History of Spicer Mansion
Originally built in 1853, Spicer Mansion was purchased by its namesake, renowned sea captain and benefactor Elihu Spicer as his family’s summer home to escape the stifling summer months in Brooklyn.
Captain Spicer, born in Noank, Connecticut in 1825, displayed a fondness for nautical life at an early age, going to sea when he was only nine years old. By the age of fourteen, he had become a cabin boy on a sailing ship that docked in many ports along the East Coast. Spicer rapidly rose to a Captain’s command, taking charge of the clipper ship FANNY by the age of twenty-two. The discovery of gold in California and the opening of Japan to the West afforded the opportunity for profit and world-wide travel to far-flung places like San Francisco, India and Hong Kong. But when the Civil War plunged the country into crisis, coastal trade was halted. With normal business on hold, Spicer entered government service and commanded a steamship transporting Union troops.
After the war ended, Captain Spicer entered into a partnership with a life-long Mystic friend, Charles H. Mallory, to form the C.H. Mallory & Co. The venture proved extremely successful in the trade business between New York, Florida and Galveston, Texas. The success allowed Captain Spicer to engage in the philanthropic activities for which he was extremely passionate, including building the Mystic & Noank Library across the street from Spicer Mansion.
The Mansion remained in the Spicer family for over 70 years before being sold and resold over the next five decades. Through the Great Depression and World War II, plagued by changes in fortune and finance, the grand house dimmed. The building was divided into eight rental apartments before ultimately falling into disrepair by the 1970s, facing being formally condemned. Owners came and went, some working to restore the property to its former glory, but it was not until the Gates family of Stonington purchased the property in 2013 that this historic gem has been allowed to shine once again.