250-year-old Highland Lake Inn To open its doors to public visit

Historic home has been occupied for 250 years

By Larry Chase


Highland Lake Inn, East Andover (250 year old dwelling.)

One of the oldest dwellings in Andover, now in its 250th year of occupancy, will be open to the public for a walking tour beginning at 11 AM on Saturday, November 4, in the Andover Barn at 32 Maple Street in East Andover.

The barn belongs to the dwelling now known as the Highland Lake Inn, a popular bed and breakfast, which bears the date of its construction, 1767, above its front door. The walking tour will be led by Pecco and Gail Beaufays, current owners of the property, and will be preceded by a short presentation about its history and the history of East Andover, given by Ed Hiller. Hiller, former president of the Andover Historical Society, is an East Andover resident of more than 40 years.

Following the walking tour, a visit to the family cemetery plot of one of the early owners will be led by Pat Cutter, chair of the Andover Cemetery Trustees. The plot is located behind the Highland Lake Inn.

In addition to viewing the inn's facilities and grounds, attendees will also get a glimpse at the building's original post-and-beam construction via a cutaway wall on a main staircase. Also on display will be a selection of about two dozen enlargements of photographs of East Andover subjects from the Poblenz collection in the W. A. Bachelder Library in East Andover. The late Frank Poblenz (1909-1995) was a professional photographer who lived in East Andover.

Open to the public at no charge, the tour is co-sponsored by the Andover Historical Society and the Andover Institute, an arm of the Andover Community Association. For more information about the Highland Lake Inn and its current offerings, visit its Web site at highlandlakeinn.com.

A bit of history

(The following was prepared by Ed Hiller for distribution to Highland Lake Inn guests.)

Over the years the dwelling has been known as the “William S. Marston” place, “The Halcyon,” and since 1993 as the “Highland Lake Inn.”

Deacon Samuel Blake, Jr., a veteran of the 1745 siege of Louisburg in Nova Scotia, was one of the original 81 proprietors, or grantees, when the town was granted in 1751. Two years later, the town was subdivided into lots and a lottery was held to determine which lots each proprietor was to receive. Deacon Blake was granted Lot Number 35, which included two 80-acre lots and one 100-acre lot. This last lot became the farm where the Highland Lake Inn is now located.

Settlement of the land grants was delayed until raids in the region by the Canadian Indians ceased in 1760. In 1767 Blake was one of the few original grantees who settled and improved their properties rather than simply holding them for speculative gain. A document of 1771 states Blake had been settled on this site for five years, had erected a house, installed his family, and had cleared 20 acres, thus satisfying the terms of the grant. His house was only the second two-story house built in Andover (according to Eastman's town history).

Deacon Blake was an important figure in the early days of the town, serving variously as moderator, assessor, and selectman. Upon his death in 1797, his property passed to his son, William Blake. Deacon Blake is probably buried in the small old cemetery near the house on the rise above Maple Street.

In 1799 the property was sold to a William Proctor and shortly thereafter resold to Timothy Dustin. In 1802, it was bought by Chandler Cass who in 1816 sold it to James Marston. For the next 85 years, the Marston family occupied the house. Upon James Marston's death in 1869, it passed to one of his two sons, William Smith Marston, thus giving it the name of the “William S. Marston” place. In the summer of 1891, the barn and sheds burned down; a replacement was erected some years later. At William's death in 189, the property was divided and given to his two adopted children with the dwelling going to his invalid daughter Marianna Marston and the farmland going to his son, William Everett Marston.

Through a foreclosure auction in 1894, Fred Ellsworth Putney acquired the farmland property. In 1901, the house and immediate dwelling property was bought by Governor Nahum Bachelder, who gave it the name of “The Halcyon.” Governor Bachelder operated the property as a summer hotel.

In 1904 the Putney family bought the dwelling and reunited it with the surrounding farmland. They continued to operate it as a summer boarding hotel and continued to call it “The Halcyon” for a number of years. After selling it in 1962, the property went through several owners who used it as a single-family dwelling.

In 1987, most of the 100 acres of farmland was separated off to make a residential subdivision, thus leaving the house and barn with seven surrounding acres as a separate tract. At this point, the building saw service as a guesthouse. In 1993, the property was again sold, and major facility improvements and renovations were made. At this point the property was transformed into the business operation known today as the “Highland Lake Inn.”

Timeline of Ownership of the Highland Lake Inn

1767 Deacon Samuel Blake, Jr.   1901 Governor Nahum Bachelder

1797 William Blake    1904 Fred Ellsworth Putney

1799 William Proctor    1929 Charles and Elizabeth Putney

1799 Timothy Dustin    1962 George and Elizabeth Finnie

1802 Chandler Cass    1982 Jack and Earline Wormald

1816 James Marston    1987 Peter Schwartz

1869 William Smith Marston  1989 Bradford and Ethelen Sherman

1893 Marianna Marston   1993 Mary and Peter Petras

1894 Fred Ellsworth Putney  2001 Steve and Judee Hodges

      2006 Gail and Pecco Beaufays