The Keith house.

Elisabeth and George Keith:  1770 Innkeepers

Elisabeth and George Keith’s inn provided a welcome overnight stay for weary Post Road travelers during colonial New England times.  Traveling from New York to Boston over dusty, bumpy roads in a cramped stagecoach was not a pleasant journey.  Mendon served as one of the stopovers for a good night’s sleep and a hot meal.  The Keith Inn opened in the village center in 1770 at what is now ten Hastings Street (corner of Route 16 and Elm St.) and provided lodging for the next thirty years.

Post Road is America’s oldest interstate highway (1672).  It was divided into three parts: upper, middle, and lower.  Middle Post Road went through Mendon in a southwest-northeast direction a few hundred yards north of the village center.  (A stone marker is located across from Clough School.)  Travel was difficult and uncomfortable over a long distance, so inns were a pleasant place for relaxation.  The newly elected President George Washington toured New England by way of Post Road in 1789, and he concluded that if the new nation were to grow and prosper, then the roads connecting the cities had to be greatly improved.

Keith’s Inn had an interesting history.  On December 3, 1770, a town meeting being held at the Fourth Meetinghouse was moved to the inn because the meetinghouse was too cold.  George Keith died in 1774, so Elisabeth operated the inn by herself until she married John Hill in 1780. They ran the inn together until her death in 1802 at the age of 86. John sold the inn to Atty. Seth Hastings who used it as a residence. A few years later, Seth had the building moved to a new location  at 26 Maple Street and built a new brick building in its place.                                                                                      

The closing of the Keith Inn came at the same time that Middle Post Road was discontinued. The wider, smoother Hartford Turnpike opened in 1804, and segments of Post Road were sold as private property. New stagecoach lines continued to bring travelers to Mendon, and they stayed at another popular inn down the street owned by the Ammidon family. Mendon Village Center, with Seth Hastings’ influence, soon grew and prospered. However, it was at a special time in our history, when our nation was being formed, that Post Road brought travelers from New York to Boston, and their journey was made more comfortable by staying overnight at a Mendon inn.

Russell and Anne Dudley are the current owners of the George and Elisabeth Keith Inn at 26 Maple Street.

Richard Grady
Mendon, MA


Mendon Innkeepers

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