The Iron Kettle Inn on Waverly Hill was the social center of the valley from 1912 until it was closed by the owner, Gertrude Tracy in 1943 due to wartime shortages of gas.
The Iron Kettle was one of the best eating places in a wide area. It was the halfway stop between Buffalo and New York City. Many famous people stopped here, including Eleanor Roosevelt, to enjoy the view, meal and socialization. The fame of the restaurant still prevailed when the Cooley's took over.
Other famous people who stopped were Clare Booth Luce , wife of Henry Luce, the publisher, and Mrs. Wendell Wilkie, widow of Republican presidential candidate in 1940 and many politicians.
After Mrs. Tracy closed the Inn, she went to work up the hill at O'Briens where she was in charge of food. Her advice and experiences were a major influence in shaping food standards, and policies, not only of the Inn, but at O'Brien's as well.
In 1944, Mrs. Octive Conley bought the Inn on sight. It had been boarded up for some time, but she saw it's potential. The country atmosphere and the setting in a cluster of pines reminded her of North Carolina pines and seemed very homelike to her. At that time the Conley's were operating Spring's Corners tavern, now Guinane's where Mrs. Conley was famous for her southern fried chicken.
Being in old Indian country, the several cottages that surrounded the Inn were given Indian names, such as Onontioga, Andaste, Chemung and Teoga.
There was a large event held there for the president of Mexico, who was a guest of Hart Seely. It attracted some 700 people.
The late Dr. Donald Guthrie also brought well - known people there who stayed at one of the cabins while undertaking checkups at the Robert Packer Hospital.
Many famous writers would spend time there in the cabins to do their work.
Dignitaries from Israel and India and other foreign countries stopped there. They had to be careful not to step on " King" the Inn's mascot at the front door.
The Inn was a meeting place for various organizations such as Waverly Rotary and Waverly Lion's club. The Waverly Business and Professional Women's Club was orgainzed there.
Renovations were made when the Conley's took over. The three story building boasted a Terrace Room, the dining area and an apartment upstairs where the Conley's resided. There were also private meeting rooms in the upstairs section, one known as the Gold room.
The landmark boasted a famous spring known as Carantouan Spring. Long before white man settled in the Valley, there was a large spreading tree under which was a bubbling spring where the Indians would gather for water, rest and story telling. That site was restored by the Carantouan Chapter DAR. A large boulder has been placed there bearing the DAR insignia upon its bronze plate.
Mrs. Conley said when they first opened there were employed 22 waitresses who were on duty at one time in order to take care of business.
The Inn was sold Mar. 15, 1972 to Charles Jones and Robert Goode. Charles and Robert planned to renovate the Inn, but unfortunately, while Charles was in Florida the Inn burned to the ground on February 18, 1974.
Today, the cottages have been sold and are private residences.
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Ernie Miles...... This page was updated Wednesday, 26-Mar-2008 06:44:00 PDT.