Adapted from Picturesque Franklin [Mass.] 1891, Wade, Warner & co.
Turners Falls has always boasted a well kept hotel, but the Farren house was erected in 1872 through the public spirit of several gentlemen, who incorporated themselves as the Farren hotel company, the house taking its name from the principal mover in the enterprise, B. N. Farren, Esq. A capital stock of $30,000 was subscribed, and the hotel cost complete about $50,000. The land was given by the Turners Falls Co. The original officers of the company were president, N. B. Farren; clerk and treasurer, Wendell T. Davis; directors, B. N. Farren, Alvah Crocker, R. L. Goss, R. B. Campbell. The house, when first opened, was managed by a Mr. Brower for a short time, after which G. T. C. Holden ran it six or seven years, then A. R. Smith of North Adams managed it for two years, and E. V. Foster took charge in 1882 and remained until July, 1891, when the building was closed for a time and recently re-opened by C. D. Whittaker & Son of Hinsdale, N. H., who bought the property. The house has forty rooms, is in good condition, and under the present management, the establishment is expected to be more than ever popular.
When the hotel changed hands, B. N. Farren, after whom it was named, ordered the sign of the house to be taken down, as he is a modest gentleman and didn’t propose to entail any obligation upon the new managers. The sign was removed, but we understand that, after the earnest solicitation of many citizens, Mr. Farren has consented to allow his name to be used for a time longer, in connection with the hotel.
(editor- Farren apparently was a devout Catholic and strongly objected to the serving of alcoholic beverages by the new ownership. He likely refused to allow his name to continue to be associated with the hotel. This is probably the time and reason that the hotel’s second name, the Grand Trunk Hotel, came into use.)
Turners Falls people generally are well pleased with this, as Mr. Farren is one of the few living contemporaries active with Alvah Crocker and others in building up the place. As is well known, also, Mr. Farren was a prominent contractor in the Hoosac Tunnel enterprise. The efforts of the management of this work to obtain from Mr. Farren any account of his life-work (more particularly with reference to the tunnel) was not successful, but ex-Lieut. Gov. Knight of Easthampton was interviewed in regard to the matter, he being a member of the Governor’s Council some time while the Hoosac work was in progress, and he has made the following statement, which we think properly finds a place here, even though we are unable to accompany it with a portrait. We are advised always to speak well of the dead, and it is some times wise and just to speak well of the living. Certainly the facts concerning Mr. Farren’s services to this section of the country, in opening the Hoosac tunnel, are well deserving of record, and they are therefore now given public recognition, we believe, for the first time.
In an unpublished history of the Hoosac Tunnel and Troy and Greenfield railroad, the name of Bernard N. Farren appears several times as a contractor for work of various kinds, some of which was attended with difficulties and obstacles that would have discouraged a man of ordinary courage. Mr. Knight thus reviews this work:
” The west end of the tunnel, for several hundred feet, was the most expensive and most difficult of construction. The rock was of such a character that it was found necessary to build heavy timber supports, and finally to construct a substantial brick and stone arch, to support the roof. Water in large quantity, as well as ” demoralized rock.” so called, proved so serious an obstacle that the work was at one time suspended several months. But Mr. Farren, who was given the contract to construct the arch of stone (about 175 feet) and brick (about 200 feet) by remarkable perseverance, pluck and skill, successfully accomplished the difficult work.
” He also had contracts for the re-construction of the railroad between Greenfield and the tunnel, some of which was ‘ hard work.’ The Shanleys, who took the contract for the completion of the tunnel, constructed several hundred feet of brick arch to support the roof in various places; but it was found necessary to construct a large amount of additional arch for the support and security of the roof. The contract for this additional arching of about 6000 feet was given to Mr. Farren, who performed the work within the specified time to the entire satisfaction of the state officials. The total arching was 7573 feet; the quantity of brick used about 20,000,000.
” Mr. Farren is a modest, unassuming, genial gentleman, of superior intelligence, highly esteemed by all who know him and most esteemed by those who know him best. He richly deserves the success that has crowned his business career in public works and private enterprises.”