement of purposes the organizers declared one of their objectives to be that we shall all be friends as well as neighbors and that residence in Lordship will mean more than just a place of abode. The meaning of more than just a place of abode will be interpreted from time to time as the Association takes a stand on local issues. Some light was thrown on one important stand to be taken by the group when Mrs. Peggy Doyle Duane appeared before the planning board Wednesday night and asked the board to approve her application for a full liquor permit in place of the restaurant and beer license she has had for several years. Peggy was faced with opposition form the Improvement Association group and the group speakers made it clear that the opposition was not against Peggy personally, nor against her place in particular, but the objections were to any type of business expansion in Lordship. Councilman Ring expressed regret that there had ever been a change from residential to business zone in Lordship and he said most of the residents felt the same way. Mr. Van Yorx a former member of the planning board said, The point here is not in the person who wants the license. It is in the granting of the license as a matter of principal. It is not so much a question of what one individual wants as it is the effect upon the welfare of the community as a whole and the town as a whole. Mrs. Van Yorx, Charles Hubbard, Mr. J. Larsen and Mr. Burns also spoke in opposition. The tenor of all the remarks was that Lordship people did not want business places in Lordship. None of the opposition brought any charges against the management of the petitioner but fear was expressed that the hard liquor permit would bring to Lordship non-resident undesirables who would create a hazard to the residents as well as an annoyance. The lack of sidewalks in Lordship, the possibility of automobile accidents at night, the lack of police protection at Lordship were all stressed by the opposition. The petitioner was represented by Judge Weldon who explained that his petition was not technically perfected because he still had one more signature to get. He asked that the arguments be heard on both sides but that no decision be made by the planning board until some later date. His suggestions were followed and no decision was given Wednesday night. Herbert Wickham who occupies the dual role of member of the planning board and agent for the Lordship Improvement Association made an effort to stall off the hearing altogether until the petition was in perfect order, but other members of the board felt that the crowd should be heard in view of the fact that so many people had come out on such a bad night. It goes without saying that Mr. Wickham will do all he can within and without the board to block the petition but Peggys position is very strong technically. The state law permits the sale of liquor. Her record operation under the beer license is spotless. Nobody charges her with any misdoing. The opposition then must make out a strong case to prevent her from exercising her rights under the state law.

January 29, 1941 - STRATFORD TO REZONE LOT, BALK SALE TO FATHER DIVINE: Duanes Lose Lordship Zoning Battle; 150 Attend Hearing: The Stratford town Planning and Zoning Board last night voted to re-zone a lot owned by Mr. and Mrs. William Duane at the northeast corner of Beach Drive, Lordship from Business number 1 to Residential B at a public hearing in the Town Hall attended by about 150 residents, most of them from Lordship. The decision dims the possibility that Father Divine, cult leader may locate in Lordship, a possibility which was seen when the Duanes asserted they would sell their property to the highest bidder after being denies a liquor license for their restaurant. Father Divine was named as a prospective bidder. The vote was 7 to 1 with Board Member Morton Lawlor registering the lone dissenting opinion. Timothy Ryan and Nils Anderson, other members were absent. The decision followed an informal public vote in which an informal public vote in which a showing of hands indicated about 75 favoring the proposed zone change and eight opposing it. The session proved to be a quiet one with proponents of both sides presenting their arguments calmly. Only two persons spoke in opposition to the change, J. Philip Magill of Bridgeport representing the Duanes and Mr. Duane himself. Last nights hearing climaxed a controversy between the Duanes and the Planning Board which began several months ago when the board refused a petition by the Duanes for a full liquor permit for their restaurant in Lordship. At the time of the refusal the Duanes revealed that unless they were allowed to expand their business they would be forced to sell their property. Father Divine was named as a prospective customer. Lordship residents immediately took up arms against what they termed a threat and the proposals to re-zone the property followed a short time later. Declaring that Mrs. Duane had been a resident of Lordship 17 years and had spent $20,000 in a business investment there, Magill said he hoped the boards decision would be based on facts and not prejudice or rumors. He said there had never been any trouble at Mrs. Duanes restaurant and asked Why the sudden demand to change the zone? Webster Conine of Stratford and Donald Sammis of Lordship endeavored to provide the answer. Mr. Conine charging that the property has been managed in a manner objectionable to the residents of Lordship and Mr. Sammis declaring that I have all my life savings in my property in Lordship and when I see these savings jeopardized, I feel it my duty to myself and my family to raise an objection. We have been informed by the newspapers and by word of mouth that if the Duanes desire for a liquor permit and now for a hotel is thwarted, their land will be turned over to the cult Mr. Sammis asserted. Also arguing for the change of zone was John Van Yorx of Lordship who declared the petition to change the zone has been offered to give insurance to Lordship residents. It will do the Duanes no harm and will protect us in the future. Joseph Larsen of Lordship pointed out that the lot was zoned residential when Mrs. Duane purchased it, but that she managed to have it changed later. Councilman Peter Ring speaking in favor of the change, declared changing the zone back to residential is only correcting a mistake which the planning board made previously. Speaking in rebuttal, Magill asserted there has not been a single valid reason given for the zone change. The statement that the place has been operated in an objectionable manner was made absolutely without proof. Duane denied that the question of selling the property to Father Divine had been made as a threat, asserting that agents of prospective buyers approached us before the liquor permit was denied we did not approach them. We believe we could construct a hotel in Lordship and get a reasonable return for our money. If we can remain in business and get a reasonable assurance that we can build a hotel, we are perfectly willing to go along as we have. Mr. Van Yorx has said the zone change will not harm us; that is a foolish argument it will ruin us.

