EARLY AMERICAN INNS AND TAVERNS

Elise Lathrop, 1926

Source: Early American Taverns and Inns, Elise Lathrop, New York, R. M. McBride & Company, 1926.




While searching for articles of interest to our immediate counties I occasionally find useful material buried in articles and books of broader interest. "Inns of New York State" is chapter 14 of Elise Lathrop's remarkable book covering 18th and early 19th inns and "ordinaries" throughout the United States. Inns and churches were the primary colonial and post-colonial social centers, as well as sites of important political events and decisions wherever located. The frontier inns on the earliest roads and old stage roads were of particular commercial importance. Most importantly, the presence of inns and taverns was crucial to the settlement of Central and Western NY State after the Revolution. I felt that this article would give you clues and leads to in-state inter-county migration of your ancestors.

Some of the inns described in this chapter were still physically in existence, if no longer functioning as such, when Ms. Lathrop carried out her research in the early 1920s. No doubt there were many others across the state that she didn't visit. Her journey starts at North Tonawanda, near the Canadian border, continuing east across the state, touching down at Utica, Sprakers, Little Falls, Johnstown, and Amsterdam, and continuing down the Hudson to New York City. Many thanks again to BetteJo Caldwell for typing and scanning this long piece. We both hope you enjoy it.

M. Magill
Coordinator, Montgomery County NYGenWeb
June 2001




Black Horse Tavern, Johnstown, N.Y.

Black Horse Tavern, Johnstown, N.Y.


Inns of New York State

Along the old Indian trail following the shore of Lake Erie, later the stage road, and now almost the same route popular with automobilists, one will hardly find any surviving old ins. This was frontier country. A hundred years ago, when a New Englander came west to look over some lands in this section in which he was interested, he traveled almost entirely by sleigh. Arrived at Niagara Falls, where he had friends, they insisted that his wife and child remain, although they had thus far borne the trip, whiles he pushed on into the wilderness.

Following the Niagara River, about half-way between Buffalo and Lewiston, at North Tonawanda there still stands an old log cabin which was probably used as a tavern. This road was originally an old Indian trail, and between Lewiston and Queenston there was an early ferry used by travelers going westward through Canada.

Lewiston had two old taverns, both of which disappeared many years ago; one kept by Thomas Hustler and his wife, Betsy, at which James Fenimore Cooper boarded, darwing his characters of Sergeant Hollister and Betsy Flannigan, in The Spy, from his landlord and landlady. At the other, the Kelsey, Lafayette stayed on his visit to Lewiston in 1825. The Frontier House claims him, but as this was not open until 1826, although begun a year earlier, the claim seems debatable. It has, however, entertained such celebrities as Jenny Lind, Henry Clay, and Washington Irving. The attractive centenarian is still open, with broad, deep veranda, and a signboard hanging near the street quite as it may have hung when the house was opened.

As early as 1794, the Genesee Road extended from old Fort Schuyler westward to the Genesee River, and in 1798 was extended to the State line. But before this there had been travelers over the old trail, although after the Erie Canal was built this was long the popular route for travel. Even after the railroad came, little stretches of it were owned by different companies, so train connections between these were poor, and for a time the canal still prospered.

The old Iroquois Trail ran from the Hudson to Niagara Falls, through Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Canandaigua, Avon, Le Roy, near Batavia to Lewiston, and the first stretch of the Mohawk Trail, consisting of sixteen miles from Albany to Schenectady, was built in 1797 by two young engineers. So, in coming east from Buffalo, one follows, at least in part, these old roads.

Batavia, county seat of Genesee County, was not "set off" as a town from Northampton until 1802. Three years later, Timothy Bigelow, in his Tour to Niagara Falls, mentions here a "nearly finished building which is to contain a court house, a jail and a hotel under the same roof." He stayed at Russell's Tavern, whose proprietor insisted that his sheets were clean, for they had been slept in only a few times since they were washed. Luke's Tavern also stood here at the time.

