Tavern Hall Preservation Society

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The Elisha Reynolds House (1738), home of the Tavern Hall Preservation Society, Kingston, RI.
Elisha R. Reynolds House in 2016.

The Tavern Hall Preservation Society is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation and upkeep of the Elisha Reynolds House (1738) in Kingston, Rhode Island. The society was founded as the Tavern Hall Club in 1911 to foster understanding and cooperation between the people of the Village of Kingston and the nearby Rhode Island State College community.

Organizational history[edit]

The Tavern Hall Preservation Society was founded in 1911 as the Tavern Hall Club by Robert A. Lichtenthaeler and four other professors from Rhode Island State College at the Hagar House on Old North Road in Kingston, Rhode Island to foster understanding and cooperation between the people of the Village of Kingston and the community of students, faculty, administrators and staff at the college. The name of the club was derived from the fact that from 1911 to 1919 the club met at the no longer extant Joseph Reynolds' Tavern[nb 1] in the west end of the Caleb Wescott House 41°28′49″N 71°31′27″W / 41.480302°N 71.5241705°W / 41.480302; -71.5241705 in Kingston.[2] The club was first registered as a corporation with the Secretary of State of Rhode Island on 23 March 1914 with its charter president, Robert A. Lichtenthaeler and the charter board of directors Frank H. Bills, Wilbur E. Dove, George E. Merkle, Lawrence S. Crosby, and Roy B. Cooley as signatories.[4]

The Tavern Hall Club has been the institutional sponsor of Boy Scout Troop 1, Kingston, since its founding in 1923. Troop 1 is now one of the oldest continuously operating boy scout troops in America.[5] From its earliest days, the Tavern Hall Club has served the community by providing educational programs and social activities for residents of Kingston.[6]

In 1994, the membership voted unanimously to amend the constitution to admit women as full members, and in 1996, the first woman president of the club, Elizabeth L. Indeglia, was elected.[6]

Beginning in 2004, the Tavern Hall Club was superseded by the Tavern Hall Preservation Society through incorporation as a 501-(c)3 not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation of its meeting house,[7] built in 1738 by Elisha Reynolds (1706-1791). Reynolds served as a colonel in the militia and was a judge of the Court Martial during the French and Indian War,[8][9] and was a signatory on the Charter of Brown University in 1768.[10] The Reynolds House is one of the oldest continuously occupied buildings in the village of Kingston.

The year 2011 was marked by a centennial celebration by the society.[11]

Presidents of the Tavern Hall Club and Tavern Hall Preservation Society[12]
Year President Year President Year President Year President Year President
1911-1914 Robert A. Lichtenthaeler 1915-1916 John Barlow 1917 C.L. Coggins 1918 L.W. Boardman 1919 Samuel C. Damon
1920-1921 Earnest K. Thomas 1922 Walton H. Scott 1923 Joseph W. Ince 1924 A.E. Stene 1925 William Andersen
1926 B.L. Hartwell 1927 John E. Ladd 1928 John B. Smith 1929 Herman Churchill 1930 Herbert C. Wells
1931 Frank H. Bills 1932 Theodore E. Odland 1933 Carroll D. Billmyer 1934 Harry L. Thomas 1935 Lee C. McCauley
1936 D.E. Stearns 1937-1938 V.H. Noll 1939 Edward M.J. Pease 1940 Jesse DeFrance 1941 Thomas Higgins
1942 W. George Parks 1943 T. Stephen Crawford 1944 Basil E. Gilbert 1945 Lorenzo F. Kinney, Jr. 1946 Ralph K. Carlton
1947 J. Rieff K. Stauffer 1948 John G. Albright 1949 John R. Elred 1950 Theodore W. Kerr, Jr. 1951 Harland F. Stuart
1952 Arthur E. Tremaine 1953 Clifford W. Whiteside 1954 Arthur L. Svenson 1955 Frank N. VanBuren 1956 Samuel G. Blount
1957 Alexander M. Cruickshank 1958 Arnold S. Knowles, Jr. 1959 Roy G. Poulsen 1960 James Ainsworth 1961 George T. Marsh
1962 Frank O. Barton 1963 Kenneth H. Mairs 1964 Carlton H. Towle 1965 Robert Paulis 1966 Clifford J. Cosgrove
1967 Earl R. Handy 1968 Gilbert S. Stafford 1969 H. Wesley Hilding 1970 William D. Metz 1971 Bruce C. Dunham
1972 Philip H. Wilson 1973-1975 Edward A. Whalen 1976 Dorman J. Hayes 1977 James V. Aukerman 1978 John D. Avedisian
1979 Kenneth L. Coombs 1980 Clarence M. Tarzwell 1981 Gilbert V. Indeglia 1982 Kevin S. Munroe 1983 E. Arthur Robinson
1984 Peter A. Gionis 1985-1986 R.B. Reaves 1987 Clarence M. Cummins 1988 Clarence M. Tarzwell 1989 Clifford J. Fantel
1990 William D. Metz 1991 Ward Abusamra 1992 Daniel E. Healy 1993 James V. Aukerman 1994 Irving A. Spaulding
1995 Richard W. Traxler 1996-1997 Elizabeth L. Indeglia 1998 Angelo Mendillo 1999-2000 Michael A. Rice 2001 Barbara Viles
2002 Theodore F. Jakubowski 2003-2004 Robert L. Liguori 2004 Eileen Sadasiv 2005 Theodore F. Jakubowski 2006-2011 Robert J. Sirhal
2011- Elizabeth L. Indeglia

