This building, pictured about 1910, began life in 1888 as the Simpson House, a hotel with a deep-water wharf for steamships. The three‑story building with a commanding view from the tower had ten bedrooms, a parlor, a reading room and a dining room that could seat 100 people. The opening day was a gala event with a band ferried across the harbor to the new hotel’s wharf and guests enjoying food, dancing and fireworks.
However the hotel floundered, most likely due to the completion of the much larger Samoset built a year later across the Rockland Harbor. It was sold in 1904 to Bancroft School in New Jersey, which was established by Margaret Bancroft to provide services to developmentally disabled children. Several buildings, including those for sleeping quarters and schoolrooms, were constructed for the new summer home of the children attending Bancroft School. The building shown in this photograph was remodeled and renamed Garthgannon Lodge.
Facing financial difficulties, the summer home was closed in 1991, and the property was sold to a developer in 1998. Garthgannon was demolished shortly thereafter.
Bonnie Dyer Post
Mussel Ridge Historical Society