Who was Henry Bill?
From the Norwich Evening Record - Souvenir Edition published in 1894
The late Hon. Henry Bill was a most valued citizen of Norwich. He was born in that part
of Groton now known as Ledyard, May 18, 1824. As a boy he set for himself a high standard of honor, forming in early life those principles which with ambition and energy, made his later years so successfull and influential. Beginning active life while yet in his teens as a school teacher, first at Preston, and afterwards at Plainfield and Groton, he then became interested in the work of publication, and in 1847 located in this city, starting on
his own account in the publishing business. From a comparatively small beginning, by good management, energy and skill, the business met with extraordinary success and
grew to large proportions. Some years before his death he formed a stock company-the present Henry Bill Publishing Company, on Shetucket street- and, turning the business
over to younger hands, partially retired from active life.
Mr. Bill was for more than 30 years vice president of the Chelsea Savings Bank, and was
for two years its president, only resigning that office on account of declining health. He served in the state senate in 1853, when he was the youngest member of that body. Although in early life his sympathies were drawn toward the free soil party, in 1856 he became a republican,
and in 1868 during the Grant campaign was one of the presidential electors on that ticket.
Mr. Bill was a valued friend of Governor Buckingham, and during the war was much relied uponby him for advice and assistance. After the war closed he gave freely on his time and means to the education of the colored people of the south. The full extent of the generosity and benevolence of this public-spirited will never be known. Many poor and needy obtained relief through his kindness and all worthy matters of a public nature were assured his hearty support. It has been said that in no solitary instance was his generous assistance found wanting in behalf of the Broadway church or its charitable enterprises. He was the founder of Laurel Hill; Laurel Hill park was presented by him to the citizens of Norwich. He established in his native town of Ledyard the Bill library, containing three thousand volumes, and one of his last acts was to arrange for the erection of a library building, which in connection with his brothers, has since been accomplish. Mr. Bill was always known as a man of solid character, and from youth up had the respect of his fellow citizens.
Mount Crescent House, also known as the Henry Bill House, stands beautifully in its original exterior since Henry Bill, a successful book publisher of illustrated Bibles, first purchased the Italianate mansion in 1856. It was bought for $25,000 in cash, which was considered one of the largest transactions made at that time. The house was later acquired by Norwich Free Academy, an independent high school that is still in operation today. When the house became a private residence again, the interiors were redesigned and restored by reknown architect, Maya Lin. Today, the Mount Crescent House Bed & Breakfast is open for all the rediscover the beauty of
the Rose of New England.
Brief Timeline of History
Henry Bill House
Purchased by Henry Bill, a successful
book publisher who sold illustrated Bibles.
Norwich Free Academy purchased the house
for its Home Economics class.
It was later occupied by a private school which ranged from Pre-K through Grade 8.
Became residential again and the owner hired Maya Lin to redesign the interior. Lin had just completed her Master Degree in Architecture at Yale and won a public design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1981.
Converted into a bed & breakfast as an attraction to showcase the cultural and historical heritage of Norwich to the world.
Maya Lin is an American architectural designer and artist who is known for her work in sculpture and landscape art. She is best known as the designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. [Continue to read...] // Source: Wikipedia
Maya Lin / 林瓔
The Henry Bill House was converted into the Mount Crescent House Bed & Breakfast in 2014.
It was named after Natalie Lee's parents' names; her father's name meaning "mountain" and
her mother's meaning "moon." Two luxury rooms are dedicated in their memory while each of
the other rooms highlight the wonders of New England.
The library room is stocked with books on American history, culture, and geography. Over $1200 worth of used books were from the Otis Library biannual book sale. Natalie's father, Mr. Chun Tai Lee was born in Shandong province of China, in a farm with the same house address as The Henry Bill House. He later became a history teacher and was the author of Bible, Christian, and the World History. Coincidentally, Henry Bill was also a publisher of illustrated Bibles. A section of our library is resourced with books on the related topic. There are still empty shelves left waiting to be filled...
Today, Mount Crescent House still captures the mansion's architectural beauty and originality.
In keeping with Henry Bill's legendary inspiration, visitors are encouraged to strengthen one's attainment in positivity-thinking and focus on the hopes, joys, and motivations in life.