LORDSHIP DEVELOPMENT

June 13, 1895: NEW SUMMER RESORT: THE LORDSHIP: Building sites command a full view of the Sound and easy access to Bluff and bathing beaches. Sea breezes from East, West and South. No saloons or other nuisances. Street including lawns 200 feet wide. For particulars apply to William T Hopson. 235 Washington Avenue, Bridgeport, Conn.

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June 8, 1896 - LORDSHIP PARK: Shore Property: 3 miles from Bridgeport, near the mouth of the Housatonic River, to be sold in parcels to suit. Is high in the background and sloping gradually to the shore. Plans under development include a Casino, Bathing Pavilion, large reservations for Games, Athletic Pastimes, Golf Course, etc. The natural facilities for bathing, fishing and boating are exceptionally fine. The layout is artistic and well conceived. The streets are wide and nearly every lot commands a water view. Building sites for summer or permanent residence are from 60 to 100 feet front to those including several acres. Anyone desiring a healthy and beautiful place for a summer house should investigate this. Particulars of Steinmetz Bros. Brokers, 32 Asylum Street. Telephone 747-4.

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April 11, 1925 - COTTAGE BUILDING STARTING EARLY ON LORDSHIP SHORE: Spring renovation of summer homes in the colony has started with a real lively impetus encouraged by the unusually early and continuous balminess of the last fortnight in preparation for summer settling by the cottages. Foundations are being laid for more homes of substantial types. The recent definite road building operations have cheered a number of persons on to proceed with long inhibited plans for home building so that ground will shortly be broken for several new bungalows and cottages to be completed in time for occupancy.

July 26, 1925: Damage Suit Rattles Old Bridgeport Port Skeleton: Behind the $90,000 damage action against George Clark, owner of the Bridgeport Star instituted by the First National Bank for $60,400 in alleged unpaid notes of the defunct Lordship Company stands the ghost of the old Port of Bridgeport Plan. While the land involved in the suit is what is known as high land at Lordship, the whole development of the once barren stretch along the Stratford shorefront and in Johnsons Creek including high and low land was worked with the Port of Bridgeport in mind. Had the plan gone through there would be no suits today for unpaid notes because the development would have realized a profit and the investment would have reaped dividends. Instead the whole plan to make Lordship a residential section as well as a maritime development bursted like a bubble. Senator Clark was a member of the General Assembly at the time the Port of Bridgeport came to a head. Walter Lasher, directing head of the American Chain Company was the originator of the scheme. He was in partnership in the Lordship Company with Mr. Clark. He backed the port plan to the limit, but John King, Republican leader of Bridgeport, pricked the bubble and charged the whole thing would cost the city of Bridgeport untold sums of money. He charged it was a money making scheme. Judge Frederic Bartlett, president of the defunct Lordship Co., denied yesterday that he was the endorser of any notes. He merely acted in a legal capacity. Lewis Corbit, Bridgeport photographer, Charles and George Davis, Florida land promoters are also endorsers of the notes. Mr. Lasher reported an endorser, is said to have paid off his notes and wiped out his obligations. He could not be reached last night for a statement. Mr. Clark is being sued on the notes which have been dishonored. They have been outstanding since 1919. They were assumed by the First National Bank when it merged with the Connecticut National Bank.

May 5, 1939 - TRANSPORTATION TO STRATFORD CENTER IS SOUGHT BY RESIDENTS OF LORDSHIP AREA: The people of Lordship and South Stratford want transportation to Stratfords business center! One of the first things the proposed Stratford Chamber of Commerce will study following its organization sometime next week will be a request from people in the Lordship district of Stratford for adequate transportation to Stratfords business center. More than 300 families live at the beach area during the winter time and this is increased almost double during the summer months, but at the present time these people must do all their shopping in Bridgeport because of the lack of transportation to Stratford Center. A request will be made first to the Lordship Bus Company now holding the franchise to provide bus service from the Plaza in Bridgeport to Lordship Beach via Avon Park and the Great Salt Meadows. In the event the Lordship line is not interested a plea will be made to the C. R. & L Company to survey the area and apply to the Public Utilities Commission for permission to operate buses via Hards Corner. The Lordship and South End residents, unless they have automobiles are almost completely isolated from Stratford by virtue of the transportation facilites offered at the present time. The route of the Lordship Bus takes them to Wood End Road and a walk of one mile is necessary to reach Stratford Center. Persons coming to Stratford on the C. R. & L buses leave at Hards Corner and must walk more than a mile to reach the Sikorsky Aircraft or the Bridgeport Airport unless they board a Lordship Bus at Bridgeport. Local merchants reported this week that they are very much interested in the proposal to bring Lordship residents to Stratford Center because of the additional revenue to be derived. A request for a bus route to Stratford Center was addressed to the Lordship Bus line several years ago but the officials felt at the time that the traffic would not be sufficient to warrant a regular schedule.

