The Rossmount Inn is a 3-story Country Inn with 18 rooms. It is situated on 87 acres at the base of Chamcook Mountain. Along with the beautiful view of the Passamaquoddy Bay and Minister’s Island, it also holds some remarkable history. The property was first owned by one of the Townsend brothers of Chamcook who were shipbuilders and cabinet makers. In 1889, James A. Townsend then of Brooklyn, decided to tear down the original house and rebuild a private residence.
On September 1, 1889, ground was broken and Levi Handy and crew laid the foundation. About 1 month later, Walter lane of Saint John commenced to erect the “superstructure” which was an adaptation of a Queen Anne style. The ten-foot veranda around three sides of the building was two hundred seventy feet in length and the entrance hall was twelve feet wide. At the front of the second floor were three family bedrooms and at the rear were four servant’s rooms. On the third floor were four more bedrooms with the possibility of a fifth. The building was painted a straw colour with brown trim and the roof had a maroon tint. The cost was approximately $12,000. The carriage house, built in 1889, still remains behind the Inn.
In 1902, the Henry Phipps Rosses came to Robbinson Maine to visit a former friend of Henry’s. The Frontier Steamboat Company operated a day route between Calais, Robbinson, St. Andrews and Eastport. The Rosses and their friends ferried over for a picnic on Chamcook Mountain. This scenic site formed part of the Townsend property which was for sale. When the Rosses purchased the property they renamed it “Rossmount”. Their account book show that they paid $4,500 on November 14, 1902.
Once the Rosses owned the Chamcook Estate, it became the focal point in their lives. From 1910 to 1914 major improvements were accomplished in the estate, both on the interior of the house and on the grounds, where planning included flower and vegetable gardens, plus a duck pond and fountain. The residence also had a windmill-operated water system. Four women and seven men worked on the grounds.
In 1909, when Mr. Ross retired from the ministry, Rossmount became their permanent home for a few years. After the responsibility of taking care of Mr. Ross’ adoptive parents was over, the Rosses became world travelers. The Rosses entertained their many visitors by daily drives to surrounding areas plus boat trips, picnics, clam bakes and lobster boils. World travelers and collectors of fine artifacts, Henry Phipps Ross and his wife Sarah Juliette Ross lived at their beautiful “Rossmount” until their deaths within eight days of each other in 1945.
During the 1950ies , Dick Harris owned the “Rossmount”. There were 6-8 cottages on the estate and Mr. Harris went with one of the men every night to pump the reservoir. The barn had stagecoaches and two and four seated wagons. Inside the building the drawers were full of silver and the linen that all came with the property.
In 1961, the house was destroyed by a fire but soon after the Simes family of Saint John built the present Inn on the magnificent site. The building was built on top of the original foundation, incorporating the still standing chimneys and front steps. The builder John Sime searched the world for the chandeliers, woodwork and the furnishings that grace the Inn today. There are three stained glass windows – that right now are stored – from an eighteenth century English Chapel. The panels depict the Scottish thistle, the Irish harp and the English Rose with the mottos in Latin and Gaelic. In the bar there is an antique hand carved piano, years ago valued at $27,000 that was built for the late Kaiser Wilhelm. A chess master designed the staircase and hand carved chess figures that pose along the banister.
Currently the Rossmount Inn is owned by Chris and Graziella Aerni who purchased it in the spring of 2001.