Your Turn: The history of New London's Hollandersky mansion
The Hollandersky mansion at 194 Lower Boulevard in New London (formerly 88 Parkway South) has a rich history for my family and me.
In the early 1900s Meyer Hollandersky, my grandfather, helped to build the two-and-a-half story, 7,297-square-foot amazing mansion that he and my grandmother Anna purchased and called home, along with other structures on the property needed for a comfortable life.
Anna Strom was born in Russia in 1890, and Meyer Hollandersky was born in Montville in 1893. Anna came to the United States when she was a young girl, and Anna and Meyer were married in 1915.
My father, Warren, was born at the mansion and he and his brother, Gilbert were raised there, until they went off to college.
Meyer was an alderman and police commissioner for the City of New London.
He was also quite the entrepreneur. For many years he owned the very successful Warren-Gilbert Insurance Company and Gilbert-Warren Realty Company, Inc.
Meyer built The ASH Building at 324 State St., which is named after Anna Strom Hollandersky, my grandmother. In the 1950s my father owned Spare Time Bowling located downstairs in the ASH Building. To this day I still meet people that were “pin setters” at my father’s bowling alley, as there were no electronic pin setting machines when the bowling alley opened.
Meyer also built the building at 153 Bank St. which has “Hollandersky” engraved in stone at the top front of the building. Meyer built, bought, managed and sold numerous other buildings in New London over the years.
At age 17, Meyer was the president of the Young Men’s Fraternal League for Working Men. In 1927 Meyer was reported as the largest individual tax payer in the city of New London.
Meyer’s business success allowed him and the family to live a great life in New London.
The mansion was beautiful. The front of the mansion still has the covered area where the horse-drawn carriages would pull up to the home.
The front entrance has a raised area and the remnants of the former opening in the railing that allowed women to step out of their carriage and directly onto the entrance rather than onto the ground. This helped to keep their long clothing and shoes clean.
There was a separate entrance and living quarters on the right side of the house for their staff. Several staff helped to maintain the home and the grounds, cooked for the family and completed other work they were hired to do.
In the basement, a wall of storage closets for food and other supplies the staff used to take care of the home still remains.
Anna, on her many trips to Europe and the Orient, often brought back wonderful things she found for their home. Many of the rooms in the mansion have fireplaces which originally were the main source of heat. Several of the fireplaces have beautiful ornate hearths, mantles and side panels exquisitely designed with hand painted details brought here from afar.
Several of the fixtures and stained-glass windows were also brought back from overseas. Some rooms have drawers and recessed closets built into the wall to hang and store clothes.
Many years later radiators were installed throughout the house.
The carriage house is a separate building to the right of the house, and was used to store the horse- drawn carriages. It has four double-wide doors to allow the carriages easy access and has extra space to work and to store maintenance supplies. The carriage house still stands and is a part of the original property.
The house to the right of the carriage house was originally the barn where the horses that were needed to pull the carriages were kept. The A frame portion of the house is the original part of the barn. The back of the house still has the original split barn door. The top of the door could swing open while leaving the bottom of the door closed. This enabled the horses to get air while remaining secured in the barn.
This house is no longer a part of The Hollandersky mansion property, and an addition has been put on.
Like so many other people, during the Great Depression of the 1930s Meyer came on difficult financial times. Meyer was good friends with Mr. Louziuotis, who lent Meyer $1,500 to help pay his mortgage. Meyer insisted he have a signed note from Meyer for the loan, so he didn’t lose the money if the home was later repossessed.
Mr. Louziuotis did not want the note from Meyer, but Meyer insisted. Times became more and more difficult and the Hollandersky mansion, their home, was being foreclosed. Mr. Louziuotis bought the property.
When originally converted into apartments, the building was called The Warren Apartments. The top floor was the attic and has since been made into two apartments, for a total of seven apartments that are now present in The Hollandersky Mansion.
Mr. Louziuotis’ son, Demetrios (Jim), later took over the property. It is interesting to me that what was once the home of one family of four is now the home of seven families.
In 2018 Jim Louziuotis gave my sister Linda and me a tour of the building and two apartments that were empty at the time. He told us the story of the entire property and how he acquired it. Jim also told us how he did as much as possible to keep the original interior and exterior intact.
On Jan. 2, 2020, Shankaiahagri Saikumar purchased the property and in April 2020 Jim Louziuotis died of COVID-19 at the age of 92.