December 13, 1940: LORDSHIP TENSE UNDER STRESS OF MANY TROUBLES: Life appears to be one continual headache for the residents of Lordship these days and there are signs that some of them are getting a bit jittery. And why not? Think of their troubles and consider whether anybody could stand the strain:

  1. No sooner are they relieved of the fear that Peggy Doyle will sell high powered beverages than they are confronted with the dark spectre of Father Devine floating down upon them.
  2. At any moment the federal government is likely to start building working class homes for airplane employees and de-class the Lordship environment.
  3. Official warning has been given that owing to the weakness of the dyke which keeps Long Island Sound out of Lordship, the cold grey waters of the sea may inundate parts of Lordship and cause the airport to float away.
  4. The Lordship Park Association is tearing down the Lordship Bluff to make building lots and appeals to the town fathers to stop the desecration have met with no success.
Lordship residents are so jittery about this job at the bluff that their councilman, Peter Ring almost broke into tears Monday night as be besought the town council to get an injunction or do something to stop the owners of the bluff from tearing it down. Town Counsel Reeves was at the meeting and was interested to find out just why the owners should be enjoined. What were they doing that was forbidden by law or ordinance? Councilman Ring did not know nor did his constituents who demand that he do something. None of the councilmen could help him out although they were sorry for him. The evidence was that the owners of the bluff were digging the gravel out of the bluff and disposing of it by sale or otherwise, but that they were retaining the top surface of the bluff. This, the councilmen argued, showed that the owners of the bluff were doing a bona fide grading job in order to make the property suitable for new residences. No law could stop that. The claim from some in Lordship that the owners of the bluff were engaged in a gravel pit business contrary to the zoning regulations was not accepted by the councilmen. So the council decided that there was nothing to be done about saving the bluff. Meanwhile shrieks of distress were heard over the Lordship Meadows to the effect that nothing could now shelter Lordship against the east winds, once checked by the bluff; that storms would now wash everything away with the natural barrier of the bluff removed and that the gleam from the lighthouse would now keep everybody in Lordship awake all night. Lordship does not know what is to be done about all these things but the residents agree that SOMEBODY HAS GOT TO DO SOMETHING.

September 28, 1945 - SAND PIT CASE IS CLEARED UP OUTSIDE COURT: All parties at interest held a conference last week at the sand and gravel pit in Lordship near Prospect Drive from which a great deal of material has been taken and used for grading Oak Bluff Avenue and the Lordship Meadows Road. Points raised by the town on account of the pit were amicably adjusted and a court proceeding forestalled. The question of the pit had come before Town Council a couple of times and last week at a special meeting Council directed Town Attorney William Reeves to seek an injunction against A. Pascone and Sons which was taking out the material as a sub-contractor and furnishing it to A. Marianni and Company who hold the road contracts from the State Highway Department. The pit is on property of the Lordship Park Association controlled by James Staples and Company. The conference was held as a result of Mr. Reeves talking with Staples and Company in course of preparing papers for court. All of the corporations at interest were at the scene and met Town Manager Harry Flood, Director of Public Works Daniel McLeod, Town Engineer Bruce Schow, engineers for the State Highway Department, etc. It was agreed that the pit will be filled and regarded satisfactorily, a bond of not less than $5,000 to be posted by the owners to guarantee this. Moreover Staples and Company expect to appear before the Town Planning Board at its October meeting next Wednesday to ask approval of the situation. The pit operation constitutes a business in a zone where business is not authorized unless a waiver is granted by the Planning Board.The State Highway Department gave assurance to the town that the refill and other projected operations will assume safety and give satisfaction; some fears had been expressed that the excavation might get so close to Prospect Drive as to be dangerous. The Lordship Park Association informed the town that it is anxious to refill and grade the pit so that the property may be sold as building lots. The work on both the Lordship Road and Oak Bluff Avenue have suffered considerable delay had an injunction been obtained against further pit digging. As it is, no interruption occurred. Work on both highways is in good shape; they will be graded and given a temporary top treatment before winter sets in. After settling during the cold months the permanent surfaces will be laid next spring.

July 9, 1949 - LORDSHIP PARK HOUSING APPEAL DENIED BY COURT: Stratford Zoners Rejection of Building Lots Layout is Upheld: Proposed Layout Failed to Comply with Master Pan Board Rules: An attempt by the Lordship Park Association to subdivide into 45 building lots its 35 acres of property on the Lordship Bluffs, Stratford, encountered another setback yesterday when Judge John Fitzgerald of Common Pleas Court sustained the refusal of the Stratford Board of Zoning Appeals to approve a layout of the project. In a memorandum dismissing the Associations appeal from the action of the zoning body, Judge Fitzgerald declared that the Supreme Court should decide the constitutionality of Stratford zoning setup and a ruling by the Town Planning board was not invalid even though the board failed to comply with a town ordinance. The Association submitted its petition to the Planning board June 19, 1948 and the board rejected the application October 6, 1948. The Association then appealed to the Board of Zoning Appeals which sustained the decision of the Planning board. The decision of both the Planning board and the Board of Zoning Appeals the minutes of both bodies disclosed was based primarily on the fact that the proposed layout failed to provide for a through highway along the shore of Long Island Sound as contemplated by a master plan developed as early as 1927. The Association appealed to Common Pleas Court on the grounds that its proposed layout met all of the requirements of the towns ordinances: the Planning board failed to act on the original application within 60 days and so was without jurisdiction and the disapproval was arbitrary and constituted an abuse of discretion. In respect to the Associations claims of law concerning the legality of Stratfords zoning ordinances Judge Fitzgerald says that the Supreme Court has said lower tribunals should be wary of passing on the constitutionality of legislative enactments.

