Granville's Buxton Inn celebrates its bicentennial
By Debbie Gillum
Arts and Life Editor
Not only did the city of Columbus celebrate its bicentennial this year, but also our very own Buxton Inn. To celebrate such an anniversary, there will be three unique bicentennial events this fall.
The first bicentennial event will be the Buxton Tavern’s participation in the End of Summer Pub Crawl on Saturday Sept. 1. Funds raised will benefit the Christopher Carlson Foundation. Eight other Granville places will participate in the Pub Crawl, including Day y Noche, Taco Dans, and Brew’s.
The next celebration is the Bicentennial Special, which is a special package that includes a one night stay for two people, a Buxton Inn DVD, and half off a 2nd entrée for $100 plus tax. This would be the perfect discount for parents coming into town.
The third bicentennial celebration will feature historically correct menu specials, including homemade noodles and chicken, roasted pork loin with root vegetables, and Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes.
Each bicentennial event will include an opportunity to learn more about the Buxton’s rich history. Every event will tell a different historical story, such as how the Buxton became listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Orville Orr, 78 and his wife Audrey, both are school teachers, who have owned the inn since 1972.
Orville explained how they thought it was important to celebrate this once in a lifetime event.
“Is there an older business in Granville?” he asked.
The Buxton is indeed said to be Ohio’s oldest continuously operating inn in its original structure.
The Inn was built in 1812 by Orrin Granger, a pioneer from Granville, Massachusetts, just seven years after Granville was established. The Inn was Granville’s first post office and served as a stagecoach stop on a line from Zanesville to Columbus.
When the Orrs first set out to restore the Inn, they anticipated it being a six-month project. It ended up taking two years. To ensure historical accuracy, they travelled to Granville, Mass. and studied how the houses looked there.
Orville explained how much hard work went into building the Inn originally.
“Back when the Buxton was built, Granville was a hard wood forest. The outside and inside is made from hand-cut wood. Can you imagine cutting and carving all that wood without power tools?” Orville said.
In the 1970s, the Inn fell on hard times and there was talk about demolishing the Inn to make room for more parking.
“I want people to know how much work went into this place and how important it is to not just tear it down.” Orville said.
The Buxton is currently for sale. The Orrs say they are ready to retire.
“For Innkeepers, the average time with one place is five to six years.” Orr said, “We’ve been here 40 years.”
The asking price is $3.9 million for the Inn and four other structures on its block, located at the corner of East Broadway and South Pearl Street .
Orville has met with two potential buyers.
“The one had good business sense but wasn’t interested in restoration,” Orr said, “We said no thank you to that.”
The other buyer appears to be more promising.
“Another buyer came with his family to look at it. Although he doesn’t have a lot of experience, he wants to preserve the integrity of the Inn. He’s coming back to look at it again.” Orr said.
While the Buxton is for sale, it is still fully operating.
“Recently we had an antique sale here and some folks misread the ad and thought that meant we were closing our doors.”
The Buxton has become a Granville icon, a place for weekend getaways, and a meeting spot for Denison alumni. It’s a favorite spot for Denison parents to stay.
Orville said he “has always wanted to give something back to his community” and now at the end of his career, he feels he has succeeded in doing just that.