Elisha Reynolds House (1738)[edit]

The Elisha Reynolds House (1738) and the Kingston village well at the corner of Kingstown Road and South Road in Kingston, RI. Watercolor by David Davidson ca1910.

The Tavern Hall Club purchased the Elisha Reynolds House 41°28′47″N 71°31′24″W / 41.479796°N 71.523325°W / 41.479796; -71.523325 in 1919 to serve as its meetinghouse, located at 1800 South Road on the corner of Kingstown Road (Route 138).[2] Over the years in addition to being the home of Col. Elisha Reynolds, the house served as the home of Elisha Reynolds Potter (1764–1835), Reynolds's grandson, who served as the Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives and became a U.S. Congressman. It was also one of several homes owned by Potter's son Elisha Reynolds Potter, Jr. (1811–1882) who was a Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, and also a U.S. Congressman like his father.

During the Revolution, the house was used as a meeting place for the 3rd Kings County Regiment of the Rhode Island militia (known as the Kingston Reds), that was formed in May 1779 under the command of Col. Thomas Potter.[13] On 5 March 1781, Col. Potter served as host of General George Washington and his officers in the house on a final stop on their famed journey to confer with General Rochambeau in Newport, Rhode Island where the two commanding generals possibly planned Rochambeau's mobilization and the decisive Siege of Yorktown.[14][15]

In 1785, the ground floor of the house was used as a residence and general store by the name of West India Store operated by storekeeper Thomas R. Wells, whose son Thomas Robinson Wells (1785-1853) married Maria Potter (1791-1831). [nb 2][15] The house later served as the home of South Kingstown's first newspaper The Rhode Island Advocate published by James Brenton in 1832.[18] It was succeeded in 1854 by the South County Journal, which was renamed to become the Narragansett Times in 1864. For a short time from 1838-42, the house was owned by the Kingston Boot and Shoe Company, but the house was reacquired by Justice Potter in payment for outstanding debts on the mortgage. The house was then transferred to Justice Potter's brother Thomas Mawney Potter in 1843, and it remained in the Potter family until its sale to the Tavern Hall Club on 15 March 1919 by Carroll Potter.[15]

In the summer 1872, the house was rented to Austrian opera star Pauline Lucca and her retinue during her two-year concert tour in the United States and while she was in the beginning of a bitterly contested divorce.[19][20] In 1882, Dr. Thomas Mawney Potter established a boarding house for women in the building, and in 1885, sisters Orpha and Elizabeth Rose established a millinery and women's clothing store famous for its worsted goods in a room on the ground floor. At the same time, the Rose sisters served as librarians for books held at the house that eventually became the nucleus of the book collection of the Kingston Free Library, which was later established in the mid-1890s at the Old King's County Courthouse in Kingston after the Washington County Courthouse was built in 1892.[15] Upon the sale of the Reynolds House to the Tavern Hall Club in 1919, the building was used to house male members of the club. Later on, visitors to Kingston, including students attending Rhode Island State College (now the University of Rhode Island) stayed at the house. Additionally, in the 19th Century and early decades of the 20th Century it was used as a meeting place for the volunteer fire brigade of the village. The parlor and billiard room of the Reynolds House have been used since 1919 as the meeting place for the club and the boy scout troop since 1923, and as a venue for club-sponsored billiards tournaments.[2]

