MALLETT’S TAVERN or the FAIRPORT HOTEL
In 1862, Theron “Rudd” Pritchard purchased the tavern. He came from Egypt where he had run the “Egypt Halfway House,” so named because it was halfway between Palmyra and Rochester on the stage route. He came to Fairport because of the growing railroad traffic. By this time, the tavern had a second entrance on North Main Street for the railroad clientele. Pritchard and his tavern were very popular. Not only was the tavern a busy canal and railroad stop, but several sources describe the tavern as a place for wedding receptions. One source describes guests walking to the tavern from the bride’s home where the wedding took place and being greeting by Theron Pritchard. There were tubs of lilacs for decoration and a “sumptuous repast” provided for the guests. Another recalls that “Old Father Butts” had officiated, and that the abundant food had been prepared by the bride’s family.
Tradition says that the phrase “watch your P’s and Q’s” originated in this tavern. A black-painted board was used to keep track of the “pints” and “quarts” that were ordered by the patrons, and it behooved one to the “P’s” and “Q’s” to make sure he was correctly charged.
During Pritchard’s ownership there was extensive remodeling. Steam heat was added, as was a lobby. Pictures from the time show the rooms furnished with lace curtains, heavy Victorian furniture, carpets, and wallpaper. He also prominently displayed a photo of his favorite politician, Democrat Stephen Douglass, over the bar. According to a 1937 newspaper account, the adjacent livery stable was run by “Bucky” with help from “old Fred Pester,” who was a “dreamy old boy who usually sat by the inside of a stanchion that supported the long front porch and fell asleep.” An active member of the community, “Rudd” Pritchard served as a village trustee and overseer of the poor
In the early 1900's, under the ownership of E.J. Cary, the tavern was again remodeled. A third story, balconies, and a flat roof with bracketing in the Italianate style replaced the gabled roof, giving the building an entirely new look for the new century.
Evidently, the building remained as a hotel at least through 1913, because the Fairport Directory of that year contains an ad that reads “When in Fairport, stop at Hotel Fairport, W.J. Cary, proprietor, Both Phones.” By 1923, however, the property, then owned by Mark Millstone, had become apartments and retail shops. That year, the building suffered a fire which drove ten families out of their apartments and damaged several retail businesses.
The Millstone Block still stands at 9 North Main Street. Much of its architectural significance has been obscured; only a small segment of the east side balcony and the Italianate roofline and bracketing are still visible. The south facade is hidden by a new concrete block building between the hotel and the canal, but walking along the towpath it is still possible to imagine the welcoming sight of a canal side tavern.