Rising Star Lodge, A.F. & A.M. - Cobb's Tavern

Cobb's Tavern

Cobb's Tavern

Cobb's Tavern was the home of Rising Star Lodge, A.F. & A.M. for a time in the early 1800s. This historical account of the history of Cobb's Tavern was downloaded from the Library of Congress website and is assumed to be in the public domain. The PDF document was then run through OCR software to extract the text of the account and historical photographs of the tavern were added.

The Tavern at Cobb's Corner

On one of the country's most anclent highways - the old Bay Road in Sharon, Massachusetts - stands Cobb's Tavern, which served in colonial times as a stopping place for travelers en route between Boston and Narragansett Bay.

Cobb's Tavern - now and for many years past a private residence - was the half-way house between Boston and Taunton in the period when the Bay Road was the only shore route from Boston to New York. As such, it boasted a lively trade, for in those days of dusty roads and slow transportation the country tavern was a welcome oasis for the traveler. In fact, Cobb's Tavern with its outbuildings appears to have been one of the largest such establishments ln the east, capable of accommodating a circus troupe of 125 people.

The most interesting showpiece of the old tavern ls the taproom, which is changed little or not at all since the days when Jonathan Cobb presided over the bar. Those who are accustomed to the polished bars and more elaborate decorations of a later era may be surprised at its appearance, for the room is as spare and unadorned as lt possibly could be. The main bar, fifteen feet long, is of soft pine, and so are the counter and the wide-board floor in back of lt. A well-worn money-slot in the counter gives access to a drawer underneath. In front of the bar is a long, low seat, almost a part of the bar itself. This faces a fireplace on the opposite side of the rather narrow room, and lt ls not difficult to picture a row of convivial souls lined up there on a cold winter evening, toasting their shins before a blazing wood fire while periodically reaching back over their shoulders for a fresh mug of ale or a noggin of rum.

Access to the taproom from outside is gained through a pair of doors which swing inward to make an opening wide enough for a pair of stout companions to stroll through, arm-in-arm, without knocking their elbows. The doors themselves are of soft pine, and their construction is of an early type: two wide vertical boards facing the exterior, backed by a series of dovetailed horizontal boards. The heavy strap hinges are wrought iron, and it seems probable that the ore from which they were made came from the bottom of Lake Massapoag nearby. It is known that much of the iron used in these parts was dredged out of Massapoag. For many years hardware was made in a blacksmith shop located on the Cobb's Tavern property, but the shop was demolished some years ago.

Entering through the taproom doors, the main bar is on the right, and on the left is a small wall desk once used in connection with a Post Office which for some years was located here. Overhead, the ceiling is of plaster, between rough oak beams. At the rear of the taproom is a small bar, which, according to present-day descendents of Jonathan Cobb, was used for serving liquor during the late l800's, when the family had adopted a somewhat staid attitude toward the innkeeping business. By then the use of the long bar had been discontinued. It is a fortunate and rather surprising circumstance that during this period the old taproom and its appurtenances were left virtually untouched.

The roof timbers, of oak like the rest of the frame, are widely-spaced; the heavy oak boarding being depended upon for support in between. This construction, though it obviously was arrived at without the benefit of an engineering formula, proved to be quite sound, for the old roof was adequate to support the almost unprecedented snows of the winter of 1947-48, while more modern roofs (including that of an annex on the tavern barn) were collapsing under the weight of several feet of snow and ice!

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Captain Anthony Palermo Jr.

In Memoriam

A Tribute to Rising Star Lodges' Fallen Brother, U.S. Army Captain Anthony Palermo, Jr.