Bethel Maine History

The Bethel Inn Opens

The Bethel Journals

Updated February 25, 2010




The following article appeared as a preview to the Inn’s grand opening. The writer described the interior layout of the new inn on the Common which took the place of the Prospect Hotel/Bethel House. The former hotel had burned and was torn down in 1911.  This article was probably written by Mrs. Marian True Gehring, wife of Dr. John G. Gehring, President of the Bethel Inn Corporation.  Some paragraphs in the original article have been omitted.


Bethel Inn Opens Headlinew.jpgThe new Bethel Inn will be open to the public for inspection on Saturday, July 12th between the hours of 2 and 6 in the afternoon—7:30 to 10 in the evening. A cordial invitation is extended to all. Refreshments will be served.

This is the heading of the new chapter in the record of courtesy and kindness which has unfailingly marked the stay of Mr. Upson and Mr. Bingham in Bethel. That the Bethel people should  be among the very first guests at the beautiful new Inn is a graceful compliment which will surely be met with appreciation.

The inn’s interior follows the Colonial architecture of the outside. As one enters the attractive lobby one finds one’s self facing a wonderful vista of green trees and hills framed in the broad windows and doors of the western wall. The lobby is in rich brown coloring, the paper blending perfectly with the tone of the beautiful cypress finish.  Indian red and brown tones predominate in the rich rugs. Brown leather cushions the oak chairs and settles, which are in mission lines. A big fire place which is paneled above with cypress keeps the brown and old red tones. Broad doors open upon the porch which runs across two sides of the house, commanding the enchanting view.

To the right is the spacious music room. Blue is the dominant color note here.  Blue is the repeated tone of the rich oriental rugs on the polished floors. The graceful willow furniture is upholstered in blue, the heavier window hangings are in the same color. The walls are cream and blue. The wainscoting, beaming of the ceiling and the paneling of the beautiful chimney piece is of deep old ivory. From the unusual beauty of the rugs to the perfect color of the blue blotting pad on the elegantly equipped writing table, everything speaks not only the generous outlay of money—which alone often achieves such mournful results—but the most careful outlay of thought and attention. Only by this combination could such a charming result  have been obtained.

Blue again in the big dining room, glorified by its wonderful outlook upon green hills. Walls in blue and brown, thus repeating the tones of the music room, wainscoting, great chimney piece and other finish in the old ivory. The deep blue upholstery of the handsome Dutch chairs completes the effective color scheme.

The beautiful private dining room repeats the brown of the lobby in the paler brown of the Japanese rice paper while the wood work is in the deep old ivory. In this smaller room is a graceful Colonial fire place and mantel piece, with fascinating chimney closet. Small table seating four persons, tables by the alluring windows for two, with snowy damask, shining silver and glass make the most charming effect.

On this floor (there) is an inviting suite of rooms for guests. And the pantries and kitchen - Let no one be so absorbed in the beauty of the rest as to lose the sight of one of the very most fascinating places in the whole house. Everything in them is so spick and span, so scientific and sanitary, and they are so equipped with possible up-to-date appliance that they certainly are close rivals to the other rooms in attraction. On this floor two pleasant dining rooms for help and chauffeurs.


Up stairs (are) the bed rooms, single and en suite. The walls are all in paper of a chintz pattern, the window hangings of charming white scrim. The furniture of uniform design is unusually attractive and tasteful.

On the second floor at the southwestern corner is the sun room, commanding the glorious mountain view, to many the most alluring room in the house. A soft green wall with softly tinted green willow furniture upholstered in English Chintz hangings at the windows. Such a charming room for afternoon tea, for which we foresee that it will be often in demand

On the lower floor is the splendidly equipped billiard room opening on to the lawn.

Everything throughout the whole house speaks the most generous outlay and the most scrupulous attention to detail that combine to make a perfect whole.

Not the least of the new Bethel Inn’s promise of success lies in the personality of the courteous and efficient manager and his wife, Mr. Philip B. and Mrs. Young, who seem fully equal to meeting the exacting requirements of even such a house as this.

All success to Bethel Inn which now opens its doors. No one of us can fail to be brimful of pride in such a perfect hostelry. No one can fail to give it whole hearted and enthusiastic good wishes and the pledge of such co-operation as may be in our power to render.


Bethel Inn Gehring Album.JPG

Bethel Inn photo from the Gehring Album

Note the touring car parked to the left of entrance.



July 17, 1913, The Oxford County Citizen

There was never anything in Bethel quite like it  before. Never such throngs of delighted, enthusiastic and expressive guests, (Five hundred and sixty in the evening by actual count and over three hundred in the afternoon.). Never, everybody felt, such perfect hosts. For it was more than the beautiful house, perfect as it is, and proud as we are of it, it was that spirit is always more than things—the welcome at the door, the courteous and happy words of greeting, the hearty hand clasps, which made each of us feel an honored guest; which made the children, who were the objects of special attention, feel that they had been ushered into a veritable fairy land presided over by two wonder-working and generous genii in modern clothes and which made the older folk for once emulate the children in glad responsiveness.