December 11, 1949 - LORDSHIP GROUP APPEALS TO HALT LIQUOR STORE: The Lordship Improvement Association has hired Bob Trevethan to file an appeal with the Board of Zoning Appeals in protest of the recent planning board decision giving a permit to Cornelius Ahern for erection of a liquor restaurant. The protest will hinge on the fact that the only reason the municipal airport area was changed two years ago from residence to light industrial zone was because Ahern had wanted to set up an airplane repair and service plant. The plant never went up and the Lordshippers are hopping mad because they do not want any drinking establishments in their area. It is expected that the case will not hit the floor until the new planning board representative from the 10th District, Bill Jacobs, who favors the Association, takes over from outgoing Ed Forstrom.

December 11, 1949 - LORDSHIP IMPROVERS WOULD BAN LIQUOR BID: Heated opposition to any liquor establishments being set up in the Lordship District of Stratford reached the boiling point yesterday with the announcement by members of the Lordship Improvement Association that they will meet tomorrow night to discuss the case of Cornelius Ahern. Ahern has been granted a go sign by the Planning Board for location of a restaurant drinkery on Stratford Road just south of the Municipal Airport. The Association is mulling over the possibility of appealing the decision to the Board of Zoning Appeals which could reverse the Planning Board decision. Should the Association members decide not appeal, it would be only because they would rather wait and fight Ahern when the latter tries for his liquor license. The Association led by Harold Bishop was indignantly upset over the results of the Planning Board meeting. Ahern obtained approval by a vote of 6-1 with one yes ballot a proxy allegedly cast by Lordship regional planner Edward Forstrom who according to James Sniffen, First District and chairman of the Regional Planning Committee, had instructed Sniffen to proxy a yes vote. The one nay vote was cast by outgoing Board Chairman George Moore who charged that Ahern had achieved a zone change from light industry to business three years ago to build an airplane gas station and that the entire matter was not in accordance with good planning. During the hearing a group of 55 persons appeared in favor of the petition, while a score of Lordshippers sat tight lipped and angered as they heard that their district planner had voted against them. Ahern pointed out that the airport manager, Horace Strong, had given him solid support on the matter and added that Lordship could use a first class restaurant. Three years ago he wanted to set up an airplane service station and at that time led a fight to get the section changed in zone from residential to light industrial. At that time, the Lordshippers were not worried just so long as Ahern would not sell any liquor in their area. This week, Ahern brought in his petition to get permission to set up his restaurant which would later carry a full liquor permit. Two members of the St. Joseph Polish Catholic Cemetery Association which is less that 50 feet away from Aherns proposed site, appeared against the petition. Ahern argued that there is a bar across the street from St. Michael Cemetery on Stratford Avenue. Town Councilman Wallace Lineburgh backed up the cemetery people and urged defeat of the petition despite Forstroms alleged proxy which was the exact opposite of what the Lordshippers want. Tomorrow nights meeting will decide the Lordship Associations future course of action which promises to do all in its power to keep liquor selling restaurants out of the neighborhood. In addition, Forstroms name comes up for reappointment to the Planning Board as a 10th District representative; indications were that Lineburgh would not endorse him.

October 6, 1950: THEY SHOULD LOVE THEM IN LORDSHIP: They should love the Planning Board in Lordship today as a result of its Wednesday evening meeting at which the petition of Alice Martin for the waiver of side yard requirement and set back requirement on Margherita Lawn was denied. The Martin petition had stirred a good deal of indignation and discussion both in Lordship and elsewhere in Stratford and the decision of the Planning Board was being watched carefully. It had been predicted that if the waiver had been granted, it would have established a precedent resulting in a rash of like petitions. The decision of the Planning Board leaves one of two immediate alternatives to the petitioners: either an appeal to the Town Zoning Appeal board or the tearing down of side yard and frontage construction that has already been started. Denied also at the six hour Planning Board meeting was the petition of Frank Kurmay and Ladi Macuch for a change of zone from residence B to business and approval of location for a restaurant and all liquor permit on Beach Drive in the Lordship area. Prior to the meeting, Herman Johnson, board chairman announced the withdrawal of the petition of Lordship Shores Inc., for waiver of floor area requirements for 38 houses on Lighthouse Avenue and Vermont Avenue near the Stratford lighthouse. This announcement served to unseat a good portion of the audience for the session as a great deal of interest had been aroused in this petition.

