The community of Riverton, which lies within Barkhamsted Town, was settled by farmers in the late 18th century. The waterpower supplied by the Farmington River contributed to its growth, and Riverton soon had gristmills, sawmills, an iron forge, a paper mill, a calico manufacturer, a coffee grinder, and a scythe manufacturer. For a while, the village was known as Hitchcocksville, thanks to Lambert Hitchcock and his well-known chair factory. Jesse Ives is thought to have established his inn/tavern around 1811.
Ives continued operating the tavern until 1856. During this time, New Hartford also emerged as an industrial hub, and the busy stagecoach traffic that traveled between the two towns kept the Ives Tavern in business. In the 1870s, however, with the establishment of the Connecticut Western Railroad, Riverton's importance waned, since the railroad route traveled through Winsted instead of Riverton. Nonetheless, the Riverton Inn survived this setback and remains in use today.