History of the Kawanhee Inn – Since 1929

The Kawanhee Inn was built in the 1920’s by George and Raymond Frank, brothers living in Tenafly, New Jersey and Columbus, Ohio. The Main Lodge and Cabins were built with on site timber and stand today, as they did years ago, a testament to the Frank brother’s hard work and ingenuity. From its original Birch decor to the classic hickory furniture, the Inn is proud to have maintained its rustic character while continually improving its facilities. The story of Kawanhee began on a hunting trip to nearby Mount Blue State Park in 1909. While standing on the summit of Mount Blue, George Frank was so inspired by the beauty of Webb Lake that he chose to honeymoon on the Lake in 1912. It was not long after that when the brothers decided to pursue their dream of building a Boys Camp on the lake. Founded in 1920, and still flourishing today, Camp Kawanhee for Boys was built to teach young men leadership responsibilities and outdoor living skills. As the Camp grew in popularity, the brothers then designed and built the Kawanhee Inn and Cabins to support the Camp’s growing staff. Cabin #1 was the first Cabin built in the mid-twenties, preceding the completion of the Main Lodge and Dining Room in 1929.

Since its inception, the Kawanhee Inn, has gained tremendous popularity as a rustic and tranquil retreat among Maine’s beautiful Western Mountains. Surrounded by stunning scenery, the Inn has been recognized nationally for its inherent beauty and has even hosted international dignitaries such as Queen Sofia and Prince Felipe of Spain, as well as, the German and Spanish Ambassadors to the United States.

Through its history the Inn has changed ownership only three times. Following the Frank brothers were Walter and Jane Estabrook, former owners of the Boys Camp and frequent guests to the Inn. The Inn was then sold to Martha Strunk and Sturgis Butler who have successfully guided the Inn over the last 20 years. Most recently, the Inn was purchased by a small group led by Kawanhee alumni Chris and Jodi Huntington. Together, with the support of the local Weld community and long time patrons of the Inn, Chris and Jodi are looking forward to many memorable years preserving this unique and special place.

While the world has changed in many ways over the past century, the Kawanhee Inn has remained a gem of the past. With many authentic and historical buildings being lost to overdevelopment and disrepair, it is a blessing that the Kawanhee Inn has remained true to its character and roots. We thank you for respecting the history and character of the Inn and look forward to making your time here memorable.


The images in this slideshow are from the brochure Kawanhee Inn… On a Mountain Lake in the Maine Woods, which was published some time in the 1950s

Click here to see the entire brochure.