The Coleman Frog and Guest at the annual Museum Open House (2010).

The Coleman Frog and Guest at the annual Museum Open House (2010)

In 2014, the Fredericton Region Museum, in partnership with the Crowne Plaza, opened its “Fredericton Coffee Houses, Inns and Hotels” exhibition. Curated by a team of volunteers, the exhibit explores the history of several of Fredericton’s historic downtown hotels that region.

Early travelers arrived in the city on horseback, by train or aboard a riverboat and would have been pleased to see an inn or coffee house during the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They sought a warm bed, a bite to eat, a good cup of coffee or even a bit of whiskey. “Travelers brought items in and people came from all over the world,” notes Elizabeth Earl, the Chair of the York Sunbury Historical Society Exhibitions Committee, “…the hotels and inns of Fredericton have played a large part in the political, social and business life of Frederictonians. This elegant little exhibit’s panels reflect a few of the stories of the changing times improving standards and burgeoning choices that have come about since the 18th century.”

Recently, Queen Street was voted as Canada’s most walkable street thanks to various features, such as a park, historic sites and a good selection of restaurants. Perhaps these features developed from its historic roots in the hospitality industry. The exhibit features artefacts, photographs and interpretation panels describing the history of several hotels including the Barker House, Queen Hotel and the Crowne Plaza Fredericton Lord Beaverbrook. Most of these establishments are no longer standing but remain in the memory of many of Fredericton’s long time citizens. The Lord Beaverbrook still serves as one of Fredericton’s major hotels and the Crowne Plaza has collaborated with the museum on this project.

Of course, the exhibit would not be complete without the Coleman Frog who has a connection with Fredericton’s hotel history. The frog use to be on display in the Barker House Hotel where Fred Coleman was employed.

A big thank you to everyone who was involved in this project and to the Crowne Plaza Fredericton Lord Beaverbrook.