The earliest tavern between Buffalo and Avon was about a mile east of the present town of Le Roy. Charles Wilbur came here in 1797, and opened a tavern in a log cabin. A year later, he sold this to Captain John Ganson, who was in the Revolutionary Army and fought at Bunker Hill. In the earliest days of this tavern, Indians frequented a spring near the house, and the nearest neighbors were "the desperate characters at Big Springs, " and a few at Avon, where Captain Ganson had first located. Early travelers frequently mention Ganson's. John Maude, in his Visit to the Falls of Niagara in 1800, says: "Proceeded on my journey 297 miles (from Albany) Ganson's Tavern. When my friend L. passed this place last year, Ganson's was a solitary house in the wilderness, but it is now in the midst of a flourishing town in which twenty-one families are already settled. A new tavern and a number of dwelling houses are building."

Five years later, Timothy Bigelow was not complimentary:
"July 22nd, 1805. Gansen's is a miserable log house. We made out to obtain an ordinary dinner. Our landlord was drunk, the house was crowded with a dozen workmen, reeking with rain and sweat... We hastened our departure before the rain had ceased."

When the new roads were opened, many immigrants flocked to this section, the Ganson log cabin was replaced by a larger frame house, and when the first landlord died in 1813 and was succeeded by his son, John, it became one of the best known houses between Albany and Buffalo.

On the site of what was long the eagle Hotel in Le Roy, - the village received this name in 1813, - was an early tavern known as Auntie Wemple's. A frame house followed this, kept by Richard Stoddard, and the brick building, part of which is now the Post Office, the rest a lodginghouse, was built by James Ganson, another son of the first tavern-keeper, and continued as a hotel until 1920.

Before 1810, Richard Stoddard built a frame house on the site of the Wiss House. This was first used as a store, later as a tavern, kept by Rufus Robertson. Enlarged, it became the Globe and Eagle Hotel, with a brazen sign of the bird surmounting a globe. Many years ago it was given the name under which it is still open, after an early landlord, Wiss.

Half a mile west, on the main road to Buffalo, Captain John Lent opened a tavern in 1813 which later became a private residence, and is now an exclusive lodginghouse. The first frame house in Le Roy was Captain John Austin's Tavern, and survives as the wing of a private residence. Still another tavern in the village was opened by Hinds Chamberlain, and continued at least until 1810, later becoming a dwelling.

In this period, Le Roy was an important place. The largest town between Buffalo and Canandaigua, ten stage-coaches passed through it daily, besides many emigrant wagons going west and south. Many of the houses along the road were regularly licensed taverns, while others kept travelers over night, or furnished them with meals, which were sometimes scanty, as the following anecdote told by Mr. Sampson in an account of old timer in Le Roy, published in a local paper, will show.

"A weary and hungry traveler on a jaded horse, rode up to the door of one [tavern] not a hundred miles hence, and asked for entertainment for the night. The landlady from within having assented, the following colloquy ensued:
"Traveler: 'Can you furnish provender for my horse?'
"Landlady: 'No, we have none.'
"Traveler: 'Can you furnish me with supper?'
"Landlady: 'We have no bread. My husband started for the mill this morning and will return to-morrow.'
"Traveler: 'Can you furnish me with a glass of whiskey?'
" Landlady: 'We have none. My husband took his gallon bottle, and will bring some when he returns.'
"Traveler: 'Madam, can yu tell me what you do keep for the entertainment of travelers?'
"Landlady: 'We keep a tavern, sir.'"

At Fort Hill, east of the town, a tavern stood at the top of the hill, as the grandson of its proprietor, the former now a man of eighty or thereabouts, recalls. A three-story brick building in Pavilion was a stage-coach hotel; and one of stone Caledonia, now the Post Office and Masonic Temple, was another. Almost every four corners then had its stage-coach inns, many of which are still standing as private residences.

Continuing eastward, a few years before the first tavern was opened in Le Roy, two Englishmen, Moffett and Kane, the "desperate characters" mentioned, had established one at Big Springs (Caledonia). Suspected of robbery and murder, they were driven away by Avon settlers, and were succeeded by Peterson and Fuller.

In Avon, Gilbert Berry built a log house in 1789, traded with the Indians, finally opening a ferry, entertaining in his cabin such travelers as passed along the old trail.

