Posted by: winteridge | November 25, 2008

Glastonbury Inn revisited…


old glastonbury sales brochure

old glastonbury sales brochure

Today I was surfing some Lewis County research stuff, and found an inquiry about the old Glastonbury Inn, formerly in Houseville, NY.  My family had some ties to that landmark; I had not thought of it in years.  Seems this gentleman’s brother-in-law, who had recently passed away, lived there as a boy, and the family wanted a drawing of the inn.  As it happens, I recently came across, while moving, a newspaper article on the inn, and will scan and send it to him.

The Glastonbury was built in 1808 by Eleazer House, whom I believe was the founder of Houseville, and was famous as an inn, tavern, and stagecoach stop on the Utica-Lowville run.  No, I wasn’t around then-I’m not that old.  Over the years, it boasted a bowling alley, dance hall, 14 rooms, and was used as a resort, grocery store, farmhouse, and vacation spot.

The Inn was vacant when my brother Jim bought it in the 1970’s, dreaming of using it as a camp, snowmobile hotel, the possibilities were near endless.  Snowmobiling was just getting popular, and the Snow Ridge ski center is just down the road a bit.  He remodeled, insulated, rewired, patched and tore apart; there was a lot to be done.  My dad did a beautiful job rebuilding the kitchen.  There was a beautiful enormous old fireplace with mirrors and brick and mahogany mantle, and hardwood floors.  There must have been some good times around that fireplace.  I can remember working there on wintry days; one could almost hear the voices and laughter of the stagecoach travelers from bygone days.  Of course, some said it was haunted.  Jim recalls having something playfully moving his tools around when he was working there, but he felt it was a friendly something.  My Pa, usually known as a sensible and sober sort, quit working there alone at night, after someone tapped him on the shoulder one winter eve.  He thought it was Jim fooling with him, but when he turned around-no one there…  Maybe just ol’ Eleazer giving him a “well done”.

Jim finally decided that the renovation he wanted would be too costly, so he rented it out as a residence for a few years, while trying to sell it.  It finally burned to the ground one winter night when the wood stove could no longer keep up with the 40 below Tug Hill wind chill.  Luckily the family was all sleeping in the living room near the stove, and all got out safely. Another legend gone.  Great old building though.

A lot of the outbuildings were gone by then.

A lot of the outbuildings were gone by then.

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Responses

  1. I just heard from the family that was looking for photos. Seems they lived in the house before my brother owned it, when it still had barns and outbuildings. They also dreamed of restoring the inn, but it didn’t work out. Interesting, after all these years.

  2. Received this from the widow of the former tenant. I’m sure she would not mind my sharing it:
    WOW! chris just loved that fireplace! I think he loved that house and
    that country too! Chris joined the Navy and made a career of it in the
    electronics field. He was part of Operation Deep Freeze in Antarctica.
    He was responsible for the satellite link and phone connection from
    Antarctica and the first live broadcast ever… which was aired on
    PBS. Mt. Rhone in the Bucknell Ridge in Antarctica is named for him!
    I guess if you can survive growing up on Tug Hill, Antarctica is a
    piece of cake!
    Chris passed away in August.
    Most of the rest of the family lives in the area now but they keep in
    contact with their friends and neighbors from Houseville.
    I am looking forward to seeing any pictures you can send of the” Inn” .
    Thank you!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
    Joyce

  3. I just came upon this post and was so excited. I am a direct descendant of Eleazer House. I have found lots of information about the Inn but had never seen these pictures. I wish I had known it was still standing in the 1970’s. I thought it had burned down way before that. I would love the scanned pictures you sent to the other reader. I have a family picture of about 35 House ancestors in front of the Inn in 1890 and could send you that if you are interested. My husband and I went to Houseville 2 yrear ago–oh how I wished the Inn was still there! But Joseph House’s home was still there and we stayed at the Old Church Inn. Tromped through the cemetery looking for the House, Goff, and Bush ancestors stones. Do you have an old post-card of the Inn? There is a copy of one in Hough’s book. Thank you for your post. Would love to hear from you. Debbi

    PS–So glad your family got out safely!

  4. Hi Debbi: Great to hear from you. It was a great old house, even in the run-down condition we found it in. Would love to have heard some of the stories from its’ history. My brother Jim was the owner, and he and our Dad did a lot of work on it. I think I still have those pics somewhere on my computer, will search when I have some time. This is what I love about the internet.

    • Any luck in finding the pictures? Oh, how i wish I could have seen it. My dad went several times with his dad. It sure looked like a grand place for such a tiny little village! Debbi

  5. have not had time to look…busy moving and opening boxes and such. soon I hope. yes, it must have been a grand place, with the fireplace, bowling alleys, banquet hall, and such. some great stories lost there.


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