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Peggys 1940s

August 8, 1941 - LORDSHIP PUBLIC OPINION BLOCKS MRS. DUANE AGAIN: Zoning Board Quickly Rejects Hotel Appeal After Final Hearing: The Stratford Board of Zoning Appeals could have taken 30 days to render a decision on the appeal of Mrs. Peggy Duane for authorization to build a small hotel at Lordship, but about 30 seconds were sufficient for the board to vote against Mrs. Duane and award another victory to the home owners of Lordship in their battle to prevent Lordship becoming another Walnut Beach. Tuesday evenings hearing on Mrs. Duanes case was a postponed hearing at which it was expected Mrs. Duane would appear in person. She had been unable to be at the first hearing two weeks before. But she did not appear Tuesday evening and was ably represented by her husband and attorney J. Philip Magill. The opposition did not have to be present because it had given all its testimony at the former hearing, but the people of Lordship were taking no chances and they were out in greater force at the postponed hearing than they were at the first session. Also they were more emphatic than ever in saying that they did not want any hotel in Lordship. Their opposition was given considerable strength by two communications from the Mechanics and Farmers and Bridgeport Savings Banks of Bridgeport which together have about $250,000 invested in Lordship property mortgages. Both financial institutions said they did not feel that putting a hotel at this spot would enhance real estate investments and they were opposed to the idea. Nothing new of any significance was heard at Tuesdays session. There was much repetition of what was in The Stratford News two weeks ago after the first hearing before the appeals board. The prompt rejection of the appeal by the board was a good answer to the whispers that had been going around that it was all set for Mrs. Duane to get the authorization she sought. If any of the local politicians had hoped to influence the zoning board, there was no evidence of it. There is some evidence however to back up the suggestion that the Duanes are losing a lot of the good will they had in Lordship before they started out to get a full liquor permit for their restaurant and them to put up a little hotel. Many of the Lordship home owners who fought Mrs. Duanes plan to sell hard liquor and to construct a hotel were once her friends. They patronized her place. They had no thought of making any trouble for her. Today many of these same people are very angry at what they consider her determination to expand her business in a way that will create a nuisance for the home owners of the section and make Lordship a hangout for undesirable pleasure seekers from outside Stratford. Much of this ill will started when the Duanes seriously threatened to sell their property to Father Devine as reprisal for their neighbors opposition to a hard liquor permit being granted. This was very bad psychology for the Duanes to use on the residents of Lordship. Instead of being frightened into agreement with the Duane plan for selling hard liquor, the property owners of Lordship resented the threat very deeply and became more stubborn than ever in their fight against any plan which the Duanes might have to attract what Lordship people feel are undesirable elements. Perhaps Mrs. Duane has been misled by some of her friends who are active in local politics. They may have assured her that she could get what she wanted despite public opinion in Lordship. If so, she must know now that they gave her very bad advice. When public opinion is so united and so strong as it has been in Lordship, not even the politicians will stand up against it when the real showdown comes.

