The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
A Labor Of Love
by Sharon Graham, Special For The Quill
The sounding of pounding hammers and the smell of fresh paint greet curious visitors as they enter the front door of Biggsville's newest business endeavor on Main Street.
For the past few weeks, members of the Biggsville Preservation Group have been busy renovating the interior of the building located at 111 East Main Street in Biggsville. Their goal is to have much of the interior redecorated by Friday, December 15th in time for a gala "Evening at the Hotel" from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
A for-profit business corporation of community-minded shareholders has been formed to create a labor of love-Biggsville's Hotel Lynn. For the past fifty years, the first floor of the building served as the residence of Dorothy and Franklin Jacobs and housed Dorothy's Beauty Shop.
During that span of years, a spacious apartment on the second floor was rented to area families or teachers, new to the area who taught in the Biggsville or Union School Districts.
When community members learned that the property was to be sold at auction on November 5th, a number of residents met to determine interest in community preservation.
Within ten days the funds needed to purchase the building and provide for annual expenses for three years were raised by selling stock at $500 per share. Shareholders and their family members have been working on the building since November 18th. The ages of the workers range from ten to eighty-four.
Russell Liston, local historian and BPG shareholder, has traced the history of the property and established that Mrs. Nan Jamieson purchased the property and had a building constructed after a fire destroyed a grocery store at that site.
Hotel Lynn, named in honor of Mrs. Jamieson's young son, was owned and managed by her from 1902 to 1906.
The dining room was on the second floor and the kitchen was in the basement. A dumbwaiter on the outside of the building was used to convey prepared food from one floor to another.
A collage of pictures and news articles about Jan Jamieson will be hung in the first floor hallway of Biggsville's Hotel Lynn.
An enclosed porch, parlor, lobby, and one guest room are on the first floor. Further research and advertising memorabilia revealed that the building was in business as the Bluegrass Hotel in 1921.
Ray Shafer, contractor and BPG member, remembers being in the hotel lobby as a child and seeing a "huge' mirrored bar. That same hospitality bar, an original fixture n the hotel Lynn, is in the process of being restored and will grace the lobby where guests will register when they arrive.
Renewing a tradition from the past, light refreshments served from the hospitality bar will be available to guests upon their arrival at the hotel.
Another room on the first floor has been designed as the Biggsville School Alumni Room.
Russell Liston will serve as curator of an extensive collection of class pictures and memorabilia from the former Biggsville School District. The room's red and green decor honors the history of the Biggsville Red Devils. Liston will rotate displays throughout the year so that attendees can relive and share memories as they step back in time.
The second floor features three guest rooms, a large kitchen, and a living room.
Many of the female shareholders have brought antiques and decorative items from their homes. Some of the women have said, "...this is like having a big doll house..." while consulting with each other about heirloom lace, powder boxes, and rag rugs.
Amenities such as television and DVD players will be available in the community rooms, but the homespun charm of Biggsville's Hotel Lynn entices guests and visitors to relax by playing board games and conversing with others while putting a jigsaw puzzle together.
The most expensive renovations needed are for the exterior of the building.
Pictures of the original Hotel Lynn feature a porch on the second floor, which was enclosed by a railing that was comprised of eighty-six spindles. Fundraising to help pay for the reconstruction of a porch will commence soon. The building also needs to painted or resided. A committee is researching how to historically restore the exterior in a cost-effective manner.
Community members were inspired by the recent construction of The Horse and Buggy Museum, owned by Mary Lynn and Jerry Weibel, which is located across the street from the hotel.
The improved appearance of Main Street has generated an interest in community preservation and restoration. It is hoped that resources can be found to restore other buildings and start new business projects after the hotel renovation is completed.
Biggsville's Hotel Lynn is owned by the Biggsville Preservation Group. It is open all year and offers facilities for small conferences or retreats, business and club meetings, family and friends' reunions, intimate weddings, and receptions.
At the heart of the Biggsville's Hotel Lynn are the caring community members who serve as its caretakers and hosts and hostesses in order to provide hospitality to all who enter through the doors.
Reservations can be made by calling 888-264-4087.
An Evening at the Hotel will be held on Friday, December 15, 2006 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
There will be Christmas tree trimming, fellowship and refreshments.
The Monmouth-Roseville High School music department will provide music for the occasion with Christmas carols.
The hotel is located at 111 East Main Street in Biggsville.
The tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased from the Biggsville Preservation Group.