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Preserving local history

Yankee Spirits grants fuel area projects

American Optical historian Dick Whitney won a grant to preserve company artifacts such as this 1920 photo of an AO employee measuring opthalmic lens power of a lensometer at the Southbridge Optical Heritage Museum. opticalheritagemuseum.org. (click for larger version)
June 20, 2010
In 1799, a public house was built along the Worcester and Stafford Turnpike where road-weary travelers could grab a bite to eat or rent a room for the night.

Once the 21-room house was completed, it was purchased by the Rider brothers and thusly, named the Rider Tavern.

The tavern stayed open through the mid-1800s, playing host to countless guests, including Gen. the Marquis de Lafayette — the French aristorcat who served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Layafette stayed at the Rider Tavern in 1824.

Acquired by the Charlton Historical Society in the 1970s, the defunct Rider Tavern was in a serious state of disrepair. In the decades since, there has been an ongoing effort to restore the historic building.

"This has been a 30-plus year endeavor to restore the Rider Tavern," said society President Peter Cooper Sr. "We have three rooms left that need to be plastered and the ceilings are falling down, and the walls."

Thanks to a $2,525 donation, the Charlton Historical Society will now be able to repair the remaining rooms and return the tavern to its former glory.

Charlton's is one of four local organizations to receive grant donations from Yankee Spirits Inc.

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

Stonebridge Press
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