The Deerfield Inn
One of only six original inns in New England, and still mostly with its original footprint, the Deerfield Inn is owned and operated by Historic Deerfield, who made the decision to renovate and restore after severe damage caused by Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011. The building remains true to its history with its front desk tucked away under the stairs, floors that still slope and dip, wobbly window glass, and sloping ceilings that lend great charm and character.
Photographs throughout Champney’s show the inn throughout the decades, and copies and originals from Deerfield artists are displayed in the restaurant and tavern named after the artist who lived in this village and whose home still stands, and who was a pioneer in impressionist painting and photography – James Wells Champney.
The Deerfield Inn was opened in July 1884 by two brothers whose earlier inn on the village common had been destroyed by fire, and despite natural disasters in the county that year, the inn saw summer visitors who were reported in the Gazette & Courier on September 1, 1884, a “folding their tents and stealing away, browner and better for their stay.”
Within a year the inn was enlarged by George Arms, a local builder, and a brochure from 1885 describes the Deerfield Inn as “in all appointments far ahead of the average country hotel.”
During the first 15 years of its operation, guests arrived by stagecoach, carriages, and on horseback. Later a trolley line ran through the village, stopping right in front of the inn as one of the old photographs shows, and by the turn of the century automobiles began to rumble in.
A brochure from the 1920s promises—”the atmosphere and charm of early days, with modern comfort and convenience.” Breakfast started at 30¢, dinner could be had for $1.00, and a double room with running water was priced at $3.00.
A postcard signed by ‘Carl’, posted for one penny, and written in July 1923 to his friends the Fabriques, declares the inn ”a very, very nice place indeed.”