Last week, I travelled to northern New York for business. It's also a genealogy hotspot for several maternal branches, Irish immigrants who settled Franklin, Clinton, and St. Lawrence counties starting in the 1820s and engaged in farming, masonry, and small business. Usually I stay in hotels, but this time I opted for an unusual bed and breakfast that turned out to be a dream destination for local genealogists and history buffs.
The Sherman Inn, located in Ogdensburg, New York, doesn't look like a B&B. It's located in an old brick elementary school that shut down about 10 years ago. Outside, it still looks like a school, as shown in the photo above.
But inside, proprietors Donna and Jim Reagan have done something wonderful. The classrooms have been converted into gigantic suites (800 square feet!) filled with antiques:
There are also local historical artifacts, such as this wonderful 1896 wall map of St. Lawrence county:
Each of the five suites has a presidential theme, to celebrate presidents who passed through the city or have some other local connection. I stayed in the Grover Cleveland suite, but there were rooms dedicated to Teddy Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, and others.
For local genealogists and history buffs, there is also a well-stocked library that includes out-of-print books about the area, scrapbooks, yearbooks, and more. There's a lot to see - this area was a strategic borderland (see my earlier post about Fort de la Presentation in Ogdensburg), which various Native American tribes, European powers, and North American nations vying for control over hundreds of years. Jim and Donna know a lot about the history and love to share their knowledge!
You can learn about the Sherman Inn B&B on the inn's website. I've also done a video walkthrough: