Located on Chichester Road near West Hills County Park, this Inn is a big part of Huntington history. Built in 1680 and covering about 3,500 square feet, the inn used to be a gathering place for settlers and travelers. Providing a place for activities, the Peace and Plenty Inn was an integral part of the area’s social and political life. Among its famous visitors it includes Theodore Roosevelt and Walt Whitman.
They say location is everything and the Peace and Plenty Inn proves that today. Its one of the oldest homes along the Whitman Heritage Corridor and because of its preservation, not to mention the 2.3 acres on which it sits, is said to be worth over $1 million. The Inn also has interior architectural features that bring you back to its early years such as the hinged wall that opens to the largest room in the house. This allowed the necessary room to hold town meetings. It also has a unique box staircase and an old taproom where drinks were served.
The exterior architecture is quite interesting as well. Its long red shingles are a characteristic of 17th-century design. Its clapboard structure was built by overlapping the boards so that one edge is thicker than the one below. Today we call this technique siding.
The Inn’s 19th-century paneled doors and skillion roof are beautiful vintage additions. Behind the main building is a springhouse, also built in the 19th century that has a stone foundation, the same clapboard siding as the house, a gabled roof and a vertical-plank door. It was built mainly for refrigeration and is an early reproduction of what we call the refrigerator today. The size of one small room, the springhouse is constructed over a spring so the water keeps the temperature inside the structure a constant cool. It was used for food and drink storage which served the busy Inn’s needs.
In addition to its historical background, the Inn has a paranormal pedigree, as well. There are also those who say the house is haunted. The original owners of the Inn were the Chichester family. They owned it for over 200 years until the 20th century and purchased the land after the previous tavern, built by Thomas Brush, burned down after 20 years of service.
One of the family members, Asa Chichester, was responsible for closing the Inn’s doors when business was affected by the addition of Jericho Turnpike. He is said to remain in the house and his actions prove his loyalty to the family business. Stories say that a previous owner’s dog wouldn’t go up the stairs to the loft area where Asa supposedly slept and they also spotted a blue light going up in that direction. Along the years there were also tales of mysterious footprints that have been seen and heard as well as pieces of furniture gone missing. It seems as if Asa continues to call Peace and Plenty home.
During the years the Peace and Plenty Inn has reinvented itself many times. From a social hub and tavern to a school this building has lived through a number of centuries. In 1985 it was added to theNational Register of Historic Places which allows the owners to get tax incentives and grants for its preservation.
Its 235 years in the Chichester family has given it a lot of character and life. From generation to generation, the Inn has shared itself with the world and allowed us to learn more about our historic environment. Today it still stands with confidence and antiquity and invites us to explore the age old saying, “keep it in the family.” The more we look deeper into our history the greater chance we have of capturing a new view.