Hartford had Hosmer's; Bloomfield, Hall's Tavern, both mentioned by early travelers. For some years, the road west from Albany ended at Canandaigua, "a beautiful village," with Blossom's Tavern.

Geneva had Powell's; and at Cayuga was a tavern kept by Harris, who "boasted that he could keep beef fresh in summer for four or five days by hanging it as high as possible, after wrapping it in flannel." Halfway between Cayuga Bridge and Auburn was Colonel Godwin's place, and Auburn had an inn at least as early as 1819, while Bodine's was near by; at Skaneateles was Andrew's Tavern, and Tyler's at "Onondaga Hollow": Streethar kept a tavern at Sullivan, and Laird at Westmoreland, where "with six or seven charming daughters, sometimes called Mother Cary's chickens." They were very handsome and accomplished, and "helped to make the house attractive."

Syracuse in 1811 had but one house of any kind, Cossett's Tavern, where later stood the Syracuse House. South from here, on another road, at Cortland were two old taverns. On the site of one, the Eagle, was built the Messenger Hotel, now open; on the other, the Cortland House, burned, but replaced by a new one now open under the same name. Dusenberry's Tavern, at which Andre and his escort stopped on their way to West Point, was near.

In Orange County, at Warwick, Baird's Tavern (1760) is now a private residence.

Returning to the old road from Albany, at Manlius Square, beyond Syracuse, was a stage house kept by Manlius more than a hundred years ago; Vernon, at the same time had one kept by Stuart, and at quality Hill was another, kept by Mr. Webb, "most polite of tavern keepers, who might have been a dancing master."

The town of Utica was settled in 1789, and when Bigelow visited it, he met several persons - probably in Trowbridge's Tavern - who, in the course of conversation, declared that Adam could not have been the first man, or else "he lived much longer ago than 5,000 years as the Scriptures declared [?], for it took more than 5,000 years for the Mohawk River to have broken through the rocks."

West of Little Falls was Spraker's Tavern, and in the village itself, Carr's, "a very good house," remarks Bigelow.

Johnstown, named for Sir William, was on the main line of travel, and had many taverns. The first was built before 1772, on the northeast corner of William and Clinton Streets, where a private residence now stands. This was Tice's, owned by the Tory Major, Gilbert Tice, associate of the Johnsons and Butlers, and who went with them to Canada. It was probably in this house that Governor and Lady Tryon stayed when they came to attend the dedication ceremonies of the new Tryon County Court House. Lafayette is also said to have stopped here in 1778, when he came for a friendly conference with representatives of the Six Nations. From Tice's the first shot west of the Hudson River in the Revolution was fired by the Tory sheriff of the county. The house was torn down early in the nineteenth century.

The Black Horse stands at the corner of Montgomery and William Streets, so it was most desirably located. Michael Rawlins, at that time proprietor of Tice's, bought the lot in 1778, and probably built and first conducted the tavern. In 1793, it was bought and became popular as "Jimmie Burke's Place," its house and barn often being filled to overflowing when court was in session, for it was on the main road from Montgomery (then Tryon) county to Johnstown. Probably Sir William Johnson often stopped here, and many a colonial ball was given within its walls. The Johnstown Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the old inn, and now use it as a Chapter House.

A third tavern near the Court House was opened about 1812 by Jacob Yost, who was carried off into Canada by a band of Indians and Tories, during the Revolution. This house was later known as the Sir William Tavern. At that time there were thirteen taverns in Johnstown, all of them prosperous until the Erie Canal was opened.

Another inn on Montgomery Street was kept by Fon Claire, a former captain in Louis Philippe's Martinique regiment. Later he built his Union Hall, on East State Street, and ran this until 1811. His old house became the Potter, and continued under that name until it burned in 1867.

The Yellow Tavern was a famous one, with two ballrooms, but this was not opened until 1849, with an inaugural ball in honor of James Polk. A business block has now replaced it.

When Henry Yanney came with his uncle from New Jersey, he opened another Black Horse, in 1796, one mile south of Johnstown, one of largest, finest inns of this section.

