Historic Westport Building Moved Across the Street

A historic Westport home has been relocated due to a downtown revitalization project.

Officials didn't want to tear down the Kemper Gunn House, so they put it on wheels Tuesday morning and moved it to an Elm Street property across the street.

"This is fun. We’re glad we’re here and we're looking forward to seeing it move," Ray Abramson, of Westport, said.

The move may have been short, but the debate between preservationists and developers leading up to it went on for years.

"First was the concept of what are we going to do with the house and developers needed it to be moved," Matthew Mandell, of the Westport Chamber of Commerce, said.

At one point the home, more than a century old, was in danger of being destroyed.

"At the grassroots level, people banded together to say let's save this house, let's restore it and let's preserve this historic part of Westport," Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe said.

The idea stopped the wrecking ball and put the wheels in motion to relocate the building to town-owned property across the street.

"It's like a remote control. He’s literally driving it across the street," Chris Moran, of Westport, said Tuesday morning.

Officials have plans to bring in new tenants to the home while restoring old features.

"Here we are today and finally starting Bedford square, which is important to me in many ways this is the cherry on top of the whole process," Bedford Square Developer David Waldman said.

When the house is up and running at the new location, there are strict guidelines for who can lease it. There can't be more than five stores and officials involved hope that local businesses move in.

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