“It is rumored that a syndicate composed of New Yorkers will in the near future erect on Chapel street, at the corner of Chapel and College street, directly opposite the Yale campus, a $3,000,000 ten story hotel. The matter is yet merely a rumor, and may prove as visionary as have some of the other rumors of skyscrapers, great hotels and stupendous theaters which from time to time have adorned the pages of local papers.
According to the rumor the aforesaid $3,000,000 hotel building will extend from the corner of College and Chapel streets to Warner hall. It is said that the plan of the syndicate is to take over all of the property on Chapel street, opposite the Yale campus, extending from the corner of College street past the entrance of the Hyperion theater, to Warner hall, and on College street from the corner of Chapel street to the Yale Music hall.
On this land are now standing two business blocks, the Union League club house and a block of private houses. It is said that a part of the plan is to give the club a home at the west end of the hotel, and that the theater entrance will be underneath, and that the hotel will be designed partly for apartment use.
General Ford, president of the Quinnipiac club, speaking of the rumor last night said that the proposed consolidation of the Quinnipiac club and the Union league club had no connection whatever with any project for the building of a big hotel building over the present site of the Union League club, although he said it had been intimated that in case such a structure was erected quarters would be provided for the two clubs, if they consolidate.
The location which is said to have been decided upon is an ideal one opposite the famous Yale campus, and it has been said that it may, if erected, be named ‘The Campus.’ The site is on the highest ground in the center of the city, being some forty feet above tidewater, and it is also of historical interest. The Union league building (formerly the Warner homestead) is on land that Washington tarried on, the house there being the mansion of Roger Sherman, signer of the Declaration of Independence. It was a two and a half story frame house, similar in style to one just west, built later by Mr. Sherman and occupied by his descendants, Henry White’s family. The house, said to be the oldest in the city, was very substantially built of heavy hewn timbers, low between floors: in fact the last occupant, A. Veltch, the well known florist, being a tall man, could hardly stand erect in the rooms.
About half the land suggested for the hotel site wan then owned by Yale college, and in 1859 was purchased by the late Gains F. Warner, the wealthy iron manufacturer, at about $100 per front foot. He also bought, an orchard of Professor Thatcher and other rear land so that he had nearly an acre and a half of land costing some $25,000, and in 1873 his son sold it for $105,000. The place was finely laid out in lawns and gardens with greenhouses and stables, and the substantial home now occupied by the Union League was built by Perkins & Chatfield. A fine fountain stood where Champion’s store now is, and in winter, covered with ice, it attracted much attention. A large iron dog in the yard also afforded much amusement to people to see the chagrin of passing dogs when they found their teeth could make no impression on it. It is to be hoped the project will be carried out soon to completion, as it would be of immense benefit to the city, doubtless attracting many visitors here.”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, the New Haven Morning Journal and Courier, Monday, March 17, 1902. (top) “Etching of Charter Oak; flock of sheep behind tree to right; untitled. Initials lower left corner of composition.” Image courtesy of the New Haven Museum, Documentary Objects Collection, “Charter Oak,” Etching by Robert R. Wiseman, circa late 19th / early 20th century