The Arcade

The Arcade is not open for visitors. Please feel free to admire it from the outside!

The Arcade building, at 61-65 Water Street in Stonington, is a nineteenth-century Greek Revival commercial building, constructed in the wake of the fire of April 1837, which destroyed the commercial center of Stonington Borough. The building has contained numerous retail establishments over the years. In 1952, the building was given as a gift by Colonel Frederick Horner to the Stonington Historical Society.  The Arcade was then converted into an office and apartments.  A number of Stonington locations were used in the movie Mystic Pizza (1988), including the Arcade, which was temporarily repainted from white to a buff color for the filming.

On April 9, 1884 Hattie Brown Emmens, widow of George H. Brown, bought the Arcade from her husband’s estate for $800. By July 3, 1888 Hattie B. Emmens of New York City sold it to William F Broughton, and it remained in his family until July 6, 1945, when his wife’s heirs sold it to Frederick Horner.

In the 1890’s Francis D. Burtch took over the drug store; William F. Broughton’s meat market was the middle store; the candy and notions store of Harry and Lena Chesebrough was at the north end.

In 1896, on June 4, Broughton installed electric lights in his market, powered by a dynamo attached to an engine that cooled his storage room.

In 1912, at 63 Water Street W.H. Eccleston sold fresh and salted fish, long and round clams, scallops, oysters, and lobsters. In 1921-22, F. J. Ostman was the fishmonger at 63 Water Street and Omega Street; Stewart and Feeney were provision dealers at 65 Water; and Lena Chesebro, who managed the H.F. Chesebro News and Variety Store also lived at 65.

In 1929-30 Charles E. Staplins’ Fish Store was at 61 Water Street and Samuel E. Stewart, Jr. was at 63. Pauline Chesebro had a candy store, afterward taken over by a Mrs. Mary Santos, who ran May’s Variety Shop.  

After the Historical Society acquired the building, the properties were remained both commercial and residential. From 1952 until about 1959 the center space was used as Mrs. Helen Gildersleeve’s Old Book and Doll Shop.  The garden space between the bank and the southernmost apartment, was originally not a part of the Arcade property, but part of the land which Gurdon Pendleton, Jr. sold to the first National Bank of Stonington in 1898. The Stonington Historical Society also owns the adjacent bank on Cannon Square.

The Ocean Bank

The Bank was incorporated in Stonington Borough in 1851 with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars. The bank building was constructed the same year on the Town Square (known as Cannon Square since the 1870s). Antique Ocean Bank banknote proof sheets from the 1850-60s survive today. Ocean Bank later became the First National Bank of Stonington. In 1942, the building was purchased by the Stonington Historical Society, with the intention of making it the Society’s headquarters and a museum. The circumstances of the war prevented this plan from being carried out and it was instead leased to the American Red Cross during the war. The building, still owned by the society, has since continued to house a bank (currently Dime Bank).