Hempstead Cottage

Known Name(s)

Hempstead Cottage


73 Hempstead St. New London, CT

Establishment Type(s)

Tourist Home

Physical Status


Detailed History

Ever since the abolitionist Savillion Haley built homes to sell to Black families in the 1840s, Hempstead Street was a center for African American life in New London. One of the Haley houses, Hempstead Cottage, was first purchased by John Parkhurst, whose wife, Lavinia, was the sister of David Ruggles, a New York abolitionist. It was later owned by their grandson, the nationally renowned organist and music teacher William Herbert Bush.

Bush sold the home in 1926 to Sarah (Sadie) Dillon Harrison, Secretary of New London's Negro Welfare Council. She was also the Secretary of the New England Peoples Finance Corporation, co-founded in New London by her half-brother, Benjamin Tanner Johnson, the third Black graduate of Harvard Business School. The corporation's mission was to help the Black community with mortgages and car loans, which they were often denied at white-owned banks.

In 1930, Sadie Harrison and Edwin Henry Hackley published Hackley and Harrison's Hotel and Apartment Guide for Colored Travelers, a predecessor of The Green Book. She researched more than three hundred cities nationwide for her guide, many of which would later be included in The Green Book.

In the mid-1930s, Harrison rented Hempstead Cottage to the Linwood Bland family. It became the childhood home of Linwood Bland, Jr., the future president of the New London NAACP. Later occupants also rented rooms to African American travelers, and continued to list the cottage in The Green Book from 1938 to 1950, where it remained one of several tourist homes in the Hempstead neighborhood, a prominent African American enclave in New London.

Listed in the Hempstead National Register Historic District

Related Issues