Next for the Wrecking Ball in Greenwich? Sun-Dial Apartments, Formerly Silleck House

sun dial apartments 2The March 8 Planning & Zoning commission meeting has a curious application on its tentative agenda.

Morgan Jenkins, the same man who had an unfortunate incident with his boat during the powerful wind event on Wednesday, is seeking to demolish the existing structures at 702 Steamboat Road and construct a new 16,919 square foot multi-family building containing eight units with underground parking.

Many residents will recognize the existing structure at 702 Steamboat for its hodge podge of porches, fire escapes and satellite dishes visible from the Island Beach Ferry. The apartments, known today as the Sun-Dial apartments, sit next door to  Indian Harbor Yacht Club.

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View of the Sun-Dial apartments from Grass Island. Feb. 26, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

Greenwich Library historian Carl White wrote his Greenwich Library history blog, Historically Speaking, that the apartments have a unique history stemming back to one of Greenwich’s founding families. In 1838 Jared Mead built a tavern over several root cellars, hoping to attract wealthy summer visitors from New York City.

According to Mr. White’s blog, at the time, there were woods and cultivated fields on three sides, and access to the water on the west.  Mead named his boarding hotel  ‘The White House.’

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Sun-Dial apartments from Steamboat Road. Feb. 26, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

“It was a quiet location, which made it an ideal vacation spot.  Unfortunately, The White House proved to be unsuccessful.  Ironically, Mead was unable to get the very food supplies that were grown in Greenwich and shipped to New York,” White stated in his blog post.

After years of struggling, Mr. Mead sold the hotel to two women who sold it a year later to Thaddeus Silleck, who renamed it the “Silleck House.”

Mr. White said that in 1850, Silleck House was the oldest hotel on either side of Long Island Sound between New York and Stonington, and the arrival of the railroad contributed to the hotel’s success. In the 1920s, the house was fitted for steam heat, and this made it possible for the boarding house to be open year round.


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arched entrance to sun dial apartments

Stone arch alongside Steamboat Rd with Sun-dial apartments in background. Feb. 26, 2016 Credit: Leslie Yager

Mr. White acknowledged that Rhoda Jenkins, Morgan Jenkins’ mother, provided a great deal of information on Silleck House.  A young Rhoda Jenkins boarded at the hotel with her family.

Born in 1920, Rhoda Barney Jenkins passed away in August of 2007. Her mother, Nora Stanton Barney, a graduate of Cornell University, was the country’s first female civil engineer. A fourth generation feminist, Rhoda was the great-granddaughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who wrote “The Declaration of Sentiments” that opened the seminal 1848 Seneca Falls Convention for Women’s Rights.

Rhoda received an architecture degree from University of Pennsylvania in 1941, earned a pilot’s license, and worked on a variety of projects during her career. In 1948, Rhoda married Frederick Davis Jenkins with whom she had two children, Morgan and Coline, who also makes her home in Greenwich.

Stay tuned…

See also:

Boat and Dock Are Casualties of Wednesday Night’s Winds

Up to the Minute Greenwich Property Transfers, Feb. 22-24, 2016


 

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Email news tips to Greenwich Free Press editor Leslie.Yager@GreenwichFreePress.com
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  • John B.

    Attention Town Hall- Instead of losing ANOTHER Greenwich Landmark to build more Hoity-Toity housing, how about restoring this great building back to a quaint AFFORDABLE B&B /Hotel with docks.
    Go to Block Island or the North Shore of Long Island and see many that are successful . Restraunts, shops and the Museum would all benefit .

    • Rob MEE

      “Town hall” doesn’t build anything so to,suggest that the “town hall” make this into an affordable Greenwich waterfront bed and breakfast is absolutely ignorant. Ignorant from a business perspective, and from your lack of understanding basic town government. My equally ridiculous suggestion: you buy the property and you turn it into an affordable bed and breakfast. All you would need is about $25 million to purchase the property and renovate it. Then once you spend the $25 million you could make it affordable. Let me k ow when you would,like to do that.

  • harry fisk

    Okay…Greenwich Free Press. Here is how to write a story on a historic building.
    -When was the current main structure actually built (you don’t say).
    -Is the building sound and up to code.
    -What cool architectural features remain in the building? Are the old root cellars still there? etc. etc.

    • Judy Goss

      If you want to do the leg work, I’m sure it would get included in an article

  • greenwichfreepress

    Next for the Wrecking Ball in Greenwich is intended to be a heads-up to residents who might want to send a letter to the building official at Town Hall to object to a historic demolition. It’s not intended to be an in depth historical feature, though we do plenty of them (Condé Nast, Clam Box, Mianus Bridge Collapse) We’ll follow Sun-Dial as it wends its way through Town Hall.

  • achris von Keyserling

    When one wishes to see the results of young Morgan’s scrape and rebuild, look to his property on Lawrence Street in central Greenwich.
    It is the most curious barn-and-bridge design to max out the property’s rental values. But it “sure don’t blend”.

  • John B.

    Renovate it, and make it a waterfront Bed & Breakfast w/ a dock.

  • Kate

    Excellent article!