The Colonial Inn in Concord
By Thomas D’Agostino
Welcome to the Colonial Inn in Concord. This story details the history and haunts of one of New England’s most haunted inns.
The Colonial Inn in Concord, Massachusetts sits in the heart of American history. Concord is where the “shot heard ‘round the world” was fired on April 19, 1775, signaling the official start of the American Revolution.
The Colonial Inn also hosts several ghosts who still remain from the time when the first shots of the war rang out, and perhaps before.
The original portion of the inn was built by Captain James Minot in 1716. He left the building to his son, James Jr., a lieutenant in the French and Indian Wars, Justice of the Peace and a member of the Royal Governor’s Council. A descendant, Dr. Timothy Minot owned the home at the time of the famous aforementioned skirmish.
In 1789, the building was owned by Deacon John White, where the central portion was used as a variety store and the rest as private residences. In 1799, John Thoreau purchased a portion of the inn that now houses the office and sitting room for use as a private residence. It was in these rooms young Henry David Thoreau stayed from 1835 to 1837 while attending Harvard.
In 1839, Daniel Shattuck purchased the building. He had already been running the general store for 18 years previous. At that point he turned the store into a dwelling. By 1885 the structure was a boarding house and finally, in 1889, it became a hotel known as the Thoreau House, named in honor of Henry’s aunts who were once dedicated assistants in the daily chores of the place.
In 1900, Mr. and Mrs. Abrams named it Concord’s Colonial Inn, the name that has graced its signs ever since. There is much history to the three buildings that occasionally come to life with the spirits of the past.
During the Battle of Lexington, Dr. Timothy Minot used present day Room 24 as an operating room. The Liberty Room was a field hospital and Room 27 was the morgue. Room 27 still reverberates with the horror and sorrow of that infamous day in 1775. Guests have witnessed the ghosts of colonial soldiers in the room or have heard desperate disembodied voices. Sobbing is also heard along with faint whispers as if someone is consoling a person in mourning.
The Liberty Room is now a dining room but to those of yesteryear, it is still an active field hospital. Guests have witnessed people dressed in colonial attire sitting in the room. Upon commenting to the staff their approval of the people dressed in period garments, they are met with the grim truth that there are no such persons employed at the inn.
Items are known to fall off shelves or vanish for weeks, only to turn up in a most conspicuous place. Guests and staff hear voices directly behind them. When they turn to see who is speaking to them, there is no one there. One patron entered the room and saw a man in colonial dress sitting at the table. He turned quickly to alert his friends of the “actor” but when he turned back, the man was gone.
A newlywed couple stayed in Room 24. During the night, the woman awoke to the sight of a greyish glowing figure standing near the foot of the bed. The figure stood there for a few moments, then turned and vanished into the fireplace. Some believe it is Dr. Minot checking on his patients. Others have seen the ghost of a nurse or have felt someone touch them while in the room. One person felt someone touch his shoulder. He then heard a voice say, “Don’t worry, your shoulder will be alright.”
It just so happens that he had recently sustained a shoulder injury and was recovering from it. Another guest of Room 24 complained that the light in the closet went on and shadows could be seen pacing to and fro from under the door.
The Sitting Room is another spot where ghosts like to visit. The ghost of an elderly woman and a tall slim gentleman with a top hat are often seen reclining in the chairs. No one is sure who the woman is but many seem to think the man is none other than Henry David Thoreau paying an otherworldly visit to his former home.
The ghosts of the Colonial Inn are not confined strictly to rooms. One cannot pass through the halls without feeling someone, or something is walking with or behind them. The ghost of a young woman in a bonnet is seen near the front desk and gift shop. The ghost of a nurse, called Rosemary by the staff, is also witnessed meandering through the halls. The shuffling of feet is sometimes heard yet there is no visible being causing the phenomena. Several guests strolling through the hallways have been brushed by an invisible being as if they were passing in the opposite direction. Other guests have seen the shadows of feet under their door. When they open it, no one is there.
Of all the areas in the inn, Room 24 seems to get the most attention. This was the room used by Dr. Timothy Minot as an operating room during the April 19, 1775, skirmish. Some of the wounded brought there did not make it through surgery and their spirits still linger. Lights are known to flicker, or turn on suddenly, along with the television. Voices are heard in the room and sometimes from the closet. Guests have seen the shadow of feet moving about in the closet. When opened, it is obviously vacant. Doors in the room open and shut on their own as if someone is moving through the area. A woman tucks in visitors and the hall nurse ghost, Rosemary, also appears in the room.
In 1966, Mr. M.P. and Judith Fellenz occupied the room for a night Mrs. Fellenz would never forget. She later wrote a letter to the inn stating that she was disturbed from her slumber by something at the foot of the bed. It was a grayish figure standing there looking at her. The figure then slowly moved toward the fireplace and melted away. When she brought the incident up to her husband, he merely commented that the ghost was included with the price of the room.
A paranormal investigative group recently held a vigil in Room 24. When they reviewed the video, the misty form of a person kneeling by the bed could be seen. Was it someone praying for a wounded loved one? Perhaps. The ghosts of the Colonial are harmless, yet very much part of the history of the inn that perennially houses famous moments and people. In fact, the Concord’s Colonial Inn is rated by one magazine the sixth most haunted inn in New England while another rates it number three, just behind its sister hotel, The Hawthorne in Salem, Massachusetts. Historic Hotels of America puts it in their top 25 for its ghosts. Stay a night and enjoy an amazing piece of history, both living and otherwise.
Thomas D’Agostino and his wife Arlene Nicholson are seasoned paranormal investigators, authors, and co-organizers of Paranormal United Research Society. You can find out more about them by visiting www.tomdagostino.com.