This morning, some wonderful guests were enjoying playing our Steinway piano, which they were surprised to find at a B&B and in such good shape. Their fresh eyes helped us slow down to enjoy the music and delve into another one of our Stories of the House.
Our Steinway Grand Piano #180984 was built in New York between 1916-1917. We can tell this because Steinway does an excellent job of helping people identify their pianos through their Serial Number Database.
The original serial number was probably on the cast iron plate between the tuning pins above the keyboard, however we can no longer read the number there. Luckily, the number is also stamped underneath the piano, towards the pedals.
While we don’t have a history of how the piano spent its early years, we know that it was purchased in California in the early 1960’s by the Coulson family when their daughter, your Innkeeper Florence March, needed a piano to continue her piano lessons at home. Her incredible piano teacher Donald Anthony helped the family find the right piano, which he insisted would be a Steinway.
The Steinway remained at Florence’s childhood home for many years, eventually finding a new home at her brother Eric’s house once his two boys were ready to learn piano. (Florence’s daughter Connie, also one of your innkeepers, threw far too many piano-lesson-related temper tantrums and quickly gave up on piano lessons, much to her adult-self’s chagrin!) Eric’s boys studied piano for several years, until they decided that they preferred violin. Once they switched instruments, Florence jumped at the opportunity to welcome the Steinway back into her life here in Gettysburg.
Three-thousand miles later, the piano arrived safely at Battlefield Bed & Breakfast. Upon its first tuning, the technician discovered massive amounts of legos, crayons, and other childhood objects hidden inside the piano, which dramatically affected the sound. Once cleared of its extra “gifts,” the music poured out freely and beautifully.
Now, a technician visits at least once per year to make sure the 100+ year old beauty is still playing to its full potential. This past year’s visit, the technician discovered over 20 poker chips stuffed into the keys by some young guests that continued the family tradition of finding nooks and crannies to hide treasures. While we enjoyed a nice laugh at the Steinway’s history as a secret spot for toys, we were so happy when it was freed up to return to its true sound.
Come play with us! We love it when guests take a turn tickling the ivories. The piano has also serenades brides walking down the aisle and accompanied countless songs as special events and parties.
If you would like to schedule a house concert, please consider this an open invitation! Call Florence at 717-334-8804 to schedule some music magic!