Winchell’s Inn, Ashokan Center

March 30, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Winchell’s Inn, also known as the Winchell – Moehring House, was constructed in 1785, and reputedly includes the stone foundation of the early 18th-century dwelling of Jacobus Bush, the first landowner. The inn takes its name from Lemuel Winchell and the Winchell family who managed the lands along the Esopus Creek from 1785 to 1857. Lemuel Winchell also developed an industrial site on the waterfall named for him which, at its fullest extent in the early-19th century, had grist, saw and fulling mills, a forge and a store.

 

Photograph of Winchell’s Inn, located at the Ashokan Center in the central Catskills.Winchell’s Inn, Ashokan Center

 

The early history of the property, located on the Esopus Creek at what had been known as Winchell’s Falls, has been traced back to a 1731 deed by which Jacobus Bush purchased the property from the Town of Marbletown. Portions of the stone basement of Bush’s homestead, or that of his son and namesake who inherited the property in 1754, are believed to survive in the extant house, which Lemuel Winchell erected after acquiring the farm in 1785. Whereas the Bush family was well-established in the region, Winchell was a newcomer arriving from Dutchess County, where his family had migrated from New England. He selected the site for the industrial potential of the falls, which is believed to have supported a mill as early as 1772, as well as its location at a fording place on the creek. In addition to constructing a dam on the falls and operating grist, saw and carding mills, as well as a forge, blacksmith shop and store, Lemuel Winchell accommodated travelers in his house and tavern.

 

The house was extensively restored and “improved” in the 1930s for use as a country retreat for an automobile industry executive with local ties. Following plans provided by Teller & Halverson, a Kingston architectural firm specializing in the restoration of historic houses for second homes, the house was renovated in the Colonial Revival sensibility of the period, featuring a regional “Dutch” taste emphasizing ceiling beams, wide-board floors in natural finish, and modest white-painted interiors and exteriors. A service wing was added to one end and a bluestone terrace, embellished with grind stones from an abandoned pulp mill on the property, distinguished a new front façade created on the uphill side. When the college created the camp in 1957, the house was used as a retreat for the president and a conference center; later it became a dormitory for camp staff. Few changes have been made to the 1937 plan and design.

 

Winchell’s Inn is located on the grounds of the Ashokan Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to outdoor and environmental education. The center hosts school groups and hobby and community events such as concerts, blacksmithing, square dancing, guitar camp and the fall festival. The beautiful 374-acre property, being home to Winchell Falls, the 1885 Ashokan/Turnwood Covered Bridge, Cathedral Gorge, an 1817 schoolhouse, a large lake, a barnyard and a horse pasture, is like taking a step back in time. Although the Ashokan Center is private property, you can take advantage of one of its numerous public events to tour the scenic grounds. Visit their website at www.ashokancenter.org for more information.

 

The house is the oldest building on the property and has been in continuous use since the 18th century. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Ashokan Field Campus Historic District.


 


Comments

No comments posted.
Loading...

Subscribe
RSS
Archive
January February March April May June July August September October November (3) December (1)
January (1) February (2) March April May June (2) July August September October November (1) December (1)
January February March April May June (1) July August September October November December
January February March April May June (1) July August September October November December
January February March April May June July August September (2) October November December
January (2) February (1) March (2) April (4) May June July August September October November (3) December (3)
January February March April May June (1) July August September October November December
January (4) February (4) March (5) April (3) May June July August September October November December