Walloomsac Inn exhibit opens Friday
BENNINGTON - The Bennington Museum’s new Walloomsac Inn exhibition opening will occur Friday, September 30, from 4 to 6 pm in the Ada & Paul Paresky Education Wing. Light refreshments will be served.
Elijah Dewey built the tavern later known as the Walloomsac Inn in 1771. Dewey’s tavern was among sites used by the legislature of the independent Republic of Vermont, which lasted from 1777 until statehood in 1791. Important guests were Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
After Dewey’s death in 1818 the tavern was acquired by Maria and James Hicks. James Hicks was employed as a driver in the family stagecoach business and drove the line between Vermont and New York City until he married and settled down to manage the inn. The tavern business did well and in 1823 a third story and a two-story porch were added. Hicks also added a ballroom on the second floor.
The Hickses sold the building to George Wadsworth Robinson in 1848. It was Robinson who gave the inn its name “Walloomsac House” and he marketed it to summer visitors escaping the city heat and dirt. Financial troubles plagued him and in 1865 he sold the inn to Mary Sanford Robinson and her brother Samuel Sanford. In 1891 Sanford hired a new proprietor, Walter Berry. In 1903 Berry bought the inn and added a new three-and-a-half story addition in the back. The Berry family continued to run the inn until 1996, when it closed.
The family has continued to live in the building until recently. Family members are currently working with various groups to figure out the best options for the future uses of the historic structure.
The Bennington Museum’s exhibition will run from Saturday, October 1, through the end of December and will feature various objects from the museum’s and family’s collection. Join the museum for a pre-show viewing and reception for the new exhibition with the curators. Admission is free for museum members and $5 for not-yet-members.
RSVP at https://benningtonmuseum.org/product/pre-show-opening. Become a member at https://benningtonmuseum.org/support/membership.