HARVESTOR HOMES AND LORDSHIP SHORES

SEPTEMBER 24, 1950: DECKER EYES LORDSHIP SITE FOR PROJECT: Lordship is the newest Fairfield County community designated for a large construction project as George Decker, Stratford builder prepares to fight the Stratford Zoning Board, October 4 for a change in restrictions. At the present time, 1,150 square feet is the minimum area for home construction in Lordship. Decker wants the ruling altered to meet his plan for 900 square feet. Designed to contain 38 homes, the development will be called Lordship Shores and will be located at Lighthouse and Vermont Avenues.

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November 16, 1951: SCHOW ASKED ACTION IN LORDSHIP CASE: The arrest yesterday of Edward Sweeney, secretary of Harvester Homes Inc., for violations of the towns subdivision and zoning regulations was requested by Bruce Schow, building inspector it was learned today. The violations alleged have to do with lots 175, 176 and 177 on the northeast corner of Oak Bluff Avenue and Stratford Road in Lordship. Permits for the buildings on the lots were issued to Mr. Sweeney of July 3rd of this year according to the chronology of the case prepared by Mr. Schow. Mr. Sweeney of Long Island was arrested at 3:30 pm on Thursday and was booked on a warrant issued by town prosecutor Raymond Ganim. He was released in the custody of attorney Edward McPadden for appearance in town court on Monday. He is charged with having violated section 1 chapter 3 of the land subdivision regulations which concerns re-subdivision without permission of the Planning board and with having violated section 6 of the zoning regulations relative to rear yard requirements.

NOVEMBER 2, 1952: 220 HOMES BUILT IN LORDSHIP TRACT: A group of 17 new homes on Fifth and Sixth Avenues in the Harvester Homes development in Lordship will conclude construction activity in the development according to George Decker, sales agent. About 220 homes have been purchased to date, Decker said. The purchase price is $12,000 for a six room, full basement dwelling including tile bath, hot water heater and installed sidewalks and curbs. A model home is open daily on Stratford Road. New street names added in the Lordship community include: Hartland Street, Airway Drive, Baxter Street, Ash Street, Spruce Street, Laurel Street, Curtis Avenue, Second, Third, Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Oak Bluff Avenue and Crown Street.

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September 17, 1959 - $3 MILLION MARINA IS PLANNED FOR LORDSHIP: Plans for a 1,500 boat marina to be located near the South Meadows in Lordship will be unveiled at a meeting of the Lordship Improvement Association in October. The proposed boating facility would be located on property which abuts Oak Bluff Avenue and Sixth Avenue. Also part of the plan is the construction of a clubhouse, swimming pool and gas pier. The project will be presented by a Milford contractor who owns the property and would cost in the neighborhood of $3,000,000 according to reports. The program would need the green light as will as fiscal assistance from the State Erosion Commission. The plan will be presented to the Lordship Improvement Association comprised of representatives from most families in the community to determine their reaction to the proposed plan. Unofficially the group is reported to be in favor of such a project. Also reportedly in favor of the project is the Stratford Waterfront Authority which has heard the plans. The Authority has been engaged in a program devoted to revitalizing the towns shorefront area. The plan was scheduled to be presented at the September 30 meeting of the Association but this was postponed because the session is usually devoted to a debate between the two candidates seeking the Tenth District Council seat. Earl Richardson, president of the Lordship Improvement Association said he had seen the plans and had discussed aspects of the project with the owner. Richardson said access to the area would be from Meadows Road. He said the owner had indicated the area would be available for Lordship functions when the job was finished. The shorefront area encompassed by the marina would be nearly 200 feet according to reports. Richardson said a major problem was the obtaining of a breakwater near Lewis Gut which is located near the area. The Association president said the general attitude of members of the organization has been favorable. Should the Association signal favorable feeling the next step would be to present the plan to state officials for study.

