“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New London in New London County, Connecticut — The American Northeast (New England)

Shaw Mansion

Hempstead Historic Neighborhood

Shaw Mansion Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 9, 2011
1. Shaw Mansion Marker
Nathaniel Shaw came to New London around 1730 to take advantage of the town’s increasing maritime opportunities. He and his son, Nathaniel Jr. became successful merchants.

In 1756 the older Shaw began building this mansion. Despite the abundance of natural stone, stone houses were uncommon in this region. Shaw may have been inspired to build this unusual house by an unexpected abundance of cheap labor in the form of displaced Acadians. These French colonists from Nova Scotia had been driven out by the British conquest of the area during the French and Indian (Seven Years) War. Many were placed under the temporary care of various New England towns until a permanent home was found. Nathaniel Shaw put them to work quarrying stone on this property and erecting the house, thereby helping to defray the town’s cost of supporting them.

A leading patriot, Nathaniel Jr. became the Naval War Agent for Connecticut during the War for Independence. At that time the state maintained its own navy, but privateering was a far more popular and lucrative activity for New London seafarers and merchants. New Londoners captured an astonishing total of 157 British prizes during the war, many laden with valuable cargo. Naturally, this infuriated the British, and they retaliated with Benedict Arnold’s punishing raid in September 1781.

Shaw Mansion Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 9, 2011
2. Shaw Mansion Marker
the raid, the Shaw mansion caught fire but, according to a charming tradition, the fire was extinguished by neighbors who poured vinegar on the burning structure. (The “vinegar house,” no longer extant, stood to the left of the mansion.) The granite annex was built to replace the burned section in 1840.

Nathaniel Shaw, Jr. died in a hunting accident in 1782. In the 1790s the mansion passed to the Perkins family through the marriage of a Shaw niece. Descendants of the Shaw family continued to live in the house even after the New London County Historical Society purchased it in 1907. Today, the mansion is home to the Society’s fine collection of antiques and extensive research library.

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New London County Historical Society
The New London County Historical Society, a non-profit, educational organization that encourages public participation and membership, was founded in 1870. The Society’s mission is the preservation, promotion, and interpretation of the history of the city and the surrounding region, which it seeks to accomplish through educational programs, publications, research, and the preservation of the Shaw Mansion which serves as its home.
Location. 41° 21.065′ N, 72° 5.892′ W. Marker is in New London, Connecticut, in New
Marker in New London image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 9, 2011
3. Marker in New London
London County. Marker is at the intersection of Bank Street and Brewer Street, on the right when traveling west on Bank Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New London CT 06320, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named Shaw Mansion (a few steps from this marker); New London Whalemen (within shouting distance of this marker); First Step to Freedom (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Colombo (approx. 0.2 miles away); "Do you want to be slave or free?" (approx. 0.2 miles away); 15 Bank Street (approx. 0.3 miles away); 16 Bank Street (approx. 0.3 miles away); New London (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New London.
More about this marker. The background of the marker features a picture of the Shaw Mansion. Photos at the upper right depict the small parlor of the Mansion, circa 1900, and Jane R. Perkins in the Summer House, circa 1900. A map of the lower left shows a walking tour of New London and indicates the location of the Shaw Mansion.
Also see . . .  New London County Historical Society. (Submitted on October 11, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. Notable BuildingsWar, US Revolutionary
Shaw Mansion image. Click for full size.
By Bill Coughlin, October 9, 2011
4. Shaw Mansion
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 11, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 438 times since then and 23 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 11, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.
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