The Beekman Arms bills itself as “The Oldest Inn in America”. Wikipedia elaborates a little when it states: “The inn claims to be America’s oldest continuously operated hotel”. Note that the ’76 House in Tappan refers to itself as “New York’s Oldest Tavern”. I think this apparent contradiction can be explained by the fact that the ’76 House is an older building, but it hasn’t always been an inn.
The Wikipedia article sheds more light on the history of the inn:
In the early 1700s, William Traphagen, an early settler of Rhinebeck (then a village known as Ryn Beck) established a traveler’s inn called Traphagen Tavern in the village. In 1766, Arent Traphagen, the son of William Traphagen, relocated the tavern to its present location, where the King’s Highway intersected the Sepasco Trail. It has remained in operation as a hotel ever since.
During the last third of the 18th century, the inn, then known as Bogardus Tavern, was host to many leaders of the American Revolution, including George Washington, Philip Schuyler, Benedict Arnold and Alexander Hamilton. In 1775, the 4th Regiment of the Continental Army drilled on its front lawn before the war.
By 1785, the King’s Highway was now the country’s Post Road, and in 1788, after independence, the village continued to grow. The Town of Rhinebeck, which contains the village, was organized. The current Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1802, making it the oldest church in the village. The current route of East Market Street was laid out the same year during construction of the Ulster-Saulsbury Turnpike, later to become Route 308.
In 1802, Asa Potter bought the inn from Everardus Bogardus, a descendant of the Reverend Everardus Bogardus. In 1804, during the race for Governor of New York State, both candidates had headquarters in Rhinebeck. Gen. Morgan Lewis had his at the inn, then known as Potter’s Tavern, and Vice President Aaron Burr had his down the street at the Kip Tavern. In July of the same year, Burr had killed Alexander Hamilton, a friend of Lewis’s, in a duel some say began in the inn itself.
In 1918, under the ownership of Tracy Dows, the inn was extensively renovated, with a ballroom being added. Dows’s son Olin Dows, a United States Army artist who would serve in the European Theater of Operations during World War II, was commissioned to paint a mural in the Rhinebeck post office depicting the town’s beginnings. Olin’s Harvard classmate and close friend Thomas Wolfe visited the inn frequently, and his five years of prolonged stays at the inn have been said to have been the basis for what became his 1935 novel Of Time and the River.
In 1957, the inn was host to New York Governor W. Averell Harriman upon the dedication of the Kingston–Rhinecliff Bridge.
In the 1980s, a greenhouse room was added to the front of the ballroom. In 1987, the inn was owned by Charles LaForge Jr.
The plaque in the first picture above reads:
This stone marks the crossing of the King’s Highway and the Sepasco Indian trail, later named the Ulster and Salisbury Turnpike, over which traveled the Connecticut pioneers to their new homes in western New York.
Erected by Chancellor Livingston Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1922.
Taken with a Sony RX-100 M3.