Charles Island House mural on display at Party in the Stacks

The Charles Island House painting currently on display on the main floor of the Milford Library is part of a four-panel mural that depicts Charles Island and the Island House in the mid-1800s.  The mural was painted by Connecticut artist Bill Meddick on the walls of the Pier II Restaurant formerly on Naugatuck Avenue at Walnut Beach.

The Charles Island House Hotel was originally built as a private home in 1835 by John Harris, a wealthy merchant from New York. Harris’s house was the first permanent home on the Island – a 2.5-story, 35-room summer mansion in the Island’s center with verandas wrapping both stories and surrounded by cherry trees, green lawns and flower gardens.   

In 1852 Elizu Pritchard, a button manufacturer from Waterbury, bought Harris’s mansion and transformed it into a summer hotel resort, adding features such as a dining room, a dance pavilion, and bowling alleys. Charles Island House (later called Ansantawae House) became a favorite summer resort for more than 15 years, with guests ferried by daily excursion steamers from New Haven and Bridgeport. The resort closed in 1868.  

Meddick’s painting shows the hotel as it looked when it first opened and is based on the 1853 engraving created to promote the new hotel. The engraving is now on exhibit near the mural.

When the Pier II Restaurant was demolished several years ago, all the Meddick murals painted on the restaurant’s walls were saved and stored. Other scenes Meddick created in the restaurant included City Hall, Milford High School and the Walnut Beach amusement park at night. The stored murals are now part of the City of Milford’s William Meddick Permanent Art Collection.   

People will have an additional chance to view the mural on Saturday, Oct. 20, during the Party in the Stacks! from 7 to 10 p.m. The Friends of the Milford Library sponsor the annual fundraiser for the library. This year’s theme is Legends of Charles Island — a celebration of seafaring literature.

Costumes are encouraged but are optional. The emcee for the evening is Brian Smith.

Sponsors include The Crushed Grape, The Milford Bank, ShopRite of Milford, Sterling Printing and Graphics, and The Williams Agency.

Tickets are $50 and.may be purchased at the Milford Library circulation desk or on the library’s website (Friends’ page). Milford Library is located at 57 New Haven Avenue, Milford. Additional information is available at, call 203 783-3291 or check the library’s website;