November 7, 1941 - DUANE SUIT IS FILED IN COURT: Margaret Doyle Duane who has been thwarted in her efforts to obtain a permit for the construction of a 33-room boarding house at Washington Park and Beach Drive in Lordship today took her fight to Superior Court. This morning Stratford Building Inspector A. Bruce Schow was served with a writ of mandamus for the issuance of a permit. A hearing on the writ, signed by States Attorney Lorin Willis is scheduled for November 17. Schow has claimed that an attempt is being made to construct a hotel rather than a boarding house. On July 2, the planning board refused to issue a permit to Mrs. Duane. The Board of Zoning Appeals upheld the Planning Board action.

November 14, 1941 - LORDSHIP HOTEL FIGHT TO REACH COURT MONDAY: That long drawn out battle between Margaret Peggy Doyle Duane and the town officials will be given another airing before the Superior Court on Monday, according to the court calendar. The fight is over a proposal by Mrs. Duane to erect a 40 room hotel in Lordship, which she claims will relieve the housing shortage in the vicinity of the Sikorsky plant. A writ of mandamus has been prepared by Mrs. Duane which will be argued by Attorney Lawrence Finklestone. The paper seeks to compel the town authorities, especially the Planning and Zoning Board, to grant permission for the construction of the building, which has already been started. Work has stopped when the board refused to issue a permit in the face of considerable opposition from residents in the vicinity who claimed that the erection of a hotel of the type planned by Mrs. Duane would reduce the value of their property. During the progress of the battle, when it was at its hottest point, Mrs. Duane threatened to dispose of her property to be used as a Heaven by Father Devine, but was dissuaded by public pressure.

October 26, 1945 : POPS SOUNDVIEW GRILL: Reputation For Good Food Is Well Founded, Best Drinks Sold: Down through the years since 1933, Pops Soundview Grill, 14 Beach Drive, Lordship has provided regular patrons and strangers with a variety of superior food. But something else has had an important part in the plan of service here too. It is courtesy and a thorough consideration of the public. Meeting the requirements of everyone and giving its best to fulfill the demands of patrons from far and near. Pasquale Tristini has shown his ability to maintain the standards folks appreciate. Mr. Tristini is assisted in the work by his wife, Annette and daughter Mrs. Rose Williams. Italian spaghetti and other dishes are featured, but American cuisine has been given a full measure of consideration too, with the result that the variety offered at Pops affords a selection folks can always rely on. Light lunches, sandwiches, dinners and special dishes are featured on the daily menu, while beer in a selection of brands seldom seen elsewhere is stressed. Ballantines, Schlitz and Budweiser are on draught and in bottles. Private parties find a real welcome here, with accommodations for as many as 75 persons.

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Pops Soundview Grill

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April 22, 1951: LIQUOR AGENTS RAID SKIPPERS BEACH TAVERN: State Liquor Control Commission inspectors made a pre midnight raid on Skippers Restaurant, Lordship last night arresting three adults for selling alcoholic beverages to minors. Arrested at the well known Beach Drive and Washington Parkway restaurant were the permittee; his partner who was tending bar and a waitress. The raid was staged at the height of the Saturday night evening, just after 11 pm and the agents led by Chief State Inspector Simeon Nichols, questioned several allegedly underage patrons. Held for a time and providing identification, the under 21s were released. Stratford Police Captain John Geary said the teenagers may be subpoenaed and brought into court when the Commission presents its case. The trio arrested last night were all released on bond. All are scheduled to appear in Stratford Town Court April 30.

September 15, 1954: SEAWALL SURVIVES HURRICANES: Town Manager Harry Flood and Council chairman D. James Morey are mighty proud to point our that the Lordship seawall which has been the butt of many jokes in past years as it toppled before heavy seas survived both hurricane Carol and Edna without losing a stone.

February 7, 1958: SEAWALL REBUILT: The Public Works department moved 33 loads of boulders to the Lordship seawall for repairs last month.

April 5, 1958 - FOR SALE Lordship Luncheonette: Land, building, fully equipped, insulated, year around, automatic gas heat, both window and inside service, main road, near exit new Connecticut Thruway, Bargain, $16,500, small down payment will take mortgage, Phone owner. Peggy Doyle, Sr. PO 6-1564 anytime.

