Early Kennebec Taverns
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  1. #1
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    304 times

    Early Kennebec Taverns

    Sprague's Journal of Maine History
    Volume 9
    page 21-23.

    Early Kennebec Taverns
    (by W. Scott Hill)

    Read before the Maine Writer's Research Club by Mrs. Mabel Goodwin Hall, at its very
    interesting annual meeting at the Hallowell House, Hallowell, Maine, February 18, 1921.

    The colonists to New England brought many of the home customs with them, and in time came
    the demand for the tavern, the combination of all the services of public houses in England, where
    food, wines and liquors were sold, lodging for travelers and strangers, as well as stabling and
    feeding horses and cattle. There were stringent laws for failing or refusing to care for man or
    beast. Taverns were also places for public meetings and social gatherings.

    The first tavern in Cushnoc, now Augusta, on the west side of the river, was on the corner of
    what is now Grove and Green streets, and was built and kept by Josiah French probably in 1763.
    This was a log house. David Thomas kept the first house of entertainment on the east side in
    1764, just above Whitney Brook. He afterward moved to the Fort lot where he had another
    tavern. I think this was afterwards used as a cooper's shop by Freeman Barker when burned
    about 40 years ago. In 1784, Amos Pollard had a tavern on the south side of what is now Market
    square, probably where the Opera House block now stands. It was frequently used for public
    meetings and was an important place in the village. Hilton's tavern was a large farm building
    just north of Whitney Brook, built before Bangor road was laid out, and faced on the Shirley
    military road, as did the Great House of Col. Howard built in 1770/ Whitney Tavern was another
    early tavern at the corner of Clark street and Bangor street. The brass knocker was taken from its
    front door. This tavern had a two story piazza like the old Cushnoc House. It was torn don many
    years ago. Reed's Tavern was a later one, and stood on the site of 40 or 42 Bangor street, into
    which it was remodeled a few years ago.

    Currier's tavern in Hallowell was a noted tavern when Hallowell was the center of trade on the
    Kennebec. The site on that part of Water street know as Joppa, a large square two-story house.
    It was torn down years ago after being used as a boarding house know as the Granite House.

    Gage's tavern was one of the early taverns before the laying out of the present Western avenue.
    This was on the farm formerly owned by James R. Townsend. At the time this tavern was built,
    all the teaming from Farmington and intervening towns to Hallowell, then the seaport, was over
    the road near here, long since discontinued, which ran in a direct line from the Whitman corner to
    Hallowell. The shack built for the Italians a few years ago and still standing was on this
    abandoned roadbed. The tavern was burned about twenty years ago, and the old sign "Gage's
    Tavern" stored in the cellar was destroyed with it. It was a two story frame house.

    Norris's tavern is still standing on the old road from Hallowell to Manchester Cross-Roads. It
    was a finely built house, the inside finish being much better than most houses built at that time,
    which was in the early years of the 1800. This like Gage's Tavern, was for travelers west of there
    going and coming from Hallowell. It is, or was occupied by Italians and a sad wreck of its
    former self. The large barn connected with it was struck by lightning and burned a few years

    The business of the Norris, Gage and Currier taverns was ruined by the building of the back route
    railroad from Lewiston, through Greene, Leed, Monmouth and other towns to Waterville, and the
    Leeds and Farmington railroad, and Hallowell lost it prestige as a commercial center.

    Piper's tavern, still standing on upper Water street, was a noted tavern. Water street was
    originally laid out from this house. The handsome wrought-iron sign frame is still in place, bu
    the sign long since disappeared. The Fuller tavern on Maintop, built and kept by the late John J.
    Fuller, was a favorite house for the traveling public from the country north of Augusta. It was
    moved to the west side of Northern avenue, and is now occupied as farmhouse by C. Wesley
    Cummings. The old Cushnoc House was build by Amos Partridge in 1803. For eighty-five
    years it bore a conspicuous part in the business life of Augusta, especially the period of the Civil
    War, 1861-1865. It was ruined by fire, December 1, 1888, and one week later sold with the two
    stables adjoining to the Lithgow Library Association for the site of the Lithgow Library.

    One of the reminders of stage coach days is the house at Brown's corner, built for a tavern by
    Samuel Homans more than a century ago, and occupied more than sixty years by the late Howes
    Robbins and his son, Prescott. It was a finely built house, still standing and now used as a
    farmhouse. The long bowling alley still remains, though used for other purposes. This is a
    favorite resort for pleasure parties in days long gone by, as well as for travelers.

    Bachelder's Tavern, in Litchfield, still standing, was a noted tavern in stage coach days from
    Augusta to Portland. It was a station for changing horses, and for many years after the passing of
    the stage coach a favorite hours for merry-makers in that section.

    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  2. #2
    Feb 2005
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    Re: Early Kennebec Taverns

    Thanks Gypsy !



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