December 6, 1972: BACKYARD DUMP PLANNED: To listen to the City of Bridgeport, we in Stratford are obstructionists who are thick-headed enough to oppose every plan which Bridgeport with all best intentions puts forward for the good of both the city and the region. Because of the substantial propaganda forces available to Bridgeport, the Stratford side does not always receive the notice it should. So in the eyes of other communities, we often come off second best. There are however any incidents which take place behind closed doors or in other hidden circumstances which show that in fact Stratford is the community which is usually coming out on the short end of the stick. Such a case is now taking place. The results of this most recent incident could have a very unfortunate awakening for many residents of Lordship who will discover that their backyards are 100 feet away from a Bridgeport dump. The land in question consists of approximately 8.4 acres located directly south of runway 34 of the Bridgeport Municipal Airport. That places it just north of the foot of Walnut Street in Lordship. Such an event has been discussed for some time. In fact it was the subject of a resolution by the Stratford Town Council on July 20, 1972. Included in that resolution were statements such as the carrying into practice of such dumping of fill by the City of Bridgeport would be detrimental to the interests of many landowners and residents of the Town of Stratford, would be in violation of the laws of the Town of Stratford and such proposed action would be inimical to the general well being of its people. The resolution also directed the Town Attorney to take whatever action necessary to prohibit Bridgeport from going ahead with the dumping. On July 28, 1972, Town Manager Joseph Venables wrote to Robert Schulz, Director of Solid Waste Management Programs for the State Department of Environmental Protection to advise him of Stratfords unequivocal opposition to the dumping at the foot of Walnut Street. Despite this action taken by the Stratford Town Council, on October 16, 1972 Bridgeport went ahead and applied to the Department of Environmental Protection for permission to dump on the site. On December 1, 1972 the Stratford Town Managers office received both a copy of that application and a copy of a letter from Mr. Schulz to Mayor Nicholas Panuzio of Bridgeport. The first paragraph of that letter read, Enclosed is a permit or approval of the plans and operational specifications of the Bridgeport Municipal Incinerator Residue disposal area located in the town of Stratford, Connecticut. It was thus made clear that despite the actions of the Stratford Town Council, the Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Bridgeport were willing to go ahead with the dumping plans. In a memo circulated to all members of the Town Council last Friday, Town Manager Venables told the Council that he has requested that the Town Attorney take such action as necessary to protect the Towns interests. The Town Manager also stated his understanding that Bridgeport intends to begin developing the site within one or two weeks from last Friday. For the residents of the area, the idea of having a dump almost in their backyard is certainly not a pleasant one. Apparently however neither Bridgeport nor the Department of Environmental Protection cares about the dangers and unpleasantness inherent in that area. For the Town Council, it must give cause to wonder why the bother having meetings. If they unequivocally state their opposition to a landfill plan, only to have the entire meeting ignored, then what is the use of even having meetings. It seems as if we cannot control what happens within the boundaries of our own community.

December 12, 1972: NEW BATTLE OVER DUMP: Yet another court battle between Stratford and Bridgeport this time concerning a proposed ash dump at the Bridgeport Municipal Airport is looming up on the horizon. The issue concerns a permit obtained by Bridgeport this week from the State Department for Environmental Protection in Hartford to use an 8.4 acre site at the south end of runway 34 at the airport for waste from Bridgeports incinerator. The site is within a few hundred feet of homes and private property in Lordship on Walnut, Pine, Birch and Cherry Streets and Stratford Road. It is also near Chestnut and Curtis Avenues and ironically Ash Street. Town Manager Joseph Venables has already instructed the Town Attorney Office to take such action as necessary to protect the towns interests. The squabble over the dump site goes back to August when Bridgeport was seeking permission from the state to fill a four acre site near the uncompleted and court stopped freight terminal building at the airport. This site was barred to the city by the Department for Environmental Protection because it fell within the legally defined wetlands area. The new 8.4 acre site according to the state does not contain any wetlands however. Bridgeport has said it will not begin using the new site as a dump for one or two weeks until the state has had an opportunity to investigate preparations for such use by Bridgeport. The problem of solid waste disposal is becoming acute for both Bridgeport and Stratford as well as other municipalities in the area. A special report on the problem, the so-called Metcalf and Eddy study will be discussed December 16 by area municipalities and no dumping at the site is expected before that date. In an interview with Francis Rooney, a solid waste disposal engineer in the Department of Environmental Protection, The Stratford News learned that Bridgeports permit is nothing more than a permit with which to approach Stratford for dumping guidelines. Rooney assured The News that the permit does not grant automatic approval for Bridgeport to begin dumping. He also said that a buffer would be put up around the site to shield it from surrounding homes and that the ashes would have to be covered at the end of each day by clean fill. When asked about the problem of obnoxious odors that might be expected to emanate from the landfill area, Rooney first said that there would be no smell and then modified that statement to mean that there would be a smell only during the day when the actual filling operation is going on. Rooney added that one of the restrictions available to the town would require Bridgeport to dump only completely extinguished ashes at the site and that trucks bringing the waste be completely covered. Rooney said Bridgeport would use a road near the old Army barracks at the airport for access to the site and then turn down runway 34 to get to the dump. Rooney said that all dumping must be cleared through Stratford and said that the town could actually deny permission altogether through public act 7-161. He said the dump site would fulfill Bridgeports needs for only about a year before it is filled. A terraced filling approach is envisioned by Bridgeport he said. Mayor Nicholas Panuzio of Bridgeport was out of town and could not be reached for comment.

