BROADALBIN — Every time things start getting interesting again at the Historic Hotel Broadalbin, something happens to change the forward progress.
It was $100,000 in flood damage in January of 2019 that spoiled the grand reopening of a month earlier, and in March of this year, after another extensive renovation project was completed, the coronavirus pandemic hit. That spoiled what the owners had hoped was going to be a banner year for the hotel/restaurant, but despite the enduring health crisis, the 1854 structure and its business seem to be on solid footing.
“We are open to the public and we have gotten some traction throughout this summer heading into the fall,” said Brittani Thompson, the daughter-in-law of Dave and Zoe Thompson, owners of the place. “We’re getting cyclists coming in from outside the area who start and end their journey with us, and we know the leaf peepers are going to love it. It’s a great place, but we just haven’t been able to stay open long enough to get the business where we want it to be yet.”
Barring any more floods or new pandemics, however, the Historic Hotel Broadalbin is heading in the right direction.
The Thompsons, now retired teachers in the Broadalbin-Perth school district, purchased the place more than 10 years ago and slowly began renovating the building while also keeping the restaurant open and providing a few rooms for boarders on the second floor. That’s still the idea these days.
“My in-laws run the restaurant, and I’m in charge of the inn on the second floor and other special events we have, such as the farmers’ market,” said Thompson. “The restaurant is on the first floor, and we have a beautiful balcony and a front porch for indoor and outdoor dining. It’s still pretty much a family affair and [the restaurant] basically stayed open throughout the whole renovation period that started 11 or 12 years ago, except for a two-month period when we put in a totally brand-new kitchen.”
It was in December of 2018 that the grand reopening, celebrating a nearly decade-long renovation project, went off without a hitch. Unfortunately, the flooding in January of 2019 put a damper on things.
“That was pretty devastating and we did have to close down the restaurant for a while,” said Thompson. “But we started brand-new renovation work the next day.”
Along with the restaurant on the first floor, the second-floor inn consists of 12 rooms and one small apartment.
“We have 12 beautiful, brand-new rooms in our historic hotel, and because of everything that’s gone on they haven’t been used that much,” said Thompson. “We haven’t been able to stay open a full calendar year yet, but like I said, we feel like we have some traction for the fall.”
Located in the small village of Broadalbin near the south end of the Great Sacandaga Lake, the Historic Hotel Broadalbin opened in 1854 as a glove-making shop. It wasn’t until 1881 when Charles Boss took over and added a large wooden section, and opened up the Kennyetto Hotel, that the place began serving dinners and taking boarders.
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In 1898, after the hotel business closed, the building became a hospital for alcoholics. That enterprise was short-lived, for in 1904 it began doing business again as the Kennyetto Inn. It was one of four hotels in Broadalbin at the time and is the only one still running.
Originally a three-story, white brick-and-wood building, the hotel is located at 59 West Main St. in the village of Broadalbin within the town of Broadalbin and Fulton County. The area was first settled by Europeans just prior to the American Revolution. It remains a source of pride for longtime area residents.
“It’s a wonderful building and has an amazing history, including serving as a speakeasy during Prohibition,” said Gail Shufelt, a lifelong resident of Broadalbin and a former reporter and travel writer for The Daily Gazette. “I can remember going there as a little kid and it’s always been one of my favorite buildings in the town.”
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