The Sherburne Inn: It Takes A Village To Restore A LandmarkPosted: Updated:
There's been a hotel or tavern on the corner of South Main and West State Streets in Sherburne, NY since 1803. First there was the Medbury House, then Daniels Hotel. Later, the Sherburne House burned down on the spot in 1915. The most recent, the Sherburne Inn, closed in 2002, but now, thanks to the community, the hotel and restaurant may once again welcome guests in the near future.
Surrounded by construction fencing, the brick building with its columned porches is undergoing restoration, funded by community members' donations and $2 million in New York State historical restoration grants.
“People have donated as little as $5 and as much as $70,000," says Kathleen Yasas, president of Save The Sherburne Inn Restoration Project.
Yasas says the inn is a place that holds a lot of memories for a lot of people. The website for the Sherburne Inn restoration project has a whole gallery of pictures from birthday parties, weddings, and reunions held at the former hot spot.
"It's more than just a brick building," says Yasas.
For Yasas, it was always there while she was growing up. So, when she got a phone call from a friend who told her about plans to tear down the old place and put up a gas station, she sprung into action. The Save The Sherburne Inn non-profit group was formed.
Kathleen Yasas waves from the doorway of the Sherburne Inn, which is currently being restored.
“I set up a meeting with the owners at the time and called a few people who were influential in the community and we got together with him and after some wrangling, he agreed to sell us the building if we could raise the money within 5 months," remembers Yasas.
They raised that money by sending out post cards asking for donations. Yasas remembers receiving a donation envelope containing $5 and a handwritten note that read "I wish it could be more."
"Those are the people we're doing this for," says Yasas.
The Sherburne Inn was built in 1917. (Photo: Save The Sherburne Inn)
So why is this building important? Yasas says it holds over 100 years worth of memories. Over the years, some notable guests have passed through the doors including Johnny Cash, Duke Ellington, and Jim Braddock.
Before his name was on cake mix boxes, Duncan Hines visited the inn for a meal. This was in the 1930s when Hines was collecting reviews for his first book called "Adventures In Good Eating," a sort of travel guide of where to eat in different regions. Yasas says the inn had a cook named Mrs. Colton whose cinnamon buns are the stuff of legend. She speculates that it was Mrs. Colton's cooking that landed the Sherburne Inn in Hines's book.
Harvey and Nellie Young, owners of the inn in 1961, accept the Silver Anniversary Service Award, marking 25 years since the Sherburne Inn made it into Duncan Hines' first book. (Photo: Save The Sherburne Inn)
In 1961, the owners of the inn received a commemorative award from Duncan Hines marking 25 years since that review.
Fast forward to today. Work on the outside of the inn has been completed and crews are currently working on Phase 2 of the restoration, which is the interior.
Crews are currently working on the interior of the Sherburne Inn.
Yasas says they will need more funds to complete the third floor, basement, and add an elevator so the building is ADA compliant. When all the work is done, Yasas says the building will have 18 guest rooms, a dining area, and a bar. Most importantly, it will once again play host to many more memories in the making.