Kent’s Tavern: National Register!

Historic Marker:

“This brick tavern was built by Abdiel Kent between 1833 and 1837. It served as his home, and from 1837 to 1846 was a stagecoach stop on the road from Montpelier to Canada. The Kent family settled in Calais in 1798 and this section of town is known as Kents Corners. One of Abdiel’s six brothers, Ira Kent, lived in the white clapboard house across the street. Together from 1837 until 1860 they operated I&A Kent Store in the two story wooden addition on the tavern. The Kent family owned the property until 1916 and at various times and places in town made and sold shoes and boots, ran a brickyard and sawmill, and farmed. The barn is the only survivor of several outbuildings that stood on this property. Louise Andrews Kent, the best selling author of the “Mrs. Appleyard” series of books, convinced her cousin, A. Atwater Kent, the radio inventor and magnate, to purchase his great uncle’s home and restore it as a museum in 1930.”-

National Park Service:

“…The most prominent building is Kent’s Tavern. Constructed in 1837 by Abdiel Kent, it was originally “A. Kent’s Hotel,” a stop on the Montreal to Boston stage line. Stage horses needed to be changed both before and after the ten mile trip to Montpelier, and after realizing that the Kent family property was the mid-point of that stage route, a young Kent decided to construct a hotel. Kent built a large brick rectangular domestic building, while living in a small frame structure behind it. This wooden section eventually became the tavern’s rear ell, providing space for a kitchen, pantry and buttery. Almost all of the building materials were made or produced within a short distance of the building site, illustrating the independence of small rural communities. Brick came from the family brickyard, wood came from the farm and was sawn in the mill, iron work was done in the family blacksmith shop, granite came from a local quarry, while windows and blinds came from a factory in North Calais. Kent’s hotel opened with a Thanksgiving Day Ball in 1837, held in the large ballroom on the second floor. After 1846, when Kent was married and the railroad was replacing the stage’s business, Kent gave up his hotel business and made the tavern his family home. Kent became involved with other family businesses and operated a general store in the frame ell behind his home.

The saw mill is an industrial site of considerable architectural and archeological interest, representative of the water-powered lumber milling industry in Vermont. The relatively intact mill is typical for northern New England, and one of very few surviving examples. A timber wheel house was located on the north side of the rectangular mill, water to power the wheel was drawn from a nearby pond. The first floor of the mill housed equipment, while the second was the working floor…”-

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