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Landmark Hotel Davenport in Copenhagen closes

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COPENHAGEN — “It was a landmark, it will be missed,” said a Facebook entry lamenting the closing of the Hotel Davenport.

Owners Carol A. and George Harris quietly closed the business which had been in her family for 63 years. Even customers during the second weekend in November did not know it was their last visit to the historic downtown establishment.

The couple took over operation of the Copenhagen restaurant and bar in 1998 from her father, Bill.

Mrs. Harris’ grandfather, Francis J. Sheehan of Little Falls, purchased the property from Hugh Darring for about $30,000 in 1950.

The structure was built in the late 1800s by brothers William and John Davenport. The property remained in the Davenport estate for approximately 50 years.

At the turn of the century, Charles Clark purchased the Davenport. When Prohibition was enacted, Mr. Clark sold it to Adelbert Vrooman, who in turn sold it to Elbert Wheeler. It was then sold to Robert Jacobs who sold it to Hugh Archer of Copenhagen who, in 1938, sold it to Fred Gill who sold it to his daughter and son-in-law, the Darrings.

Mrs. Harris said she has been told by patrons that the Davenport was a stopping point on train and stage coach routes and was a “old sneaky bar” during Prohibition.

“There’s a lot of history,” Mrs. Harris said of the business she grew up at.

The couple plan to remain where they live through the winter then put the restaurant up for sale. Mrs. Harris said they plan to stay in the area but decided to retire.

She said retiring will make it “easier to get away” and will give them more time to be able to visit their children and grandchildren. They have a daughter, Susan West, and her family, husband, Jacob and son, Kylan, in Wisconsin; and a son and daughter-in-law, William and Mary Harris in Rome.

The local reaction has ranged from shock to sadness to disappointment.

Elizabeth LaBarge, said she was upset when she heard the Davenport was closing. She had worked at the restaurant for Francis Sheehan and then for Bill Sheehan.

“I don’t go out much,” the 87-year old said. “But when I do that was always a good place.”

“The hotel/restaurant has been a steadfast landmark in the community since before I was born,” Melissa Harper said via Facebook. “I can’t imagine that it will not be missed. However, nothing is as constant as change and this may be an opportunity for another business in that location to open and enrich the community. Here’s hoping!”

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