Monday, January 25, 2016
Lisbon building undergoes changes
By William D. LEWIS
A historic Lisbon building has undergone an 11-year restoration and now features a restaurant, bar and bed and breakfast.
The Courthouse Inn & Restaurant on West Lincoln Way adjacent to the Columbiana Courthouse is the oldest brick building in Ohio.
Built by Jacob Picking in 1803 as a hotel and inn, the building has a long and storied past.
Edwin Stanton, who served as Secretary of War for President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, had his law office in the structure. Several U.S. presidents stayed at the inn, and it is rumored that legendary explorers Lewis and Clark may have stayed there before beginning their exploration of the American West.
Owner Renee Lewis, a Salem native who has traveled the world and lived in New York City for the past 35 years, got involved in the project to help jump-start the restoration of historic Lisbon. Friends of hers in New York asked why she would spend
money and time to restore a building in Lisbon and her response was: “Why not Lisbon? This is a very historic town and I’m hoping this will inspire other people restore this town.”
When Lewis acquired the building, time had taken its toll on the structure. Seven layers of interior finishing were gutted in a process that took two years. Original beams were exposed, and brickwork was replaced with matching bricks salvaged from local demolished homes. Many of the doors in the building were replaced with antique doors Lewis purchased in her travels.
The first floor features a bar and restaurant with decor matching the building’s historical theme. The second floor features suites for the bed and breakfast.
Throughout the building, a variety of art hangs on the walls.
Outside is a patio that features a large fireplace with seating for 60 at jade tables.
The third floor is living space for Lewis and features lots of chrome, colored glass and an art-deco look. She says she plans to split her time between Lisbon and her home in New York.
In many ways, the project was a labor of love for Lewis. “You can take a building that is virtually worthless in some people’s eyes and turn it into a bit of magic.” Lewis said.
The Courthouse Restaurant & Inn recently opened to the public.
John Dunlap, a North Lima contractor, did most of the restoration work.
For information, contact Lewis at 917-887-3276.