Rufus Tanner House Bed and Breakfast is located in the Finger Lakes region of New York state between Corning and Elmira. The name of the inn comes from the second owner.
A Short History
Records show that the first owner, Edwin Nourse, lived in the house from 1864-1870. He was a dairy farmer and served as a justice of the peace.
In 1870, Rufus Tanner purchased "164.5 acres of good land, a large barn and a house" from Nourse and paid $9,500 for all. He deeded a portion of the farm to the Elmira State Line Railroad in September 1876, and a train depot and water tower were constructed (remnants of the water tower remain, but there is no trace of the railroad). Rufus operated a dairy farm until he sold to the third owner, Richard Rowe, in 1886.
Three generations of the Rowe family lived here for 57 years. During their tenure the size of the original house was doubled, three porches, many outbuildings and a two story chicken coop were added. Indoor plumbing was installed using a spring at the top of the hill and wooden pipes to provide pressurized water. The stately Sugar Maple trees surrounding the house were planted in approximately 1888. In 1921, Truman Rowe sold a portion of the farmland to the Dairymen's League Co-operative Association for construction of a milk processing operation. The Kinner Hill Telephone Company exchange was located in the house and a list of names (circa 1900) with dots and dashes for long and short rings is preserved by Donna and Rick.
The fourth owners, the Kelley family, purchased the farm in 1943 and sold parcels of land for single family homes in 1950-1965. In 1965, the Kelleys sold to the fifth owner, the Knapp family.
Three generations of the Knapp family lived in the house for a total of 34 years. In 1991, renovations were completed to equip the house with 5.5 baths and a bed and breakfast was opened.
Today 2.5 acres of the original farm, several outbuildings and the beautiful Sugar Maple trees remain. Donna and Rick Powell bought the house and property in 1999. They continue to operate Rufus Tanner House Bed and Breakfast. Two of the original outbuildings are used by Rick as workshops for his hobby of wooden boat restoration. His current project is restoring an antique wooden boat---a Rampage. The boat, named Ghost, was one of only six built by Finger Lakes boat builder, Murray Wright, in Dryden, NY.
Donna and Rick treasure the old farmhouse and feel honored to be custodians of its history and to care for its buildings. As a B&B, the farmhouse provides a secure feeling of being home. Each guestroom has a bath en suite. Four "common" rooms are open to guests and porches and decks offer plenty of room to roam. All rooms have five foot windows (many with the original Cylinder glass) and views of the surrounding hillsides and trees.