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Old House, New Tenants

March 2023
1min read

The destruction of the old Trowbridge-Hotchkiss house is not necessarily a harbinger of the fate of the later Hotchkiss house portrayed in the same article. George D. Vaill, Assistant Secretary of Yale University, who reported on the Nathan Hale Statue in our last issue, tells us of a situation where, it seems, the residents rather than the house are threatened: The Henry Hotchkiss house, pictured on pages 74 and 75 (exterior) and pages 78 and 79 (interior), has recently been occupied, successively, by President Kingman Brewster, Jr., when he was Provost, and by Reuben A. Holden, who was Secretary of the University. It is presently the home of Horace D. Taft, Dean of Yale College, son of Senator Robert A. Taft and grandson of President William Howard Taft.
The capacious basement of the house, entered at a lower level from another street, has, from time to time, served as an annex to the Peabody Museum of Natural History. Several years ago, during the Holdens’ tenancy, a boa constrictor escaped from its cage in the cellar and apparently made its way into a partition—there seemed to be no other avenue of egress which it could have followed. The reptile was never thereafter seen again and may still be alive somewhere in the walls of the house. It is said that a boa constrictor can live for a very long time with little food, water, or human companionship.

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