Green Gables Restaurant
Green Gables Restaurant in Jennerstown, Pa. is an upscale eatery with a historic past. In 1927, James Stoughton opened a sandwich stand on the corner of his grandfather’s farm. After a successful first year, the stand was expanded, and rooms and gathering spaces were added on as necessary. Today Green Gables offers a look into the past, displaying many of Stoughton’s paintings and antiques, while offering a modern dining experience. Stop in to explore the grounds, admire the architecture, and learn a thing or two as you wait for a meal.
Backstory and Context
Green Gables Restaurant is a place for fine-dining and exploration. A modern-day marvel, crossing the threshold takes you back in time to Jennerstown Pa. in 1927, when James (Jimmie) Stoughton decided to make a change.
Jimmie decided working on Maurer Farm (his grandfather’s farm) wasn’t going to satisfy him any longer. Together with his sister, Louise Maust, he opened a sandwich stand and served chicken salad sandwiches and angel food cake. The sandwich stand was erected on the southwest corner of the farm, due to its proximity to Route 985, and the famous Lincoln Highway. Jennerstown is a ‘road town,’ with most of its homes and eateries located on The Highway, or a few short miles off the main road. The culture of the Highway during its heyday in the 20’s and 30’s was one of deliberate, casual travel. It was always more about the drive than the destination. The beautiful scenery along the road as well as the landmarks along it made for an exciting and memorable experience.
After a successful first year, an indoor dining room was added onto the simple stand. As the restaurant continued to grow in popularity, more and more was added on, leaving us with the charming patchwork building we see today. Stoughton was more than an entrepreneur, he was an artist. Many of his paintings, including a self portrait in the main dining room, hang throughout the restaurant. He loved antiques, and many pieces of his collection decorate the establishment. His eye for art is clear as you walk through the restaurant. Stoughton's works aren’t the only ones featured in his restaurant, many paintings by interesting artists can be discovered as you explore the building.
One of the most extravagant rooms of the restaurant is the Tuscany Room. After a fire in 1962, Stoughton hired a local architect to design a new banquet room. Unheard of at the time, he hired a female. A unique feature of the design of the Tuscany Room are the four tree trunks, over 400 years old at the time they were cut down, that act as pillars and the corners of the dance floor. The collaboration between Stoughton and Teresa Mullane, the architect, resulted in a beautiful design...and a beautiful marriage. Through the project, they fell in love. They had two daughters, Teresa and Mary Louise; and the eldest, Teresa Stoughton Marafino, now carries on her father’s legacy by continuing to operate the restaurant.Green Gables Restaurant remains today as a piece of the areas history. A far cry from its humble beginnings, Green Gables now offers a laid-back and luxurious dining experience throughout the year. A tradition started in 1936, weddings are often held amidst the beautiful scenery. Charming and unique, the spirit of Green Gables has to be experienced to be believed. So stop in; today visitors are invited to explore the restaurant and grounds, request a tour to learn more about the history of this hidden gem, and enjoy a meal.
2. History of Jennerstown PA 1772-1986. Hooversville, PA. Eds Printing, 1986.
3. Hokanson, Drake. The Lincoln Highway: Main street across America. IA City, IA. University of Iowa Press, 1999.
4. T. Marafino, Personal Communication, March 28, 2019