The Bidwell House
This Greek revival style hotel was built in 1822 by Solomon Bidwell on a one hundred forty acre track of land. The ell was added by Solomon's son, Lyman Bidwell, around 1850. The property descended to Lyman's son and daughter in-law, Charles and Lydia Bidwell who operated the establishment until Charles's premature death in 1881 at age 26. During the mid-19th century the hotel also served as the South Coventry Post Office. A Ballroom on the third floor was said to have been a popular gathering place. The double porches were added around 1908. When the trolley started in 1909, the Bidwell House became a stop for the trolley line that can between Willimantic and Lakeside Park at Lake Wamgumbaug. By the 1880's most of the one hundred forty acres had been sold. In a 1901 seven page hand written mortgage of the property the Bidwell House was listed as consisting of "2½ acres, 33 room hotel, barn, auto garage, shed, hen coops, the right of using the two springs of water" and a list of the entire contents of the hotel including salt & pepper shakers and chamber pots. When Lydia Bidwell Josselyn died in 1918, a judge determined the rightful descendants to be Charles Bidwell's sisters. In 1920 the property was sold to Edward Navens by the estate of Charles Fitch and Mary Bidwell Clark.
Thus ended the Bidwell family connection to this property. Mr. Navens and his family operated the hotel for 16 years. They added Pan-Am gas station and in 1933 leased part of the lower level to Frank Parker who opened a tavern. In 1937 Judd Fitch became the new owner. Subsequent tavern owners were Leo T. Flaherty in 1944 and Fred Flaherty in 1956. The property was sold in 1968 to T. Leo Flaherty and the tavern was converted to a Package Store. Since 1982 the property has changed hands four times and in the early 1980s, the hotel was converted to private apartments.