March 15, 1959: Fred and Nellie Petterson are new owners of Pops, popular Lordship bar and eatery, with Phil Jacovino who had been away from the beach for over a year, returning in the capacity of bartender. Nellies brother, Bob Christy, former Eastern League baseball star and veteran umpire in the city, is lending a hand too. The Pettersons are making their home in Stratford, but were former East Enders.

December 18, 1959 - SEAWALL REBUILT: The Public Works department hauled 15 loads of boulders for the Lordship seawall last month, General foreman Floyd Dunphy reports.

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Skippers 1951

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March 1, 1964: MOTEL TO BE OPENED IN LORDSHIP TUESDAY: Motel to Be Opened In Lordship Tuesday The first motel rooms in the Lordship beach area will be opened this week. Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Quattone, owners of Marnick's, located at 10 Washington Parkway, the site of the former Lordship bathing pavilion, have announced "open house" on Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m. with an invitation to the public to attend.

July 11, 1973: SEAWALL: to almost anyone growing up in Stratford, the sea wall in Lordship has a very special meaning. It is a gathering place for teenagers to drink, smoke, laugh and entertain each other in the front and back seats of cars. On weekend evenings it is a raucous, popular, sometimes dangerous continuous summer evening happening. On quieter evenings the seawall takes on a different characteristic: a popular spot for young families and elderly couples to stroll, late evening fishing when the tide is right. During the early morning hours of almost any day from early spring through late fall the wall is packed with fishermen. Many of them carry on the relentless pursuit of the elusive bluefish, but this summer more sea robins than anything else have been caught. For another group of people, motorcyclists, the seawall is a gathering place to discuss your bikes performance and race the engines in front of an admiring and not so admiring audience, depending on where you are sitting. Although the wall is a different event to different individuals, it is except for a quiet period between 2:00 am and 4:00 am always an event. This may be fun for the visitors, but it has created a real problem for residents of the area, especially for those living on Jefferson Street, a thoroughfare which runs north from the eastern end of the wall. The problem is one of noise, rudeness, litter, drinking and speeding and skidding automobiles. Area residents usually spend a fair part of Sunday morning cleaning up broken bottles, cans, papers and other trash left by Saturday night revelers. Residents have reported other incidents, some of which seem almost humorous in their blatant disregard for the fact that this is an area which is heavily residential. There have been many accounts of cars pulling up in front of a house and stopping while occupants step out and relieve themselves on the pavement. Such activity has not been limited to the night hours. One resident even recounted how a car stopped and disgorged a large number of occupants. While some relieved themselves, others threw up in the street and still others danced around to music from the car radio. One resident whose house is actually on the beach, walked out in front of the house one evening to find that a young couple was engaged in lovemaking on a blanket. He asked them to move, informing the couple that it was a private beach they were using for a bedroom. The couple acknowledged his presence, picked up their blanket, moved it to the public portion of the beach and continued their lovemaking. Stories of late night happenings in Skippers and Pops, the two bars located on the beachfront have grown to such legendary proportions that the establishments themselves seem as if they should be located in Paris, not Stratford. Fighting back for their sanity and a peaceful nights sleep, residents have petitioned the Town Council to have Jefferson Street blocked off routing traffic back along the seawall. This would involve turning Jefferson Street into a dead end and routing the traffic back where it came from, according to one resident. Back where it came from would be primarily Washington Parkway. The residents of that street have already reacted to the Jefferson Street petition with a petition of their own. One reason cited is the heavy volume of summer traffic. Reducing the number of streets available to handle this increased volume of traffic would not alleviate the problem. It would instead make matters worse. This worsened load would be largely carried by Washington Parkway. Residents of Washington Parkway and their families would thus suffer the increased burden simply to accommodate residents of another street. Amidst petition and counter-petition the seawall was a prime topic of discussion at the Monday evening Council meeting. Several councilmen expressed the opinion that perhaps the police were not doing an adequate job of controlling revelry at the seawall. Town Manager Joseph Venables reacted strongly to that suggestion. He said as long as people act like pigs we are going to have this situation. This is a civic matter not one which the police can control. The individual citizen is going to have to take an interest and help the police in this situation. First District Councilman John McGrath whose district includes the seawall, called it a most serious situation. McGrath has suggested the installation of speed bumps along Beach Drive and Jefferson Street as one means of controlling the speed of cars which seems to be a primary complaint. McGrath concluded his remarks on the subject by terming it an emergency situation. Tenth District Councilman Dennis Broedlin added the seawall is in a deplorable condition. I went there for dinner with my family Saturday night and had to wait 20 minutes just to get out of the restaurant parking lot because it was blocked by motorcycles and automobiles. Something has to be done about it. Immediate action has involved a decision to keep Jefferson Street one way year round. The next step will involve a meeting between the Town Council and Police Chief William Troland to determine what action the police can take to help alleviate the situation. The seawall is basically a victim of its own popularity. Too many people like to go there and too many of those who enjoy it fail to realize that it is also their responsibility to take care of it. The crackdown will come and it will be a result of too many people caring too little.

