Local Taverns and Inns and Stage Coaches

From The Making of Danielson, An Outline History of the Borough of Danielson, Connecticut

by H. V. Arnold, 1905

Before the Norwich and Worcester railroad was built a daily stage ran between those places and a point on the road for changing horses was at Barzilla Fisher's tavern just above Elmville. Early in the century the southward going stages halted at Plainfield for the night. On Christian Hill [Franklin Street area] near the southeast angle of the two old stage-roads, stands the old "Kies Tavern," a relic of the stage-coaching days; and the old "Hutchins' Stand" which was located about opposite the south end of Water Street, tells the same story in respect to the old Providence stage-road. Stage-coach driving developed many peculiar characters, and from the nature of their profession they became widely known to the traveling classes and were long remembered.

In the later stage coach days the stage line between Hartford and Providence was owned by John W. Richards and Geo. Phillips. Some of the drivers were Samuel Burnham, Jacob Pidge, Justin Watson, John Aspinwall and George Kies.

People who were well-to-do generally traveled in their own private conveyances, and single persons as often journeyed on horseback. When railroad construction began connecting together the larger places and intermediate villages, the stage-coaches were withdrawn to be worn out in less favored parts of the country.

The old Kies Tavern was built by Harris about 1834 or '35, and was christened the "Benjamin Franklin Tavern," though more often spoken of as the Franklin House in the old days, whence Franklin Street was so named. The old building never changed much beyond the addition of a piazza.

The old Hutchins Tavern was built by Silas Hutchins, and there is reason to believe that it was erected in 1833. Lastly, a store and residence occupied the premises of the modern St. James Catholic Church that were of earlier origin than the old village tavern.

The Providence stage used to turn into the Broad Street road at the Kies Tavern and thence drive down Academy and Main streets to the hotel. The stage barn was Moredock's place, but after that was burned in 1856, it is my impression that the teams were kept at the Attawaugan Hotel stables. Hiram Moredock never drove the stage himself, unless, it might be, occasionally, to help out a driver who was sick or otherwise disabled, for he was a teamster.--In the forties, Warren Chamberlain drove the Willimantic stage line. His stage barn was the one that stood on the site of Waldo Brothers store. He had a large family and resided where D. P. Burlingham does now.

A seemingly ever-present character through one half of the preceding decade [1830s] and nearly all through that of the forties, was to be found in the person of Geo. W. Spaulding, an eccentric schoolmaster of those years. He appears to have come from Brooklyn and to have taught school at all of the schoolhouses then located in the village. At the Westfield school he is alleged to have kept a rusty augur on a shelf with which to bore ideas into the heads of dull pupils; also bottles and vials queerly labeled.