The New London Inn’s history dates back to 1792, when 19-year-old Ezekiel Sargent built a farmhouse on property his father owned. His father had acquired the land 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.
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 an investment partner and more additions were made to the Inn. Several managers were in charge, including Charles E. Shepard, who ran the stagecoach route in the area. 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 lighting fixtures in 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 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.
After 1967, the Inn passed through several different owners, and from time to time struggled to maintain operations. But each of these owners have put their own stamp on the fine old building. Dan and Beverly Wolf, supported by a group of local businessmen and concerned citizens, bought the Inn in 2010, and a number of key structural investments to modernize the building. The group felt that the property was so iconic to the town on New London with immense historical value, that it should be restored to its earlier glory. The Coach House Restaurant became central fine dining establishment for the town.
Scott and Jennifer Reed are the current stewards of this grand Inn, having purchased it from the Wolf’s in August 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic. As owners of the Inn at Pleasant Lake, the Reeds see a bright future for historic hospitality in New London, New Hampshire. Together, these properties provide a variety of authentic experiences for both local guests and travelers discovering all this are has to offer.
The New London Inn remains as a major part of the New London community, and an iconic structure with a rich history and an undeniable character that defines the quintessential New England experience.
To learn more about the New London Inn or to make reservations, please contact us.