Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Hotel Windham, Bellows Falls, Vermont




My transcription of a letter written on Hotel Windham stationary was the basis for my post on Monday. It got me thinking about the hotel, and I was able to find some old news, and some new stories about it. Hotel Windham is located in Bellows Falls, Vermont, on the Connecticut River forming the border between Vermont and New Hampshire. I’ve passed through Bellows Falls a few times in my life, but never got out of the car to explore.

The first hotel at the site of the Hotel Windham was built in 1816, known as “Webb’s Hotel”, and later as “Robertson’s Tavern”. Later it was run by a stagecoach business as “The Bellows Falls Stage House” until it burned in 1860. The next building was called the Towns Hotel in Bellows Falls, Vermont, it was destroyed by a fire in 1899 and in 1912. The Hotel Windham, which my great grandfather stayed in 1929 was destroyed by a fire in 1932. It was an old railroad hotel, run by the company that ran the trains in this part of New England. It was rebuilt in 1933, yet has been empty for the past 20 years. It is the fourth hotel on the site.

The Hotel Windham was purchased recently by the Windham Development Group composed of three owners: Tony Elliott, Jay Eschelman and Erik Leo. The project is estimated to cost as much as $3 million, and includes a 12 room hotel and office space as well a “community supported” restaurant. Customers would buy shares in the restaurant in exchange for later meals, like community farms or cooperative farm plans. I don’t know when construction will begin, nor when it is scheduled to be completed.

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For more information:

History of the town of Rockingham, Vermont by Lyman Simpson Haynes, published by the town of Bellows Falls, Vermont, 1907.

http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20100323/NEWS02/3230340/1003/NEWS02 “Hotel Project Seeking to Restore Original Elegance”, Rutland Herald.com , published March 23, 2010.

www3.gendisasters.com, “Bellows Falls, VT Fire Rages Downtown, Mar. 1912” posted June 17, 2008

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Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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