Wolf Tavern – Our Penn Central Station

Penn Central Station in 1962 Our national historic preservation movement was revitalized by a tragedy.      The beautiful and magnificent Victorian-era Penn Central Station had been demolished in 1963.

Often times, it’s only when something is lost forever that you realize how important it was in your life and the train station in New York was to everyone who crossed its span from the rest of the country, a part of the national message.


Everyone in the country was seeking new discoveries and new challenges and new inventions and what everyone was finding was that the defining characteristics of the nation and the history were being left behind, and in many times, lost for ever.

Like a man with no long term memory, everything was about the now and people began to feel a great lack of depth and character in their endeavors.         America, it seemed, needed an historical anchor.

As the great drive for historic preservation fostered at the turn of the century, our history all of a sudden became important and Colonial Williamsburg became a reality.    This was the time when the Plymouth Plantation and the Mayflower were resurrected and people wanted to seek back into our history.

Wolf Tavern 1940's Newburyport was also a dying city which was slowly losing its history and was suffering squarely in the now and when Wolf Tavern was torn down suddenly, the entire city woke up as if in a dream and realized that if something wasn’t done, all our history would also be swept away.

The great motto behind the bar, “Where your Ancestors Tarried” became a rallying cry to save our city.

According to Comity.org,

“Part and parcel of Newburyport’s beginning, the Wolfe Tavern’s demolition still stands as a memorial to the volitions of both the movement and the establishment which took part …in Newburyport’s renaissance and regeneration a generation ago …”

Wolf Tavern V

The tavern – it was a great symbol for visitors to gather around and it was gone.

Newburyport was by that time a rundown place that visitors to the beaches and the wildlife preserve would hurry through as quickly as they could.

The idea that Newburyport could ever become a ‘destination’ was the farthest from the locals’ minds.     Many townies and natives often shared the same opinion opined by dark siders today simply because they could never picture what we see today.

It was Lord Timothy Dexter according to comity.org that predicted and tried to create by his statues a Newburyport that made money by attracting visitors which in turn would be used to improve the infrastructure of the City.

 “In this, he was explaining [that] his statues would entice tourists to Newburyport, and in addition to an increase in the tolls over the Essex Merrimack (Deer Island) Bridge (which would benefit him as its primary investor) — a percentage would be committed to help resurface Newburyport’s streets. He posited that tourism would be a most positive impact on the Waterside’s economy, its shops and markets, rents, and taverns and hostelries.  And the town would be honorably distinguished by this “costom.”     -Comity.org


If we are to continue Lord Timothy Dexter’s dream, (He may have been eccentric but he knew how to make money!) we need to embrace it wholeheartedly and support the important work of the Preservation Trust and the effort for the Local Historic District and the Chamber* and the City* to promote Newburyport.

The more of Newburyport preserved is more cultural treasure that we can bank on!

You can learn more about Wolf Tavern on Comity.org.

-P. Preservationist

* As soon as they get off their duff.”


About P. Preservationist

Dedicated to the Enrichment & Preservation of Newburyport
This entry was posted in Demolitions, Historic Demolitions, History, Preservation, Preservation History, Restoration. Bookmark the permalink.

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