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Jennie Easton’s Hotel a Stinesville Landmark

Blog post by Randi Richardson

The story below is from upon an article  titled “Aunt Jennie’s ‘New’ Hotel Has a Place in History,” published in the Bloomington (IN) Saturday Courier, on May 13, 1955, p. 1B.  It is abbreviated from the original as shown by the ellipsis.

The Monon railroad, by coming to Stinesville instead of through nearby, already-established Mt. Tabor village, gave impetus to the stone business.  The very finest stone cutters came from Scotland, Italy and England and adopted the town.  They were always on the move, going on a job in one place, coming back to get another job, and Aunt Jennie’s hotel was their home, headquarters for that spirit of fraternity so apparent in people engaged in the stone business…


This photo of Jennie Easton’s hotel was included in a 3-ring scrapbook binder in the research library at the Monroe County History Center without a date or source.  According to the caption under the picture, the first Stinesville hotel was opened in 1856 and was operated by William and “Aunt Jennie” (Williams) Easton, great grandparents of Robert Judah of Stinesville.  “Aunt Jennie” operated the hotel for 23 years until 1901.  She died in 1909 at the age of 72 years.

Aunt Jennie had the first hotel in the town.  Her first hotel, a small building half way up the hill, had four rooms all in a row.  In after years it was known as the Soldiers Home and is still standing, owned and lived in by a remarkable woman, Mrs. Amelia Fox who will be 97 this month after the Centennial and is still able to please an audience with her singing of “A Hundred Years from Now.”

Aunt Jennie’s “new” hotel was built by Tom Maker, a stone man who sold it when he moved to Indianapolis to live and to help build the State House which was to contain some stone from near Stinesville.  Aunt Jennie’s reputation, already established, grew with the great opportunity offered by the 3-story, 17-room building.  She knew how to cook for men, having a husband and five sons.   She knew how to get a sense of order, comfort and cleanliness into a place to make it homelike.  Her big kitchen, in the basement, was a clean, good-smelling, pleasant place…

Near Aunt Jennie’s kitchen was the pantry, a big cellar and a laundry room.  East of the dining room was a large hall with a wide stairway in it.  From this hall one could go either upstairs to the second or third floor or outside.  On the second floor were an office with bay windows, many comfortable chairs, a parlor, a porter’s room and two bedrooms.  The bay window room on the third floor was always reserved for “travelling men.”

Aunt Jennie’s life was full and busy.  She had taught school in Bedford.  She, and also her husband, a shoemaker, had come from Kentucky.  One tragedy in their lives took place on Christmas eve in 1889 while they were in Oklahoma visiting a son.  Their youngest son, [Elzie] , was shot to death…

Some years later, after Aunt Jennie’s husband died, she sold the hotel and built a nice house up on the hill on Main Street.  Other managers took over the hotel…After that it became the private residence of Mr. and Mrs. James Blottie and was later made into an apartment house.  But if you ask about it in Stinesville, people will still call it Aunt Jennie’s new hotel, and right after that they begin to tell you what a wonderful cook she was, “Why people came for miles and miles just to eat Aunt Jennie’s cooking.”

Coming next week:  “The Murder of Elsworth ‘Elzie’ Easton”


Comments (2)

  1. Tammi Holloway


    My great grandparents were the Blotties. James, my great grandfather was a stowaway from Italy and worked at the stone quarry in Stinesville. My grandmother grew up in the house, her name was Nora Jane. She had 5 sisters and two brothers. I’never knew my great grandparents but from what my father told me he they were wonderful grandparents. My grandmother married a man named Horace Skirvin.

  2. Linda Starks


    Wonder why there is no mention of the Colliers that own this place for awhile. ??

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