In Amsterdam, the house built by Sir William Johnson for his son-in-law later became Pride's Tavern. This is probably the Revolutionary inn at which Lafayette is said to have stopped, around which Conrad's Hotel was built, preserving a portion of the old house. Beale's was "a good house" in Schenectady, but it will not now be found. On State Street, however, a tablet affixed to a house marks the site of Robert Clench's Inn, where the civil and military authorities entertained Washington in 1782, an another tavern, or perhaps the same one at a later date, was kept by Mr. Givens, whose son went to West Point and became a major. Truax's, four miles Downs', nine, and Humphreys', eleven miles east, were taverns here.

As early as 1792, Benjamin, father of Stephen A. Douglas, built a log house at Ballston, for the accommodation of invalid visitors, near Old Spring. The place, later known as Ballston Spa, soon became popular, even fashionable, and in the early nineteenth century had "two taverns and a number of boarding houses, Bromeling's, Aldrich's, McMasters', etc." It remained fashionable until after the development of steamboat traffic, and later was superseded by Saratoga.

In Albany there were many taverns and hotels. From early Dutch days, there was a settlement here, first known as Fort Orange. In colonial and later times, eight turnpikes passed through. One, the Catskill Turnpike, ran from Otsego Lake to the Susquehanna River, where a boat crossed to Wattle's Ferry on the opposite side. This name has long since been abandoned. An old military road ran from Lake George south to the Hudson River; Albany was, as mentioned, one terminus of the old Boston and Albany turnpike, so there were many travelers passing through the town.

In 1819, Benjamin Silliman, in his travels, describes crossing the Hudson six miles above Albany to Troy, on a ferryboat propelled by two horses, harnessed facing in opposite directions. The horses stood on the flat surface of a large, horizontal, solid-looking wheel, working it like a treadmill. This wheel was attached to two vertical wheels like paddles, which moved the boat. The invention of a man named Langdon, this must have been thought a marvelous successor to the old had-propelled dugouts or rowboat.

In his Stage Coach Traveling 46 Years Ago, Thurlow Weed (1870), tells how passengers in these stages frequently walked, or used rails to help extricate the coach from bad places along the road. Stage drivers of those days, he says, "were as peculiar, quaint and racy as those represented by the senior and junior Weller, in 'Pickwick Papers.'" Passengers also helped to pass the time by telling stories. The turnpike from Albany to Schenectady was opened in 1802, but a local line had then been in operation for nine years.

In 1809 there were two hundred and sixty-five taverns in Albany alone, but an early historian remarks that in 1803 there was only one tavern better than "such as no gentleman of the present day would put his foot in." This was the Tontine Coffee House on State Street, built in 1750 near the first house, which had been built by Mr. Gregory in 1650. One of his family kept the Tontine, which had no bar, liquor being sold only with meals. "All travelers of consequence, all foreigners of distinction," put up at the Tontine. John Lambert, an English traveler in 1807, writes of it: " We had excellent accommodation at Gregory's, which is equal to many of our hotels in London. At the better sort of American taverns or hotels, very excellent dinners are provided, between two and three o'clock. They breakfast at 8 o'clock upon rump steak, fish, eggs, and a variety of cakes, with tea or coffee. The last meal is at 7 in the evening, and consists of as substantial fare as the breakfast, with the addition of cold fowl, ham, etc." He gives the rates as from $1.50 to $2 a day. "Brandy, Hollands and spirits" were free, other liquors extra. He declares that "Americans live in a much more luxurious manner than we do, but their meals, I think, are composed of too great a variety, and of too many things to be conducive to health. Formerly, pies, puddings and cider used to grace the breakfast table, but they are now discarded from the gentler houses, and are found only in the small taverns and farm houses in the country."

In 1806, Gregory built and ran the Eagle Tavern, so it is possible that it was at this, not the Tontine, where Lambert stayed. This later house, as shown in an old print, was a square, three-storied house, with a two-storied ell. It was burned in 1848.

The Staats House (1667) formed part of the Lewis Tavern, at which the English traveler, Maude, stayed in 1800. The building was removed when Pearl Street was widened.

