THE INN’S HISTORY
The New London Inn’s history is a long and colorful one. In 1792, 19-year-old Ezekiel Sargent built a farmhouse on property bought by his father in 1781 when the family moved to New London. Ezekiel also built “the red house” next door and a store where Lake Sunapee Bank now stands.
In 1853 George W. Everett, who grew up in the building where Tracy Memorial Library is now located, bought the Inn property. In the Civil War he was a major in the 9th NH Volunteers. En route home in 1863, he was poisoned by his body servant. The Inn’s story has been lost between 1863-1870.
In 1870 the farmhouse was bought by Herman J. Currier who turned the property into a hotel called The Elms. He added the third story and hipped-roof.
The Inn returned to the Sargent family in 1895 when Walter P. Sargent, grandson of Ezekiel’s brother John, bought the Inn and named it The Hotel Sargent. From1903-1904, Harry Nichols became a partner and more additions were made to the Inn. Several managers were in charge, including Charles E. Shepard, who ran the stage coach route in the area. Another Manager, D.L. La Pierre, advertised steam-heated rooms. Next came Hugh McKinnon who, in 1916 advertised 50 rooms, dining for 90, an open air café and chauffeur quarters. He installed electric lights to the Inn.
From the period between 1918-1939 the Inn was owned by Colby Academy (now Colby-Sawyer College). Frank Gay managed the Inn for 10 years. In 1929 Colby leased the Inn to Wendell and Clara Hobbs who also ran the Soonipi Lodge on Lake Sunapee. The Hobbs eventually purchased the Inn from Colby in 1939.
The Sargent family once again became part of the New London Inn’s history when in 1941 Calvin Sargent, great grandson of Ezekiel Sargent, entered into a contract with Wendall Hobbs for room, heat, bath, meals and hotel service for the rest of his life, or as long as Hobb’s owned the Inn, for $5,000. He was 73 at the time. The contract came to an end in 1967 when the Inn was sold to Frank and Lois Conklin. Calvin Sargent eventually outlived both the Hobbs and passed away just after his 100th birthday. The Conklins did major renovations to the inn which included a sprinkler system, hot-water heating system and bathrooms.
The history after 1967 may not be as colorful as the past with the Inn having several different owners, but each of these owners have put their own stamp on the fine old building. Subsequent owners have made this grand old Inn what it is today and it stands as a major part of the New London community.
To learn more about the New London Inn or to make reservations, please contact us.