The Kennedy Inn is a familiar Water Street sight in St. Andrews, but this hotel has been known by many names. The current building stands on the site of an earlier hotel dating back to the 1840s. Upon the death of Colonel Thomas Wyer, his home was converted into the L.L. Copeland Hotel, then the Ross Hotel, and in 1847 under new owner Edward Pheasant it became the Railway Hotel. In 1867 it came into the possession of Michael Clarke, then burned in 1874.
It was also known as Pheasant Hotel and Clarke Hotel before it burnt. The Bay Pilot refers to the lot as the Pheasant Hotel lot in the July 7th, 1881 issue when discussing the amenities and beauty of the newly erected Kennedy Hotel on the lot.
The Kennedy Hotel, built by Angus Kennedy, opened in 1881 right at the beginning of the hotel explosion in St. Andrews as the town made its reputation as a tourist destination. Angus Kennedy actually ran another hotel on the corner of Water and Frederick before building the current Kennedy, but it burned in 1879.
When the Kennedy family sold the hotel to a man named Gerald O’Brien around 1945, part of the contract was that the Kennedy name was to never be used again and the hotel became The Commodore. In 1961, it was sold again to Ian and Leni McKay, at which point it became the Shiretown Inn, a Best Western property, and went through many restorations and refurbishments.
In 1998 it was purchased by Anita Thum-Ludwig and the Kennedy name was restored to the hotel with the blessing of the Kennedy family. It was sold again recently to Dominique and Mieke Berlenger and is now known as the Kennedy House. It also operates The Shiretown Pub, a call back to the hotel’s past lives.
Source: Our thanks to the Charlotte County Archive for supplying the information and photos.
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