The notorious Tammany Hall Boss, William M. Tweed — who stole millions of New York City taxpayer money in the 19th century with sham municipal contracts — wore a 10-carat diamond on his shirt front worth half a million in today’s money. We wonder: Did he sport the famous jewel as he strutted about the Gelston House?
That’s right, Boss Tweed himself sought the salubrious air of the lower Connecticut River, when he and his family retreated to East Haddam in the years before the Civil War. The rivertown then was among the most fashionable watering places in New England, boasting two steamboat landings, each with its own hotel, saloon, and other attractions. City swells flocked to the flossy Steamboat Hotel, which graced the Upper Landing a mile above Goodspeed’s. Later, the Steamboat Hotel was renamed the Champion House.