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Shattuck Inn, Jaffrey, New Hampshire

by Philip Shaddock


Shattuck Inn, architect's conceptual drawing abt. 1910

On the home page of the Town of Jaffrey, New Hampshire, the opening paragraph pitches its scenic beauty to the world:

Nestled at the base of famous Grand Monadnock Mountain is Jaffrey, N.H. With its three sparkling lakes, rolling countryside, and magic beauty of village greens, Jaffrey is well known as being an outstanding vacation destination.

It may well have earned the status as a premium vacation spot because of its natural beauty, but its reputation among tourists may owe a certain amount of debt to the famous Shattuck Inn that once attracted tourists to its upscale accommodations from all over New England. 

The American writer of pioneer life Willa Cather made the Shattuck Inn in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, famous when she found solace and rejuvenation there in 1917. The Inn was built in 1910 after the original inn, converted from a large home once owned by the town physician, burnt to the ground. You can see the architect's drawing in the group of photos attached. The Inn was operated by Ed Shattuck and his wife and had a reputation for excellence throughout New England. Jaffery was a resort town described as "an elongated dot of a place, curved along mapled hills." It accommodated up to 500 guests seeking rest and relaxation. Willa Cather was given rooms of her choice on the top floor, accommodating her desire for strict solitude and privacy. The Inn does not survive, but its golf course does, called the Shattuck Golf Course. 


Edmond Parker Shattuck (1811-1904). I think the house in the background might have been the first Shattuck Inn before it was destroyed by fire. In any case, the size of the house and the presence of the his father speak to a successful family. Edmond married his the sister of the wife of his brother Vyrling Shattuck (1809-1890). The maiden name "Cutter" would be passed down as a middle name in the family.

The person who built the Shattuck Inn was Edmond Cutter Shattuck (1851-1933).  He was a descendant of the Elder Pepperell Shattucks of the town of that name in Massachusetts. His father Edmond Parker Shattuck (1811-1904) moved from Pepperell to Jaffrey, New Hamshire, where he was a farmer. He married into a prominent local family, the Cutters when he married Rachel Rebbecca (Cutter) Shattuck (1815-1901). She ran the first Shattuck Inn in the town of Jaffery, property she inherited from her father.

It was actually her son Ed who built the Shattuck Inn that would become a famous resort. When a fire destroyed the original Inn in 1909, Ed hired an architectural firm and built the Shattuck Inn that became the famous retreat for urban escapees around New England. 

A story told by Ed's grandson gives you an idea of why the Inn was so successful. Shaun Shattuck told me this about the Inn and his grandfather. "My father [Richard Spofford Shattuck 1910-1971] used to tell me stories about rolling the streets so the sleighs could slide more easily. I guess my grandfather was very fussy especially about the food served. When it came time for the salad to be made the whole kitchen went to the garden and picked what they were responsible for and then went back to the kitchen made the salad and put on the table for the guests. 


Edmond Cutter Shattuck in San Diego in the 1920s, looking stylish.

My father also told me a story about driving my grandparents West in my grandfather's Packard. The roads were all dirt and had three ruts that the wheels went in. The drivers side wheels were in a shared rut with oncoming traffic (not much back then). 

My father said he never had to jump out because the Packard was big and the other vehicles chickened out sooner. He also said that they would pull into some town and my grandfather would decide it was time to eat. He would pick a place and walk in and ask to inspect the kitchen. If they refused he would walk out. If they let him he would go and inspect it and if he wasn’t happy with the results he would walk out. If he liked it they would all sit down and eat. Can you imagine doing that today?"

Ed Shattuck was obviously a fearless and adventuress man with a eye for quality and aesthetic appeal. These are the qualities he brought to building and running Shattuck's Inn. 

It is the case that Ed Shattuck got into the hotel business because it was part of the local tourist industry relatives his wife Rachel Cutter had been in the business before him. In fact his marriage to Rachel brought into the Shattuck family the house that was converted into an Inn.

From the Jaffery historical site: "The original house was built by Dr. Adonijah Howe, Jaffrey's first resident physician, in 1806-1807, and came into the possession of the Cutter and -- through marriage -- the Shattuck families in 1835. Around 1868 Mrs. Shattuck began to take summer boarders, calling the place the "Shattuck Farm." There were accommodations for fifteen guests, but as the business grew, more space was needed and in 1899 the ell and the cupola (seen here) were built. The entire inn was destroyed by fire on June 19, 1909."









The following are post card images. The winter scene reminds me of the movie "Holiday Inn."



 


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