Saturday, October 4, 2008
PhotoHunt of the Week: Sad
I had another photo in mind for this week's theme: Sad. But I was driving past the Colonial Inn and decided to stop and shoot some photos. Anyone who has lived in Hillsborough long enough to remember when the Colonial Inn was a thriving inn and restaurant is saddened by its current state. Most are angry.
I've lived here since 1983 and even before moving here, I would drive to Hillsborough to eat at the Colonial Inn. It was famous in the area for it's delicious food served family-style. The building itself was beautiful. It was hard to believe that it had been around for more than 200 years. The porch was lined with rocking chairs, inviting one to sit for a spell. This is my son sitting in one of those rockers in 1995.
It's not hard to believe the Inn is over 200 years old when you look at it now. The current owner, Francis Henry, bought the Inn after it closed in 2001. I don't know why. He paid $410,000.00 for a beautiful historic landmark, only to let it go to ruin.
In 1781, General Cornwallis used the Colonial Inn, then called the Tavern House, as his headquarters during the Revolutionary War. Aaron Burr and Dolly Madison were both guests at the Tavern House, so this is not just any old building - it's a building with history. Even without the history, this building is loved by the residents of Hillsborough.
Francis Henry has been asked, fined, practically begged to repair the Inn. But he has continued to let it sit and grow worse each year. When he bought the Inn, it had been closed for a year so it's possible that some damage was already beginning, but had he started making repairs right away he could have stopped the progression of the damage. But perhaps there is hope for our beloved Colonial Inn. A recent article in the Chapel Hill News tells us there is.