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A LOOK BACK: The Leland House

Look-Back-pic-Springville-House

The Springville House in the 1870s.  Note Rust’s sign hanging on the porch. The building was torn down to make way for the grander Leland House in 1879.

By Derek M. Otto

Preparations are continuing on the Concord Historical Society’s Heritage Building.  The grand opening is Saturday, Sept. 30, and promises to be a great event for Springville.

The Heritage Building will highlight Springville’s great past and its former architecture.  Not surprisingly, one of the first elements completed in the Heritage building was the facade of the Leland House.  For more than 130 years, the Leland House was Main Street Springville’s great landmark.  I am sure anyone older than 40 years old can remember going there.  Who remembers family dinners on holidays, a great place to meet old friends on the weekends and a place to get a Friday fish fry?

The site now stands as an empty lot, but since the settlement of Springville, the site was a long time gathering spot in Springville. The original Springville House, or Springville Hotel, was built on the site of the Leland House by Rufus C.  Eaton and his brother Elisha in 1824.

This hotel served many social purposes of the young village.  Early church services were held there before churches raised money for their edifices.  The Masons used the building for meetings and the town held meetings there.  It was home to the young Whig party, where rallies and patriotic songs were sung. It also served as home to doctors and lawyers when they first moved into the village.

For such a busy place, the building had many owners in its first 12 years; every few years, the building changed hands.

In 1871, the partners of Rust and Dygert bought the Springville house and ran it for several years.  Eventually, Rust bought out Dygert’s share.

In 1877, the building had three owners with H. G. Leland buying it in the fall of that year.  Erasmus Briggs, who wrote the History of the Original Town of Concord, remarked sentimentally on the tearing down of the old Springville House, “The old hotel has passed away and will be seen no more, although it was small in size and inferior in style and dingy in appearance, yet it abounded in good cheer, and many a good time was had been enjoyed there.”

With the prospect of Springville’s first railroad on the horizon, Leland razed the old Springville House and put up a grand new hotel— the Leland House.  Briggs called the new hotel enlarged and tasty. The new hotel was a show piece for Springville and would keep the tradition of being Springville’s gathering place well into the 1990s.

Helen and Deed Ferry operated the Leland House for many years and completely updated the restaurant and the Dan Patrick bar in 1962.

In the early 1970s, Dick Enser Sr. and his family bought the Leland House. They operated it for many years and then leased the property to several other operators through its last days of operation.

A cold January night in 2006 saw the Leland House meet its demise when a suspicious fire destroyed the grand lady of Springville. It will be great to see how the Concord Historical Society has brought the old edifice back to life.

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