I know I said that yesterday was the last update from Guilford Lake. However, Tuesday’s lunch at the Spread Eagle Tavern and Inn deserves some commentary.
Hanover was a thriving port on the Sandy & Beaver Canal and an important link in the region's underground railroad.
Early Hanover played a particularly key role in the life of the Sandy & Beaver Canal which extended 73½ miles from the Ohio River at Smith's Ferry to the Ohio & Erie Canal at Bolivar. Situated midway between these two points just west of the big canal tunnel, Hanover was to become a flourishing center of commerce, boasting a peak population in the late 1830's of 2,000 inhabitants.
Hanover was also known as a safe-haven for runaway slaves. Evident still today are remnants of the underground passage that connected George Sloan's "Brick Row" with his brother-in-law Dr. James Robertson's home just across the street. Runaway slaves were often whisked then, to a secret upstairs hideaway in the Robertson home that was accessible only by the way of a second-story window. At nightfall it is told, the slave fugitives would board a canal boat and flee to their next safe-haven and on to freedom in Canada.
The coming of the Cleveland & Pittsburgh Railroad in the early 1850's signaled the end of the Sandy & Beaver Canal and ultimately the demise of the once bustling village of Hanover. Today virtually all that remains of this grand and illustrious past is historic Plymouth Street, with its many fine century homes and its once venerable Spread Eagle Tavern, with a cluster of ten national historic trust buildings adjacent to the Historic Spread Eagle Tavern.
The building was built in 1837 and today the inn encompasses the barn and main building as a fine award-winning restaurant with the upper floors housing the bedrooms of the inn. Prices for rooms average $200 per night.
This is an outside photo of the barn area with the main building to the right. We were seated in the barn area of the inn.
Lunch was some of the best Yankee Pot Roast Rich and I have ever tasted, and Kathy enjoyed a delicious Maryland crab cake. Aside from the superb food, the building reeks with history.
The road that runs through this area, US 30, follows the old Sandy and Beaver Canal and is known as the Lincoln highway.
I mentioned that this building reeks with history. Look at this photo of the main meeting area in the old inn and the magnificent fireplace. It is said that Abe Lincoln gave a speech in front of this very fireplace.
Note the elephant on the table to the left of the fireplace. That should be a clue as to which party meets here. Throughout history it has been the meeting place for Republicans. Eisenhower, Reagan, Bush, Quayle, Taft, Gingrich, Buchanan, etc. have all met here with the locals to discuss politics and raise money.
In the basement there is a replica of the tunnel that connected this house with a house across the street.
The tunnel was used as part of the Underground Railroad to move slaves to freedom. Several of the houses along this street in this little town of Hanoverton, OH, were built in the 1830’s and were part of the Underground Railroad or supported freeing the slaves.
Once again, Rich was an exquisite guide teaching us the history of the area and local lore.
Thanks again, Rich, for being such a grand host and guide during our stay.