The Kelo House, also known as the Little Pink House, was built in 1890 in a residential area of New London by John Bishop, a prominent local carpenter. It had various owners after Carpenter’s death in 1893 and few years later was moved to the Fort Trumbull neighborhood of New London. In the late 1980s, the Little Pink House and the house next to it were restored by the preservationist, Avner Gregory. On the market for many years, the house was not occupied until Susette Kelo moved in in 1997. When the City of New London sought to use the right of eminent domain to acquire the neighborhood for private development (which would bring in more tax money) it started a legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2005. Although Kelo lost in Kelo vs. City of New London, the public reaction to the abuse of eminent domain laws led to citizen activism and new reform legislation in favor of property owners. Three years after the decision, in 2008, the house was rededicated on a new site on Franklin Street in New London. The house had been reacquired and moved by Avner Gregory and stands as a monument, with an explanatory plaque out front, to the battle over eminent domain. A new book about the case, Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage, by Jeff Benedict, has just been published.
Houses, New London, Vernacular