Saturday, January 26, 2019

Rounds Turnpike Tavern in Vestal


House at appeared in 1844

 The old house at No. 2 Pumphouse Road in Vestal is a remnant of stagecoach days. It started life as the Rounds Turnpike Tavern in 1821. When brothers John and Jacob Rounds inherited their father's old business in 1844, they named their tavern after the clientele; Drovers Inn.
   “It was an inn for the drovers or the gentleman who brought livestock up through from Pennsylvania up through to cross the river and go into Union and go to market," says Vestal Town Historian Margaret Hadsell. The inn was a convenient stop before crossing the river, a leg of the journey the Rounds' capitalized on. They bought the ferry and collected fares to move the drovers and their livestock across the river to market.
   The large Rounds family was very influential in Vestal. "They really were involved in everything," Hadsell said. They were farmers, owned a mill and a logging business. One member of the Rounds family was station master at the railroad station. Another another ran the coal company, and Jacob Rounds served several terms as Town Supervisor starting in 1859. Jacob also served as Vestal Town Supervisor.

                                      Jacob Rounds in 1876

   The inn's grand opening event was a ball in celebration of President James Polk's election. The event gave rise to a rumor that the Rounds had installed springs in the floor. “I had heard that many many years ago," Hadsell said.  "There are no springs in the floor.” The inn remained in business for 11 years before Jacob Rounds turned it into a private home for his wife and four children. Although it started life as a tavern, it has served as a nursing home, funeral parlor, and a restaurant.

                                   As it appears today

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