July 17 1973 - STRATFORD COUNCIL MOVES AGAINST SEAWALL ROWDIES: The Stratford Town Council last night attempted to make the town known as the place where public disturbances would not be tolerated and to ensure that gangs of youths who make disturbances at the seawall would be eventually driven out of town by the police enforcement of public peace laws. The Council unanimously authorized Police Chief William Troland to place a regular patrolman on duty at the seawall where many area residents have complained about late night ruckuses recently. The Council told Chief Troland to put one patrolman on duty there during the week from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. and two patrolmen there on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during those same hours. At a cost of about $8.59 a patrolman for a minimum of four hours each, the amount needed to be added to the Police department payroll is estimated at $2,700. The patrolman would not be on duty at that location during rainy or snowy weather. First district Councilman John McGrath tried unsuccessfully to get the Council to approve a 10 p.m. curfew for the entire 700-foot seawall area which would be enforced only at the discretion of the patrolman on occasions of disturbances in order to clear the area. Currently portions of the wall area are posted with a 1 a.m. curfew to accommodate parking to patrons of the nearby late night eating and drinking establishments, while other portions are posted with a 10 p.m. parking curfew. Mr. McGrath explained that the groups of youths who congregate at the wall and often cause disturbances which the Police are called to quell huddle their cars and their persons into the 1 a.m. curfew area in order not to be evicted from the area. Fourth district Councilman Robert Vitale was the chief opponent to this proposal. He said no parking ordinance would solve the noise, speeding and drinking problems at the wall because if cars can park at the wall they'll park at the area street sides and walk to the wall to join their friends or they'll re-group in other sections of town. Mr. Vitale preferred the Police department crack down on offenders for any minute violation of the public disturbance laws all over the town in the hope that the troublemakers would finally be driven out of town altogether. Mr. McGrath also proposed the installation of a jog or speed bump in the roadway on Jefferson Street either immediately before or after the stop sign in order to slow down traffic in the area, particularly the motor cycles which reportedly zip through the area late at night. Town Attorney Anthony Copertino, Jr., mentioned to the council that the bump may constitute a civil liability and the town may he sued for erecting such a road hazard. Chief Troland explained that if the cycles are duly registered and being driven safely through the area, although it may be contrary to the sentiments of the area residents, the bikes could be operated through the Lordship section at anytime of night or day. Mr. McGrath recommended the bump because of the complaints of high speed travel on Beach Drive, Jefferson Street, Washington Parkway and Ocean Avenue as the cars whip through the seawall area. Mr. Vitale primarily opposed the move to install the bump because he said, "soon every neighborhood will want them and possibly the town would be liable for the injuries they may cause to people or the damage they may do to automobiles." Mr. Vitale and Fifth district Councilman Raymond Voccola suggested the use of a canine corps to quell disturbances at the wall, which reportedly develop on a more frequent scale than in other sections of town. They both agreed that the dogs were the best form of crowd control they have ever seen and would recommend the beginning of such a program in town for the Police department. The suggestion was not officially accepted and no decision to study the program was made.

