Tavern on Main
1157 Putnam Pike | Chepachet, Rhode Island, 02814 | 401.710.9788
The Tavern on Main was built in the early 1700's. It was originally
a two and a half story colonial dwelling, built on a stone foundation.
The founders started with a huge center fireplace (the upper portions
unfortunately, have been removed over the years) as a building block.
Framed walls and floors extended from the fireplace using hand hewn
native chesnut and oak lumber in a post and beam construction. These
beams and timbers are evident throughout the building as it stands today.
The village of Chepachet was the site of the most controversial political
upheavals in Rhode Island's history. In 1842, Chepachet resident Thomas
Door, a well respected lawyer was a duly elected Rhode Island governor
by the people's party. The incumbent governor, Samuel King refused to
step down. Governor Door called the RI general assembly to convene in
this building on July 4, 1842.
The struggle for power prompted Governor King to order a general call
to arms to quell Dorr's rebellion. King's forces arrived to do battle with
Dorr's troops who were entrenced atop Acote's Hill (Cemetery Hill located
1/4 mile east on Rte. 44 on the left). Dorr, realizing that he was out
numbered and outgunned, withdrew the night before King's troops
arrived. King and all his men fired right into the front door of the building.
Shots were fired through a locked tavern door. Horace Bordeen was
struck in the thigh. Jedediah Sprague (tavernkeeper in 1842) in order
to save his patrons and establishment, was forced to submit to King's
troops and he allowed them lodging. This occupation of troops
continued throughout the summer, much to tavernkeepr Sprague's dismay.
An 1844 volume discloses that these troops consumed 37 gallons of
Brandy, 29 gallons of West India Rum, 34 flasks of liquor, dozens of
bottles of old Madeira and Sherry, 12 dozen bottles of Champagne,
and 2 dozen bottles of cider. In addition, 820 bushels of oats, 17 tons
of hay, 50 bushels of corn, 16 bushels of meal, and a quarter ton
of straw were consumed. 2,400 dinners were served, and 11,500
cigars the soldiers enjoyed. All these items were charged and
Jedediah Sprague never collected a penny for this bill.
The 20th century has witnessed many owner changes at the Tavern on Main.
First, as a drab apartment building, a billiard parlor, a pub, then a restaurant,
upgraded as it passed to each new Tavernkeeper. The Tavern on Main
has once again assumed its position in today's busy, competitive
community, and has contunued to maintain its popularity. The
tradition of hospitality will always continue at the Tavern on Main.