This is a series of videos, posted frequently, showing your personal tour of the tavern during its renovation. During this tour, you will see many of the interesting architectural features of the building from its 1738 origins to the 1820’s and 1860’s renovations! Come back frequently to see the next tour segment.
In September 2020, a group of enthusiasts from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania approached us to search for the Privy on the property. Privies were the outhouses used before indoor plumbing. These history diggers have a documentary series on PBS channel 39, and they will feature the tavern in their next season.
While searching with metal detectors for several weeks, they discovered interesting historical items on the property. Among the more fascinating are a revolutionary soldier’s button, a musket ball, a pewter spoon handle, a Revolutionary-era tent grommet, 2 Civil War buttons, a large penny dated to 1800, an Indian head penny (1859), and several 1890s pennies.
One of the most surprising discoveries was a British soldier’s button. We speculate this button was likely from a prisoner! Perhaps he was a well-fed, button-popping Brit!
These findings confirm that the tavern was used as a recruiting and training center during the Revolution (1770s+). But they also confirm that the tavern continued to be used through the Civil War era (1860s).
In December 2019, we started working on repairing the Tavern’s windows. We started with the old sashes and weights. The sashes were disassembled, re-glued/re-assembled, sanded, primed and re-glazed. About 200 panes of glass were purchased. Where possible, we used old, bubble glass. All of the old weights were reused. The old screen frames with metal trim are intact. The original window latches are intact.
After the inside windows were installed, a storm window was designed, built and installed. Custom frames were made in redwood, 3/4″ thick insulated glass was installed and aluminum cladding was powder coated and used on the outer surface to hold the insulated glass firmly in place. These storm windows are commercial grade, will protect the old inner sashes and should last ‘forever’.
The Bonnell Tavern has been under-utilized for many years. Windows have been broken and boarded up with plywood since the 1960’s. The roof has been repaired and patched for 60 years to keep water out of the structure. Rainwater is the most damaging natural element. The following pictures show the condition of the house before the restoration began in December 2019.