18th Century Inn Wants Stolen Historic Items Back, No Questions Asked

Dudesleeper via Wikipedia//CC BY 2.5
Dudesleeper via Wikipedia//CC BY 2.5 / Dudesleeper via Wikipedia//CC BY 2.5

Forget bathrobes and Bibles—former guests at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts have stolen valuable antiques like silverware and historic documents. The hotel first opened as Howe's Inn and Tavern in 1716, and today advertises itself as the country’s oldest operating inn. Now, as part of the Wayside’s 300th anniversary celebration, The Boston Globe reports, the hotel is extending thieves an offer of reprieve: Return the goods, and you won’t be questioned—just forgiven.

Innkeeper Steve Pickford told The Boston Globe that he borrowed the idea from other hotels that provide guests with similar amnesty bargains. People can return missing items—which include dishes, pewter serving pieces, and even wall decorations, among other things—to the inn’s front desk, or deliver them to him, he says. They can return the goods at any time, even after the anniversary celebration ends.

Most notably, a mysterious guest once made off with a copy of the Declaration of Independence that belonged to original innkeeper David Howe’s son, Ezekiel. The document survived a fire in December 1955—but it disappeared soon after. Pickford hopes to recover it and display it inside the historic inn (hopefully near a burglar alarm this time).

[h/t Boston Globe]

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