Founded 1762
FHS Newsletter - February 2023
Exploring the History of Ferrisburgh, Vermont!

Ferrisburgh Historical Society  
February, 2023

In the second issue of our History Notes, we're looking at the Martin House.  We have referenced historical newspapers that are available online through the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration,  images from the Center for Digital Initiatives, University of Vermont Libraries, and research done by Jean Richardson for her book, A History of the Village of North Ferrisburgh, Vermont, 1762-2019, which is available for purchase in the Town Offices, and available through a link on our Town's website.

- Silas Tower, President
- Sheri Arroyo, Secretary 
At the corner of Route 7 and Hollow Road, there once stood an exceptional building, the Martin House.  For 95 years, this tavern and 'stagecoach inn' welcomed the public.  It was located on the main north/south coach road, a perfect location between Burlington and Middlebury, and convenient to industry and settlement in the Hollow near the North Ferrisburgh Falls.

The Martin House was built by Stoddard Martin and his father, Reuben, who was a carpenter and joiner.  The family, Reuben, Sarah, and Stoddard, had moved to Charlotte, Vermont, in 1791 when Stoddard was a child. Their family was part of the wave of settlement that arrived immediately after the American Revolution. 

Stoddard and his own family moved to Ferrisburgh soon after 1800, and he would come to have quite an impact on our growing community.

The Martin House was originally built by Stoddard Martin as a large residence for his growing family, which included 15 children.  It was further expanded and then opened for business as the Martin House Stage Coach Hotel in 1830, and was owned and operated by four generations of the Martin family.   
A stampless letter, found in the Wicker Papers at UVM, sent from a store in New York to the Haskell and Wicker Store in the North Ferrisburgh Village.  A History of the Village of North Ferrisburgh, Vermont, by Jean Richardson, 2020.
By 1836, the population in North Ferrisburgh had grown to justify having its own Post Office, so in 1838, Stoddard applied for and received permission to set up a Post Office in the Martin Hotel and Tavern.  The very first Post Master was...Stoddard Martin!
As recounted in a 1939 newspaper remembrance, 'the famous Martin's Tavern was not famed as a temperance tavern'. During those horse and buggy days, there were a number of taverns along the old Stage Road in Ferrisburgh, some of which were famed as 'temperance taverns'...but not Martin's!

Martin was a member and, at times, the President, of the Society for the Detection of Horse Thieves, which was formed by local men in 1831. 

This Society was, in today's terms, part private security, part insurance cooperative.  If a member had a horse stolen, the 'Vigilante Committee' of the Society would share the costs to identify, catch, and bring the thief to justice...and retrieve the stolen horse.  If their efforts were unsuccessful, the Society would reimburse the member for the value of the horse.  

Meetings of the Society were often held at the Martin Hotel Tavern. 
Images of the North Ferrisburgh Methodist Church, from A History of the Village of North Ferrisburgh, Vermont by Jean Richardson, 2020.
In 1838, Stoddard provided the land for the North Ferrisburgh Methodist Church and parsonage.  
He was also an active member of the Anti-Slavery Society of Ferrisburgh.
Stoddard operated the Martin House until, with his wife Abigail's declining health, he passed its operations along to his sons, John and Carlos. 

When Stoddard Martin died in 1868, his real estate passed to those two sons jointly (Ferrisburgh Land records Vol 19:463).  They divided up the property in 1887 (Ferrisburgh Land records Vol 20:621 and 622).

In 1893, Stoddard B. Martin, son of John W. Martin, took over the hotel.  He was a dairy farmer, but he enjoyed his time managing the Hotel (Burlington Free Press, Feb. 20, 1880).   
The Martin House passed hands several times in the ensuing years.  John Martin passed it to his son, also named Stoddard, and he operated the House from 1871 to 1913.  

In 1913, the second Stoddard sold the Martin House at an auction.  It was purchased by his nephew, Carlos Martin, becoming the fourth generation to own the House.  Carlos already owned the farm that surrounded the House.

Around 1920, Carlos sold the house out of the family to a Mr. Noonan, who sold it to the last owner, Clayton Ward.  

In 1925, a fire apparently started in an attached building that housed a car (Burlington Free Press, July 6, 1925), and the Martin House Hotel burned to the ground. 
Following the fire in 1925, the land was sold for $600 to William J. Deshaw, a New York native.  He developed the site as the Four Corner Inn.  He added some gas pumps and there was a hall big enough for live music events.  Eventually, a roller skating rink was built.   
In the late 1930's and 1940's, the Inn was a popular event spot in addition to being a hotel.  It was known for the Friday night dances held there (Burlington Free Press, June 2, 1944.)

Images from A History of the Village of North Ferrisburgh, Vermont, by Jean Richardson, 2020. 
In 1950, the Inn was sold to Harold and Marion Jimmo.  By 1953, Harold had built a new motel, which was passed to his son Robert H. Jimmo in 1979.  It continued operating until about 1998, and remains on the site.
Home | Town Contacts | Meeting/Community Calendar | Town Clerk | Town Treasurer | Selectboard | Board of Listers | Conservation Commission | Planning | Zoning | Highway Department | Fire Department | Historical Society | Other Committees | Website Map
Printer-friendly Version