The Georgian building was constructed, with the front facing the Mohawk River and the King's Highway, in 1747 by Christian Nellis, Sr. It had two main rooms on the first floor and a sleeping loft on the second floor. The cooking fireplace was in the cellar with two others on the first floor.
In the late 1780's, the roof was raised over the original building, creating a second floor.
Around 1815, the Tavern was expanded to the east with a two-story addition. At the same time, the exterior of the building was "Federalized", the new entryway facing the new Mohawk Turnpike (present NYS Rt 5) was added. At some later date, the South entrance was closed. A second north entrance was added in the "Public Room", as the east room was called.
At about the same time, early American stencils were added to the walls on both floors of the east wing. The designs reflect the patterns and colors used by Moses Eaton and others.
There are three kinds of lath represented in the building: accordion (split), vertical sawn and circular sawn. These details and nail heads help to date construction and repairs.
As you enter the Tavern from the Route 5 side, you will
be using the North Door, rebuilt in 1993. This is patterned
from an earlier entrance
as shown in a late 1800's photo.
In the main entrance hall, you will see the new south door and windows, created in 2003 with a grant from Jim and Suzanne Nellis.
There are two short, wide "Georgian" doorways on either side of the hallway, one with a door. Note the detailed and elegant moldings. The turned balusters on the staircase are also from the Georgian period.
There are two tall, narrow "Federal" doorways. Note the contrast of the simple half-round bead molding with that of the earlier period. (More pics to follow)
This room may have been the site of the general store, but more likely the dining room.
The limestone fireplace, of intermediate depth was probably used to keep cooked food, brought up from the cellar kitchen or a kitchen in an adjoining west building, warm. The west building would have also held the store.
To the left of the fireplace is the 18th century, floor to ceiling, red Getman Family cupboard which has been restored. On the right, the cantback cherry cupboard, c.1780, came from the line of another son of Christian, Sr., Hans Jurg Nellis (1732-1792) of Herkimer, NY.
The "Wattle and Daub" wall construction was not used in the Mohawk Valley much after 1750. Along the north wall you can view the Wattle and Daub construction and the split-board lathe found throughout the 18th Century portions of the Tavern.
The Tavern Room
To the left of the entrance hall is the Tavern Room which is located directly above the original first room of the building (in the cellar). The fireplace here is at half-depth, used to warm the patrons as they met, talked, and enjoyed a drink after a long day's work.
This "Tavern Room" contained 3 sections;
the bar, bar room and a bedroom.
Note the 26-foot clear span framing of the beams.
The East Room
Beyond the Tavern Room, you enter the East Room,
or Public Room, which was added to the Tavern around 1810.
The walls of the 3 original rooms (stove, bedroom, closet) were left bare plaster when constructed.
In the mid-1820's, the walls were stenciled in the "New England" style on bare plaster.
In the early 1850's, the interior partitions were removed, the walls and ceiling were patched,
and the room was papered as one large room.
During recent reconstruction, the wallpaper was removed and the stenciling was uncovered.
An early door on the north side has been removed.
The fireplace is constructed of brick.
We will be adding more photos to this page as they become available.
(This page was updated on February 18, 2011.)
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