Monthly Archives: July 2009

Longfellow’s Wayside Inn (1716)

Wayside Inn

The Wayside Inn in Sudbury is the oldest operating Inn in the United States and was immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow‘s sequence of poems, Tales of a Wayside Inn (1863). Built in 1716, the Inn was first known as Howe’s Tavern, for its first innkeeper, David Howe. His descendants continued to operate the Inn, adding to the original structure over time, until 1861. These included Howe’s son, Ezekiel, who led the Sudbury militia to Concord for the battle of April 19, 1775. After passing from the Howes to new owners, the Inn served as a boarding house for temporary lodgers. In October of 1862, Longfellow and his publisher, James Fields, visited the Inn and this inspired the poet to write Tales of a Wayside Inn, which became a bestseller. Although it continued to serve as a boarding house, the Wayside Inn soon began to attract tourists, anxious to see the place which had captured the public imagination. In 1896, Edward Rivers Lemon, a wealthy Medford wool merchant, purchased the Inn as a business venture, inviting the Society of Colonial Wars to meet there in 1897. On that occasion, the orator Samuel Arthur Bent gave a speech entitled: “The Wayside Inn—Its History and Literature.” Lemon intended the Inn to be a literary and artistic retreat and a group artists, poets, and writers, known as the Paint and Clay Club, met there frequently.

The Wayside Inn entered a new phase of its existence when it was purchased by Henry Ford in 1923. He intended to create a living museum of Americana centered on the historic building and bought many acres of land around it. He built a gristmill and the non-denominational Martha-Mary Chapel on the property and and also relocated a schoolhouse from Sterling, which he believed was the actual building mentioned in Sarah Josepha Hale‘s poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The property was placed in a non-profit trust in 1947, with many representatives of the Ford family on the Board, and this transitioned to governance by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1957. Restoration of the Inn was necessary, with help from the Ford family, after a devastating fire in December 1955. As of 1960, the Inn came under the governance of local trustees. There would be no further support coming from Ford interests and there was no endowment, but by this time the Inn had become self-sufficient as an inn, restaurant and museum.
Below are pictures of some interiors in the museum section of the Inn: (more…)

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Munroe Tavern (1695)

Munroe Tavern

Munroe Tavern, located one mile east of Lexington Common, was built around 1695. The Tavern is named for William Munroe, who was its proprietor from 1770 to 1827. Munroe was also an orderly sergeant in Captain Parker’s minuteman company in 1775. During the Battle of Lexington, on April 19, 1775, the Tavern was occupied by the British for an hour-and-a-half. The Tavern‘s dining room became a field hospital and Brigadier General Earl Percy, who arrived with British reinforcements, used it as his headquarters. George Washington dined at the Tavern during his 1789 visit to the Lexington battlefield. The Tavern is now a museum operated by the Lexington Historical Society.

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The Horatio Coomes House (1840)

Coomes House

Having earlier lived in what is now known as the Coomes-Almquist House, around 1840 Horatio Coomes built a brick house at 918 Longmeadow Street in Longmeadow. In building this early Italianate house, Coomes undoubtedly used bricks produced in his own brickyard.

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The Coomes-Almquist House (1831)

Coomes-Almquist House

The house of Horatio Coomes at the south end of Longmeadow Green was built around 1831, although parts may have been built earlier, as there were buildings on the property when it was sold to Coomes in 1826. Coomes later built another home nearby and the sold the earlier house, which is now known as the Coomes-Almquist House. Many rooms were added to the expanding house over the years.

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North Congregational Church, Springfield (1873)

Hispanic Baptist Church

In 1868, H.H. Richardson won a commission to design the North Congregational Church in Springfield. Originally intended to be built where the congregation’s preceding church building was located, the plans for construction did not go through until a new site had been purchased, on the corner of Salem and Mattoon Streets in 1871, and the initial plan had been revised. Built in 1872 to 1873, the church was constructed of red Longmeadow sandstone and was one of Richardson‘s first works in the Romanesque style. The North Congregational Society disbanded in 1935 and the church was sold and renamed Grace Baptist Church. It is now called the Hispanic Baptist Church.

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First Church of Christ in Longmeadow (1768)

First Church Longmeadow

Where today there is a flagpole on Longmeadow Green, the town’s first church, built in 1716, once stood. By 1764 it was decided that, owing to the great number of repairs the building needed, a new church should be constructed. It was built on the Green in 1767-1768 and in 1769, the old meeting house was torn down. The new church was remodeled in 1828 and in 1874 it went through even more drastic changes, being moved from the Green to its present site and again being remodeled. The First Church of Christ‘s white pillared front portico was added in 1932, modeled on Boston’s Arlington Street Church.

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Buckman Tavern (1690)

Buckman Tavern

Buckman Tavern, off Lexington Green, was built in 1690 by Benjamin Muzzey and by a license granted in 1693, it became the first Public House in Lexington. In the coming years it was run by Muzzey‘s son John, then by John’s granddaughter and her husband, John Buckman. By the 1770s, Buckman Tavern had become the favored gathering place for local militia men (members of the Lexington Training Band) on the days they trained on the Green. On April 19, 1775, it was here that the militia gathered before facing the British troops, when the first shot was fired which began the Revolutionary War. The Tavern continued to be Lexington’s busiest after the war and housed the towns first village store and post office. The town of Lexington acquired the Tavern in 1913 and, by a 99-year lease, the Lexington Historical Society undertook the furnishing of the building, which is open to the public as a museum.

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