On Holiday in Greenwich
By Christopher Shields
During the late 19th and early 20th century, Greenwich was a popular leisure time destination that featured a number of architecturally impressive and luxurious hotels. Some were located right on the Sound, while others were situated to take advantage of the Town’s bucolic countryside. All of them played an important role in the lively social scene enjoyed by wealthy residents and visitors to the area, serving as popular venues for elaborate luncheons, elegant dinners and other festive gatherings.
The Edgewood Inn, which a 1939 article described was “for many years one of the largest and most fashionable summer hotels in this section”, opened its doors in June, 1902. It was located near the interesction of today’s Edgewood Place, Edgewood Drive and Valley Drive, on land that was once a part of the Colonel Thomas A. Mead farm.
Construction of the Inn was financed by Nathaniel Witherell, a wealthy New York shipping tycoon and leading Greenwich real estate developer and philanthropist. As a partner in the newly formed Edgewood Land Company, Witherell was no doubt eager for its guests to enjoy the Inn’s country setting and, hopefully, be enticed to purchase land in the surrounding subdivision.
While the train had brought visitors to Greenwich for many years, it’s interesting to note the emphasis on automobile travelers in the pages from period marketing brochures which noted that “Automobilists” could revive themselves from their long journeys (on roads which, by today’s standards, were probably challenging on a good day). Refreshed, they could either continue on to other sites in New England or choose to stay and enjoy the Inn’s many amenities.
The Edgewood Inn changed hands a couple of times before being leased in 1932 to house the Edgewood Park Junior College. The building was demolished in 1940.
—Christopher Shields, Archivist, Greenwich Historical Society