The Adams House

The Adams House was situated on Wellington Street where the Electric Power Commission building is now. Originally the William M. Kelly residence, it became the Metropolitan Hotel owned by John F. Jardine. In 1884 R. B. Adams took over and renamed it the Adams House. Later it was leased to J. R. Lawlor.

In 1886 Thomas Flanagan rented the hotel, buying it in 1889 from John McLaggan. In 1890 an extensive addition was put on. It was now three storeys high with a full verandah. Twelve paintings decorated the house.

In 1889 the hotel was destroyed by fire and rebuilt.

By 1903 the Adams House was once again a thriving hotel. The local press reported ''A German artist has been at work for some time decorating the Adams House--parlor, dining room and office.

"The ceiling and walls have been handsomely painted in harmonious colours and a new electrical chandelier has been placed in the office. Mr. Flanagan's enterprise is to be commended."

At one time, Parker Hickey worked at the Adams House as a clerk. It was his brother Thomas who built the Ideal Inn building in Newcastle. The brothers are commemorated in the Tom and Parker Hickey scholarships given annually.

The Adams House was run a few years later by James C. White. It is interesting to note that it was still being advertised in 1949.

Mrs. Annie MacDonald ran it as a boarding house previous to its demolition in the early 1960's.

The Depot Hotel

This hotel was originally the Francis Peabody stone house, built in 1838 by the Founder of Chatham. It was located on the lot next to Dewey Photography.

Francis Peabody died in 1841. For many years following his death the stone house was the home of William Muirhead who built a large number of ships in the shipyard located to the rear of the house. He was appointed a senator in 1873 and died in 1884.

The stone house was used as a hotel off and on until Harry Groat was commissioned to demolish it about 1939. George Layton appears to have been the earliest owner to operate the house as a hotel. The last tenant was L. L. Theriault, a government engineer.

Pat Duffy got the stone from the foundation and used it to raise up his house on King Street. "Some of the pieces were squared off," he said. "Francis Peabody had them brought out from Scotland."

In 1902 the house was being used as a hotel, run by Reuben Babineau. The local paper of December 1902 carried an ad. "The Babineau Hotel, which has recently been enlarged and improved, is now fitted up in first class style. Permanent and transient boarders can be accommodated at low rates. My stable has also been remodelled and customers' horses will be carefully looked after."

The new railway station was built in 1912 and from this time on the hotel was known as the Station Hotel or Depot Hotel. Local people remember that it had a fence of wrought iron across the front. Hormisidas Legace was the last person to operate it as a hotel.

Canada House

This hotel, which was for many years the largest in Chatham, was built by William Johnston of Douglastown after the James White house burned in 1865. It was located on the southwest corner of Duke and St. John (University) Streets where Bens is now.

In the early days there were stores on the ground floor. Miss Dora Johnston, the granddaughter of the first owner, remembers hearing that there was a boot and shoe store and several other stores.

In the spring of 1899 the hotel was remodelled.

Shortly after this, Dora Johnston, who was then eleven and her little brother Bill, who was seven, moved into Canada House to live with their uncle James Johnston, who was running the hotel. "Our mother had died and we spent our childhood at Canada House," Miss Johnston said.

When the off-broadway shows came to Chatham, the players usually stayed at Canada House. The shows were held in the Chatham Opera House.

Canada House in those days was the hub of local politics as well as a centre of entertainment. Many prominent people gathered here to discuss the issues of the day. Will Nowlan was one of the well-known and popular bartenders.

Before Canada House burned in 1929, it had already been phased out as a hotel. Ben O'Reilley remembers that Ralph Manzer, a Metropolitan Insurance agent, who was married to Mr. Johnston's daughter, lived there.

"After the fire Mr. Johnston renovated one corner that was still standing and lived there for three or four years. I bought the property in 1937 and started `Bens', which I extended in 1945. on the Canada House foundation," Mr. O'Reilley said.

Riverview Hotel

John McGowan, proprietor of Torryburn House in Saint John, came to Chatham in 1877 and purchased the Fitzpatrick property at the south east corner of Water and Henderson Streets, where the Irving Station is now. He operated a hotel which he also called Torryburn House.

In 1903 it was run by Peter Archer and was called The Riverview Hotel. An ad in the local paper of April 14, 1903 states; "The Riverview Hotel now has the distinction of having one of the most elaborate hotel dining rooms this side of Halifax. The enterprising proprietor Peter Archer has had the room enlarged and handsomely painted, the work being executed by an artist from Germany. The ceiling is finished in panels and the walls are beautifully blended in rich colours. Invitations were issued last week for a ball to be given tomorrow evening when the new room will be formally opened."

The press in the November 15, 1904 issue reported that Peter Archer was putting up a three-storey addition which would add 15 more rooms. The work was done by James Mowatt under the supervision of L. J. Fauteaux from Quebec.

In 1908 Joseph J. Savoy became the proprietor, Peter Archer having left to run the new Touraine Hotel.

Peter MacDonald was the next proprietor, followed by Mr. and Mrs. James Hayes in 1924 and Adelard Hachey in 1936.

An ad in 1938 Opera House program reads 'Stop at the Riverview--a real 'He-Mans' hotel!"

Mr. Hachey says the road to Kouchibouguac was being paved by the Warren Paving Company. "The men came in from Toronto and needed a place to stay so I provided accommodation at the Riverview. They stayed two years because there wasn't much machinery in those days so it took them that long to finish the paving".

Mr. Hachey said a great many fishermen from downriver came into town with horses and wagons and usually stayed overnight at the Riverview.

The hotel ceased operating in November 1939 and was torn down the following year.

(Acknowledgements: Charles Whitty, James Fraser (By Favourable Winds), Mrs. E. F. MacAllister, Ben O'Rellley, Pat Duffy, Romeo Boudreau, William Godfrey (History of Chatham). Miss Dora Johnston, Adelard Hachey, Mrs. Mabel Hayes, Mrs. Mona Philpott, Mrs. R. B. Stewart, Lawson MacDonald, and George MacDermaid, Sr.)

(Northumberland News, June 10, 1981)

Copyright © Lois F. Martin, 1985. All rights reserved.