The Weldon House Hotel, a rectangular two-and-a-half-storey Classical Revival commercial building, stands on Cape Road in Dorchester. Constructed around 1840-1850 as a hotel, it later served as the Payzant and Card retail store before becoming the Dorchester Memorial Public Library.
This historic hotel has been designated a Local Historic Place due to its association with the development of the local hotel industry and its architectural significance.
The Weldon House Hotel is acknowledged for its previous role as a hotel. John Hickman Jr. is credited with founding inn-keeping in Westmorland County around 1825 at “The Corner” in Dorchester. This location has witnessed the growth of the inn-keeping industry, from early inns to five-star hotels. Several members of John’s family, including his daughter Mary Hickman, her husband William Weldon, and their sons, pursued careers in inn-keeping. They managed multiple hotels in Westmorland County, including the Weldon House Hotel in Dorchester, which was known for having “a good bar.”
By 1864, eleven lawyers had set up shiretown offices, and nearly as many taverns surrounded the Court House at the Corner. This led to the square being nicknamed the “Devil’s Half Acre.”
The Weldon House Hotel is also recognized for its architecture. Built in the Classical Revival style, it features a rectangular form, symmetrical window placement, and a lateral gabled roof with four gabled dormers. Key characteristics of this architectural style include the symmetrical rectangular form and massing, a central door, and straight lines of windows on the first and second floors. The hotel’s wide eaves display simple returns. Unusual elements within the building structure, such as tamarack ship knees, reflect the contributions of the community’s shipbuilders.
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