The historic Sterling Inn is located in a bucolic community near the foot of Mt. Wachusett in Sterling MA. This grand lady is almost 12,000 sq. ft. The first floor has been a large dining room, several function rooms, fully equipped kitchen, a fireplaced lounge and bar, a delightful dining patio. The seating capacity is over 200. There is a photography garden for weddings and events. The Inn has an owner’s apartment and nine lodging rooms, some with private baths. Guests can watch the world go by on the welcoming front porch. Be part of history and become the host for this destination location.
The Sterling Inn probably descends from the lodging house of 1759 built near what is now the Conant Library. In 1830 a new tavern called Hibbs was built. In 1838 the property was sold and became the Central Hotel. It was destroyed by a fire in 1890.
In 1898 a new structure was built and named the Conant Hotel Company. Edwin Conant was the benefactor of the public library. Again a fire destroyed much of the building and the grounds, but the Inn was rebuilt. Mr. G. Henri Desmond, a Boston architect, designed the new look for the Inn and supervised its construction during the spring and summer of 1908.
The Arts and Crafts movement in America was a revival of a colonial style and it was during this period that the Inn was built. The Sterling Inn was considered at "most modern building" at the time. The main part of the Inn was lighted by electricity from a private generating plant, supplied with water from natural springs, and had steam heat in each room. The telephone system was the first of its kind in the area. The antique telephone booth is still a fixture at the Inn and small children love to try it out.
Ralph and Rose Mahoney were the second generation to run the Sterling Inn. Rose talked about the Inn as being “the” place to be in the 1930’s, when her husband wore a tux and she wore ball gown to greet the guests. The orchestra played music for dancing and people came from miles around to enjoy the magic of the Sterling Inn. They also became know as the Auto House. People would arrive by trolley from Worcester and Fitchburg to rent cars to drive around Mount Wachusett and tour the area.
In 1970 after 62 years of managing this local treasure, they sold the Inn to Frank O’Connell, president of Green Acres Development in Fitchburg. Rose was sad to see the Inn go, but at 82 she and the family had not been able to run the Inn for the previous 7 years.
The present owners, Mark and Patricia Roy, bought the Inn in 1981, and they have worked hard to keep the Inn a favorite place for all the local folks, as well as all the people who came by bus to see the foliage and enjoy the Inn classic, Chicken A La King. We all have special memories of family times at the Inn. Mark and Patricia did wedding planning and designed a special wedding portrait garden for their brides.
Worcester is the “college city” with nine great colleges in the area. The Inn provided rooms for not only college families visiting college kids, but also accommodations for traveling salesmen, Mt. Wachusett skiers, leaf peakers in the fall, and weekend get aways.
The Inn has not been used as a restaurant for the last two years, so it is in need of some updating, but it is a cherished part of Central MA and it is waiting for the right person to bring it back to its full glory.