Tillman's Historic village inn History
The Village Inn stands in the center of a village
planned by John Proctor, a local
entrepreneur of the 19th century. Mr. Proctor's village, which he named Fair Haven, grew to its present size between 1819 and 1860. It is evident that Mr. Proctor saw the economic benefit, to both buyer and seller, of the then new idea of cobblestone construction sweeping Western New York. By selling building lots for $30.00, he could entice settlers to build houses of cobblestone cleared from land, which he still owned, behind the lots.
The Ridge Road, first surveyed in 1798 and on which Mr. Proctor formed his village, became the main artery for east and west travel between the Genesee and Niagara Rivers. Mail routes and stage coach lines flourished encouraging as many as 10 taverns to be built within the Town of Gaines. The eastern portion of the Village Inn was built in 1824 by Samuel Percival as a "tavern stand". Pioneer accounts record that by 1838 as many as 8 stage coaches each way every day traveled the Ridge Road and used Mr. Percival's tavern
Owing to the traffic, the tavern became a stage coach stop and flourished through the years under several names such as Clark's Hotel, Fair Haven House and Fair Haven Hotel. Between 1852 and 1860 John N. King built a new business just to the west of the Fair Haven House, a Carriage Shop. By 1875 this new business was physically joined to the tavern by a carriage shed, to become the building known today as the Village Inn.
Stage coach stops such as this offered the travelers a place to wash off the dirt of travel and provided food, drink and lodging. The men were generally asked to wash at the pump outside where the horses were watered and to shave in the barroom which furnished the only mirror. The ladies generally washed inside, but perhaps in a parlor rather than a bedroom. The fare at these establishments reportedly could include items such as soup, fish, meat, pudding, pastry and dessert at the larger inns, while the smaller might offer apple pie, new cheese, sour beer, heavy Indian bread and port wine. An example of cost for services in Western New York in 1828 for two nights lodging, supper on the evening of arrival, meals for the next day with meat and poultry in profusion and brandy and wine for three persons totaled $5.13. In general the cost for boarders was $1.00 per day and $3.00 per week.
Today's Village Inn encompasses Mr. Percival's tavern and Mr. King's carriage shop with the connecting carriage shed serving as today's main dining room. Through the windows of the barroom, one can still see the 19th century water pump which served horse and traveler alike.
Fair Haven Inn History
The Fair Haven Inn serves overnight and long term
guests in historic Childs, a 19th century village, the
site of the National Landmark Cobblestone District, and
a unique bit of Americana. It is adjacent to fine
dining, grocery store, museum and gift shop. Its central
location places it within five miles of trophy fishing
and historic sights of the area as well as 45 minutes
from the major metropolitan areas of Rochester, Buffalo
and Niagara Falls.
Its beautifully appointed rooms are unique, furnished with antiques and contain all modern amenities including private baths. Each room possesses its own character in both decoration and design. Come see and feel how history can be both convenient and comfortable in a relaxed country setting.
Built in 1837, this Greek Revival house was part of the village of Childs originally called Fair Haven which was founded and developed by John Proctor. The land on which the Fair Haven Inn and Gift Shop stands was sold to Dr. Thomas Anderson in 1820. He bought three acres from John Proctor and built a log cabin for his family and to start practicing his profession of dentistry. He was described in early histories as a skilled and successful physician. One early resident remembers Dr. Anderson, "with his mild and pleasant way of telling people it wouldn't hurt much to pull teeth, and then almost taking off their heads with his strong arm."
The property was then passed on to Sarah Maria Whipple who built the Greek Revival House in 1837. She married Silas Dewey Walbridge, the son of a tavern owner who also owned a stage line that ran from Clarkson in Monroe County to Gaines. Like his father, Walbridge became the proprietor of The Mansion House, a local hotel located one mile to the west.
Throughout the history of this property, it has passed down to a succession of individuals with ties to the hospitality field, including the owners of the Rochester Yacht Club, the Eagle Hotel and the Five Mile House. The house, built for an inn proprietor and his wife in the heyday of stagecoach travel, has come full circle. It is now owned and operated by Tillman's Historic Village Inn, the only stagecoach house still in operation on the historic Ridge Road.