The rooms had all been decorated by a band of zealous friends who gladly laid hold of this small activity as affording the only possible outlet for their enthusiasm. Great masses of pink peonies and meadow rue, and larkspur, and feathery white spiraea were in the music room. The same flowers were used in the small dining room, big bowls of larkspur and garden heliotrope banked with pine and myrtle on the refreshment table, and a jar of peonies, larkspur and heliotrope on the mantel. The lobby was gay with red lilies and meadow rue and on the landings were big vases of yellow daisies and ferns.  The gay chintz hung sun room held jars of cool green ferns. Every bed room had its flowers harmonizing in color with its furnishings. Kitchen and laundry had yellow flowers and the billiard room held great masses of crimson and white.

Everywhere present among the people were Mr. and Mrs. Young delightfully supporting Mr. Bingham and Mr. Upson in their charming hospitality.

Delicious refreshments were served continuously during afternoon and evening in the private dining room, where Mrs. Claney and her assistants were tireless in the attentions. Indeed everybody in the whole house, and everything was devoted to the happiness of the guests. The music of the McGee Orchestra of Berlin, N.H., stationed in the music room added very much to the enjoyment and spirit of the day.

One small  boy who found, as most of us occasionally do, the most convenient and dullest expression of emotion in slang said, “We were treated white.” and “treated white” we certainly were.  It is putting it mildly to say that if there is anything that Bethel can do for Mr. William Jewell Upson and Mr. William Bingham, 2nd, to show the affection and honor in which they are universally held among us and our appreciation of the absolute perfection of hospitality that we have received from them, Bethel will  be proud and glad of a chance to do it.

Success to Bethel Inn! May the same gracious spirit that pervaded its christening rest always within its walls. May happiness wait at its doors for every guest as it awaited us.


Happenings of the Week - July 8, 1915


Mr. L.H. Page and Dr. C.A.Charek, accompanied by Mr. W.B. Page and J.W. Bowman returned on Wednesday after a ten days fishing trip at Eustis. Mr. L.H. Page and Mr. Bowman are both prominent in automobile circles—Mr. Page being a president of the Stevens Duryea Company and Mr. Bowman being the eastern representative of the Maxwell Company. The entire party including Mrs. L.H. Page and Mrs. C.A. Church left on Sunday for a trip through the White Mountains.

Mr. and Mrs. James N. Fuller of Passaic, N. J., arrived at the Inn on Thursday. Mr. and Mrs. Fuller are extensive travelers and for many years have spent their summers in Europe, but this year decided on Bethel for their summer sojourn and will remain here for the season.  They spend the winter at Mr. Seavey’s Magnolia Springs Hotel, Magnolia Springs, Florida.

Mr. and Mrs. Eben D. Jordan and Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Hutchins of Boston were guests at the Inn on Sunday.

Mr. A. Shuman and party also of Boston were Luncheon guests on Sunday.

Mr. William Bingham, 2nd, was the host at an informal dinner party on Sunday evening. Among those present were: Dr. and Mrs. Gehring, Miss Mary True, Mrs. John True, Miss Natalie True, Miss Eleanor True, Mr. Halsey Spencer and Mr. W. J. Upson.


Bingham and Upson - Gehring Album.jpg

William Bingham II and William Upson

Photographed while performing a skit – Gehring Album


The Inn showed its spirit of patriotism by an elaborate display of Chinese lanterns strung along the porches and through the trees. The dining room was also prettily decorated in recognition of the day, and during the dinner a happy concert of table fireworks was given to the astonishment and pleasure of the diners, as it was something entirely new in dinner service.

After the fireworks display the guests returned to the Inn and the remainder of the evening was spent in dancing in the music room.

Rev. W.C. Curtis, J.H. Little and T.C. Chapman, together with their families, were dinner guests on Sunday evening.

The Elms, formerly the Rowe Cottage, is nearing completion of its improvements and the rooms are practically all rented for the season.  The Willows, formerly the Clark Cottage has been occupied by Mr. and Mrs. D. A. Upson for the past month.(3).

Willows - Bethel Inn - Gehring Album.JPG

The Willows – referred to above as the former Clark Cottage

Photo source – Gehring Album


The golf links are improving daily and the recent heavy rains has put the putting green in excellent condition. Water pipes are being laid to all the greens so that from now on they will continually be in the best of shape.

Mr. W. Putnam Page, who is well known in real estate and insurance circles in Boston, was a guest of Mr. Seavey on Thursday.