New England Inn: Dexter Room, Hampton Terrace, Lenox inn

Posted on January 19, 2009 by Stan Rosen

Carriage House 1 JR.jpg

After more than 60 years operating as an inn, Hampton Terrace’s guest rooms finally have names.   It is not that they needed names…Wynnstay Cottage 1 was pretty descriptive…but we decided that this was an opportunity to help tell the history of the property in a colorful way.

Since the 1920s, our sports heroes have swung bats, thrown touchdowns, or squared off in a ring. But prior to Henry Ford, when all local transportation involved a carriage and a horse the most idolized American heroes were those who could pull a carriage and its rider one mile down a track in as close to two minutes as possible.

In its day, this was Corvette verses GTO. Every town had a fair, and every fair had a race track. These horses, called "Trotters," were railed hundreds of thousands of miles to race legendary mares and stallions from other regions. Their names became as household as that of "the Babe."

Robert Bonner and his children (owners of Hampton Terrace from 1917-1937) were considered the premier Trotter owners in American history. The purest line begins with Hambletonian (1849-1876), who sired many of the Bonner’s most prized horses, and even Hambletonian spent his final years under Mr. Bonner’s expert and benevolent care.

"It is said that with the exception of General Grant and P. T. Barnum, Robert Bonner is known to more people than any man in America."

Illustrated Weekly Magazine, 1897

The Dexter Room

Born 1858, "wild as a hawk and always coming to grief." But his speed was so great and trotting action so perfect that he was sold for $400 as an unbroken 4-year-old. Making his debut as a racehorse on May 4, 1864 he won in straight heats. In 1865, Dexter lost only once, to Lady Thorn. In 1866, he won 25 of 26 starts. The next year, he beat the great Goldsmith Maid and then won five successive races against Lady Thorn. On July 30, 1867, Dexter won in 2:19, thereby setting the world record, which was previously 2:19-3/4 set by Flora Temple in 1859. Two weeks later, he trotted 2:17-1/4 in Buffalo to further lower the record. After three more wins, he retired. Dexter was purchased in September 1867 by Robert Bonner for $35,000 and was Mr. Bonner’s favorite road horse. In 1868, pulling 319 pounds of wagon and driver, Dexter trotted a mile in 2:21-3/4, according to the New York Times. Dexter died April 21, 1888.

"Hurrah for Dexter! Long live the horse of the century!"   Scribner’s Magazine
Broke world record twice: 2:19 and 2:17 1/4 in 1867.

A warm, spacious room featuring a king bed with fluffy down comforter, gas-flame corner fireplace, television/VCR with cable, air conditioning in-season, CD player and private bath with 60" Jacuzzi whirlpool tub.  Total Room Size: 24 ft. x 15 ft. (including bath)

Topics: Hampton Terrace Accolades, Local Events/Places/Offers

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About the Author

Stan Rosen
Stan Rosen
Stan and Susan Rosen have owned Hampton Terrace since 1999. He is the ultimate first-person authority on all aspects relating to the inn.read more