What a journey the past 74 years have been! From the early days of housing only 30 guests, to our current capacity of 140, we have been fortunate to meet and make many lifelong friends that call East Hill Farm their home away from home. You are truly our extended Farm family!
The Inn at East Hill Farm will be celebrating our 75th Anniversary during the weekend of February 4-6, 2022. As with all celebrations, it is more fun to have your friends and loved ones to celebrate with. Please mark your calendars and consider joining us for this momentous occasion!
We will be sharing photos, behind the scenes and fun stories in a series of monthly blog, Instagram, and Facebook posts leading up to the celebration. While the Inn’s history dates to 1772, we are focusing on what it has been since right after WWII, an agritourism destination.
In our first post we begin with the earliest days of the Inn…
In 1765, Silas Fife, the first resident of East Hill Farm lived in a dugout cave, near the present-day skating rink, where nightly fires were kept burning to ward off mountain lions and wolves which roamed the area. Soon Silas married, built a log cabin, and cleared the land for farming to provide for a family of ten children.
In 1810, the farm was sold to Caleb Perry of Fitchburg, Ma. During this time, East Hill, Monadnock Number Five was incorporated as the town of Troy. The territory was formerly part of Marlborough, Fitzwilliam, Swanzey, and Richmond. On July 20, 1815, the first town meeting was held. Caleb Perry was elected town selectman.
Able Baker, of Marlborough, married Cordelia Perry (Caleb’s daughter) in 1821. He bought the farm from his father-in-law and was active in town affairs. He taught school during the winter and farmed in the summer.
Baker sold the farm in 1828, to Amasa Aldrich of Richmond, NH. He was also busy with town affairs and served on the school committee.
In 1867, Oliver and Ellen (Parker) Whitcomb bought the farm from Amasa Aldrich. They were very busy operating the farm. Oliver cut hay by hand for the first two years, farmed 35 acres, planted corn and potatoes, and raised milk cows. The Whitcombs raised five children, Frank Albert, Nettie, Emma, Jennie, and James (who was born in 1888).
Oliver kept cows for farmers from Massachusetts as well as his own. Farmers from nearby Wayland and Maynard, Massachusetts would drive (by foot and on horseback) their cattle (around 400 or so) to New Hampshire to graze the pastureland on Gap Mountain and Mount Monadnock for the summer. The farmers, for a mere seventy-five cents, would stay overnight at the inn, and enjoy two hearty meals before returning home. These were the inn’s first paying guests.
Other livestock that grazed the pastures were sheep. They were washed at what was properly called “The Sheep Hole”, located down past the waterfall on the way to Gap Mountain.
Ellen was, by all accounts, a first-rate cook. Her daughter Emma wrote home longingly for her mother’s blackberry pies, gingerbread, cream cakes, and the like. And Jennie learned to make biscuits and crabapple jelly with recipes from her mother.
The early 1900s brought about a barn raising and new additions to the main inn. After Ellen passed away in 1920, Jennie started taking in “summer people”. The first cabin was built around the same time. By 1934, a large two-story addition was built at the back of the inn.
Oliver passed away in 1936 at age 90.
Join us next month as we pick up the story when Parker Whitcomb (Oliver and Ellen’s grandson and son of Jim Whitcomb) returns from war with a plan for change.
Post submitted by Holly LeClair