Kinnicutt Tavern

The Last Tavern Building Still Standing

The sole remaining vestige of Old Barrington Village's tavern-friendly past stands at 509 County Road. This c. 1840 Greek Revival style structure first saw life as the Kinnicutt Tavern, owned and operated by George R. Kinnicutt who followed in the steps of his father.

Around 1840, the structure at 509 County Road became the second public house to be called "Kinnicutt Tavern," and the fourth tavern operated in Old Barrington Village near the meetinghouse, after the Green Bush, Bowen Tavern, and first Kinnicutt Tavern.

Roughly 50 years earlier, in October of 1796, George's father Josiah Kinnicutt purchased the former home of Isaac Ormsbee, located 'about one-fourth of a mile north of the Cong. meeting-house.' At the time of the purchase, Josiah's occupation was recorded as cabinet maker.

A few years earlier (1787), Josiah had married Rebecca Townsend--daughter of the long-serving Congregational Minister, Rev. Solomon Townsend. Solomon Townsend, Jr. (Rebecca's brother and Josiah's brother-in-law) is said to have owned and operated a tavern around that time at Happy Hollow, an area just south of the present-day Barrington Town Hall. Perhaps it was the Townsend family influence that lead Josiah to offer the new family home as the first 'Kinnicutt Tavern?'

After the first post route through Barrington was established in 1810, Josiah Kinnicutt was appointed as postmaster of the town. The post office was then conveniently located in his Kinnicutt Tavern. Josiah could never be accused of laziness. For in addition to his roles as tavern keeper and postmaster, he also operated a stage-coach line between Newport and Providence, provided the town's official hearse service, served on the town's 'Committee to lay out the new burying grounds at Prince's Hill', and served as the town's representative to the Rhode Island General Assembly.

The exact location of the first Kinnicutt Tavern is not known for certain. But it likely stood somewhere on or near the same spot as Benson Bean's Grocery Store--between the second Kinnicutt Tavern later operated by Josiah's son George, and the home of Samuel Allen at 499 County Road. Upon his death in 1837, Josiah's son George took over as stage-coach operator, postmaster, and later--around 1840--as tavern keeper of the second 'Kinnicutt Tavern'.

It is uncertain how long this last tavern survived. It most likely ceased to operate by 1852, after the Temperance Movement succeeded in promoting passage of the so called 'Maine Law,' which 'banned the sale and consumption of spirits' throughout Rhode Island. It would be another 150 years before alcohol was, once again, legally sold in Barrington.

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509 County Road, Barrington, RI 02806