In 1853 a summer hotel called the Pequot
House opened at the southern end of New London, attracting wealthy New
Yorkers and drawing an elite clientele from as far away as Washington,
D.C. To accommodate its growing number of patrons, the hotel built
cottages, which families could rent by the month or for the entire
summer season. The Pequot House and its surrounding cottages could host
600 people and guests were expected to take their meals at the hotel.
Eventually a summer resort grew up around the Pequot House as more and
more private cottages were constructed.
The Pequot House, c. 1900
In a letter dated August 5, 1905, O’Neill told a Hartford girlfriend, "I was up to one of the ‘hops’ at the Pequot last Saturday night and danced with the fair ones (not even fair). I was bored to death and said ‘Never again for little Eugene’ and by the nine gods I never will unless you or someone else that I know are there" (Bogard and Bryer, SL, 12).
The Pequot House burned in 1908 and was never rebuilt. One remaining vestige of the hotel’s glory days is the Pequot Chapel on Montauk Avenue, built to spare guests their long trip into town to attend church. Meadow Court (today the Lighthouse Inn) was built by Charles S. Guthrie, chairman of the Republic Iron and Steel Company, in 1904 as his summer home. The gardens surrounding Guthrie’s Spanish Style cottage were designed by the Frederick Law Olmsted firm. Several Pequot Colony cottages (though less grand in style than Meadow Court) remain in the neighborhood and today are year-round homes.
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