The present owners of the Crest Country Inn, Gary and Kandi Stake, are fourth generation Iowa County hoteliers. Since the late 1800's (as shown in the above slide show), Gary's great-grandparents, Florence and Harry began operating the Stake Hotel on the town square in Williamsburg, Iowa. Their son, George, purchased the hotel from them. George, and his wife Virgie, extended their gifted hospitality to local residents and guests alike for years until they sold The Stake Hotel sold for $15,000. Gary's other grandparents, Alvin and Emma Kraus, owned and operated Sudbury Court (motel) in Marengo, Iowa.
Dr. Alvin and Emma (Howe) Kraus, come from a long line of Hoteliers and named their motel Sudbury Court after the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts.
Emma Howe Kraus' family entered into the hospitality industry in 1716. David Howe was granted permission to "keep a house of entertainment for travelers" along the Old Boston Post Road.
- (1748) David's son, Ezekiel's rates were:
- Lodging - 4 pence
- Dinner - 20 pence each
- Common Dinner - 12 pence each
- Best Supper and Breakfast - 15 pence each
- (1775) Lieutenant Colonel Howe leads Sudbury Massachusetts Company to Concord Center.
- (1853) Henry David Thoreau (Poet) Stays at Howe's Tavern.
- (1862) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visits Howe Tavern and writes Tales of a Wayside Inn, making the Howe Tavern a Colonial Landmark.
- (1923) Henry Ford purchases the Wayside Inn, renamed and restored the property which is now a National Historic Site.
The Wayside Inn, located in Sudbury, Massachusetts is still operational today offering a restaurant, ten historically accurate guest rooms and hosting for small receptions. It is reputedly the oldest operating inn in the country. The inn's archive has documents from 1686 including the official license granted to the first innkeeper, David Howe in 1716. Lydia Howe, granddaughter was born in the inn.
The Inn will celebrate its 300 year Anniversary in 2016. For more information go to www.wayside.org where a list of present-day prices for food and lodging can be obtained.