New England, circa 1725
Maple and eastern white pine
H. 5' 1-3/4"
Courtesy of Longfellow's Wayside Inn, Sudbury, MA.
From 1716 to 1861 Longfellow's Wayside Inn operated as Howe's Tavern, a successful "hous [sic] of entertainment" situated along the old Boston Post Road. The first innkeeper, David Howe, and subsequent generations of owners, increasingly added on to the family's original two-room home to create a rambling colonial structure. In 1897 wool merchant Edward Rivers Lemon, capitalizing on the popularity of Henry W. Longfellow's 1863 fictional poem Tales of the Wayside Inn, renamed the place after purchasing the inn from the Howe family. By 1923 the inn was owned by automobile magnate Henry Ford, who, as a precursor to his re-created "early New England village" in Dearborn, Michigan, added a historic red schoolhouse, a gristmill, and a chapel to the outlying acreage.
This high chest was recently gifted to the inn by a Baltimore resident whose grandfather purchased the piece from innkeeper Lemon in 1918, possibly after a visit to the inn. No documentation exists to link the piece to the Howe family, but it probably dates to the first decade of the inn's existence. Most of the six trumpet-and-vase turned legs are original to the piece, as are the brasses.