(because the author has no desire to plow her drive to slither down the hill through the snow to where the files are)
The hotel in New Hartford’s village center has long been an institution. Not least because for a while it was painted pink. However, long before that interlude it was well known. Sarah Jones wrote a lengthy section on it in her 1883 book. She ended with a brief sketch:
“A notable feature of the institution, which has descended from one landlord to another, is the ‘gong’, which was used in the palmy days of stage coaches to Collinsville and Winsted, to arouse sleeping passengers and drivers for an early start, and which still wakes discordant echoes up and down the street whenever a smoking meal awaits the hotel boarder. Old-fashioned, not even picturesque, not a tree in front, nor a vine clambering over its porch, yet more than any other building a distinctive feature of the town, New Hartford clings to what has been for nearly a century The Hotel.”
I don’t, unfortunately, know the fate of the gong. Aside from the intriguing detail of describing the meal as ‘smoking’… one might note, from the standpoint of architectural/cultural history, the bias of the time. Located in an industrial village with architecture that sort of wandered into Queen Anne/Stick/Italianate, the hotel is indeed not what the late 1800’s fashion would have considered picturesque. Colonial Revival was just taking off at the time, so a ‘picturesque’ hotel (which would properly be called an ‘inn’) would be in a Federal, if not colonial style, either white or brick, and shaded by a few elderly elms or maples. Tastes change.