Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by Wayne Boardman
Early Kennebec Taverns
"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 down many years ago. Reed's tavern was a later one, and stood on the site of 40 and 42 Bangor street into which it was remodeled a few years ago.” (Source: Sprague's Journal of Maine History, Volumes 9-10, p. 21)