The Inn is rumored to be haunted! Reports of unexplained foot steps, soft music, and perfumed scents have led some people to believe that our "ghost" is the last Howe innkeeper's sister, Jerusha. Jerusha was born in 1797 and died in 1842. While living at the Inn she occupied rooms 9 and 10, and most reports of a mysterious presence have come from houseguests who have stayed in those two rooms!
Many overnight rooms at the Inn are packed with letters and notes from members of the Secret Drawer Society! The Society was formed in the late 1950s when then innkeeper Francis Koppeis entertained visiting children with stories about the hidden drawers found in many of the Inn's antique desks. Koppeis would hide small candies for his young guests to find, but soon people of all ages were leaving notes and treasures for other guests. Today, people record their unique experiences of the old Inn and stash them in the drawers of desks and bureaus in our guest rooms for future generations to ponder.
The Wayside Inn considers itself to be the first living history museum in the United States! When Henry Ford purchased the Inn in 1923, he developed the multi-building "village" appearance the Inn still has today. Rather than making it a "hands off" experience, Ford intended each building as a working entity. Some of the private homes surrounding the Inn today were once part of the Ford complex. Certain key staff lived here and also worshiped at the Chapel, had children attending classes at the Redstone and South West Schools, and consumed the flour and meal ground daily at the Mill!
The Wayside Inn was once a high school for boys? Henry Ford, who owned the Inn from 1923 to 1945, developed an educational concept for under-privileged boys after launching a similar program years earlier in Dearborn, Michigan. In March of 1928, thirty wards of the state of Massachusetts became the first students at Henry Ford's new Wayside Inn Trade School. Pupils at the school did their own housework, and were paid enough wages to buy clothing and pay a modest boarding fee. When Henry Ford died and the Ford family subsequently disengaged from Wayside Inn ownership, the Wayside Inn Boys School held its final graduation exercises in June of 1947.
David Howe, the first Howe family innkeeper from 1716 to 1746, married Hepzibah Death on December 25th, 1700! Many of the traditions we recognize today as part of the Christmas holiday were non-existent in early New England. Our Puritan forefathers had no tolerance for the "excessive revelings" associated with Christmas, so the day passed like any other until well into the middle of the19th-century.