EGREMONT — Built by an Irishman during the Revolutionary War and used as a hospital during the Civil War, the history-rich Egremont Inn is now a peaceful oasis from the 20th century.

Even movie stars such as Tony Perkins, who stayed at the inn last summer during the local filming of “Pretty Poison,” have felt its magnetism.

“Sometimes they’d all sit around in front of the fireplace at night and say they didn’t want to leave and they didn’t know what was coming over them.” Mrs. Bradford Durfee, owner of the Inn, says, “My dear, what was coming over them was New England.”

Born in California and raised in New York, Mrs. Durfee is New England to her toes. Her family history is rooted in this section of the country. She bought the inn in 1966 and since then has been eager to relate and preserve its history.

She has restored the inn, located off Route 23 on Sheffield Road, to its 18th-century appearance. All the rooms have wallpaper in 18th century patterns from the Old Stone Mill Wallpaper Co. in Adams.

Rooms are furnished with antiques, settees and a spinning wheel. Pewter objects line the shelf over the fireplace in the main lounge. Every bedroom is different.

The bathrooms contain old-fashioned white tubs on legs. “We try to get away from chrome,” says Mrs. Durfee.

The bar, located between the kitchen and a lounge, is a replica of a 17th century taproom. “There are no bar stools, and I don’t want any,” she says. “I don’t want people telling their stories to the bartender.

The inn has been open every summer since 1780 when Francis Hare, an Irishman who fought in three battles of the American Revolution, built it. During Shay’s Rebellion and again during the Civil War, the inn was used as a mustering-in place and a hospital.

Mrs. Durfee says she had found hospital cots, with materials from the Revolutionary War period, in one of the storage rooms on the fourth floor.

The Hawthorne, a building opposite the inn and also owned by Mrs. Durfee, was originally the town’s store and the Hawthorne cottage, adjacent to it, was the post office and toll house as early as 1840 when post offices were first formed in the United States. Both buildings are now used for apartments.

Editor’s Note: The historic Egremont Inn was destroyed by a pre-dawn five-alarm fire on Dec. 11, 2009. After the site was cleared, the property was sold and is now the site of a private residence.

This Story in History is selected from the archives by Jeannie Maschino, The Berkshire Eagle.

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.