In 1836, Austin McCracken built the first public inn in Walworth County. It was a log building on the site of the current East Troy House. In 1838 Walworth became an official county and was known as Walworth County of the Northwest Territory. That is the year East Troy House was licensed as an Inn and Tavern, therefore considered the oldest tavern in the state.
McCracken sold the log cabin to Emery Thayer in 1842, who replaced it with a frame hotel that now forms the eastern half of the existing East Troy House. In 1872, the old wooden Catholic Church was moved from its site to become the back addition to the East Troy House.
East Troy was the halfway spot between Milwaukee and Janesville. Teamsters used the inn for a layover. Salesmen also stayed at the inn and made their rounds about town, as well as setting up in the “Sample Room” which is in between Ivan’s and East Troy House.
The “Sample Room” has been home to a barbershop, dentist, gift shop, and rental book business, among other uses throughout the last 150 years. Today it is used as a “shop” to store materials and equipment as the remodeling continues.
In 1879, a livery stable was built behind the East Troy House and was considered to be one of the finest barns in the state!
Ghost stories abound till this day….the 19th-century madame in her room above East Troy House….the bootleggers in the basement….the 19th-century owner of Ivan’s building wandering during the daytime and night.