1975 - GETTING TO KNOW STRATFORD: LORDSHIP: Since Stratford was established as a Connecticut plantation in 1639, it has played a vibrant role in the development of Connecticut. Monroe, Trumbull, Shelton and Bridgeport were all included in Stratfords territory as early as the mid seventeenth century when we had the largest settlement in Fairfield County. Today our over 49,000 residents living on a two mile wide strip of the original land enjoy the best of modern civilization including modern shops, excellent restaurants, waterfront facilities and town-owned recreational and education facilities. But Stratford is not one entity by itself, it is a conglomerate of neighborhoods and area each of which has its own distinct identity. When you ask a Stratfordite where he lives, he is likely to say Near the Green or Off Academy Hill or In the North End. One of the most remarkable facets of Stratford is Lordship, the land along Long Island Sound at the southern tip of town. When the first settlers arrived in 1639, they found that Indians were using this area to plant corn, so there was little clearing necessary. Originally Lordship, called Great Neck, was a Common Field worked and owned by settlers who returned home to the safety of the palisade fort at night. A gentleman of high social standing, known as his Lordship Richard Mills, owned much Great Neck property in 1650; hence Lordships Meadow became Lordship. This community has enjoyed a colorful history, including a privateersman, Captain Samuel Nicoll whose house built in 1818 is still standing today and owned by Ada Torony in 139 4th Avenue. Besides a reliable tradition that Captain Kidd buried a treasure there as witnessed by a slave, Lordship has record of over a hundred years ago then a mermaid was sighted by Mr. Theodore Judson as she was rising from the water off Half Moon Cove (actually Bennetts Cove). Geographically Lordship is set apart from the main body of the town by the Sikorsky Memorial Airport and the Great Meadows Marsh. No other part of Stratford contains two beaches, a lighthouse, a gun club, a roller skating rink and a breathtaking view of Long Island Sound. Along 46 roads, many lined with dogwood and maple trees, live Lordships 2,148 voters in over 1,000 homes. As recently as 50 years ago a trolley carried Lordship residents back and forth to the mainland over roads that were otherwise impassible in the winter. Leaving the trolley barn located where Ropers Roofing now stands across from McKinley School, it would go down Hollister, past Valles Restaurant, across the present airport runway come out in Memorial Green area to turn down Washington Parkway and end at the Pavilion, now Marnicks Restaurant. (Note: actually ended at the corner of Washington Parkway and Ocean Avenue). Mrs. Helen Bieble owner of Lordship Cleaners recalls days when a good many boys courted their girls on the Lordship Trolley which was established in 1907 by a development company which wanted to encourage people to move there. In one instance a doctor was rushed out by the trolley in the night to reach a home where a woman was delivering a baby. Before the trolley line was terminated in 1925, Mrs. Bieble remembered the summer Double Headers or Trippers open air trolley cars which carried bathers out to the beach where they would change into colorful bathing costumes at the Pavilion. A surprising amount of community organizations thrive in Lordship. Outstanding among these are the Lordship Fathers Club and the PYE (Protect Your Environment). In existence for twenty seven years serving the children of the community, these fathers in the Fathers Club have run Olympics between Great Neck School and Lordship School; sponsored egg hunts and Halloween parties for over 20,000 children; initiated spelling bees, essay, fishing and poster contests and have donated funds yearly to the Stratford Special Services program for the mentally retarded. Before each election the Fathers Club holds a Meet the Candidates night to enable the Lordship community to hear both sides of the issues. Mr. Irving Schofield director of the Fathers Clubs first minstrel show and active member feels The most important contribution the Fathers Club has made is 1,675 gallons of blood collected at Blood Banks for the Red Cross over the years. With Mr. Stan Heiden as director the Lordship Fathers Club is now planning its yearly variety show and would welcome more fathers to join in this and their many other community projects. In connection with Earth Day in the Spring of 1970, the PYE or Protect Your Environment was formed. This group of 200 or more members is interested in dealing with anything that would have an adverse effect on our towns environment and ultimately affect that of the state and the nation. Though they are Lordship based, their membership includes people from other parts of Stratford and the surrounding area. Active committees within the PYE run a marsh guide program through the Great Meadows Marsh and have a sizable program through the Stratford School system. As an organization, the PYE has been concerned with such issues as oil spills, land use and especially the effect of airport expansion on the marsh. Mr. Don Powers, former president of the PYE recalled the fight in 1962 to stop the Airport Expansion Referendum. He feels the expansion of the airport would be detrimental to all of Stratford. Mr. Powers went on to say that he was not against the airport as it now exists. At the present time PYE members are active in mapping al of the inland wetlands in Stratford and are putting out a booklet on the Great Meadows Marsh which should be available soon to local groups at a nominal fee. Residents of Lordship have two churches, Our Lady of Peace for those of the Catholic faith at 651 Stratford Road and Lordship Community Church for Protestants on Prospect Drive and Crown Street. A spirit of cooperation has existed between the two churches for years. Reverend John Shaw of the Community Church tells of the time in July 1949 when Cliff Hutchison, Art Henderson and Bud Olsen flew to Brookfield, Vermont to purchase their church for one dollar. The entire church was moved to Lordship and piece by piece was reassembled and dedicated on June 4, 1950. Reverend John Shaw said of Lordship, This is one of the first places we have lived where there is a real community feeling among everyone regardless of church affiliation. Lordship students go to grammar school in either Lordship or Great Neck School, and then they are bussed to Johnson Junior High and Stratford High as they get older. A lot of attention has been focused recently on Great Neck School which has had a decreasing enrollment. For many, closing the school and placing those students at Lordship School would save the town tax payers a lot of money. Mrs. Kathy Brown, President of Great Neck Parent Teachers Organization feels combining the schools will entail the expenses of more crossing guards and new sidewalks. Mrs. Linda Merritt states that Lordship School does not have enough rooms for the number of classes necessary and would need to be enlarged creating the possibility of $250,000 in new expenses. According to Mrs. Brown, it is felt out here that the Great Neck School has been used as a political football as a means of forcing the Stratford Town Council to give more money to the Board of Education budget. With the possible closing of Great Neck School, Lordship residents have been left in a state of uncertainty which has caused some residents to place their children in private schools. Of Lordships 2,148 voters, 418 are Democrats, 419 are Republicans and 1,301 are Independents. Included in the 121st U.S. Congressional District, Lordship is represented in Congress by Lawrence Palaia (D) and at the State Senate by George Gunther (R). Mr. Robert Frankel (D) represents the Lordship Voting District No. 1 in the Town Council, filling in the position vacated by George McGrath (D) who resigned last summer. Mr. Frankel an active PYE member has been interested in the preservation of marshlands ever since his law firm dealt with the Connecticut Conservation Commission in Hartford. After that when he moved to Lordship, he became active in PYE efforts to fight expansion of Sikorsky Airport. One of my main concerns in Lordship is preservation of the marshlands and that is inextricably bound up with the airport. When asked how he felt about the possible closing of Great Neck School, Mr. Frankel replied; I am unequivocally opposed to closing of the school. All of the facts total up to just one conclusion: that the school should be maintained. As a part of the total Stratford picture, Lordship cannot be left out for this section of the town has contributed more than its share of community leaders and honor students. While other sections of town may think of Lordship as an exclusive community this is simply not true. One resident stated that many in Lordship are trying to see that the town, the state and nation do not think they are autonomous. Many residents do volunteer work in Stratford and Bridgeport as tutors, hospital volunteers and aids in eye testing programs.