In 1959, the house was designated as part of the Kingston Village Historic District by the Town of South Kingstown, and in 1974, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Kingston Historic District.[6]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Also known at various points in time as the Caleb Wescott Tavern, Taylor's Tavern, or The Locusts. In The Jonny-Cake Papers of Shepherd Tom, Thomas Robinson Hazard (1915) wrote of the conviviality of patrons of Joe Runnel's Tavern (sic).[1][2][3]
  2. ^ Descendants of Thomas Robinson Wells were prominent in the Rhode Island banking industry, including his grandson, Kingston resident and Tavern Hall Club member Herbert Johnson Wells (1850-1933), the third president of the Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company.[16][17]
Citations
  1. ^ p. 27 In: Betty J. Cotter (1999). Images of America: Kingston. Arcadia Publishing Company, Charleston SC ISBN 0-7524-1294-9
  2. ^ a b c d Steadman, Oliver H. (1975). History of the Tavern Hall Club. (Reprint) pp. 5-6 In: Tavern Hall Preservation Society 100th Anniversary. Tavern Hall Preservation Society, Kingston, RI 21pp.
  3. ^ pp. 152-168. In: Hazard, Thomas R. (1915). The Jonny-Cake Papers of Shepherd Tom Together with Remininsces of Narragansett Schools of Former Days. D.B. Updyke-The Merrymount Press, Boston.web version
  4. ^ p 660. In: Acts and Resolves of the General Assembly of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, January Session 1915. Office of the RI Secretary of State; E.L. Freeman, State Printers, Providence.
  5. ^ "Boy Scout Troop 1, Kingston, RI". Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c Chronology of the Tavern Hall Club and the Tavern Hall Preservation Society, pp. 7-19 In: Tavern Hall Preservation Society 100th Anniversary. Tavern Hall Preservation Society, Kingston, RI 21pp.
  7. ^ "RI Preservation and Heritage Commission Grants 2007". Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  8. ^ p. 116 In: Chapin, H.M. (1918). A List of Rhode Island Soldiers and Sailors in the French and Indian War 1755-1762. Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence. web version
  9. ^ "Elisha Reynolds Papers". Rhode Island Historical Society. Retrieved 7 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "Charter of Brown University" (PDF). Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  11. ^ "Tavern Hall group celebrates its 100th anniversary by Arline A. Fleming". South County Independent 23 June 2011. Retrieved 23 Dec 2011. 
  12. ^ p. 20 In: Tavern Hall Preservation Society 100th Anniversary. Tavern Hall Preservation Society, Kingston, RI 21pp.
  13. ^ "Rhode Island Militia Regiments in the Revolution". Rhode Island Historical Society. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  14. ^ "General Rochambeau in Newport". Redwood Library and Athenaeum. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  15. ^ a b c d Chronology of the "Tavern Hall Club House" previously called "The Lucca House" and "The Red House on the Corner". pp. 3-4 In: Tavern Hall Preservation Society 100th Anniversary. Tavern Hall Preservation Society, Kingston, RI 21pp.
  16. ^ pp. 58 & 81. In: Betty J. Cotter (1999). Images of America: Kingston. Arcadia Publishing Company, Charleston SC ISBN 0-7524-1294-9
  17. ^ Palmer, Henry Robinson. (1914). The Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company: Its History, Resources and Relations with Brown University. Rhode Island Hospital Trust Company, Providence. web version
  18. ^ "Town of South Kingstown Historical Driving Tour, #12 Tavern Hall Club". Archived from the original on 9 August 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2009. 
  19. ^ Wells, Herbert G. (1937). History of the Tavern Hall Club House (reprint) pp. 1-2 In: Tavern Hall Preservation Society 100th Anniversary. Tavern Hall Preservation Society, Kingston, RI 21pp.
  20. ^ "Pauline Lucca Divorce" (PDF). New York Times 23 January 1877. 23 January 1877. 

See also[edit]