The former Holloway House in Bloomfield, which has been for sale for two years, is selling off items
BLOOMFIELD — If you’d been to the Holloway House before owners Stephen and Dawn Wayne retired two years ago, any number of items may have caught your eye.
The old, classic beer trays bearing familiar names like Genesee, Budweiser, and Schmidt’s provided working man’s decorative touches for a wood-paneled bar. How about elaborate Jim Beam decanters depicting the 50 states, such as the South Dakota version with the likenesses of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt? Perhaps the greenish Professional Golf Association decanter commemorating the PGA Championship of 1971 does the trick.
And there's more spirited promotional items about the place.
In the kitchen area, all sorts of contraptions, such as a butter slicer, a No. 10 can opener and a potato and carrot stick maker bring to mind a bustling kitchen serving up to 185 people.
Demonstrating, Dawn Wayne lifted the handle of the latter item.
“It comes out like french fries,” she said. “It’s very usable, but I’ve never seen one like it anywhere. It’s just something old and interesting.”
The Waynes for two years have been trying to sell this 1808 landmark on Routes 5 and 20 without success. But for now, everything inside must go — or at least they hope everything does — during a three-day sale starting Nov. 15.
Everything — stoves, freezers, mixers, dishwashers, and all sorts of commercial equipment, large and small. And yes, everything includes this kitchen item.
“We’re even selling the sinks,” Dawn Wayne said. “All the tables and chairs will be sold. I’m even selling the curtains. Just anything you might want for a restaurant.”
The iconic Holloway House got its start in 1808, serving as a stagecoach stop for travelers headed west. The Federal-style structure, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, has pretty much always been a tavern and restaurant since the beginning, although for a time in the 1800s it served as a residence.
Stephen Wayne’s parents purchased the business in 1961 and it’s been in the Wayne family ever since. Stephen and Dawn Wayne have lived next door for many years, so going through all of the items collected over the decades is a bittersweet experience for both.
“It’s sort of like a treasure hunt,” Dawn said. “Really, it’s like, ‘Oh, I remember this.’”
A Pillsbury Doughboy figurine overlooks the kitchen offshoot where Dawn spent so much time baking. The oven in which she made bread was large enough that she could bake as many as 24 pies at one time.
“Nothing smells as good as bread baking,” Dawn said. “Most restaurants did not have a designated area for a bakery. I’ve interviewed people and they said, ‘You mean you have a whole room off to yourself?’ In other places they were fighting for a spot.”
The plates she was particularly attached to, part of the 100 place settings the restaurant had, have already been sold, although many with Colonial pattern are still available. The same is true for the glasses and saucers, pots and pans, and knives, forks and spoons — stainless steel and silver plated.
“I don’t know how many times I polished that stuff,” Dawn said. “You get attached to funny things.”
Yes, it’s sad, but yes, it’s also time for someone to buy the building, both said. After all, every morning they look out their window they see the building they had hoped would have sold long before now.
“It’s a beautiful building,” Dawn said. “Somebody should be doing something with it. Somebody with creative ideas.”
Some interest has been expressed over the last two years, whether for dining, a boutique hotel, or a combination of the two. One person was interested in starting a historical culinary school there.
But, there it sits.
“We’d just like to find somebody to take it over and love it as much as we have,” Stephen Wayne said. “It’s like farming. It’s sort of your whole life — you get up, and you do it and you do it again. It seems difficult, except when you’re doing it.”
They understand they’ll never get back the true value of all of these memories stored inside. All of this stuff is a part of family lore and culinary and local history.
“Maybe someone will want to come and buy a piece of history,” Stephen Wayne said.
If you go
WHAT: Holloway House sale
WHEN: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17
DETAILS: For information, visit https://www.estatesales.net/NY/Bloomfield/14469/2371890.