Savin Rock House

The following is from Benham's New Haven Directory and Annual Advertiser for 1867-8, New Haven: Printed and Published by J. H. Benham, l867.

Savin Rock

Four miles below the city, on the west side, is a bluff of rocks which takes its name from the savin, or evergreen shrub, which formerly abounded here. Immediately adjacent to the rock is the finest beach for bathing to be found on the Connecticut shore. From time immemorial this has been a place of popular resort for parties from the country,
A small boarding house was erected here some years since, which passed through the hands of successive occupants, into the possession of the late proprietor, Mr. E. A. Upson.
With a natural genius for the business, Mr. Upson saw the capabilities of the Rock, and that it might be made one of the most attractive places of summer resort in the country.
By a liberal expenditure of money, and by the exercise of great good taste, he succeeded in uniting at Savin Rock, the conveniences and luxuries which are looked for in a first class hotel, with the special attractions of a watering place.
The house has accommodations for about two hundred boarders. A considerable number of its guests are made up of families who spend the summer at the Rock. The table arrangements are admirable. All who visit the house unite in pronouncing this department unexcelled in the country.
A shooting gallery, billiard tables, bowling alleys, shuffle board, rowing, sailing, fishing, bathing, double and single carriages, saddle horses, etc., present an agree-able variety of resources both for the regular guests and for occasional visitors.
A dock for the convenient landing of sailing parties has recently been built within a hundred feet of the House.
The house has recently passed into the hands of Harvey Reamer, Esq., of Derby. His charges are three dollars and a half per day for transient boarders, and according to the rooms they occupy, for regular guests.
The facilities for reaching Savin Rock are unusually good.
The New York and New Haven Railroad passes within no great distance from the house, the cars stopping four times a day at the West Haven Depot.
An Omnibus leaves New Haven at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Savin Rock at 11 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
A telegraph office connects the house with all parts of the country.
The grounds pertaining to the house embrace about twenty acres, including one of the finest kitchen gardens in the state.
The grove continues to be a favorite resort for select picnic parties a trifling charge being usually made for the use of the grounds and tables.
The pleasant village of West Haven is about a mile distant, having a Congregational and an Episcopal Church, in both of which, visitors to the Rock are received with attention.

From the New Haven Palladium, September 14, 1870, Wednesday

Destructive Fire

Burning of the Savin Rock House

About 4 o'clock on Tuesday morning an alarm of fire was sounded from Box 16, corner of Howard Avenue and Columbus Street.
The fire department rallied promptly, but before going far toward the bright light that attracted their attention, it was discovered that the fire was beyond the city limits, and somewhere in the vicinity of West Haven. Early in the morning it was ascertained that the Savin Rock House, with most of its attachments and appurtenances, had been destroyed by the devouring element.
What was once the resort of tourists and summer boarders was nothing but a heap of smoldering ruins, the entire structure, excepting the ten-pin alley and the barn across the street, having been consumed.
When the fire was discovered it was under such headway that it was found impossible to save the building, and many of the rooms were filled with smoke, the inmates barely having time to escape with their lives, many of them rushing out with no other covering than their night clothes.
Some of the furniture on the lower floors was saved, but the boarders lost most of their clothing,
Mr. Gilpin and family were the heaviest losers, almost their entire wardrobe being destroyed.
It was fortunate that there was but little breeze at the time, for if there had been, the large barn connected with the hotel would have been destroyed.
The property was formerly owned by Harvey Reamer of Derby but was sold by him to J. H and T. H. Dawe one year ago last April.
The owners estimate their loss about $30,000 on which there is an insurance of $18,000 in the following companies:

Commercial, Chicago
Teutonia, Cleveland:
Merchant's, Chicago:
Occidental, California:
Georgia Home, Columbus, Georgia:
Narragansett, Providence:

Most of the boarders, with the owners, transferred themselves to the Sea View House temporarily.
Thus has one of our oldest seaside resorts been swept away much to the regret of those who have desired a quiet resort during the warm days of summer.
The origin of the fire has not been distinctly fixed. It is quite evident, however, that it had its origin somewhere in the rear of the building in the vicinity of the laundry and the general impression prevails that it was the work of an incendiary. If so, we hope that the parties who committed the crime will be speedily brought to justice.
A card of thanks from the guests of the Savin Rock House to Supt. Ward of the New Haven, West Haven Horse Railroad and to Mr. Russell of the Sea View House for prompt attention and assistance after the fire yesterday appears in our advertising columns.

After the burning of the Savin Rock House a note of thanks was unanimously tendered to the Supt. of the New Haven, West Haven Horse Railroad for his prompt assistance in sending a special car at 4:30 o'clock a.m. and removing the guests of the house and their trunks to comfortable quarters free of charge.
Also to Mr. Russell, of the Sea View House, who was promptly on the ground and tendered us the accommodations of his house, which had been closed for the season.
The tender was gladly accepted and Mr. Russell is exerting himself to make us comfortable.

- Guests of Savin Rock House

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