by Amy Pjura
photo by Alexis Ann
On Monday, October 5th, The Thames Club, New London, showed off its new gateway and restored façade entrances to the Club during a ribbon cutting ceremony. The steel arch was designed by Barun Basu, Barun Basu Associates, and fabricated by Stapleton Steel, Inc. The project was funded by The Thames Club Foundation and the City of New London, as part of the city’s façade grant program.
Members of the Club, city officials, and members of the community all agreed that the gateway is a wonderful improvement of the Club and the City. The steel gateway does not take away from the historical structures around it, but adds a modern flair that is inviting. Frank McLaughlin, House Committee Chairman, Thames Club, says, “This archway is the perfect fit for this area between the two historical buildings.”
The Thames Club was established in 1869, and in 1888 Thames Club made its permanent home on 290 State Street, New London. The building was destroyed by a fire in 1904, and the present building was built on the site.
Once you walk into the Thames Club, you notice the rich colors and details in the woodwork around doorways. It is a very welcoming feeling and you can sense the pride that each member has for the club. Jerry Olsen, member, and co-owner, Olde Mistick Village, says that the Club “is the oldest club in Connecticut, going back over 100 years. It’s not commercial.” He also said that if you are a member of the Thames Club, you are welcomed into other club across the US.
On a tour around the Club, Lorraine Allen, 2006-2007 President, I was lead to the antique pin bowling lanes and Silhouette Room. The Thames Club has many activities, including bowling leagues, dinners, wine tastings, and children’s events. Lorraine said that not only is the Club a great way to network, but also to meet new friends, and get out of the everyday routine. She dubbed the club as an “oasis of civilization.”