New Boston Historical Society
New Boston, New Hampshire
columbian-hotel

The Tavern
A Hotel on New Boston's Central Square from 1828(?)-1937

The center of New Boston village was once on top of Meetinghouse Hill. It moved down to the "lower village" alongside the river after a road was built from Amherst to South Weare through New Boston in 1827. Prior to 1827, the lower village consisted of only three houses and two mills, including what is now Parker's Mill.

In December of 1828, Dr. John Whipple applied for a liquor license as a taverner at his house on the new road. A hotel was built around this time where the TD Bank now stands, on the west side of the Route 13 bridge. This once was a stopping place for the stagecoach on its way from Boston MA to Newport NH.

The photo above dates from the 1870s. The building may date from 1840 or earlier. Two details from this photo are shown below:

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The tavern was called the Columbian Hotel from 1871-1880 when it was owned by Henry Young, whose name appears on the livery sign in the photos above.

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The Rules of the House included "No Spitting on the stoves" and "No Scuffling or Dancing in the rooms or halls."

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After Henry Young left New Boston for California around 1880, the Columbian Hotel was operated by Eldridge Trow and his wife. Their guests must have had a good view of the Great Fire of 1887 which destroyed most of New Boston village on the other side of the bridge. The Tavern was spared by favorable winds and the width of the narrow Piscataquog River. At this time the hotel was still a two-story building as seen in the 1870s photos.

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William Averill was the Tavern's proprietor from 1903 to 1914, after the 1893 renovation.

The Tavern - a third story is added in 1893

In 1893 the hotel was bought by James B. Whipple and renamed "The Tavern". James was the brother of J.R. Whipple who owned the Valley View Farm in New Boston and several hotels in old Boston. James added a third story to the hotel and rebuilt the attached stable. (We will hear more about this stable later - it's all that remains of the Tavern.) The Tavern could accommodate 50 guests. An article in the 1897 Granite Monthly writes of The Tavern: "It is noted for dainty china, home comforts, and most excellent table, and has as guests, winter and summer, people of prominence in army, navy and other professions, as well as business and social life."

1893 was a good year to buy and renovate a New Boston hotel. In that year the railroad linking New Boston to Manchester was completed. The railroad depot was a short walk from the Tavern, and a tavern carriage was available for hotel guests.

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The Tavern Carriage, now on display in our museum, can be seen in this old photo of the railroad depot.


Inside The Tavern

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The only pictures we have of the Tavern's interior are from a 3x5 inch pamphlet which James B. Whipple printed for his guests.
The black & white photos from the pamphlet have been enlarged for your viewing pleasure.
James owned the Tavern from 1893 until his death in 1899.

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In the office there was a cherry wood check-in counter and a mosaic marble floor.
Note the keys hanging on the wall to the left of the telephone.


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The office wall lamp and a room key are on display in our museum.
The brass tag on a long leather strip is probably a livery tag used to keep track of horses boarded overnight for travelers.


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The Tavern pamphlet mentions steam heat; a radiator may be seen in the corner of the parlor.
There are no photos of guest rooms in the brochure. These may have been plainly furnished.
We are assured that "The toilet and bath rooms are supplied with hot as well as cold water."


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The Dining Room is described as "cozy and home-like". A buck's head is mounted over the fireplace.

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Plates of tasty food on the kitchen work table are ready to be served.
(A few of the tavern plates are in our museum's collection; the tasty food is not.)


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A river side view of the tavern from Whipple's pamphlet.

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An entry from the 1894 volume of the Tavern ledger shows a visitor from Leipzig, Germany.

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In the 1900s guests began arriving at the Tavern in motorcars.
Unfortunately, the new mobility provided by cars also enabled summer boarders to travel beyond New Boston.


A stock market crash in 1929 led to the Great Depression across America.
The New Boston railroad stopped running in 1931.
The last landlord, Paul Hersch, closed the Tavern's doors in 1937.

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The tavern was razed in 1944, except for its livery stable.
The stable built by James Whipple in 1893 was moved closer to the bridge and renovated in 1976 to become a bank. It is now the TD Bank.


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One hundred years ago.

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Today the yellow tavern is gone. Its white livery stable was moved in 1976 to become a bank.
(Click here to see a 5/15/1976 photo of the barn halfway to its new foundation.
Click here to see a historical poster which used to hang in the bank.)


One More Photo of the Tavern Carriage
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Josie Warren and Elsie Warren pose in front of the Tavern Carriage on July 4, 1975.
Elsie was the librarian at the Whipple Free Library for many years.
Josephine was New Boston's oldest citizen, 99 years old when this photo was taken.
She was born the year General Custer met 2,000 Sioux warriors at the Little Bighorn.