80 Years Of Hospitality
The Colgate Inn was built in 1925, replacing the Park House (also a hotel), which had stood on the same site for more than a century. The Park House was the only portion of downtown Hamilton spared from the Great Fire of 1895 that burned out 61 businessmen and 16 families causing an estimated $400,000 in damages.
Privately owned for many years, the village landmark and meeting place was saved from demolition in the mid-1970s when it was purchased by the Hamilton Downtown Inn Inc. Ownership was eventually transferred to Colgate Inn LLC in 1973, which is owned by Colgate University.
Colgate University, recognizing the need for a truly top flight Inn in Hamilton, undertook a major renovation of the property. Over one million dollars was spent bringing the Inn to its present beauty. During the renovation, care was taken to maintain the original character of the building. However, major changes did occur in the bedroom area as the old Inn had many rooms without baths. Additionally, the renovation reduced the number of guest rooms from 56 in the original Inn to the present day 40.
In March 2004, nearly a half-million dollar renovation was completed to the Parlor and Lobby. This renovation was on the heals of renovations in Fall 2003 to the Tap Room, formerly known as The Payne Street Corner and the Salmagundi Bar & Restaurant. All these changes have been aimed at the hopes of creating first impressions of Colgate and the inn to reflect the charm and vitality of Hamilton and the warmth of the community.
August 2010 thru July 2011 marked the largest renovation project to date, touching virtually every area of the Inn. The original character has been preserved while creating a new and exciting experience. Dining rooms, Tavern, Patio Dining, meeting rooms, banquet rooms and the kitchen spaces have been expanded and redesigned. The guest rooms have become more spacious and luxurious, including suites and balcony rooms, to accommodate the changes the number of guest rooms has again been reduced from 46 to 34 rooms and 6 suites. Although this project has been a major undertaking, the end result is the creation of a classic New England Inn which concentrates on the guests needs and enjoyment of their experience.
Elisha Payne builds the Park House at the intersection of Broad and Lebanon Streets.
The Colgate Inn was built in 1925, replacing the Park House.
The inn has been managed by individual innkeepers and, for the past dozen years or more, by various multinational management companies. In the fall 2004, current General Manager, Ben Eberhardt’s father’s company, Dining Associates was signed to a long-term agreement to operate the Colgate Inn. William Eberhardt owns and operates Dining Associates and has been the proprietor of the historic Sherwood Inn on Skaneateles Lake since 1974.
Ben Eberhardt, who left the Army last year after 12 years of service and an ascent to the rank of major, has brought his family and expertise to Hamilton. Ben Eberhardt’s vision for Colgate Inn is as a regionally recognized landmark of tradition and first-class hospitality, which bridges the future of the University with its alumni, students and the Hamilton community.