July 17, 1974: BREATHING IN LORDSHIP: It is an unwelcome paradox that the very place where the air should be most breathable in town, on the waterfront, contains probably some of the most polluted fumes. On Sunday afternoons at the seawall, for example, it is almost impossible to take a breath without also inhaling large amounts of automobile exhaust. Having been through this unpleasant experience many, many afternoons we find ourselves in complete sympathy with the 336 Lordship residents who have petitioned the Town Council to find some solution to the problem of noise and air pollution in their community. The problem is further compounded by speeders and motorcycles which roar up and down streets at any hour of the day or night. It has been almost impossible for the police to control these activities and the installation of a plethora of ugly signs has done virtually nothing to slow down or otherwise discourage those who would pollute our noses and ears with their automobile emissions. From late April through October, many sections of Lordship may soon become uninhabitable. Although it has been recognized for many years, the automobile problem is a difficult one to deal with precisely because it is so pervasive. Now the local residents think they may have found the solution in the form of a pollution control ordinance. Indeed, their new Councilman Robert Frankel, is a lawyer. It would certainly be a major achievement if he were able to find a legal way to restore clean air and less noise to his constituents. The problem may prove impossible to solve, but for the simple reason that they people deserve to live surrounded by air that does not resemble that of lower Manhattan, we hope there is some solution.

July 18, 1975: A SEAWALL SOLUTION: The battle of wits continues. Several weeks ago residents near the seawall area of Lordship had become extremely upset over a situation which they found intolerable. In particular they felt the seawall had become a gathering place for young people to the exclusion of others who might like to enjoy the obvious attractions of the area. There was a move to ban all automobile traffic from the area, proposals to eliminate parking and a recurring suggestion that speed bumps be installed in the road. This latter idea never really received much consideration because it was felt that the bumps would be illegal because they might hinder the movement of fire engines during emergencies. From the residents point of view the elimination of all parking would have been the most viable solution. From the practical standpoint however, this was not realistic because there was a problem about where to put cars which would want to park somewhere and walk to the wall. Residents along Washington Parkway reasoned that the automobile traffic would back up on their street. Thus the problem would have been transferred from one area to another, not solved. As for elimination of parking along the wall itself, this was opposed by at least one restaurant owner. It also raised the problem of where the automobiles would go. It is hard to change human nature and the nature of many humans is to congregate at this particular spot. The solution which was finally arrived at is a tribute to the ability of the police and Councilman Robert Frankel who worked together to achieve something which has not seemed possible in recent years relative peace and harmony at the seawall. In terms of regulations, parking along the eastern end of the wall is now restricted to those with Stratford Waterfront Authority stickers. As if to emphasize that this is not a permanent solution however, cars from outside Stratford have begun to park around the triangular green (distinguished for its No Ballplaying Allowed signs). Many cars then have just been moved from one spot to another but the point seems to have been made. The other part of the solution involves a friendly crackdown on rowdyism by the Stratford police. Rather than resort to mass arrests of the issuance of summonses, the police seem to have adopted the attitude that they will make their presence known by mixing with the young people. This strategy seems to have worked remarkably well. The policeman as authority figure is still present, but he has also emerged as something of a companion in this case. This combination of solution may not be the perfect one, but for the time being it is working in an area which had previously seemed unsolvable.

August 25 1975: STRATFORD BEEFING PATROLS IN WAKE OF LORDSHIP PLAINT: Stratford police have initiated stepped up patrols and more stringent enforcement of motor vehicle regulations in the Lordship area after receiving numerous complaints from residents about damage to their property and speeding cars. Police Chief Francis McNamara said that he has ordered extra patrols for the Lordship area whenever possible and instructed police officers to strictly enforce all motor vehicle and parking regulations. He said that he has received complaints about groups of youths wandering through the residential area in Lordship center and the seawall on Beach Drive who have committed various acts of vandalism. The police chief said that earlier this year new parking restrictions were introduced at the seawall limiting parking to Stratford residents with beach stickers and curbing parking on streets in the residential area. Residents have complained that parking violations have increased and that a number of complaints have also been received about youths speeding and making unnecessary noise late at night. The chief said that there is one special officer assigned to the seawall area weekdays and two to patrol the area on weekends in addition to the cars normally assigned to the Lordship area. Chief McNamara said that motor vehicle checks have indicted that some of the problems could be attributed to outsiders coming into the shorefront area.

