The Stage Coach Inn is the oldest frame building in the Village. There is not a “good” record of its original location or builder. It is believed to have been built in 1852. It is known that it was on the route of the Western Stage Line. It apparently connected Knoxville with Monroe, Pella, Oskaloosa, Albia, and Fairfield. There is no information of other destinations.
As with many older buildings, the history seems to be–original use, home, apartments, and then abandonment. This is true of the Inn. It was going to be razed for a parking lot when the Marion County Historical Society, and especially Board Member Merle Betterton, became interested and saved the building for use by the Society.
Many interesting items of construction can be seen in the building. The roof sheathing is rough sawn and used “as is” with no thought given to tight fit. The ceiling or floor joists may be 4 inches thick on one end and 1/2 inch thick on the other. Another joist the same size would be reversed and nailed to the first with old square nails. Most of the wood is walnut with the roof sheathing being of various tree species. The siding is walnut and there is no insulation. Walnut lath and plaster were used inside the Inn. In one upstairs bedroom a portion of the old plaster is left so you can see the animal hair and twigs used in the plaster as a strength reenforcement. There are also several layers of wallpaper shown. Some may not be considered fashionable now but at one time some lady thought it just right.
In the hall downstairs an opening on the wall shows types of wood and nails used throughout the Inn. In the upper hall you can see the corner stud is a large hand-hewn member and the floor and roof joists were drilled and pinned. No preconstruction “tract” home for these builders.
With the nursery, bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, and living room displays there is an original stagecoach ticket issued on Nov. 18, 1856, giving passage from Knoxville to Fairfield for $6.00. There is also an authentic scale model of a Great Western Stagecoach and 4 horses used in this area, constructed and presented to the Historical Society by Mr. Beryl Staley.