Our inn boasts a long history of hospitality, beginning its life as the Williams Tavern in 1825. What now forms the central part of the building once stood in the center of Lenox at the intersection of Main and Cliffwood Streets. Lenox was the seat of Berkshire County before Pittsfield assumed that distinction and the Tavern was one of many local “watering holes” for the judges and lawyers who rode the circuit and worked in the two courthouses.
Around 1880, the building was purchased by Frederick Constance Peters from Kent, England. Apart from building several structures in Lenox (most notably the original Talbot’s retail clothing store, modeled after his ancestral home), Mr. Peters was a real estate speculator and entrepreneur. After having the Tavern moved to its current location in 1880, he added the Victorian front of the building in the late 1880s. It was his intent to provide lodging for the secretaries of the wealthy owners of the Berkshire Cottages such as Elm Court, Belvoir Terrace, Ventfort Hall, Belfontaine and Blantyre.
The original stone wall, surrounding the present-day garage, defines the boundaries of a stable that Mr. Peters built to house horses for hire. The original hitching post can be found on the side of the Inn. From the early 1930s, which saw the departure of the wealthy cottagers and the Gilded Age from Lenox, Mr. Peters’ children and grandchildren summered here until World War II made travel from their home in Pennsylvania prohibitive. After the war, the home was sold and began its life formally as a bed and breakfast.
Between 1946 and October 1996, the inn, then known as Quincy Lodge (named for Mrs. Deborah Quincy, an influential resident of Lenox in the 1880’s) experienced multiple owners. After a 1986 fire destroyed much of the third floor, the Inn was rebuilt and reopened as The Rookwood Inn. The renovated inn was named for an arts and crafts pottery company which operated in Cincinnati, Ohio from the late 1880’s until about 1940.
In October, 1996, Amy and her late husband Stephen, along with their daughters, Nina and Maya, took over as owners and Innkeepers, fulfilling a long-time dream.
The inn has been totally renovated and furnished with English and American antiques, Oriental rugs, and period wallpapers. The exterior with its “Painted Lady” facade multicolor paint treatment reminiscent of the Victorian palette is fitting for a building of her character. In 2001, five of the seven third floor rooms were renovated. The exterior walls of two tavern rooms were bumped out; their sloped knee walls were eliminated and replaced with additional seating areas and corner cast iron gas fireplaces. Televisions were installed behind cabinet doors above the fireplaces. The third floor two-level turret room, “Revels Retreat,” was also remodeled to include an entry hall with a large closet. The bedroom has a lovely gas fireplace with a beautiful wooden mantle.
Our family is proud to be the caretakers, stewards of this treasure of architectural history known as The Rookwood Inn.