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Hillsborough residents wonder about fate of Colonial Inn

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HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — The Colonial Inn is one of the state's oldest inns, but history has not been too kind to the building. Residents want to restore the inn, but the owner is nowhere to be found.

Nothing has happened to the Colonial Inn for more than a year and a half. The previous owners sold the inn back in 2001. Francis Henry, the new owner, pledged to restore it, but town officials are still waiting.

"It's very sad. I mean this could be such a wonderful place," said Margaret Schucker, of the town planning board.

The town has a new weapon. A recently passed ordinance allows the town to hire a contractor to make repairs to historic sites such as the Colonial Inn and then bill the owner.

"I hope that Mr. Henry responds to our complaints and makes good on his promise to restore this inn," Schucker said.

Cathleen Turner, of the Alliance for Historic Hillsborough, is also hopeful.

"It's waiting. I see a building that's waiting, and it's getting a little beyond patience," she said.

Turner said it is not the first time the historic inn has gone through trouble.

"Back in the 1940s, after a few years of neglect, a new owner came along, Colonel Henderson. He was lauded by the community in 1946 for the tremendous renovation he had done in returning this community asset back into operation, and we look forward to that happening again very soon," she said.

WRAL tried to reach the inn owner, but was unsuccessful. Schucker said residents have not been able to contact Henry in weeks. In the past, Henry has told them he has not received their letters. The next step for residents will be a hearing before the Town Council.


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