The newly-remodeled home and business venture of David Gage ’91 and his wife, Theresa, was featured in the Finger Lakes Times recently. The couple purchased the historic home of William Smith and renovated it to turn it into their family home and a bed-and-breakfast.
According to the article, “The Gages, their friends and family members have been renovating the home for the past three months. David’s father, Walter, a 1962 Hobart College graduate, painted about 40 doors. Walls were knocked down, carpets torn up and the kitchen entirely gutted.”
The inn is now open for business, with the City having approved its use as a bed-and-breakfast just last month.
David Gage earned a B.A. in English from Hobart College and is currently an associate director of admissions at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. While a student, he was a member of the golf team. He earned a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Maine, Orono.
The full article about the William Smith Inn follows.
Back “Inn” Business
Former home of William Smith has new life as B&B
David Taube • July 7, 2009
GENEVA – The historic house of William Smith, which formerly served as a senior citizens’ home for more than 75 years, is once again open for lodging.
On June 15, the city of Geneva approved its use as a bed-and-breakfast. Dubbed The William Smith Inn, the house at 600 Castle St. has five bedrooms available, each with a private bathroom and multiple references to Hobart and William Smith Colleges and local figures.
Theresa Gage – who along with her husband, David, and two daughters, is living at the home – will manage the bed-and-breakfast full time. She formerly worked as a teacher’s aide at West Street Elementary School. The family’s living quarters remain separate for Tess, 8, Bryna, 6, and the family’s 120-pound dog “Seneca.”
“One of our very first dates, we actually talked about owning a bed-and-breakfast,” said David Gage, a Geneva native who graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 1991 and once did yard work for the historic home as a youngster. He’s now associate director of admissions at the Colleges.
“And when you’re an admissions counselor, you visit a lot of hotels, big and small,” said David. “You are just always looking, and both of us have done it.”
The home, which sits on 3.2 acres, was occupied by the founder of the William Smith School for Women at Hobart College from the 1870s to 1912. It was The Church Home for senior citizens from 1923 to 2001.
“I knew of the history this place, and we just came over one day and said, ‘What do you think?'” The couple purchased the home in February.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community and to William Smith’s heritage, history and legacy in this town,” Theresa said.
The Gages, their friends and family members have been renovating the home for the past three months. David’s father, Walter, a 1962 Hobart College graduate, painted about 40 doors. Walls were knocked down, carpets torn up and the kitchen entirely gutted.
“It was a real roll of the dice,” David said. “Taking on a house of this magnitude and the work that needed to be done, counting on revenue that you don’t know whether you’ll have.”
David and a friend installed a sprinkler system, and the Gages used 25 buckets of trim paint throughout the house.
“You still laugh when you think, ‘So why did we do it?’ ” Theresa said.
The Gages intend to furnish each room with antique books, pictures and memorabilia so that “each room has the character and the history to it,” Theresa said.
“I love the charm of old homes and trying to keep things true to history, and it’s just something we’ve always talked about,” she said.
The B&B features five bedrooms, each with “a very specific history to William Smith or the area in general,” David said.
“One of the tougher decisions we had was settling on the names of the rooms, and Theresa probably came up with 20 names at one point or another before we got down to the final five,” David said.
– The Vintner, named for the local wine industry. The Gages plan to include grape-themed decorations; that bathroom features a clawfoot tub.
– The Millers’ Room references Elizabeth Smith Miller and Anne Fitzhugh Miller, “a mother and daughter combination who were suffragettes and a big influence on William Smith,” David said, leading Smith to consider women’s rights and education.
Elizabeth Smith Miller is the first woman known to wear bloomers, Theresa said.
– The William Smith Suite, named for the house’s first owner. The suite has two queen-sized beds in separate rooms, connected by an open doorway. One room includes oak floors; this bathroom also has a clawfoot tub.
– The Elizabeth Blackwell Room is in honor of the first American woman to complete a medical degree, graduating from Geneva Medical College in 1849. The bathroom includes a Jacuzzi and shower.
– The Statesmen refers to the Hobart College athletic teams. The room is decorated with an antique beanie like the kind sports fans once wore. The Gages plan to include a yearbook of the second graduating class and antique books, old photos and an old sports jersey.
Continental breakfasts will be served during the week and full country breakfasts on weekends. A bottle of local wine is included in each room and free wireless Internet access is also available. The Gages have arranged to purchase food from a friend’s organic farm for ham, bacon and eggs, as well as juice from Red Jacket Orchards.
“I’m going to try to do everything locally,” Theresa said.
– Antique pictures, including of the first class of students and featuring William Smith
– 8’4″ doors nearly as thick as a fist
– A dining room wall design based on the altar piece and stole of the Rev. Jim Adams of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
– Two-person lift elevator (the Gages do not intend to use this)
– Antique Persian rugs
– Wide plank pine floors
– 65 doors throughout the house
– 3,200 square feet of hardwood floors
– $140 to $175 per night
– Five bedrooms, each with a private bathroom
– For detailed rates and reservations, call (315)521-9167
– More information at www.thewilliamsmithinn.com