The land, now known as Scenery Hill, was first surveyed in 1785 by Isaac Bush and was given the name Springtown. Later, George Hill purchased the land and conveyed it to his son Stephen Hill in which the town was renamed Hillsboro until April 10th, 1867. George Hill began construction of the Inn in 1788 and his son, Stephen, finished it in 1794. The stone used to build the Inn was quarried from the surrounding area. The original structure is still intact with additions located behind the Inn.
When they started building the Inn in 1788, they had one building with 8 rooms. Seven of these rooms were for travelers and the eighth room was considered not only the tavern, but the Innkeeper’s room as well. It is understood that at that time, the kitchen was just an outhouse. After the first building was completed, construction began on the second building which housed a dining room and kitchen. This building was completed in 1794. To this day, you can still step on the original stone that lead travelers from one building to the other, you can also stand next to the giant fire place that once roared thourgh the day and nights while the cook prepared food for all of the guests and you can see the hash marks on the stones that have held the Inn’s heart for over 200 years.
Century Inn, then known as Hill’s Tavern, was visited by many famous and not so famous guests. Some historic names that cross our threshold were General Santa Anna, David Bradford, Chief Black Hawk, Andrew Jackson and Marquis de Lafayette. It was also discovered in recent years, that Abraham Lincoln heard the breakfast was so amazing that he insisted on stopping to enjoy the perfect meal to get his day off to a start.
Century Inn has been in continuous operation since it was first built in 1788. During these years it has only been owned by 11 families, one of which has owned it twice. The Inn was purchased by the Harrington family in 1945 when Dr. Gordon Franklin Harrington and his wife Mary Amanda purchased it. The entire Inn was empty with the exception of two benches that were original to the Inn. These two benches now live on the front porch. Throughout those years, Mary Amanda had collected many furnishings from the 18th and 19th century and to this day her daughter-in-law and our present Innkeeper, Megin Harrington, has added many pieces to the ever growing collection with an emphasis on one of her passions, art. You can find many items from a early 1800’s Carousel Horse to an original flag of the Whisky Rebellion.
In August 2015, a devasting chapter was written for Century Inn after a 5-alarm fire broke out and gutted the entire Inn. This would begin a two and a half year process to rebuild the historic structure. Thanks to not only the passion and love from the Harrington family but a tremendous team of architects, masons, carpenters, painters and flooring specialists, we were able to finally re-open our doors in February of 2018.
To this day, Century Inn still hosts many guests. Many stop by, in the traditional sense, and stay for the night, while others come by to emerge themselves in the history that these walls hold. Whether you want to sip whisky in the McCune Saloon or take a weekend away and immerse yourself in the peacefulness Scenery Hill offers, we can’t wait to see you!