February, 2017

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Ca. 1813-18 Woodbury Tavern

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

One way to create a sustainable society is to not throw things away. In 2005, the Woodbury Tavern was threatened with being destroyed and dumped into a landfill. In what seems in retrospect, “a good idea at the time”, we decided to dismantle the tavern and move it to Breakneck Hill Farm with the idea of putting it back up. With the economy imploding in 2008, the dream became not feasible. Eleven years later, the many tons of building materials have sat long enough. With the help of my brother, Bo, we are selling off the pieces to people who can use them. As expected the beautiful red pine flooring moved very quickly. There are a lot of different building materials involved with an old house. Each has a story that includes very skilled craftsmen whether its hewing the timbers or cutting the intricate joints. We believe the bricks were probably made across the street somewhere around where Woodland meets Rt 9. This was the original brick works even before Southborough was incorporated in 1727. The boards were probably cut at the Newton’s sawmill where the Fayville Dam is now. Many of these boards skillfully planned by local carpenters (or at least their apprentices). The Woodbury Tavern was built by Samuel Woodbury shortly after the construction of the Worcester Turnpike in 1808. This was a time when the economy was shifting from  a subsistence to a market economy. This required ways to transport goods from where they were being produced to markets. The Worcester Turnpike was an early example of privatization. Built privately with a toll charge, the investors apparently went bankrupt when the railroad made it obsolete in 1835. The Tavern Stand as it was know, was an attempt to take advantage of the traffic on the turnpike just like we have in rest areas on the Mass Pike. Besides having a bar, Woodbury probably also rented rooms and horse stalls for customers but  also farmed about 21 acres and produced shoes. Many of the products produced for markets were produced in a very decentralized system with farm families making shoes and hats in their homes.


Deconstruction of the tavern, January 2006

If you have any need for early timbers, boards, doors, fireplace surrounds, bricks or foundation stones please give us a call/text. five o eight three three o-7216