Reprinted with Permission
of the
Watertown Daily Times

The following was found in the Watertown Daily Times files - with Brownville Hotel information. The article is undated - the author is not indicated.



The news item which appeared in The Times the other night to the effect that the Old Stone Tavern had again changed hands recalls the day when Blodgett’s, as it was then known, was a familiar stopping place for stage coach passengers.

It is hard for northern New York residents of the present day to realize the importance of the village of Denmark in Lewis county when stage coach travel was in its heydey. It was the Philadelphia of its day. Here the stage coach line from Rome had its terminus. At Denmark too the line from Utica turned off for Watertown and here the line for Ogdensburg, 64 miles away, had its start. A busy place was the Denmark of that day with its tavern filled with travelers, horses being changed and heavy coaches rumbling up its one street any time of the day and night. From Denmark the road to Watertown led through Champion and Rutland, while the road to Ogdensburg was by way of Carthage, Wilna, Antwerp, Dekalb and Heuvelton.

Of all the stage coach taverns of that day in northern New York, and of course there were literally hundreds of them, none was more famous than Blodgett’s. Four generations of Blodgetts operated the tavern beginning with the building, Jesse Blodgett. The first Blodgett realized the importance of Denmark as a stage junction point and the stone tavern which he built was one of the most pretentious in all northern New York. Three stories in height it could accommodate, if needs be, dozens of tired travelers in its sleeping rooms while its big tap room was a scene of bustling activity as the mail stages came in from Utica and Rome, Ogdensburg and Sackets Harbor.

Other famous stage coach taverns of that day were the Checkered House on the road from Mexico to Rome, the old Willard (?) Hotel at Oswego, Hastings Curtiss’ Brick Tavern at Central Square, the old Whitney House at Mexico, the Union House at Sackets Harbor, the Wayside Inn at Constableville, the Wilna Tavern, now known as Fargo’s, the old Prentice House at Canton and the Frontier House at Morristown.

Most of these old taverns have long since gone but a few notable examples remain. In addition to the Old Stone Tavern at Denmark there is the Union House overlooking the lake at Sackets Harbor, the century old stone hotel at Brownville and the celebrated “Brick Hotel” at Evans Mills where according to legend “Prince John” Van Buren, son of the president, and George Parish, the landed proprietor, gambled for Madame Vespucci.

It was always a gala occasion when a stage coach arrived at one of these taverns for a change of horses. The driver made quite a ceremony of it, whipping his four horses to a gallop and blowing lustily on his horn as he swung up to the tavern door. Nowhere in all the North Country was there more life and gaiety and activity than at the Old Stone Tavern in Denmark a century or so ago. It remains today a symbol of a colorful era in Northern New York history.