September 26 & 27, 2015
Before Damon Hall
Damon Hall is turning one hundred, but the site it occupies has been the center of activity in Hartland for well over two hundred years. The first recorded building on that site was a hotel. It is not known when the hotel was built, but the land on which it stood was deeded to Isaac Stevens by William S. Ashley in 1774. Stevens built a square building with a high roof. There was a line of sheds on the north side and two barns on the south side. There was no road on the south side of the hotel until the “new road” (now Route 12) was built in 1835. The land west of the hotel was wooded.
It was no trick to make money with a hotel in those days, as freight was moved to and from Boston with six- and eight-horse teams. The horse barns were full every night. Weary travelers arriving by stagecoach could get a room, and enjoy rum in the bar and a meal in the dining room. The upper floor of what was known as the Pavillion House (later Hotel Hartland) was divided into a large hall and sleeping rooms. The hall hosted meetings, suppers, and dances. In the 1830s, Stephen D. Marcy built a wing with a spring dance floor that was said to have no equal in Vermont. On the ground floor were a store and post office.