Now that summer is upon us, it is time to start thinking about visiting places outside of New York City While in Southern Maine, I missed a road and the GPS gave me directions to get back on track., Following the new route, I came across an old Tavern that certainly I would have missed had I stayed on course. (Just shows that unexpected things can happen by chance.)
Located in Kennebunk, Barnard’s Tavern is one of the town’s oldest houses with a diverse and rich history of its own. The picturesque Maine town is home to several other historic buildings including the 1799 Kennebunk Inn and many shipbuilders’ homes. Along with its several beautiful beaches, it has acres and acres of Blueberry Barrens, and is near the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge.
The main building was built prior to the American Revolution with the connecting ell and barn dating to somewhere around 1830 – 1840. The tavern was named after its original owner, Joseph Barnard, who operated a hostelry until his death in 1817. Barnard drove the first mail and passenger coach from Portsmouth to Portland in 1787 and went on to become Kennebunk’s second postmaster.
His wife continued to run the tavern until it was sold in 1823 to Timothy Frost who ran the tavern until 1853. The next family to occupy the property was the Curtis’s who managed a farm during the Civil War. It later became a rooming house and in the 20th century, an orphanage for 14 – 20 children. The historic Tavern has seen quite its share of distinguished guests; Marquis de Lafayette in 1825 and William Jennings Bryant.
As the house was restored over the years, several architectural fragments and accessories came from other buildings in the area. The clock tower, designed by Kennebunk architect William Barry, was originally part of the Wells Town Hall and is now all that remains of the building.
The red raised panel door came from Hammond Farm in North Berwick and the windmill, another relic of North Berwick, came from Perkins Farm and dates to 1902.
I am not sure it is for sale but as it stands now, the building features 5,062± SF of space ready for rehab or possible conversion. It has 5 former bedrooms and 2.5 baths, 8 fireplaces, front to back formal dining room and several other rooms of varying sizes. A walk-up attic makes up the third floor of the building.
I am just glad it is still standing…hopefully it will get a new life.
Just coming into Kennebunk, on route 1, you can’t miss seeing Wallingford Hall and barns. They were built in 1804. It is now a garden center as well as a reception hall. It is quite fancy compared to the Barnard Tavern. However it is historic and the barn and gardens are open to the public for free
Here is a photo of an old barn. These can be spotted along some of the back roads
Lastly, I didn’t mean for this to be a travelogue but the facts are the facts..