Sample Plaque Narratives
A few years ago, we decided to include a written narrative about a building's history when someone orders one of our whale plaques. These narratives are increasing our understanding of New London's history, one building at a time. Here are a few especially rich examples.
The Regional Multicultural Magnet School at 1 Bulkeley Place
"... The property for the Bulkeley School was given to the trustees by the city. The building costs were considerably more than anticipated--$40,000--and additional funds were raised. How little the growth of the city was then anticipated can be gathered from the fact that when the school opened, it provided seating capacity for only forty-two students in the main study hall."
The Castle at 11 Elliott Avenue
"The history of Neptune's Park's castle involves a rags-to-riches story of an Irish orphan who became governor, a famous eye doctor accused of being a quack, and an unconventional circle of writers and feminists, all of whom found respite by the sea in New London."
Manwaring Building at 223-229 State Street
"... the Manwaring building first shows up in city directories in 1915 but was built a few years earlier on the site of Dr. Robert A. Manwaring's house and hospital."
38 Green Street
"... First tenants of the building also included the United Negro Welfare Council with its agent/secretary/director, Sadie (Dillon) Harrison Fulford (1889-1949). Supported by the Council, Sadie co-wrote a precursor to the famous Green Book, Hackly and Harrison’s Hotel and Apartment Guide for Colored Travelers, published in 1930 and 1931. Sadie’s house, “Hempstead Cottage,” at 73 Hempstead Street, shows up in the Negro Motorist Green Book from 1938 to 1950."
The Casino at 756 Pequot Avenue
"...The Pequot Colony, with its rambling hotel, picturesque cottages, beaches, boating, tennis, croquet, chapel, farm-fresh food--all easily accessible from New York and beyond--saw its heyday in the 1860s and 1870s. The decline of the colony was gradual in the nineteenth century, but in 1908, when a fire destroyed the Pequot House hotel and damaged many of the surrounding cottages, things came to the point of collapse. Revitalization of the area became paramount among New London's leaders."
The DeSant houses at 745-753 Bank Street
"The property on the north side of Bank Street, near the busy junction of Montauk Avenue and Truman Street, remained in the same family for more than 150 years. In 1840 Antone DeSant bought the property with buildings, and it was sold out of the family by his great granddaughter Anna Bush in 1991."
35 Guthrie Place
"The builder of 35 Guthrie Place was William Joseph Brady (abt 1892-1946), a local contractor, a member of the city council, and state representative from 1939 to 1944. From New York, William Brady was noted in the Norwich Bulletin for an early career as a stage actor (1911) in New York, but he soon put his thespian ambitions aside, served in World War I, and married Mary Kelly. The couple settled with relatives in New London, William working in building and masonry. Judging by the beautiful brick and
quarried stone work at 35 Guthrie, William had a very good teacher."
355 R Pequot Avenue
"In 1852, property in this area was given to Israel Rogers Lay, a boy of about three years
of age, by his grandfather, John Rogers or Rodgers. Captain John Rogers (1791-1867)
was a retired seaman, a farmer on what was then known as Harbor Road (1855 City
73 Hempstead Street
"Savilion/Savillon Haley orchestrated the development of low cost home-ownership for African Americans in the neighborhood of Hempstead Street prior to the Civil War. Tom Couser’s research shows that in 1842 Haley bought a large (168 by 82) lot on Hempstead Street from Jonathan Coit. Over the following years, Haley sliced this property into narrow lots and sold them to families named Parkhurst, Bush, Freeman, and other African Americans."
Walter S. Garde house at 14 Mott Ave
"... By this time, many of the surrounding cottages in Neptune Park had been built by people from New London, Norwich, Hartford and beyond. One of these was the cottage of Walter S. Garde, built in the spring of 1909, designed by Dudley St. Clair Donnelly. Other buildings by Donnelly, or Donnelly & Hazeltine, include the Tudor Revival at 58 Belleview, the Mariner's Bank and New London Savings, the Marsh Building on State Street, and the Congregational Church on Groton Bank..."
145 Glenwood Avenue
"The area wedged between Lower Boulevard and Parkway North was called Glenwood Park when it was first developed around 1910 by Thomas M. Waller, who himself built a number of homes in the neighborhood. Park-like grounds surrounded the houses in the early days, with alleyways, pedestrian walks, walls and pillared entrances."
801 Montauk Avenue
"The house at 801 Montauk, like its next-door neighbor at 803 Montauk, is a substantial
American Four Square. Constructed in 1905 and 1906, the properties were subdivided and sold by the Gardner family, and the houses were probably constructed for their new owners by Horace Gardner (1829-1914), former fisherman turned stone mason and real estate developer, whose house was at 761 Montauk."
102 Golden Street
"Richard and Anna Douglass are remembered as founders of New London's Methodist Church. The emerging congregation held meetings at the Douglass's home until the group built its first church on Methodist Street in 1798-1800. Methodism during this period was anti-elitist, anti-slavery and evangelical, appealing especially to African Americans, laborers, seamen and women. "
3 Mountain Avenue
"David Bishop (1812-1894) was a New London grocer who also went into the lumber and building business--with his brothers, with others, but mainly on his own. He started out as a teenager in grocery stores owned by a series of New London business men: Adam Frink, Frank Holt, and Adam Prentis, among others. Learning the grocery business would stand him in good stead throughout the vicissitudes of his life."