New London, Conn.
H.H. Richardson, 1885
Anderson Notter, 1976
New London, Conn.
,Questions and answers;
Year constructed? 1885
Original architect? Henry Hobson Richardson
Style? Richardsonian Romanesque Revival
Historical use? Assumed to have always been railroad station.
Architectural importance? Richardson's last railroad station.
Existing condition? It was scheduled to be torn down but
basically needed only cleaning and minor repairs.
Original materials? natural oak wood, slate roof, brick and
granite walls and fireplaces, all cleaned and repaired.
Preservationist involved? Anderson Notter, Assoc. Inc.
New function? Railroad station and office space with a prop-
Biography of Project for class.
I wrote George Notter two letters asking for information and
plans but received no response.
New London station
In the tradition of whistle-stopping
campaigns, an Amtrak train with a spe-
cial car for press and distinguished
guests including a U.S. Senator, made
its way under rainy July skies from
Washington to Boston. When it arrived
at New London, Conn., bands played
and the waiting crowd cheered. Sen.
Lowell Weicker (R-Conn.) stepped up
to a red, white, and blue ribbon and
with a snip re-opened the New London
Railroad Station designed by Henry
Hobson Richardson in 1885 and refur-
Sbished by Anderson Notter Associates
The station, bought five years ago
by the New London Redevelopment
Agency, was scheduled to be torn
down. A citizen protest. A feasibility
study. And soon Union Station Associ-
ates of New London, a subsidiary of
Anderson Notter-which received an
AIA National Honor Award this year for
reuse of the old Boston City Hall (P/A,
April 1976, p. 24)-found itself the new
owner of a building on the National
Register of Historic Places.
Amtrak agreed to lease spaces in the
terminal for 20 years, and this commit-
ment enabled other funds to pour in
from numerous public and private
sources-even from the New London
Redevelopment Agency, which origi-
nally wanted to tear it down. Govern-
ment funds restored the exterior while
private money enabled the interior to
be converted into office space on the
second floor and a restaurant (not
Anderson Notter's reuse of New London station,
Source: Progressive Architecture
September, 1976; p. 21,22
built) on the two-level mezzanine.
The original materials and unique
features, such as natural oak wood,
slate roof, brick and granite walls, and
fireplaces-were cleaned and repaired,
and a new matching oak ticket counter
was installed for Amtrak. An opening
was made in the main floor to provide
light and a grand staircase to a new
waiting area below in the basement.
Brightly upholstered waiting room
chairs and carpeting add comfort.
The building, while in use, is several
months from completion but already
seems popular with the town. The Day,
a local newspaper which originally
published an editorial favoring demoli-
tion of the building ("Why an eyesore
should be permitted to block this view
[of Long Island Sound] is beyond com-
prehension."), and later reversed its
recommendation in an editorial, re-
cently wrote in a special edition: "The
Day congratulates Anderson Notter
and the Union Railroad Station Trust
for their foresight in saving this vener-
able building which becomes more at-
tractive with each passing day."
Opening party fills stairs to lower waiting room.
"1'~ "iS"F' '
New London Restores Station
By Carleton Knight, III
NEW LONDON, CONN.-Over-
heard on a telephone here: "Honey,
you won't believe this.'I'll be late. I'm
ently could not believe his eyes; he was
caught in the middle of 800-900 per-
sons and a ragtime band celebrating the
rededication of Union Station here on
After more than a decade of being
threatened by the wrecking ball, Union
Station had been restored, adapted and
reopened as a railroad station and of-
fices. Yet to come are shops and a res-
Preservationists who had fought so
long to preserve the building, H. H.
Richardson's last station, were celebrat-
ing this great victory with a fervor not
usually seen in the preservation move-
ment. As the movie cameras whirred, a
band played, dignitaries spoke, the rib-
bon was cut and the guests descended
to the station's lower level for food and
drinks. It was Happy New Year five
The fun had actually started much
earlier in the day. Amtrak put a special
car on one of its regular Amfleet trains
,u cany invited gucts frorri Washing-
ton to New.London, a seven-hour ride.
Another train brought people down
from Boston. On board the Washing-
ton train were representatives of the
Office of Archeology and Historic Pres-
ervation, National Park Service; U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban De-
velopment, U.S. Department of Trans-
portation; Smichsonian Institution; Ad-
visory Council on Historic Preserva-
tion; and the National Trust as well as
Please turn to page 11, column 1
New London Dedicates Station
Continued from page 1
two Amtrak vice presidents. More
people boarded in Baltimore and Phila-
delphia and by the time the train left
New York City, the car was full of pres-
ervationists and media people. Sen.
Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (R-Conn.)
joined the party in New Haven.
The arrival in New London amid
. much hoopla caused one person who
just happened to be getting off the
train there to ask, "What are they
doing? Giving the town away?"
Following a few speeches and the rib-
bon-cutting by Senator Weicker, the
guests were downstairs where food
carts emblazoned with signs reading
"Blazing Salads" had been set up. They
and the band had been imported from
Boston just for the occasion by Ander-
son Notter Associaties, the architects
and developers for the restored sta-
It was after many months of trying
that Anderson Notter, in the form of
Union Station Associates of New Lon-
don, had been able to buy the station
from the city's redevelopment agency,
which until the sale had wanted the
building demolished. It was thought
that the 1885 Romanesque Revival sta-
tion blocked the view of the Thames
River from downtown.
That Union Station was not torn
down is due mainly to the efforts of
Clare Dale who has been fighting to
save the station for 13 years. She orga-
nized the Union Station Railroad Trust
for the preservation effort. The Nation-
al Trust offered assistance in the form
of two consultant service grants in
1971 and 1975 and a $30,000 loan
from the National Historic Preserva-
tion Fund in 1975.
Even the sale of the building to
Union Station Associates, however,
was not the final act of grace that was
needed. In order to get the necessary
financing, firm lease commitments
were required by prospective lenders.
Amtrak's agreement to take a major
portion of the space for 20 years
clinched the deal and Hartford Nation-
al Bank provided the loan.
Harold Grahani, Amtrak vice presi-
dent of services planning, said studies
showed the railroad that staying in the
old building would be both economical-
ly and operationally advantageous. He
noted that 17,000 persons per month
use the station and that the restoration
may encourage even more. "We're
proud to be part of an effort to save
one of the finest examples of railroad
station architecture left in America
today," he said.
The work on the station, which be-
gan last October, included a complete
cleaning of the exterior, returning it to
its original condition. Inside, the main
change is a large hole cut in the main
floor to create a two-level passenger
waiting area. Old materials, such as the
oak paneling, were reused. Upstairs
there are suites of offices.
One of the most pleasant aspects of
the rededication was a special 16-page
pull-out section in the Day, New Lon-
don's newspaper. On the back was a
full-page advertisement boldly head-
lined, "We were wrong!" The text
quoted a May 1971 editorial in the
newspaper favoring demolition of the
station. "But we changed our mind!"
the ad then said in bold type, followed
by additional text from aJune 1975 edi-
torial favoring preservation. The ad
concluded with a thank you to Ander-
son Notter and the Union Station Rail-
road Trust."for giving us a railroad sta-
tion we can be proud of."
Still a Station
The battle for the New London
Union Station ended in victory for
preservationists.. It is a railroad station
That was given new life, but, and most
importantly, it still functions as a rail-
Source: Preservation News
September, 1976; p.11