The Red Lion Inn

View our
special offers

Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, painting by Norman Rockwell, 1967.


From day one, the Red Lion Inn has played a primary role in the life of the surrounding community. It’s significance to the town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts was immortalized in the 1967 painting Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas, painted by famous American artist Norman Rockwell. Rockwell moved to Stockbridge in 1953, so that his ailing wife could receive medical treatment at the Austen Riggs Center located across the street from The Red Lion Inn. Quickly falling in love with the charming New England town, Rockwell would remain a resident of Stockbridge until his death in 1978.


Left: Norman Rockwell painting Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas. Right: Reference photo of The Red Lion Inn used by Rockwell.


At the time of The Inn’s painting, Rockwell had long been known for his unmatched ability to capture and authentically represent the American story. The pervasive power of his art is notably represented in his most famous series of paintings – The Four Freedoms. Wanting to do more to help the war effort, Rockwell drew inspiration from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt 1941 address to Congress, where he articulated his vision for a postwar world founded on four basic human freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.


The Four Freedoms, Norman Rockwell, 1943 (from left to right: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, Freedom from Fear).


The paintings embodied these freedoms through scenes of daily American life, perfectly illustrating just what all the wartime sacrifices were for. The most famous of these paintings was the Freedom from Want, which depicts a kindly-looking, white-haired patriarch and matriarch standing at the head of the table, as hungry family members—their smiling faces only partially visible—eagerly anticipate the mouth-watering turkey dinner that’s about to be served. The paintings were an immediate success, and the original canvases went on to tour the country, being used to subsequently raise almost $133 million in war bonds via exhibition tickets and poster sales.

Rockwell continued to paint the story of America from his studio in Stockbridge, notably drawing inspiration from the ongoing civil rights movement. In 1963, Look magazine published what would become another one of Rockwell’s most well-known paintings – The Problem We All Live With. The painting depicted the story of Ruby Bridges, the first black child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Public School in New Orleans. Today, Bridges sits on the board of the Norman Rockwell Museum.


Left: Norman Rockwell painting The Problem We All Live With, 1963. Right: Exterior of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge.


The Problem We All Live With
, The Four Freedoms, and Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas can all be viewed at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge. The Red Lion Inn celebrates Norman Rockwell with copies of his famous paintings on display throughout the hotel and guests are always encouraged to experience the originals at the Norman Rockwell Museum just five minutes up the road.

This has been a Historic Hotels History Mystery.
For more fun facts, trivia, and historic highlights, check out our History Mystery pages for Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. Subscribe to our newsletter below and follow us on social media to play along.

Question: Which historic hotel was painted by famous American artist Norman Rockwell?

  1. The Red Lion Inn
  2. Hawthorne Hotel
  3. Fairmont Copley Plaza
  4. Concord’s Colonial Hotel
Special Offer

Optional Push

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.

Learn More

Sign up for our Newsletter

Partners

  • HHW Logo
  • NTHP Logo
  • AA Logo
  • WHHA Logo
  • STE Logo