Inn at Shadow Lawn
A lovely Victorian mansion built by the famous architect, Richard Upjohn, the Inn at Shadow Lawn is now a lovely B&B, complete with crystal chandeliers, stained glass windows and heirloom china. Not far from Newport, Shadow Lawn was built for Hamilton Hoppin, one of two argumentative brothers. It seems the house invited angst, even after the initial owner died.
According to local lore, in 1913 a young heiress and her husband moved in to the beautiful mansion. For a while they seemed quite happy, but he was young and, as a doctor in the town, had many reasons to meet with his patients. Especially the attractive ones. He soon tired of his wealthy wife and began a pattern of cheating on her—often and sometimes publicly. Perhaps his boldest move was using a hefty part of her inheritance to purchase one of the first automobiles. Sure, he took her out in it a few times for a spin, but soon it was just a convenient way to travel to and from his trysts. A flashy car impressed the ladies, even then it seems.
His wife, utterly disillusioned would wait by the windows facing the drive. Every day she waited. And every day he’d come home, fresh from his womanizing ways, expecting she would simply accept his behavior. She did for a while. Then one day in June she took matters into her own hands. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was the knowledge he’d been using her for her money. In the end it doesn’t matter. It is relatively well-accepted that she had a gun, and he was an idiot.
She waited in the bushes by the driveway and when her ne’er-do-well spouse rumbled in and stepped out of the vehicle, she shot him. She was charged with his murder but finally acquitted. There had been no witnesses, although everyone in town could surely imagine her motivation. But murdering one’s spouse (even a flaky philandering spouse) was “simply not done” in that era. So, although she never served jail time, it seems that the town shunned her.
Living a tortured and then lonely life, it is no wonder some aspect of her seems to linger around the beautiful house where she had dreamed so often of happiness. Occasionally mysterious footsteps are heard and a filmy figure has been spotted near the windows she used to watch for her husband through. Is she hoping he’ll return again and they’ll reach a reconciliation? Maybe. Or perhaps she’s just hoping to get one more shot at him.