Fullerton Hotel 100 years ago

Local History by Ron Patch. Ron Patch is a Chester native, Chester Historical Society president, and a lifelong antiques dealer. He can be reached at 802-374-0119 or email knotz69@gmail.com.

In the March 1920 Carpenter’s Store News I found some news regarding building the new Fullerton Inn we have today. The current Fullerton replaced the previous hotel destroyed by fire Jan. 18, 1920.

The photo with this article is the Fullerton that burned in January 1920. Howard Peck described the fire to me. He and his parents watched the fire from what is Hugging Bear Inn today. It was 30 below zero.

It’s interesting to learn how important the hotel was to Chester’s economy in the 1920s. Automobiles were beginning to replace horse and buggy. Grand auto excursions were the rage. I have seen 1920s’ advertisements for automobile excursions from Buffalo, N.Y. to Sunapee, N.H. Chester was an overnight stop on these excursions.

I found it interesting that individuals donated money or materials for this project. I can picture a logger donating logs to the sawmill and the sawmill sawing them for free. Everyone worked for the common good.

Also noteworthy, the new hotel was completed within seven months. Today, you couldn’t get it through the Planning Commission in seven months, let alone all the other restrictions and regulations we have today. My old saying this week sums up what some call progress.

The Fullerton Hotel circa 1910. Photo provided by Robin Rowell Smith

Carpenter’s Store News March 1920

“Work Begins on the New Fullerton

  “Chester’s hotel will be rebuilt – bigger and finer than before. A hotel that we will all be proud of and one that will surely appeal to the traveling public.

  “The office will be most attractive with its sunny roominess, big fireplace, comfortable lounging chairs, writing and reading tables. It will have a beam ceiling, probably finished natural, and there will be plenty of light from the ample window space. A sun porch is to be built on the south side opening from the lobby.

  “The same finish will be carried out in bank rooms and post office.

  “There will be 26 guest rooms, nearly all with bath connection. Hardwood floors throughout. The dining room is more commodious than before as is the public hall over it. The kitchen, serving room and laundry are neatly arranged and a built-in refrigerator is handy. The six rooms for help are behind the kitchen.

  “The banking room is to be of fireproof construction. The banks will install a set of fixtures, burglar and fireproof vault with safety deposit boxes that would be a credit to any city. Great credit is due our banks for the financial aid they are rendering and the progressive spirit shown in the selection of new furnishings and vault.

  “Postmaster Pollard will not be outdone by the bank in matter of equipment, which will be strictly up-to-the-minute. The post office will occupy a larger space than before and have a separate heating plant and toilet accommodations.

  “To be sure about $5000 is still needed to make up the required amount, but the committee have faith that this will be forthcoming and will try in every way to raise it. Contributions of money, Liberty bonds, labor and lumber are sorely needed and will be thankfully received. The canvassing committee have endeavored to cover the town thoroughly – if someone has been overlooked, please notify any of the hotel committee. Appeals have been sent out of town to those who might be interested to assist in this project.

  “Whatever success has been attained in so quickly beginning the work of reconstruction, is due to the liberality and willing co-operation of our citizens, banks and business men. All have worked earnestly and in harmony.

  “We are learning that this is the ONLY WAY we can make any real progress as a town – when all take hold and BOOST TOGETHER we can accomplish anything we set out for in short order.

  “NOW – ONCE MORE, all together for the last $5,000.”

Chester Historical Society has a large collection of Carpenter’s Store News. We are missing several issues for 1920. In the missing issues would be an announcement of the new hotel opening. The first summer issue we have is August 1920 where I found the entry below. It’s obvious the new hotel was up and running.

  Carpenter’s Store News August 1920


  “FOR SALE – Three Ford Cars that have been thoroughly overhauled and painted. This Garage carries a full line of Ford parts and accessories.”

In the new Fullerton was the post office, two banks, and a barbershop run by Harry Glynn. Some will remember the banks, or the post office; others will remember Harry Glynn.

This week’s old saying: “Progress is man’s ability to complicate simplicity.”

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