Friday, May 25, 2012

Now Serving ...

For the past 230 years, the land that is now occupied by the Hanover Inn has been the site of an inn or tavern. The first proprietor on site was Captain Ebenezer Brewster who had come up from Connecticut with Eleazar Wheelock to serve as the College Steward. In 1782, Brewster converted his home to a tavern. Perhaps tiring of the business of serving drinks to students, Brewster leased the building in 1802 to Mr. Dewey who ran a coffee house there for the next 11 years.

The Curtis Hotel, 1826
In 1813 a new building was erected on the site and this eventually became the Curtis Hotel in 1816. Jonathan Currier purchased the hotel in 1838 and used the building as a private residence and boarding house until 1857. Currier sold the building to Horace Frary who performed extensive renovations on what came to be called the Dartmouth Hotel. The accommodations were spartan - heat was intermittent in rooms that had it and a bath was considered an exotic request. The hotel was destroyed, rather dramatically, in a seven-hour conflagration in 1887.

The Dartmouth Hotel
The Wheelock
Menus and Publicity
Following the fire, the Trustees of the College bought the property and constructed a new hotel on the site that they named the Wheelock. The quality of the construction of the Wheelock was subpar and the building underwent a drastic reconstruction only 12 years later after which it was renamed the Hanover Inn. In 1923 a new wing was added almost doubling the size of the hotel. Avid skiers Ford and Peggy Sayre took over the management of the Inn in 1936, using it as headquarters for their famous ski school. In 1966 the main building, so completely renovated in 1902, was razed and replaced by the fa├žade we are all familiar with.

The Hanover Inn, 1967
Today we watch and wait for the next iteration of the Inn to appear from behind trucks, scaffolding and sheeting. Rumor has it the wait will soon be over; the Inn is set to reopen - at least in part - for Reunion weekend.

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