September 10, 1975 - SKIPPER'S LIQUOR PLEA BUCKS NEIGHBORHOOD TROUBLE FEARS: A request for a permit to sell hard liquor at Skipper's restaurant in Stratford came before the Stratford Planning and Zoning commission last night at a public hearing and encountered opposition from numerous Lordship residents who were not satisfied with lawyer Raymond Ganim's argument that a permit could lead to area improvements. Over the hearing in Town Hall Council chambers hung the cloud of problems at the Lordship seawall - near Skipper's - complaints to the police nightly on excessive noise by youngsters drinking beer, driving cars through residential neighborhoods and raising a ruckus. Police patrols have been stepped up there, but Mr. Ganim argued on behalf of restaurateur Frank Kurmay, the petitioner that the rest of the town thereby suffered a corresponding loss of police protection. The lawyer submitted a plan. Remodeling would be done by Mr. Kurmay to make use of a $20,000 kitchen installed five years ago and a patio overlooking Long Island Sound to convert Skipper's into a fine restaurant and thereby discourage young beer drinkers from congregating there. But to make a go of it, Skipper's would need a liquor permit for a service bar, Mr. Ganim said. Several neighbors took issue with that. Helen Spencer of First Avenue, pointed out that during tough economic times the owner might sell out and transfer the permit to a less well known operator, and Anne Fariss of West Hillside Avenue stated "We need less alcohol in the area, not more." Edwin Olsen of the Lordship Improvement Association claimed that the people of the area are opposed to having hard liquor in Lordship and that its sale would add to the need for police protection. Robert Sammis of Margherita Lawn, pointed out that the area around Skipper's houses a lot of children and drinking and driving through the area don't mix. He observed that the pile fence along the Burma road, a local name for Lordship Boulevard where it crosses the Great Meadows, is missing a few more poles due to reckless drivers, "it seems every week." It was also noted by Margaret Bowe, a Lordship landowner, that the granting of the permit would constitute an "entering wedge of commercialism into a residential, recreational, even a park area in town that is very unwise." She called it "wishful thinking that a fine restaurant would get rid of the other problem." Rather, the other young people would keep business away she predicted. Mr. Ganim maintained that it would be "a step in the right direction" to cooperate with plans to upgrade Skipper's. "Would it not be likely that the establishment next door, which is primarily responsible for the problem down there, be affected so that some of the problems peculiar to that area would then be eliminated?" As he urged people to "see if there is some sense to our argument," strong support came from the former owner of the establishment next door to Skippers, The Other Place, also known as Pop's. Martin Tristine, of Apache Drive, Stratford, called the present state of the restaurant named for his father "a disgrace." He said "The Tristines ran a wonderful business for many years, but I am sorry to say that what is there now is associated with my family. I would not dare to go into the place today." He said there is a need for a clean restaurant there, and gave traffic in his parking lot and had hired police to guard it, but the young drinkers still use it, many of them from next door. He said he had barred the motorcycle gang members who wore emblems on the jackets from his establishment, and provided relaxing music, then the traffic began to build next door with the inevitable roughhousing. "They've taken my customers away," he said in frustration. No action was taken on this petition.

November 19, 1975 - THE SIGNS DOWN BY THE SEA WALL: Driving along Lordship Boulevard one is surrounded by the Great Meadows. The red and purple rays of the setting sun are reflected on the gleaming mud flats exposed by the low tide. Further on is Lordship with its neat houses and each road ended by marsh of the Sound. Here one can park his car at the sea wall and catch a breath of salt air, a rarity in this industrial area. Kim McCloud of Jefferson Street in Lordship drew this view of the sea wall from her living room window. She and other Lordship residents are worried about the predominance of signs along the sea wall which is one of the nicest spots to sit or stroll in Stratford. Last summer, a couple dozen No Parking signs were installed along the wall, Washington Parkway and nearby side streets. This was in response to Lordship residents who were disturbed by the noise of over enthusiastic people who partied along the wall far into a summer night. There were also reports of speeding, motorcycle racing and illegal drinking along the sea wall. The owners of Skippers and The Other Place, two local restaurants along the wall felt that the congregations there did nothing to enhance their image. Individuals contacted First District Councilman Robert Frankel and Police Chief MacNamara who had the No Parking signs installed and assigned a foot patrol to the area. Parking at the sea wall is still permitted until 10 pm. The signs are unsightly yes, but necessary until the sea wall is appreciated as a unique feature of Stratford. It is quiet now, but maybe that is because the cold weather of winter has arrived. Speed bumps would have been a better solution, but they are expensive. This fall however, there have been two fatal accidents in Lordship alone. Perhaps something more than signs are needed.