Not one of the following hotels existing about a hundred years ago, and mentioned by John J. Hill in his reminiscences covering 1825 to 1855, is standing now, although a few are within the memory of old residents: on State Street, the American House, Bement's, Franklin, Western; on South Market Street - not the present Market Street - the Columbia, National, Fort Orange, Exchange; on North Market the City Hotel, Temperance, and Mansion - the latter formerly an Albany merchant's residence - and the Lafayette House. Nor do the "country taverns on the hill," the 5th Ward, Northern, and Congress Hall, remain. There is apparently not one old tavern surviving in the city of Albany.

An old road known as the Albany and New Scotland was in use at an early day, and along this were many taverns. Some of these were: one of the six houses at Becker's Corners, six miles south of Albany; Elishana Janes' Tavern at South Bethlehem; Hagadorn, the first settler in what is now Hurstville, kept a tavern in his log cabin; at Berne (not given this name until 1825), Henry Engle opened in 1817 his Corporation Inn, which had been Eli Whipple's residence: and three years later, Elnathan Stafford was keeping a tavern at East Berne, or Werner's Mills, and buying his liquors in Philadelphia. At South Berne, in 1822, Alexander McKinley, a wagon-maker, opened a tavern, keeping a trained bear, a moose, and life-sized figures of noted criminals to attract custom.

Clarksville, being midway on this turnpike, was an important stage stop, and here taverns were kept by Samuel Ingraham, Joseph Bright, Harmanus Bogardus, Christian Houck - a kinswoman is landlady of Kinderhook's Grey Swan - David Chesebro and one Jenkins. In 1795 Moses Smith, Nic Lapaugh, Henry Pierce and Jan Leuvens were tavern-keeping in Chesterville or near by, and so was William Beardsley, who, when elected sheriff, removed to Albany.

Part of Richard Kloet's Tavern at Watervliet stood for a number of years after it had been made into a private residence. In this tavern one day an Indian became angry, and hurled his tomahawk at Kloet. Fortunately it missed him, but embedded itself in a rafter, where the mark was for years pointed out. General Morgan's soldiers camped near this tavern.

No old inns, according to local histories and old residents, remain in Kingston, which was burned by the British in 1777. Only one house is said to have stood, built in 1676 by one of the early Dutch settlers, and used as the Senate House when Kingston was New York's capital. It is now a kind of museum, a long, low, stone building, in the heart of the city.

Twelve mile away, at the little village of Stoneridge, off the railroad, is an old inn, although one would never guess its earlier usage in passing it, for it has been converted into a charming summer home. The original very thick walls stand, although painted, and with porches added. At the rear of the small front entry from which the stairs mount, is a small room; to the right, a large one, with great rafters supporting the ceiling, a large fireplace, and a number of quaint wall-cupboards. This was probably the tap-room. From it a half flight of stairs leads up to a spacious old parlor, where dances were held, and from a narrow hall beside these stairs, others descend to the old basement kitchen, now the modern dining-room of the residence. Here is an enormous fireplace; again the thickness of the walls is proof of their age. Before the present owners bought it, the house was for several years a tea-room. The owner keeps for her house the old inn name: Sally Tock's. Here Washington's staff stayed while he was entertained at the private residence opposite, a large stone house still standing.

Between Stoneridge and Old Hurley, at the crossroads, is an old stone house which looks as though it, too, had been an inn, but it was not possible to learn if this were true.

New Paltz, twenty miles from Newburgh, is an old settlement, but the only inn building surviving there is now known as the Hasbrouck Memorial House.

Newburgh, too, was largely destroyed by the British. On the north side of Broad Street, Martin Weigand kept a log house tavern, which General Wayne made his headquarters. General John E. Wool was born in the house. Joseph Albertson kept a tavern at Liberty and Broad Streets, and another, which was Lafayette's headquarters, stood on the corner of Water and Third Streets. In 1767, the village was petitioning for more taverns, although there were then less than thirty houses in the settlement.

The chief means of crossing the Hudson in this vicinity at that time was by ferry to Verplanck's Point, then called King's Ferry, opposite historic Stony Point.

