The Public Notice display case outside Town Hall. / Photo by Thane Grauel
The Public Notice display case outside Town Hall. / Photo by Thane Grauel

By Thane Grauel

WESTPORT — A part of town history has been restored and returned to its post at the Town Hall entrance.

The Public Notice case, made perhaps 80 years ago of about 200 pounds of brass and glass, was restored and polished by Andrew Colabella.

Colabella, a Representative Town Meeting member from District 4, said that while Town Hall’s façade was getting a months-long face lift, the notice box was moved to the Town Clerk’s Office.

First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker and Andrew Colabella next to the historic box used for public notices. / Town of Westport photo
First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker and Andrew Colabella next to the historic box used for public notices. / Photo by Jann Colabella.

Colabella said Town Clerk Jeffrey Dunkerton wasn’t sure what to do with it. It was extensively weathered, and public notices are now posted online.

“He was in one day and said he could take it and refurbish it,” Dunkerton said of Colabella.

“And he did,” Dunkerton said. “It looks great.”

Colabella, who likes tinkering with things and restoring them, spent months removing decades of tarnish. It took a combination of fine-grit sandpapers, polishes and lacquers to get it looking good. He also had to disassemble, clean and reassemble a small lock for the glass door, about the size of penny, which wouldn’t turn.

“It’s been on Town Hall since Tall Hall was on the Post Road,” Colabella said of the cobblestone building at 90 Post Road East.

Work to renovate the former Bedford Elementary School on Myrtle Avenue for present-day Town Hall began in 1978.

After the Town Hall front’s refurbishment was complete, the Public Notices case was hung again to the left of the main doors.

The Town of Westport acknowledged the good deed with a photo of Colabella and First Selectwoman Jennifer Tooker on Facebook.

“Not only has the front of Town Hall been beautifully restored thanks to @westportdpw, but the antique Public Notice box has been as well. Thank you to Andrew Colabella for your skilled craftsmanship and care for a piece of Westport history which dates back to the original Town Hall. Stunning!” the post reads.

The newly refurbished columns and facade at Town Hall. / Photos by Thane Grauel
The newly refurbished columns and facade at Town Hall. / Photo by Thane Grauel

Thane Grauel grew up in Westport and has been a journalist in Fairfield County and beyond for 35 years. Reach him at editor@westportjournal.com. Learn more about us here.