The Farmers’ Hotel, 1860 (The Bentz House, 1872)

The Farmers'/Bentz House Hotel, 1872 (CCHS)

Robert Cornman, a wealthy young manufacturer and entrepreneur, purchased an East High Street lot from Simon Wunderlich during the 1840s and constructed in ninety days an impressive brick four-story building.  At the time it was one of the larger, and taller, structures in the town, topped with a distinctive cupola.  In it he established the Farmers’ Hotel and by 1860 it was considered perhaps the finest hostelry in Carlisle.

In 1860, David Martin ran the hotel for Cornman and he, together with his wife and two girls, lived on the premises.  David and Louisa James were similarly employed as cooks, along with two other “domestics.”  William Fisher was the hostler, taking care of the wooden livery stable in the rear of the premises.

Farmers'/Bentz House/Wellington Hotel, Fall 2010
Farmers'/Bentz House/ Wellington Hotel, fall 2010

Around 1869 the property was sold to A.W. Benz and George Benz took over the running of the hotel, renaming it “the Bentz House.”  Its fine reputation was maintained and the hotel was listed in directories and tourist guides up and down the East Coast.

In the last two decades of the century, the structure changed hands twice and was renamed both times.  In 1882 it was the “Florence House” and by 1900 it was the “Wellington Hotel.”  The Wellington continued to serve as a fifty-room travelers and residential hotel into the 1960s.  In 1987, it underwent an extensive restoration and conversion into apartments and offices.

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