Lewis was also active in politics and philanthropy. He served four terms as state representative and three terms as mayor. In addition, he was president of a local bank and provided financial support for temperance societies, St. Paul's Universalist Church, and the Meriden City Mission.
The house reflects Lewis' social standing. Although it is large, it is not extravagant like other homes of prominent businessmen such as those found in Newport or other resorts. Lewis also did not employ a large servant staff; he did not host big gatherings or guests. The cottage, then, was meant to be a place to relax and be comfortable rather than a showpiece to flaunt to others.