A bountiful place, the area surrounding the Saugatuck River, rich in game and abundance from the sea, and now in upscale stores and fabulous restaurants, Westport has attracted people for thousands of years. Local Indians used the lovely shoreline for their summer camps preceding (by hundreds of years) current residents who bask in the sun at Compo Beach and sail from Longshore Country Club. Early settlers, charmed by the lovely – and rich – locale, began arriving early, around 1648, and quickly developed the area into a major agricultural and trade center with wharves, warehouses, stores, taverns and homes clustered around several hubs, Greens Farms, King’s Highway, Coleytown and Saugatuck. The local militia played a major role in the Revolutionary War, engaging the retreating British in a skirmish near Compo Beach; there the Minuteman statue commemorates the event. Throughout the 1700s and 1800s the area grew, businesses and farms flourished and vacationers discovered its charms.
Soon after the turn of the 20th century, Westport was again “discovered,” this time by artists, writers and musicians who flocked to the town giving it a slightly bohemian, charmingly off-beat quality. The “artists’ colony” grew quickly; theater, music and art galleries appeared, tennis, sailing and golf became popular, and fine schools were founded. Today, the population is a comfortable mix of young families and older residents, small business owners and commuters, all drawn to the vitality of a thriving and creative community.
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