September 27, 1978 - SEAWALL: The weather bureau people tell us that this past summer was unusually cool and rainy. Sociologist maintain that the heat in summertime is directly related to the amount of unrest among young people. We can conclude that the weather was one of many contributing factors to the abatement of one of Stratfords longstanding problems: disturbances at the seawall in Lordship. Several years ago the situation at the seawall became unbearable. Loitering gangs were bothering those trying to take peaceful walks along the beach. Drunkenness and drug dealing were a permanent part of the scene. Even the elderly were sometimes subject to abuse. At one time a senior citizen objected to things which were being said to him and his wife. He was rewarded by having beer poured over him. In addition to all this came the problem of speeding cars and motorcycles. In addition to being unpleasant, the area became unsafe. A large part of the credit for restoring calm to the troubled waters goes to the local police department which diligently kept at a difficult situation through foot patrols which made their presence felt during most hours of the day. The subtly intimidating presence of a uniformed policeman is enough to discourage most thuggery. The revival and redecoration of Skippers as a place to go for a family dinner also helped the situation. With several patrons made aware of the fact that they were no longer welcome, the situation in that restaurant attracted a better clientele. Again this was another factor which improved the overall ambience of the area. Then came the closing of the bar which was first called Pops, then known as The Other Place. The situation there had been a continuous sore point with residents because of its particularly sloppy clientele. Now the Skippers management plans to remodel it and open as a clam bar-restaurant. Certainly this means the question of whether full liquor permits will be granted in the area. Until now Lordship residents have been vocally opposed to the idea. However, we believe they should reconsider. There is ample evidence that the improvement of commercial clientele leads to the betterment of the area. It would also seem logical that a restaurant with a full permit would attract a still better class of customers (It is an unfortunately ironic comment that the availability of liquor attracts a better class of person). However this is the case in a strictly economic sense. With three respectable restaurants and the continued attention of the local police, the seawall area could continue its improving path.

December 13, 1978 - SKIPPERS SEEKING LIQUOR LICENSE: More than 40 town residents recently addressed the Planning and Zoning Commission with their opinions on whether Skippers Restaurant in Lordship should be granted a liquor license. The almost two hour meeting drew strong opposition from several persons who contended granting the petition for a liquor license would only encourage drinking by Lordship residents, especially youths. William Hansen who leases the restaurant, characterized his petition for a liquor license as an annual event. Skippers currently has a beer license, but Hansen maintained granting a full liquor license would help establish Skippers as a good seafood restaurant. He said in a 15 minute address to the Commission, most of you when you are seeking a place to dine, are seeking a full service restaurant. Hansen claimed the explosion of the drug scene and lowering the drinking age to 18 are factors that assist in deteriorating the area. Drinking, cursing, loud music and harassment he said have made the area totally unattractive. Citizens fought for parking restrictions along the seawall and increase police patrols, Hansen said which has led to a gradual improving of the situation. He has done his part he said, by removing pinball machines and jukeboxes. I demand the best demeanor for my clients. There are people here tonight who will oppose this petition, but I ask them to consider the alternatives with an open mind. Some people feel that liquor is quicker and will only make the young drinking problem worse, he said. Hansen noted that Police Chief Francis McNamara and Superintendent of Schools John Olha supported him last time he requested a liquor license. Beer is a young persons drink and frankly I am tired of babysitting, Hansen told the Commission. Speaking in favor of this petition were 33 persons. Nine persons spoke against it. Frank Kurmay who leases the restaurant to Hansen told the Commission, I think I made a good decision when I selected Bill Hansen to take over the problems of a youthful area. The Commission is expected to make its decision at next months Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.

DINING AT THE WALL IN THE 1970S THRU 1990S

OtherPlace1975

Other Place 1975

Directory1977Skippers

1977 Skippers

Directory1979Malt

1979 Malt Shoppe

Directory1986B

1986 Sign of the Gull

Directory1986a

1986 Seascape and Lordship Pizza

The January 28, 2005 Fire at Skippers by Keith Muratori added July 17.

  • 2005 Fire at Skippers by Keith Muratori

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