December 28, 2016

Framingham's Old Colony Hotel

Old Colony Hotel

The Old Colony Hotel is a small hotel near downtown Framingham. Framingham MBTA commuters may see the hotel as they drive to the commuter rail parking lot, as it's the last business before the parking lot.

Some online reports claim that the hotel was built around 1885. However, the town of Framingham lists the building as being built in 1900.

50 Year old Murder in Framingham

According to local reports In April 1966, John T. Horning murdered James Barry Sr. at a bar at the Old Colony Hotel. Police said that his motive for the killing was that John wanted to collect money that James owed him. John confronted James in the men's room, a fight broke out and James ended up on the floor with a broken neck.

James Barry Sr., age 66, died a few hours later at a local hospital from the neck wound.

John T. Horning, then 26, was charged with the murder. There is no information on the status of the trial, beyond that the jury visited the hotel to see the crime scene.

Here are some other things that I have learned about the hotel:

Interesting Facts about the Old Colony Hotel

  • Built in 1900, but the sign on the hotel says it's established in 1885
  • There are 24 bedrooms in the hotel
  • The hotel square footage is 11,677 sqf
  • The building is worth more than the land. (Building: $1,095,900 and Land: $155,100)
  • The Hotel was built across from the railroad depot as a place to people to stay when they arrive to Framingham via rail.
  • Was once called the Park Central Hotel and the Park Haven Hotel.
  • Apparently the name of the hotel changed between Park Haven and Old Colony over the years.
  • A Boston Globe report stated owners of the Old Colony Hotel were going on a cruise in 1920, and then a few years later articles talk about events at the Park Haven Hotel.
  • Hotel was own by Frank E. Brooks until his death on July 30, 1926. He left the hotel to his son Frank H Brooks.
  • Frank H. Brooks attempted to sell the hotel in an ad in the Boston Globe April 23, 1944.
  • There were two fires at the hotel: November 24, 1946 and sometime in 1959.
  • The fire in 1946 started at the Grain Elevator next door caused significant damage to the hotel.
  • Murder Occurred at the Hotel in 1966, A Middlesex County Superior Court jury visited the hotel on April 25, 1966.
  • Hotel went under foreclosure auction on September 21, 1975

Location

The Old Colony Hotel is located at 2 Franklin St, Framingham, MA 01702

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Comments

Al Gamache ..... I lived there several years. alone. It was cheap. quiet and situated in the center of town. I suppose it depends on what your needs are, but for me it was perfect and the management made my time there easy and problem free.

May 24, 2018.


Bob Mayer

July 23, 2019.

By far the most important history of this hotel (then called Park Central) was the fact that Australian-born Polar Explorer Sir Hubert Wilkins lived in room 4A for many years while he worked at the Quartermaster Research Facility at Natick now called Natick Army Labs. During WW2 and up until his death in 1958 he developed cold weather survival gear for the US Army and taught Arctic survival skills to the Army. Two of his accomplishments were the first airplane flight over the Arctic Ocean from Barrow Alaska to Spitsbergen Norway in April 1928 and first flights over Antarctica in Dec 1928. An internet search about him reveals many fascinating and historically significant facts about Sir Hubert, his service in WW1, his polar expeditions with Shackleton, Amundsen, Steffanson, and his 1931 submarine expedition under Arctic ice. He is mostly forgotten today but his adventures were front page news all over the world back then. He is the subject of several recent books which also document his long connection to this hotel. On a cold Sunday Nov 30, 1958 he was busy in the parking lot of the hotel doing repairs on his 1939 Chevrolet and then returned to his room. There he suffered a heart attack and died at age 70. In honor of his service to the USA, the US Navy carried his ashes on the submarine USS Skate and spread them at the North Pole during the first time ever any submarine surfaced there. His long association with this hotel makes it an historic landmark. http://www.south-pole.com/p0000106.htm

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