West Point has an almost century-old inn, built in 1829, but it is to be torn down within a year, and a new one will stand on Storm King Highway.

Coming south from Albany, along the east bank of the Hudson, the old road did not closely follow the river. All along were taverns, many more than on the west bank. Of several at Schodack and near by, one at Schodack Centre is still standing. The old Post Road here joined the Boston and Albany turnpike. In New York State, few old taverns seem to have borne other names than those of their proprietors.

The attractive town of Kinderhook, with its broad, shady streets, was an old tavern center, and several of the buildings survive. The present Kinderhook Hotel is not old, but it replaced one burned in 1880. In The Grey Swan, opposite, a square and very old building forms part of the rear of the present hotel. Two years ago, while making repairs, a local builder discovered what he believes proves that this old part was Kinderhook's first Reformed Church, which makes it very old indeed. An old resident says that it next became a school-house, and later it was Major Hoes' Inn. Part of a very old cornice, with the dentil pattern, which was seldom used on early dwelling cornices but was used on churches, remains, but only one section, the rest crumbled to pieces and was remove. A succession of landlords kept this house and added to it. The predecessor of the present one had the hotel for almost fifty years.

Farther down the street, so altered into a two-family house that one would never suspect it, is an old stage-coach inn, and almost opposite it a frame house called Martin Van Buren's birthplace. It is not, however, for it was built only about seventy years ago, but the story and a half stone house in which Van Buren was born, and which his father kept as a tavern, did stand on this site, and possibly the stone foundation is old. The Van Buren Inn is mentioned as early as 1759.

On the highroad to Hudson is a two-story house, built of bricks imported from Holland in 1770, as a date close under the eaves, almost undecipherable now, states. This was first the residence of Dr. Quilhot, then a tavern, and was given the name of the Benedict Arnold Inn after that general was brought there wounded. It is much modernized, its old fireplaces have been removed, but the old rafters in hall and living-room may still be seen, as may the marks where a piece of an inner door-jamb was cut away to allow Arnold's stretcher to pass, and then later replaced. The house has been a dwelling again for many years.

Kinderhook had a Mansion House which old residents can not now locate. In 1798, Elijah Hudson attracted attention to his inn here by advertising that he would provide lodging and clean sheets for one shilling, in answer to the advertisement of a Tarrytown inn that "lodging and clean sheets, 3 sh; dirty sheets, 1 sh." might there be had.

A few miles north of Kinderhook, Quackenbos kept a tavern at about this same time, and Claverack - the old Claberack - once the county seat, had an inn, a two-story stone building which is now a private residence.

Hudson was off the old post Road, but it had several taverns. The earliest, the King of Prussia, was built by Colonel John McKinstry; another was the Hudson; and a third, Kellogg's, stood on the site of the worth House, built in 1837. At this inn, as many as two hundred stage-coach passengers often stopped for meals in a single day.

The old Post Road passed through Blue Stores, as the village is still known, having taken its name from the old tavern, so called because its front was painted blue. The road runs through Clermont as its main street, and on to the old settlement of Red Hook, where once were several taverns. One survives, the Red Hook Hotel, kept until his death a couple of years ago, at the age of ninety-eight, by Mr. Ellsworth, one of the 'Forty-niners. His descendants still keep the house open.

On the left-hand side of the road up from the Rhinecliff ferry to Rhinebeck, there stands at the entrance to the Kip estate an old stone house, formerly the Kip Tavern, now a dwelling. The old highroad probably passed directly in front of it, and it is but a stone's throw from the present road. A gate-post close by bears two dates: 1686-1898, and the tavern was built either at the earlier date or perhaps later, in 1709. Outwardly, save to have kept it in excellent repair, the house seems little changed.

On the ship coming to the new country with Peter Stuyvesant came a German, William Beckman, from the Rhine Valley. His son received a grant of land here from Queen Anne, in 1703, and he named his property Rhinebeck. Where the present Beekman Arms stands, on the Post Road, was built a tavern by William Arent Traphagen, in 1700, on this, the first piece of land sold from the original Beekman or Beekman grant. (There is some confusion of dates here, for Queen Anne did not ascend the English throne until 1703.) If the inn really was built in 1700, it is the second oldest in the United States open continuously as such, even as, had any of the early buildings of the Canoe Place Inn at Hampton Bays, Long Island, survived, it, instead of the Elm Tree Inn in Farmington, would be the oldest tavern building, although the tavern in Connecticut would still be the oldest existing house used as such.