March 27, 1977: STRATFORD AND THE AIRPORT by Cliff Hutchison: Stratford had a population of 12,345 according to the 1920 census. The southern section of the Town had extensive areas of salt marshes and cultivated fields with relatively few homes. There was a large scale real estate development will underway, aided by regular schedule trolley services between Bridgeport and Lordship. About ten years earlier the Wilkenda Land Company had acquired a major portion of what was then known as the Lordship Farm area. Renamed Lordship Manor, it had been subdivided into over 1200 building lots with well laid out streets and parks. Fourth generation descendants of some of the early lot owners are now growing up in Lordship Manor. There appeared to be no conflict of interests in 1928 when a group of businessmen organized the privately owned Bridgeport Airport Inc. and purchased 230 acres of the Stratford meadows for its flying field. Later on the field was called the Mollison Airport in honor of a pioneer English flying couple who had run out of gas and crash landed there in 1933 on a not quite successful Trans-Atlantic flight from London to New York. The population of Stratford had increased to 19,312 by 1930 with many new homes in the Avon Park, Birdseye and Lordship sections of the Town. The airport sitting on its little cinder patch created no problems with its very limited activity. During the following decade all new building and population growth was slowed down by the Great Depression of the Thirties. One of the casualties was Bridgeport Airport Inc. as a private enterprise. The City purchased the airport property in May 1937 for $112,000 and changed the name to the Bridgeport Municipal Airport. At that time it had two small buildings and two vaguely defined unpaved landing strips. With the aid of WPA funds the city made it into a Class III airport with three paved 3,500 foot runways. The population of Stratford had increased to 22,194 by 1940 with no airport concerns. The day after Pearl Harbor, the Army took possession of the airport and used it as a defense and training base. As a necessary part of the war effort, homes were moved and the Lordship Meadow Road closed to make room for new 4,700 foot runways. The field was then turned over to the Navy for the test flights of the Corsairs being built at the adjoining Chance Vought plant. Many of the critical area residents still remember the house rattling, thunderous roar of the planes passing close overhead every day of the week. There was no doubt then about the necessity for such air activity but many now question the need for expanding the present level of air activity. A 360 acre airport was returned to the city in 1946. At that time there was in existence a state law requiring the approval of a municipality in which such land was located before land could be taken for the establishment, expansion or improvement of an airport. The first conflict with the expanded airport occurred in early 1949 when the Lordship Community Church established the right to build on property it had owned since 1927. To have done so would have forced the closing of the North-South runway. Bridgeport paid the church to relocate. The population of Stratford had increased to 33,600 and was enough to be actively interested in the future of the airport. Organized opposition to further airport expansion developed in 1952 when Jack Wright, Chairman of the Airport Development Committee of the Stratford Chamber of Commerce made the headlines with a complete proposal for an international airport and Air Force base with 9,000 foot runways. The subject was well debated at a series of public meetings and well covered by the news media. The proposal was unanimously opposed by the Stratford Town Council and the Town wide public sentiment was such that since then no councilman or other Stratford elected representative has supported an airport expansion program. The airport issue remained relatively quiet with only a few legislative skirmishes, FAA applications and airport discussions until 1961. In that year, pressure was being generated to have the Bridgeport Airport expanded and designated as a Regional Airport, the Stratford Town Council appointed a ten man advisory committee representative of a good cross section of its civic leaders. The purpose and function of the committee was to study the question of airport expansion and make its recommendations to the Council through the Town Manager. The committee and its sub-committees selected about ten areas for consideration and investigation. The results of the study showed not a single point in favor of Stratford for airport expansion. As the issues began to shape up, another group called the Stratford Citizens Opposing Airport Expansion was organized. Their position was supported by 8,359 to 1,443 in the December 5th, 1962 referendum. The population of Stratford was then about 46,000 with the first of the new Stratford Housing Authority units being occupied in the Frash Pond area. There was enough illegal land acquisition and legislative activity between 1962 and 1966 to keep a No Airport Expansion plank in the political platform of every Stratford Council candidate. Consequently when a Bridgeport-Stratford Airport Study Committee reported the airport to be covering 455 acres and recommended a further acquisition of 165 acres to extend one runway to 5,300 feet and possibly later on to 6,000 feet, the report never had a chance of acceptance. The full report was printed in the newspapers September 29, 1966 before it was presented to the Stratford Town Council. The proposed airport expansion plans fanned the smoldering fires of opposition. When the Town Council did meet on October 12 to consider the report, a resolution was unanimously passed to reject it. Contrary to the provisions of the state law requiring municipal approval before any land acquisition and without the approval of Stratford, the airport continued to expand. In October 1967, headlines announced the purchase of 40 acres of what had been termed worthless marshlands for $700,000. A million dollar airport expansion program with a new passenger terminal building was unveiled in 1970. When a freight terminal was added on illegally acquired land, Stratford was able to get a court ruling to stop the construction and the related illegal filling of designated wetlands. Another dispute developed over a proposal to fill in some wetlands for the installation of an Instrument Landing System on runway 6-24. An out of court compromise was reached but the project was stopped short of completion when Bridgeport claimed ownership of Stratfords Long Beach and tried to install an outer beacon with the Towns approval. The area of the airport is now three times the size of the 230 acre cinder patch which bothered no one. Latest airport improvement and expansion plans project a level of 380,000 operations per year or an average of over 1,000 landings and takeoffs each day. Thousands of people living close to the flight patterns over Milford, Stratford and even the East End of Bridgeport will feel concerned by that amount of air activity particularly in bad weather. Their position has support in a Bridgeport Sunday Post article on July 27, 1975 with the headline, Plane Landings Great Hazard U.S. Safety Board Study Finds. It is a rather lengthy article summed up in a paragraph stating: And despite constant improvements in electronic guidance systems for pilots during their descent to the runway, the incidence of human error remains inordinately high in these final hazardous moments of a flight, the experts say. Buried in the verbiage of the Airport Master Plan is another item of safety concern. The United Illuminating smoke stack over two miles from the end of the proposed runway extension is listed as an approach hazard and would need to be reduced by 92 feet to bring it within minimum instrument landing standards. That stack and possibly other objects of lesser height would be subject to the previously mentioned incidence of human error. Now the question for Stratford in the coming referendum is whether or not the areas economic need for an expanded airport is greater than the living environment concerns of the homeowners of the First and Second Districts as well as the 400 families in the Stratford Housing Authorities senior citizen and moderate income units.

