history of the bishopsgate inn

The Connecticut River Valley is full to the brim with history and beautiful, colonial structures. Sitting right down the road for the Connecticut River itself, sits our own Colonial structure, the Bishopsgate Inn. Today, we want to celebrate this cherished building that brings so much warmth and hospitality to the East Haddam area.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of owning the Bishopsgate Inn, as well as the 198th birthday of our colonial building, we want to share a bit of history that helps explain how charming and meaningful our Inn truly is.

The History of the Bishopsgate Inn

Imagine it is 1818 and Andrew Jackson is about to beat the British in New Orleans. The war is actually over but word travels slowly even in those days. In East Haddam Connecticut, a Merchant and Shipwright has decided to build a permanent home on the banks of the streams he has used as “the ways” on which to launch his ships. Known for their speed and nimbleness he has a knack for building ships that if they can’t out fight you will certainly out-run you.

So it was that Horace Hayden laid plans for and purchased the Wrought Iron fittings and “cut” nails that would hold his Norwich Road house firm against wind and weather for now nearly 200 years. Most of the wood came from his ship building supplies. It is as awesome today as it was then. One need only cut into a wall to run electricity or plumbing to be flooded with the smell of fresh cedar floors, which forms the siding substructure of eighty plus percent of the house.

Floor of Chestnut, heart of Pine and knotty pine add warmth and style as do the six indoor fireplaces that spring to life every Fall.

That the home has survived is due, in no small part, to the care of a Doctor and a hotelier. Their paths crossed late last century when the Doctor (Moltano) decided to rescue it from being a four family boarding house in order to move his residence and practice to the Norwich Road location hit resides in today. This was not to be a pleasant luncheon meeting for the Doctor and one Julie Bishop, a B&B owner from outlying Town Street. Their meeting resulted in a one for one property swap that turned the Doctor’s dream location into the Bishopsgate Inn in the early 1980s.

Julie ran the Inn and sold it to Dan and Molly Swartz later in the 80’s. Molly gave running the Inn all she had, but found the workload overwhelming as a sole operator for all intents and purposes. By 1992 she was ready stop, but never fully wanted to give up the Inn Keeper way of life.

Enter the Kagel family and the current evolution of what has become what was recently described as follows…

“…If you have been blessed to come and visit New England you are only part way there. Unless and until you have experienced a stay with the Kagels at their East Haddam …”


……. you have not come close to experiencing the warmth of Yankee Hospitality at its very finest until you have met the Kagels, face to face.”

Enjoy Your Stay at the Inn         

Now that you know more about our Inn, you can enjoy an even more culturally enriching stay with us. With East Haddam as its hub, you will be surrounded by the intriguing and the beautiful with which to fill your day.

When you join us for your stay here, you can look forward to visiting with the Kagel family who will make themselves open for any questions or itinerary suggestions. Plus, you will wake up in the morning to a homemade breakfast made by Jane and Lisa who welcome the opportunity to help you plan a fabulous visit. Just give us a call today to book your room and begin enjoying all that East Haddam has to offer!