The old portion of the present Beekman Arms consists of the present living-room or entrance hall, into which the old hallway has been thrown, the large room on the left, and part of the present kitchen. All three rooms had old fireplaces. The one in the kitchen has been removed, but in a basement room beneath is an old oven which the present proprietor is somewhat at a loss to account for, since the room is only five feet high, and one can hardly imagine cooking being done where the cook could not stand erect. If the floor was raised, or the ceiling lowered, it must have been done many years ago. The right wing was added about a hundred years ago, the other by the present proprietor when he took the house twelve years ago. It was then in a deplorable state, having been used as a common saloon, but he has restored and added to it so as to preserve the old style, replacing the ugly double piazzas with a pillared portico across the front.

No one who examines the thickness of the original outer wall can doubt the great age of the house. The old rafters still support the ceiling of the entrance hall; upstairs the parlor is low-ceiled, and outside swings a signboard in imitation of the old one. This inn, open for six months of the year, is Rhinebeck's only ancient hostelry still in the business

On East Market Street, four houses beyond the Roman Catholic Church, is a long, low building, now occupied by three or four families. Painted yellow, with a porch supported by columns, it does not at first glance look old, but in 1804 it was an inn, known as Tammany Hall, and here Aaron Burr made his headquarters when running for governor against General Morgan Lewis. The latter made his headquarters in Potter's Tavern, as the Beekman Arms was then called. Later, Tammany Hall was known as the Bowery. DeChastellux further mentions the Thomas Inn.

Staatsburg, another old town, doubtless had taverns, and just beyond the center of the town is a stone house, with an added floor perhaps, which resembles the old tavern buildings, but no definite information as to its history could be learned.

Long before 1753, there were in Poughkeepsie a court house, a church, "a tavern or two, and beginnings of a village" on the hill. The Colonial Assembly authorized the laying out of a post road, but for a long time, travel through here was chiefly on horseback.

An inn stood on the corner of what are now Market and Main Streets, and in 1790 its landlord is mentioned as William Rider. In 1803, it was known as Baldwin's, then as Cunningham's, later as Myer's, when a breakfast was given here to Lafayette. In 1829, it was rebuilt and called the Poughkeepsie Hotel, and now stands as the Pomfret House, but its days are numbered, for the city recently purchased the property, and will raze the building to extend Market Street.

Stephen Hendricksen's Tavern was replaced by the Forbus Hotel, in front of which Lafayette was welcomed on his visit. Its site is now occupied by the modern Nelson Hotel.

The Farmers' Hotel stood in 1806 on Cannon Street, but was long ago torn down; Voice Hinckley was another early tavern-keeper "between Cannon Street and the Church."

At Fishkill, Madame Egremont's Tavern was pronounced tolerable by the Marquis de Chastellux, on his early travels from Litchfield, Connecticut, into New York State. He also mentions Colonel Griffin's, five miles east of Fishkill, and at Dover, a drovers' inn, where he stopped for the night, and found two hundred and fifty head of cattle around the place, "the least troublesome of the company." However, learning that all the beds were taken, and preparing to sleep on the floor, some of the drovers engaged him in conversation, and learning that he was a Frenchman and an officer, protested that they could not allow him to do such a thing. He in turn assured them that, as a soldier, he was accustomed to hardships, but they persisted, and he was then given a room with beds for himself and his aides.

In 1730, John Rogers built a large house, two miles north of the site of Continental Village, where he kept a well patronized tavern, for at that time there was only an Indian trail beyond, through the Highlands to the Westchester line, and few travelers cared to pass over that trail at night.

Epenetus Croby was an early tavern-keeper in Patterson, on the road running south to Cowl's Corners, and Haviland and David also had taverns, the latter near the field where the General Trainings were held.

