Bob Ingersoll House

Sherwood's hotel was remodeled into about this form by owner William Howland, who named it the Bob Ingersoll House in tribute to Ingersoll's pithy freethought orations. By 1910, when this photo was taken, new owner Edwin L. Brewster had changed the name back to Sherwood House.

The hamlet of Sherwood, New York, (east of Seneca Lake) was home to Quakers who espoused causes such as abolition, woman’s rights, and freethought.

The local hotel went by many names over the years. In 1880, owner William Howland -- son of village patriarch Slocum Howland -- made additions to the structure and dubbed the building the "Bob Ingersoll House" in tribute to Robert Green Ingersoll’s vivid championing of abolitionism, woman suffrage, and freethought. In 1900 ownership passed to Edwin L. Brewster, who restored the hotel’s original name, the Sherwood House.

The hotel operated until 1924. The building was then converted into a small hospital. That project was aided financially by Isabel Howland, niece of William Howland and his sister Emily Howland. The hospital continued until 1954, then operated as a nursing home until its abandonment in 1960.

The Bob Ingersoll House is one of 27 buildings in the Sherwood Equal Rights Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. Thanks to Judith Wellman for supplying background information and images.