James Ritchie, a stonemason who immigrated c. 1822 to Vermont from Scotland, is credited with eight or more stone buildings on Isle La Motte and in neighboring towns. Perhaps his first is the two-story dwelling and inn he built at the northeast corner of the island for Ira Hill, a son of the extended Hill family who were among the island's first settlers. Using local marble dressed and coursed across the front, Ritchie erected this simple building with the three-bay central-hall plan he used for several stone houses he subsequently built on the island. Ritchie left two rooms on the second floor unpartitioned to create a ballroom for the inn. The Masonic “L.5822” carved above the doorway translates into “1822,” the building date. Hill served as postmaster for Isle La Motte from 1829 to 1844 and again from 1849 to 1853, using the inn and tavern as his base. As lake tourism expanded in the early twentieth century, Joseph and Martha Duba ran the inn as a boardinghouse for summer visitors from 1913 until 1960. At that point, the building reverted to use as a private residence.
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Ira Hill Tavern
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