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The Story of Stonehurst

Our Manor's History

Stonehurst Manor has Victorian rural elegance in the White Mountains. Our hotel in North Conway, NH was originally built as the summer estate for Erastus Bigelow, the inventor of the power loom, which revolutionized weaving. He founded Bigelow Carpets, once the largest carpet manufacturing company in the world. The estate comprised 500 Acres, serving the Bigelows as a working farm, stretching from the Manor house all the way to the Saco River. The original property included a cottage for the gatekeeper, large stables, and servant’s house. Despite physical alterations over the years, the Manor conveys the same elegant impression as it did a century ago. It provides important physical evidence of upper-class summer architecture and life in late-Victorian America.

Conceived and developed over the course of a quarter of a century, Erastus Bigelow made his initial land purchase for Stonehurst in 1870. Construction began in 1871 and was completed by May 1872, when the Bigelows took up occupancy. The original house burned down in 1875, but the Bigelows rebuilt it, following the exact same design, in 1877.

In 1895, desiring a larger, more lavish, and more fashionable summer residence, Helen Bigelow Merriman, Erastus's daughter, orchestrated a complete refurbishing and enlargement of the main house. The result, in what she called the English Manor style, was an imposing shingle-style building. Today, the twenty-three-room interior is replete with magnificent English Oak woodwork,

In the summer of 1907, while the Merrimans were traveling in England, Stonehurst served as the temporary British Embassy for the Viscount James Bryce, the British ambassador to the United States. During that summer, Stonehurst was at the center of international diplomatic exchange, along with Bryce’s active and glamorous social life.

After Helen Bigelow Merriman’s death, the main house stood vacant for eleven years because she and her husband had no children. Since 1946, Stonehurst has been an upscale country inn. Stonehurst encompasses the Manor house, a connected motel, privately owned condominiums, and recreational facilities. The grand Manor house retained its historical character and passed to the current generation largely intact. Guests at our hotel in North Conway have access to the outdoors as well, with trails winding right from our doorstep.

We welcome you to our historic New England getaway, where you'll find old world romance with modern accommodations.