Elm Tree Inn (1655)

August 25th, 2009 Posted in Colonial, Farmington, Taverns & Inns


The earliest section of what later on became the Elm Tree Inn in Farmington was the 1655 house of William Lewis, an original settler of the town. His son built a new and larger structure, around the old house, and the enlarged building became a tavern and inn. By the mid-eighteenth century, it was operated by Phineas Lewis. Washington dined at the tavern, while on his way to Hartford, in 1780 and again, while on his way to Wethersfield, in 1781. The French general Rochambeau may have also stayed there with his officers when he was passing through Connecticut with his army in 1781. The facade of the building was later updated in the Georgian style and the tavern came to be known as the Elm Tree Inn, after the elm trees on the property, planted in the 1760s. The Inn continued to be popular into the twentieth century as it was a stop on the trolley line to Hartford. Mark Twain frequently dined there while he lived in Hartford, as did the cast and crew filming Way Down East with Lillian Gish in 1919. The exterior of the Inn was once surrounded by a long verandah, which has since been removed. The building is now subdivided into condominiums.

  1. 6 Responses to “Elm Tree Inn (1655)”

  2. By Charles D. Wetherbee on Feb 16, 2011

    I have a picture of the Elm Tree Inn dating to the 1890s depicting my great-uncle, Louis B. Hubbard & his companions with their high-wheel velocipedes.
    I’ve scanned thepictue & can forward it if you can give me a direct e-mail address to which I can send it.
    Best regards,
    Charles Wetherbee

  3. By Amy Thompson on May 30, 2012

    I an a direct descendant of William Lewis and Phineas Lewis and visited it 40 years ago. I enjoyed reading about it.

  4. By Darlene Nieswender on Aug 13, 2012

    Can someone tell me if the Phineas Lewis mentioned in the blog about Elm Tree Inn is the same Phineas Lewis born about 1702/03 that was married to Hannah Lewis Pennell?
    Thank you

  5. By Burke Limeburner on May 3, 2015

    I worked at the Elm Tree Inn as a young boy in the later 40’s as a dishwasher. Was any one else there that might remember me?

  6. By Charles Paul Becker on Aug 11, 2015

    My parents, Charles Neumann Becker, and Helen Sadoski Becker had their wedding reception at the Elm Tree Inn on January 04, 1942, before my father was shipped overseas with the 43rd Army Division.

    The author, Thornton Wilder, (Our Town) used to dine there.

  7. By verner nielsen on Aug 25, 2015

    i got a letter dated 1938 sendt to a mrs glassford
    in sault ste. marie ont. canada hwo was a cousin of the sender i can not read the name of the sender. in the letter was a postcard of the elmtree
    in if interested i can copi the letter and send it
    please answer with your address
    i had the letter for over 40 years it was giving to
    me by mrs glassfords datter.
    regards verner nielsen

Post a Comment