October 23, 1977: HABERLIN ACCUSES DEMS ON LORDSHIP SEWERS ISSUE: Bill Haberlin, Stratfords Republican Councilman-at-Large candidate charged that the Democrats are using divisive scare tactics on the people of Lordship regarding the cost of the proposed sewer laterals for the Lordship community. Their purpose is to thwart any ongoing Republican effort to question certain facts that require closed scrutiny by the public. Mr. Haberlin pointed out that the Democrats are threatening that Federal subsidies will be lost if there is any discussion of this issue. Further the Democrats are quoting a C.E. Maguire Engineering cost estimate of $4,000 per house. The people of Lordship deserve much more detailed information on this issue since it affects every Lordship homeowner. Mr. Haberlin emphasized that he proceeded with great care and has had both Ed Fennell, Republican candidate for Council from the First District and Paul Kurmay, veteran Councilman research this subject thoroughly. First he wants all Lordship residents to be aware that the 75 percent Federal grant for the construction cost of the Lordship laterals must accrue totally to the Lordship project. By Federal regulation, it cannot be transferred to other sections of Town. Any candidate implying otherwise is simply misleading the people of Lordship. Mr. Haberlin continued, an analysis of Maguire Engineers cost projections on a per lot basis shows a projection of $4,000 per house construction cost of $106 per foot based on an estimated 75 foot road frontage per Lordship house. The Town has recently put sewers in the north end of Stratford where ten foot trenches had to be dug and massive boulders unearthed. The actual cost was $25 per foot. He questions Maguires ability to project Lordship costs properly. Even though Maguires estimates reflect a consideration for inflation, he feels it is incumbent upon every Lordship resident to question such exorbitant cost that will be imposed on all residents hooked up to the Town sewer line. This sewer tax will be levied each year because Federal funding was utilized for sewer construction in Stratford.

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