From Pink House to Schoolhouse: Change comes to the former Amherst Inn

By Brent Frankenhoff

In the Jensen Community Spirit’s December 2020 issue, we reported on the closing and sale of the Amherst Inn. In the months since, Amherst has welcomed the Robbins family from Florida to the home, which recently underwent a major change to its exterior, with the formerly pink exterior now red.

Owner Moses Robbins told the Spirit, “The house has been pink for many years, and even though our nine-year-old daughter thought it was great to live in a Barbie Dream House, we were not super excited about the color. Plus, the paint was beginning to really fade and chip off, so we felt it was time. We had originally chosen yellow with white trim, but one day we saw a picture online of a red-and-white Victorian, and we really liked the look of it. It popped a bit more than the yellow. We decided to take two weeks as we traveled back and forth to New England to look for yellow and red houses before chosing. We both really liked the look of an old schoolhouse, so after our two weeks were up, we chose red and white. We realize the house is an Amherst landmark, and it’s one of the first things folks see when they come downtown. So, we really wanted to add to the beauty of this wonderful village. Our hope is that we accomplished just that.”

Keeping it local, Robbins purchased all the paint at OK Hardware. The red is a shade named Planet Red and “the white is just plain old white,” he added.

The color change also prompted a change in name from “The Pink House Coffeehouse” to “The Schoolhouse Coffeehouse.” For the past several months, Robbins has opened the doors of the home to everyone in the area to enjoy.

“A few years ago, I took up the hobby of being a barista and learned how to do latte art,” Robbins said. “So preparing latte, cappuccino, Americano, macchiato, coffee, and tea (hot or iced) is what we do every Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. We felt like providing a comfortable, safe, peaceful, and encouraging space to study, meet up with friends, pray, read, or just chill, all for free, was exactly what we were called to do. We know that The Lord has blessed us with the privilege of living in this amazing home, and so we feel the desire to say ‘thank you’ to Him.”

Robbins added that guests are welcome to sit inside by the fire, play the grand piano, or take your drink outside on the front porch or by the huge koi pond. Free wi-fi is also available. “Some folks have left us a donation to help cover the cost, and although we appreciate the generous partnership, we never charge anyone for anything. Some folks come looking to tour the house, some come just to talk, and yet others simply come to be quiet and read a book. All types of visits are great,” he said.

In addition to his freewill offering coffeehouse, Robbins started a Christian Worship Night event at the Amherst Opera House, with the first session scheduled for October 30. “We believe this will be the first of many such worship nights coming in the future, so keep an eye open for dates,” he added.

Gatherings are held at the house on Monday evenings for study, prayer, and singing. “It’s been an amazing experience thus far,” he added, “and we really just adore all the folks that come. Some of them want to bring friends. Of course, all are welcome.”

After living in Florida for 30 years, with its own beauty, Robbins said that they quickly found that “central Wisconsin, and Amherst in particular, is the most beautiful place we have ever experienced. The visual beauty is breathtaking, as we wander along all the back roads and look at all the hills, flowers, and foliage.

“But the most amazing thing about Amherst isn’t the hills and flowers; it’s the people. We have never met such loving, helpful, friendly, and kind people in all our years. Everyone treats us like 10-year friends, like we’ve been buddies forever. We have often walked away from meeting a new person strolling by the house that stops to say hello, just shaking our head wondering if we are in a dream. We walk away thinking ‘Are people really this nice?’

“The love that people here in town have shown us has made us look inside to see if we, too, are as loving and kind as everyone here is. Being here has helped us learn to love better, and for that we are very thankful.”

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