Samuel Washburn's Tavern at Carmel was the only one for a long distance; later, John McLean opened one on the road to Lake Mahopac; and Conklins is mentioned as being three miles from Carmel, on the road to Patterson. Dr. Robert Weeks built a hotel in Carmel early in the nineteenth century, but about 1850 this was razed and a residence built on the site. At Coldspring Landing was Abel Peake's, and at Milltown, Joseph White's.

Peekskill derived its name from Jan Peck's or Peek's, Kill, or stream. This worthy had a tavern in New York City, but his license was revoked because so many of his customers got drunk, and also because Jan "tapped during church hours." Latter, the license was restored, but he finally retired to the land he owned in Peekskill, and it is not stated whether or not he kept a tavern there.

Tarrytown taverns are given by Irving as the origin of the town's name, for the Dutch tarried in them so long. Elmsford had an early tavern run by Captain Storms. The British partly burned his house during the Revolution, but he promptly rebuilt it. Later, the Ledger House stood on its site. Not far away to the north, at Four Corners, was the Hotel Flanagan. When its landlord joined the Revolutionary Army, his wife ran the hotel, and to her is ascribed the invention of the cocktail. But this honor is also claimed for others.

On Getty Square, Yonkers, the Getty House, although entirely remodeled, still is outwardly much as it was on hundred or more years ago, save that stores now stand beside it, and the park and pump which originally were in front have long since gone.

Diagonally across the Square still stands a hotel, Square in shape, in name and in location. It, too, is and old one.

An early popular Yonkers house, the Arlington Inn, was burned down in 1916, and the Masonic Temple now stands on its site. Another old hotel, the Park Hill Inn, was also burned, and an apartment hotel replaces it.

The Abbey Inn, although but recently opened as a hotel, stands on an old estate covering many acres. After the death of its owner, Mr. Lilienthal, the house was used as a residence for those studying for the priesthood, but it has now been converted into a picturesque inn, resembling a mediaeval stone castle.

This concludes the list of New York State taverns which the writer has been able to locate, but doubtless many more existed, some of which may be still standing.


Neither the site coordinators nor the preparer can make claims as to the accuracy of what was reported to Ms. Lathrop by local residents some 85+ years ago, know whether any building or establishment she mentions is still standing or in operation, or have any further knowledge about old inns. We thank you in advance for not emailing us but seeking out and directing ALL inqueries to the appropriate village and county historians.

Printed resources relevant to New York State mentioned in the bibliography, using Ms. Lathop's order of appearance and citation format, are:

Fraunces Tavern - Henry Russell Drowne. New York, 1919.
History of Albany and Schenectady Counties, New York - Howell Zenny. W. Munsell & Co., New York, 1886
History of the City of New York - Van Rensselaer. The Macmillan Co., New York, 1909.
History of Hudson, New York - Anna R. Bradbury. Record Printing & Publishing Co., Hudson, N.Y., 1908.
History of Poughkeepsie, New York - Edmund Platt. Platt & Platt, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., 1899.
History of Putnam County, New York - Pelleatreau.
History of Schenectady County, New York - Howell Zenny.
History of Westchester County, New York - Robert A. Bolton, New York, 1848.
Pioneer Roads and Experiences of Travelers - A.B. Hulbert. A.H. Clark Co., Cleveland, 1904.
Random Recollections of Albany - Gorham A. Worth. J. Medole & Son, New York, 1884.
Reminiscences of Albany - John J. Hill. J. Medole & Son, New York, 1884.
Scharf's History of Westchester County, New York. L.E. Preston & Co., Philadelphia, 1886.
Stage Coach and Tavern Days - Alice Morse Earle. The Macmillan Co., New York, 1900.
Travels Through the United States in 1807-8 - Edward Augustus Kimball.
Washington Heights, Manhattan, Its Eventful Past - Reginald Pelham Bolton. Dyckman Institute, New York, 1904.

To track down better citations for these references please consult your local librarian, or use a search engine.


Frontier House, Lewiston, N.Y.

Frontier House, Lewiston, N.Y.


Beekman Arms, Rhinebeck, N.Y.

Beekman Arms, Rhinebeck, N.Y.



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