Granby Hotel & Avery House
2 Park Place
The house at 2 Park Place was built in 1805 by Pliny Hillyer, a very prosperous merchant, for his newly-wed son John. It has been owned by a number of families and, for a time was known as the Granby Hotel. In 1925 Bertha Avery bought the house for her son, W. Kenneth, and four generations of the Avery family lived there until 2016.
A Bit More:
When built, the house was square with four rooms on each floor and a kitchen ell to the rear. There were two chimneys and fireplaces in all the rooms.
Samantha Wales converted the house into a hotel and sold it to the Struthers family in 1892. It remained a hotel under various owners until 1918 when it was purchased by Frank Chittenden and returned to a single-family home.
W. Kenneth Avery worked at the Loomis Store on Salmon Brook Street. In 1929 W. Kenneth opened his own store, Avery's General Store, next door to their home at 2 Park Place.
Washing Machine From Avery Store
Post Card Advertising The Granby Hotel
City people often spent their summers in nearby small towns. Folks from New York City flocked to the Berkshires to stay in rooming houses or hotels for the summer. A local newspaper said the Granby Hotel “will be an attractive place the coming summer for city people who want a quiet home with plenty of fresh air and all of the fresh vegetables and other things that go to make life in the country pleasant.”
At first, Avery’s General Store specialized in farm equipment as well as dry goods, food, and hardware. Shoppers could purchase overalls or axe handles; thread or ladders; canning jars or penny candy. And there was always a 45-pound wheel of aged cheddar cheese from Wisconsin with samples cheerfully offered to customers. The post office was next door.
The store was expanded in 1941 and shifted to garden equipment and supplies. The store had added a line of Maytag appliances and Chick Avery (W. Kenneth’s son) became Granby’s “Maytag Repairman”. They had an 1870 wooden washing machine on display. It is now at the Salmon Brook Historical Society.
Avery’s General Store closed in 2013 and Grass Roots Creamery rebuilt the building and moved in.