Napanee’s iconic Paisley Hotel

Elizabeth Hall
A Walk Through History

The Paisley Hotel, or the Paisley House, was once considered the finest hotel in town, and a generally popular hotel in central Ontario. The site it was built on initially only had a wooden saloon on it, but after a man named Charles Paisley purchased the site around 1870, it was rebuilt into a three-storey brick building. The hotel was known as the Paisley, but it was also called “The Huffman House” because of a man named Peter Huffman who managed the property in the 1880’s after Charles Paisley died in 1879. The people who stayed at the Paisley were mainly commercial travellers, but during the federal election of 1882, Sir John and Lady Macdonald stayed in apartments at the Paisley from June 12th to June 20th.

In 1890, first class rooms were available for $1.50 a day, and the hotel had a reputation for sumptuous fare (lavish, luxurious, or expensive feasts). In 1905, a man named John Pratt hosted Christmas dinner with delicacies including oyster soup, lobster salad, ox tongue, English Plum Pudding with brandy sauce and MacLaren cheese. Rooms in the Paisley were large and well furnished, and also heated. The Paisley had a nice dining room and a bar with many beverage choices and cigars.

This hotel remained in the Paisley family until 1919, but even after Charles died many other people owned it; Elizabeth Paisley sold the building to a man named Harvey Warner whose estate then sold it to a John Hugh Fitzpatrick. During the 1930s and 1940s, the Fitzpatrick’s ran an inn in this building with a reputation much similar to the Paisley, and they ran this inn for 22 years. During the Second World War soldiers said goodbye to their wives and children in the dining room.

Random History Fact: Marie Antionette never said “let them eat cake”.

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