Hotel of Presidents — Jed Prouty Tavern and Inn
Back to normal, well, normal for the standards of this blog, with a shorter article today.
Today I’ve got another place that you could visit, or you could save yourself some money on a plane ticket by just reading this blog.
Either way, this time we’re in Bucksport, Maine, USA for a Tavern and Inn named after the Broadway musical comedy, Old Jed Prouty (1889), which was written by William Gill and Richard Golden, a member of staff at the inn. The play toured nationally with over 3,000 performances and helped popularise Down East humour, a rural type of humour. Ooo arr.
Built in approximately 1780 (Wikipedia) or 1783 (Facebook) by Asa Peabody, the Tavern and Inn was initially intended as a double house for two families. In 1820, the house was extended into a 17-bedroom hotel by Mr. Sparhawk.
The establishment’s name was eponymously changed in 1850 to Robinson House after ownership was taken over by Daniel Robinson — fancy naming a hotel after yourself, someone must have thought highly of themselves.
The hotel welcomed four presidents to its premises, including Martin Van Buren, James Buchanan, John Tyler, and William Henry Harrison. Admiral Robert Peary also made a stay in the tavern for a few months before leading the first ever expedition to the North Pole.
In recent times, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986 and converted into care facility for the elderly in the 1990s before being put up for auction in 2011. The auction failed to find a buyer, but town officials offered a $200,000 loan to pay the costly renovations for the rotting building.
Renovations appear to have been completed, and is now home to the Jed Prouty Assisted Living Center.
A happy ending. Let’s hope no one tries to ruin it.
· Bucksport was known as Buckstown before the British occupied the port town in 1817. It’s a town and port, can’t we just be friends and call it Bucksportown or Buckstownport?
· In 1860, the Tavern and Inn was bought for $787.26 including furnishings, that’s approximately $22,153.88 in 2017, which is less than the starting value ($30,000) when it was auctioned as a dilapidated building in 2011.
· Some speculate that the actor Jed Prouty changed his name to capitalise off the popularity of the Jed Prouty Tavern and Inn.
· Ethel Cunningham started working at the inn as a waitress in 1937, she returned in 2012 to work in the care home.
Did you play “Clicks to Hitler/Jesus”? Comment your scores.