History of Haddonfield Inn

Located in one of the oldest towns in North America, the Haddonfield Inn was built between 1868 and 1875 and was one of 80 new dwellings built in Haddonfield during this time period. The property now known as the Haddonfield Inn was originally a land grant to Francis Collins that was then known as the Mountwell tract.  John Estaugh, who was the husband of Elizabeth Haddon, founder of Haddonfield, acquired the property from Collins in 1724 as part of a farm grant that was converted into smaller lots for residential homes. In the mid 1860's, Samuel Hillman acquired the Mountwell tract and gave many lots away to his family with John Hillman acquiring the lot, which now houses the inn. In 1884, Jane P. and Charles H. Hillman granted the property to Kate and John Hillman. The Hillman families were influential landowners dating back to the late 1600's. In 1889, George E. Nyle purchased the home and remodeled it to the Queen Anne style. 

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Image may be subject to copyright

Between the 1890's and 1915, the house changed ownership from an owner occupied residence to a rental property. There were two widowed brothers who lived in the house by the name of Bergen; however, the land ownership is under Lippincott of Haddon Heights, then Hinken, of Philadelphia. Dr. Jennie Sharp, a physician bought the property in 1919. She used the building as a nursing home/hospital under the direction of Mrs. Ateco, a registered nurse and Dr. Sharp's sister. In 1985, a guest said that he was born here 53 years ago. A bride who stayed here on her wedding night in 1992 said her grandmother had been born here. In 1942, Mrs. Divis purchased the property and continued to run it as a nursing home until 1950's. The nursing home became a halfway house for mental patients released from Ancora. Later transient laborers stayed here.

There are interesting stories about the 60's and 70's. It was a home for hippies, students, prostitutes and laborers. The neighbors had problems with some of the residents.

  • There was a guitar playing man who preferred to play on the roof at 2:00 am. It was his timing and not his playing that was the problem.

  • Neighbors reported cars with darkened headlights pulling up especially on Friday nights.

  • One "lady of the night" returned to the inn to say that visitors would come in the side door. The police removed her because she was juvenile-as good a reason as any.

  • Unkempt men were seen coming and going.

  • One year a Music Circus was held in town and the musicians stayed at the Inn. The long suffering neighbors were rewarded to concerts on the porch and lawn.

Not all of the guests were strange, musical or seedy. A recent guest told us that he stayed in what is now the den for the duration of his attendance at Temple Law School. (He is now a successful lawyer). He told us it was quite a place and that his room was "great" because he had his own front entrance and an entrance to the communal kitchen." People were living in every room - even the laundry room.

In 1965, and again in 1967, the neighbors took the owners to court. They were cited for health, safety and code violations. The property was sold to the Cola Corporation (Benjamin and Mafalda Cola) in 1974. Mr. Mafalda wanted to convert the third floor (he said) into an apartment. The neighbors thought he wanted to add more guest rooms and successfully fought his request for Zoning Board approval... But he did it anyway. The work was being done at night and the neighbor soon figured out something was going on. (He did in fact build two apartments.) The apartments were not accessible by a second exit as required by code. Occupation was prohibited and Mr. Cola was fined. 

In 1984, the property was sold to Mark and Christine Lenny, longtime residents of Haddonfield who had restored other Victorian properties. The "permastone," grey asbestos shingles were removed. Many of the exterior boards were replaced. The porch and the turret that supported it were saved from the wrecker's ball. The entire house was re-plastered. The newly Christened Queen Anne Inn was opened to the public in May 1988. It had 11 guest rooms with 4 shared baths and a resident innkeeper.

In June 1991, Nancy Lynn, current innkeeper, purchased the property from Mark and Christine Lenny. From 1995 until September 1998, Nancy (now Nancy Chorpita) and Fred Chorpita owned and operated the Queen Anne Inn. In September 1998, the inn was closed for renovations that were several years in the planning and took more than a year to execute.

Today we are known as the Haddonfield Inn, a small, elegant hotel in historic Haddonfield, New Jersey.