In its 200+ years, the tavern has been a Greek bakery, a storage house, a grocery store and, most famously, a tavern.
The Warren Tavern is 230 years old. It was one of — if not the — first structures built in Charlestown after the village was burned to the ground, in the wake of the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Taverns were an important part of Colonial life. Colonialists needed meeting places and truly many of the early plans of a new government were probably hatched in taverns like the Warren. Paul Revere called it his favorite, George Washington frequented it and his funeral began at the tavern.
Captain Eliaphelet Newell built the Warren Tavern. He was a member of the Sons of Liberty and legend tells it that he was also a member of the Boston Tea Party. He named the tavern after his friend, General Joseph Warren, a hero who died during the British third assault at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Like other post-Revolutionary Charlestown buildings, the tavern came very close to being demolished. After the elevated train went up in the early 1900s, buildings on Main Street fell into various states of disrepair. Many, including the tavern, were boarded up and left fallow.
Luckily for Charlestown's posterity — and really, the whole of the U.S. — the tavern still stands today, and it is still a tavern.
Here's a timeline for the tavern:
1780 Built by Eliaphelet Newell.
1813 Closed, when Newell died.
1870s Used as a grocery store.
1940s Became a Greek bakery.
1960s Warehoused old iceboxes and refrigerators.
1970 Sold to the BRA; slated for demolition.
1970 Charlestown Development Corporation and Charlestown Preservation Society joined forces to remodel and save the tavern.
1972 Reopened as a tavern.
1976 Prospects for the success of the Warren Tavern rose when Main Street elevated came down.
2011 Tavern still running strong.
- Where is it?
2 Pleasant St, corner of Pleasant and Main
- When was it built?
- Who built it?
- What was it built for and who was the first occupant?
As a meeting place. Some of its first and frequest visitors were Benjamin Frothingham, Paul Revere and George Washington.
- Why was it built?
Taverns were an integral part of Colonial Society. They provided much needed meeting places.
- How was it built?
It is a Federal style three-story wood frame structure.
- What are the future plans for the structure?
To continue as a restaurant. It’s a popular place for locals and tourists.
Information for this article was compiled through research at the Boston Public Library and various web-sites. The primary research source was "Immortal Tavern" by Jim Adams.