Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hotel Northampton and Wiggins Old Tavern, Massachusetts

Loom Room in the Country Store
Hotel Northampton and Wiggins Old Tavern at Northampton, Massachusetts

An Inn of Colonial Charm
Lewis N. Wiggins, Landlord


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The history of the hotel begins with Lewis Wiggins, an entrepreneur who had a great interest in preserving the Colonial Revival theme when constructing the Hotel Northampton in 1927. An integral element of Wiggins' concept was to achieve museum status for the hotel's furnishings, and to this end he acquired antiques both for the hotel and for his own collection. Many of these antiques still grace the hallways, restaurants, and lobby. The collection was added to daily, and by 1937 Wiggins employed a full-time antiquarian curator with a staff of up to 15. Two staff members were assigned only to mingle with the guests and discuss the hotel and its antiques.

Some 141 years earlier in 1786, Benjamin Wiggins, a direct ancestor of Lewis Wiggins, opened Wiggins Tavern in Hopkinton, New Hampshire. During the Tavern's time, Benjamin Wiggins established a reputation with both travelers and area residents for the finest food and spirits in the region.

Lewis Wiggins eventually decided to move the old tavern to the Hotel Northampton. Meticulous attention to detail was taken in reassembling the tavern in its new home. Carved paneling, hand-hewn beams, and stone and brick hearths were all carefully reconstructed. Antiques from both the original tavern and from other parts of New England were painstakingly collected to finish the restoration of the interior. Today, the tavern is much as it was over two hundred years ago when Ben Wiggins greeted his guests at the door and served them his famous American fare and baked goods.

Through its 200-year history, Wiggins Tavern has been host to visitors from all over the world. Among the many travelers who have stopped here for a relaxing meal are Eleanor Roosevelt, Herbert Hoover, Calvin Coolidge, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Richard Nixon. More recently, guests have included Tom Crusie, Stephen King, Nicole Kidman, Tim Robbins, Wynton Marsalis,  and Leonard Nemoy.

No comments: