About Our Historic Bed and Breakfast in Easton, Pennsylvania
Located on College Hill, the elegant Georgian mansion, which is now Lafayette Inn was originally built as an investment property by Elizabeth Wagner Leary in 1895. The land was part of the Wagner farm owned by one of the families that helped settle Easton three generations earlier in the mid-1700s.
By the late 19th century, development of College Hill was booming, and the former Wagner farm properties on the west side of Cattell St. were very desirable. As a former winding country road, Cattell St. became the main thoroughfare from the north to downtown Easton. It was widened during the summer of 1885 and in 1890 was the route of Easton’s first trolley.
The first known tenant and eventually the owner of 510 Cattell St. was George Elder (1862-1930), superintendent of Ingersoll Rand Co. The Elder family renovated and enlarged the house around 1917 and owned it for another twenty years. The depression of 1929 hit hard, and the building was carved into smaller apartments. In 1937 it was sold at Sheriff’s sale and over the next two decades changed hands several times.
In 1958, it was purchased by the Sigma Chapter of Pi Lambda Phi, a Lafayette fraternity. During the 1970’s the fraternity itself declined and by 1982, it had disbanded, and the once grand house was left vacant.
Finally, early in 1986, a group of investors recognized the abandoned building’s beautiful proportions and potential. They purchased and renovated the property into a fifteen-room inn opening on December 19, 1986. Over the years it has evolved into what is now the elegant eighteen-room Easton, Pennsylvania hotel.
After more than twenty years working as electrical engineers in the automotive industry, Paolo (Paul) and Laura Di Liello decided it was time for a change. Their love of architecture, travel, entertaining, and cooking led them to consider a second career as innkeepers. They chose Easton, PA and Lafayette Inn for its proximity to Philadelphia and New York City and its fantastic relationship with Lafayette College. Together they find fulfillment in serving their guests, meeting new friends from around the world, and being a part of this vibrant college town. They feel truly blessed to be afforded this opportunity to be the caretakers of this fantastic historical place.
Paolo was born and raised in Naples, Italy. He moved to Ohio with his family as a young boy. He is a graduate of Youngstown State University. Laura is an Ohio native and a graduate of Kettering University and The University of Michigan. Married since 1988, together they lived in Ohio, Italy, and Japan, before landing in Pennsylvania.
Part of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, Easton is situated 60 miles north of Philadelphia and 80 miles west of Manhattan. Easton is an artsy, vibrant small town with a rich history. It was the site of the July 8, 1776, public reading of the Declaration of Independence in Centre Square and celebrates this occasion with Heritage Day each July.
George Washington launched General Sullivan’s northern campaign from Easton, and the Northampton Historical and Genealogical Society is an excellent resource for seeking insights into your family tree. The historic Easton Cemetery is noted for its design, architecture and landscaping and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Its grounds offer lovely walking trails.
Easton also boasts that their version of the stars and stripes pre-dates Betsy Ross’ version, and the original flag is on display at the public library.
The Sigal Museum in downtown Easton explores the local history in depth with interactive displays, special programs and galleries for special exhibits. The National Canal Museum offers insights into a by-gone era of transportation, and the buildings of the Moravian settlement of the early 18th century are still in use in Bethlehem.