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Thursday, April 26 Real Estate

On the market: Westport colonial echoes with Scott & Zelda's roaring times from 1920

Several Connecticut homes can boast that "George Washington slept here." Few houses can claim that author F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife and Zelda slept, and partied, there.

The Antique Colonial Farmhouse at 244 Compo Road South, where the Fitzgeralds spent the summer of 1920, is on the market, and its next owner can imagine the parties they held there as they walk through the rooms, relax on the two large covered porches and imbibe in the tasting room just outside the 5,500-bottle, climate-controlled wine cellar.

As the current owner recently was cleaning she found the rumored hidden storage compartment, which may have been used to hide liquor during Prohibition.

One scholar believes that the author's six months in Westport was of little literary or personal consequence. Others believe that his time in Westport was pivotal and that the setting for "The Great Gatsby" was inspired by the locale, with the Compo Road South house serving as the residence of Nick Carraway and the grand building at Longshore Club Park representing Gatsby's home. According to material provided by the homeowner, Fitzgerald's books "The Beautiful and the Damned" and "The Great Gatsby" were heavily influenced by his time in Westport.

One line from "The Great Gatsby" refers to "this old house, which saw our love flower" and some believe this is the house of which he wrote.

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Filming for a documentary is currently in progress at the house, which was built in the mid-to-late 1700s and was part of the former Wakeman Farm, and actor Sam Waterston recently visited the house as part of that project. It was built by William Gray and, according to a plaque in front of the property, it became the home of Wakeman Couch in 1806.

A photograph of the house is included in a book, "The Romantic Egoists: A Pictorial Autobiography from the Scrapbooks and Albums of Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald."

The current owner said the house's significance extends beyond the literary. It is also known as the "Switch House" because it served as a switching station for trolley passengers traveling from downtown to the beach. This house was given a Westport Historic Preservation Award in 2004.

It is clear that the history buff and the entertainer would appreciate this house and its 1.03-acre level property, which includes an in-ground swimming pool. It would also appeal to beach lovers and golfers. The property is next door to Longshore Club Park and looks over a portion of the golf course. It is also an easy walk to Compo Beach and yet it has all the benefits of a water community without the drawbacks. Despite its proximity to Long Island Sound this house is not in the flood zone.

The house has a vintage feel and the charm of a bygone era but also contains 21st century amenities including a generator. It has 5,584 square feet of living space with four fireplaces, including one in the office or den, which also features plantation shutters. It has taller ceilings -- more than 9 feet -- than one might imagine for an 18th-century house.

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In the formal dining room, kitchen and a side foyer there are wide-planked pine wood floors. The summer dining porch is accessed from the dining room, which has a wide fireplace.

The French country gourmet kitchen features a long center island topped with black granite, a farm sink, walk-in pantry and high-end appliances.

The family room is open to the kitchen and includes a stone fireplace, built-in bookshelves and cabinets, vaulted ceiling and exposed beams. There is also a wet bar and a wine dispenser built into the wall. A sliding door leads to the bluestone patio, built-in stone grill and the in-ground swimming pool.

On the second floor there are five bedrooms. The master suite has a beamed ceiling, plantation shutters and French doors to the French master bath with a claw-foot soaking tub and large steam shower.

The lower level resembles a French villa with its hand-painted mural of sky and clouds over the tasting room and the wine cellar. The tasting room has a heated ceramic tile floor. Off the tasting room is a flexible room that could be used as a sixth bedroom or au pair room if necessary. It has a travertine tile floor and currently serves as a card or game room.

An unfinished portion of the basement provides ample storage.

For more information or to set up an appointment to see the house, contact Maryann Ross Levanti of Higgins Group at 203-984-5157 or email her at maryannross@higginsgroup.com.


TYPE: Antique Colonial Farmhouse

ADDRESS: 244 Compo Road South

PRICE: $2,825,000


AMENITIES: water community, beach rights, walking distance to Compo Beach and the Saugatuck train station, next to Longshore Club Park, walk to 5,500-bottle wine cellar, tasting room, wet bar, in-ground swimming pool, pool house, hot tub, 1.03-acre level property, fenced backyard, mature landscaping includes specimen plantings, gated property, not located in flood zone, generator, two large covered porches, deck, bluestone patio, terrace, 9-foot-plus ceilings, some window treatments, new Sono sound system, front and back stairs, gourmet kitchen, four fireplaces, skylight, security system, exterior lighting, corner lot, first house on a cul-de-sac, wood floors, storm windows and doors

OTHER INFORMATION: six bedrooms, four full and one half baths, heated and air-conditioned attached two-car garage, full partially finished basement, zoned oil heat, central air conditioning, laundry/utility room, breezeway, walk-up attic, workshop, wood shingle roof, stone walls, ceiling fans, mudroom, sewer system, public water

SCHOOLS: Greens Farms Elementary, Bedford Middle, Staples High

ASSESSMENT: $1,596,800

TAX RATE: 18.07 mills

TAXES: $28,854