480 Main Street, New London NH

Current Use

  • "London House" - Colby Sawyer College Dormitory


  • 1973 - Roy London sold to College
  • Roy London, residence (1935-1973); some of the College students lived in the Londons' house in 1937 (Our First Two Presidents, p. 10).
  • Dr. Charles A. Lamson, medical office & residence (1912 -1930); the original house burned on Oct. 2, 1917; new house built c. 1918.
  • Dec. 9, 1898 - called the "Retreat" - sold by Colby Academy to Rev. George W. Gile (Headmaster 1893-1898), 1 1/2 acre with "all buildings" (Merrimack Co. deeds, V. 329, p.530), and "after it had been repaired at considerable expense." (Rowe, p. 195). The deed included provision for water from the Academy well.
  • 1892, after fire in Academy Building - "The academy owned a dilapidated building across the street from the upper campus, which went by the name of the Retreat. The Trustees considered moving to that place the animals owned by the academy." (Rowe, p. 175)
  • Before 1887 Horace Stanley resided in the "Retreat" where Mrs. Sargent died November 12, 1887 (Lord, p. 517)..
  • August 31, 1868 - Retreat acquired by Anthony Colby (Merrimack Co, Deeds, V. 194, p. 215). He apparently sells it to Colby Academy. In 1873 it was "used as a girls' dorm and known as the retreat," (Highlander, May 28, 1929, p. 1).
  • c. 1858 Brig.-Gen. Joseph M. Clough "lived in what was then the 'Retreat,' nearly opposite the church." (Lord, p. 452). This building was once part of the Herrick Tavern, that Anthony Colby and 10 or 11 men moved in Sept., 1858 (see Herrick Tavern, letter from Susan Colby to Mary C. Colby).
  • farm land of Josiah Brown and later his son-in-law, John Brown. .

Building History

The current structure was built around 1918 following a fire that destroyed an earlier house, then owned by Dr. Charles A. Lamson. The dimensions of the two houses were slightly different, and remains of the old foundation may still be visible near the present house.

Stories & Trivia

According to M. Roy London, son of the owner, "The prior house had multiple fireplaces (7 or 8, I think). Mrs. Lamson was sick of the fireplace dirt so the new house had none. When rebuilt, there were five rooms on the ground floor—the doctor's office right front, kitchen right rear, dining room left rear, living room left front, and the Doctor's Billiard Room in an ell off the back (this connected to the barn). There was also a large pantry between the kitchen and dining room. There were four large bedrooms and a bath on the second floor. The barn had a hayloft covering the second story with a hay chute down to the lined horse stall on the first floor. There were two places for storing horse-drawn vehicles. Later when Dr. Lamson bought a Model T Ford, a garage entrance was made int he basement and the car could be driven right up to the furnace in front of the basement." He further says that the original deed required Colby Academy to provide water to the residence. [Source: Letter to Town Archives, 1993] (Note: Dr. Lamson bought the first automobile in town [then living in Elkins] in 1903. Squires, p. 94).

When Dr. Lamson owned the house, it had a piano; a Colby Academy student named Harry M. Woods, class of 1915, and a friend of the doctor's oldest son, Donald, loved to play it. Harry had a deformed left hand and had to use his knuckles to play, but he became very adept. He alsowrote music and became a noted omposer. "When the Moon Comes Over the Mountain" was one of his pieces, inspired by Mt. Kearsarge and made famous by Kate Smith. He also wrote, "When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbing Along."

Photos & Images

College Dormitory

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