The Grafton Inn is a well-preserved rural stagecoach hotel, a type of building once found in every stagecoach stop village throughout the hill towns of Vermont. The inn started as the two-story house of Enos Lovel, built in 1801. About 1823 Hyman Burgess remade it into a hotel and tavern by doubling its five-bay front, bricking it up, and adding the two Federal entrances. The stagecoaches to Saxtons River and to Brattleboro provided the hotel's clientele and, until statewide prohibition in 1853, much of its tavern business as well. After the Civil War, the Phelps brothers enlarged the hotel again, giving it much of its present appearance by adding a wood-frame ell and a projecting third story supported by the square columns of a two-story porch that wraps the most public corner. The hotel then served commercial travelers and agents, as well as occasional entertainers and summering artists from Boston. It also provided boarding rooms for local craftsmen. In 1903 the Phelps widows sold the hotel, and it went through a succession of owners through the 1960s. In 1969, the Windham Foundation purchased the property for its headquarters, restored it to its nineteenth-century appearance, and runs it and their other surrounding historic properties as an inn and conference center at the heart of the Grafton village historic district.
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