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Wayside Inn: Wikis


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The main entrance of the Wayside Inn.

The Wayside Inn is an historic landmark inn located in Sudbury, Massachusetts, in the USA. The inn is still in operation, offering a high-quality restaurant, historically accurate guest rooms, and hosting for small receptions. It is the reputed oldest operating inn in the country.[1] The inn's archive has documents from 1686 onward, including the official inn license granted to the first innkeeper, David Howe, in 1716.[2]

The inn is also known as Longfellow's Wayside Inn, a name given to the inn to capitalize on the popularity of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn, a book of poems published in 1863. Longfellow visited the Wayside Inn in 1862, when it was called the Howe Tavern. In Tales of a Wayside Inn, the poem The Landlord's Tale was the source of the immortal phrase "listen my children and you shall hear, of the midnight ride of Paul Revere."

The inn's grist mill.

Henry Ford built a replica and fully working grist mill and a white non-denominational church, named after his mother, Mary, and mother in law, Martha. Lesser known is Ford's attempt to create a reservoir for the Wayside Inn. Across US Rte. 20 and now secluded in a wooded area behind private homes is a 30 ft. high stone dam. Dubbed by the locals as "Ford's Folly" the structure failed at its task because the feeding brook provided insufficient volume and the ground was too porous to allow for a pond to grow behind the stone structure.

In the grounds of the church stands a one-room schoolhouse that was moved there from its original location in Sterling, Massachusetts, by Henry Ford, who believed the building was the actual schoolhouse mentioned in Sarah Josepha Hale's poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb", though little historical evidence exists to support his belief.

The new innkeeper plans to expand the inn.[3]


Establishment as a Museum

Henry Ford was the last private owner of the Wayside Inn. He purchased it in 1923, from Cora Lemon, and he also purchased 3,000 acres (12 kmĀ²) of land surrounding the Inn, with the aim of developing it into a historically oriented village and museum. Although his original aims were not accomplished at the Wayside, he did establish the non-profit institution that operates the Inn and associated museum, watermill, and archives today. He ultimately fulfilled on his desires to create such a museum at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.[2]



  1. ^ Wayside Inn Historic District, from the National Register of Historic Places. Retrieved October 2006.
  2. ^ a b Wayside Inn History. Retrieved May 2008.
  3. ^ Wayside Inn prepares for big expansion John M. Guilfoil. The Boston Globe. January 2, 2010

External links



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