An Episcopal Society in East Haddam was formed in 1791 by members of the First Congregational Church, who perhaps left that congregation because of plans to build a new meeting house too far from the Connecticut River landings. In 1795, the Society built the first St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on a hill overlooking the East Haddam river landings. The current church building, at 31 Main Street, was consecrated in 1890. It was built on land offered to the church by Judge Julius Attwood. The church was constructed in an eclectic Victorian mode in which the Shingle style predominates. The church’s bell, acquired in 1834-1835, came from a Spanish monastery and bears an inscription with the date 815. After the congregation moved to the current church, the bell sat on a wall near the church until a bell tower was completed in 1904.
Standing high above the level of the street in East Haddam is the Reuben Cone House, at 92 Main Street. It was built around 1760. Reuben Cone was born in East Haddam in 1723 and died in Nova Scotia in 1798.
One of the prominent Victorian-era residences in East Haddam is the Boardman House at 8 Norwich Road. Luther Boardman and his son Norman S. Boardman owned factories which produced Britannia spoons and nickel, silver, and silver plated ware. The Boardmans built two notable mansions in East Haddam, one of which is the house at 8 Norwich Road, an Italianate villa built around 1860. The National Register of Historic Places nomination for the East Haddam Historic District lists the house as the Luther Boardman House, while an 1880 bird’s-eye-view of East Haddam lists it as the residence of N.S. Boardman. In more recent years, the residence housed an antiques shop and is today a luxury inn called The Boardman House.
Near Goodspeed Landing in East Haddam is the house built by Horace Hayden in 1818. Hayden, born in Essex in 1786, was a shipbuilder. According to Paine Family Records, Vol. I (1880), edited by H.D. Paine:
When a young man he was captain of a vessel. In the year 1812, during the war, was wounded by a shot from the enemy, and his vessel burned to the water’s edge, thereby losing all his personal property. He first married Nancy Green, by whom he had three children, Nancy, Nehemiah and Horace. In 1840 he completed a brick store, filled it with goods and placed it in charge of his sons. He was a man beloved by all. The poor always received aid from him, none ever being sent away empty from his door. His funeral was the largest that had ever been attended in East Haddam at that time. He was a member of the Episcopal Church.
The house is now a Bed and Breakfast known as Bishopsgate Inn.
A tavern, known as the Riverside Inn, was built on the future site of today’s Gelston House, in East Haddam, by Jabez Chapman in 1736. From 1776 to 1825, the property was operated by the Gelston family. It was next owned by Joseph Goodspeed. In 1853, the core of the current building was erected by the Gelston Hotel Company, a corporation formed by a number of East Haddam residents and headed by George Gelston. This was known as the Gelston House and later the Swan Hotel. In 1876, the Goodspeed Opera House was built next door and today the Gelston House is owned by the Goodspeed Opera House Foundation and has a Restaurant and guest rooms.