Ye Olde Union Oyster House - Boston, MA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Chasing Blue Sky
N 42° 21.674 W 071° 03.420
19T E 330607 N 4691934
Quick Description: Ye Olde Union Oyster House is the oldest continually operating restaurant and oyster bar in the United States - serving customers since 1826. It is located in downtown Boston, Massachusetts.
Location: Massachusetts, United States
Date Posted: 8/13/2013 7:27:45 AM
Waymark Code: WMHTJR
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iHam
Views: 13

Long Description:
"Ye Olde Union Oyster House, open to diners since 1826, is the oldest restaurant in the United States of America. It is located at 41-43 Union Street, Boston, Massachusetts. The building was listed as a National Historic Landmark on May 27, 2003.

The building itself was built prior to 1714, most likely in 1704. Before it became a restaurant, Hopestill Capen's dress goods business occupied the property. In 1771 printer Isaiah Thomas published his newspaper, The Massachusetts Spy, from the second floor. The restaurant originally opened as the Atwood & Bacon Oyster House on August 3, 1826.

With such a long and illustrious history, the Union Oyster House has had its share of famous people in history as diners, including the Kennedy clan and Daniel Webster. Perhaps most surprising, in 1796 Louis Philippe, king of France from 1830 to 1848, lived in exile on the second floor. He earned his living by teaching French to young women. America's first waitress, Rose Carey, worked there starting in the early 1920s. Her picture is on the wall on the stairway up to the second floor. Labor economist and president of Haverford College John Royston Coleman worked here incognito as a "salad-and-sandwich man" for a time in the 1970s and documented the experience in his book The Blue Collar Journal.

The food is traditional New England fare, including seafoods such as oysters, clams, and lobsters, as well as poultry, baked beans, steak and chops. The toothpick was said to have been popularized in America starting at the Oyster House." (visit link)

History of the Union Oyster House

"The Union Oyster House is the oldest restaurant in Boston and the oldest restaurant in continuous service in the U.S. — the doors have always been open to diners since 1826.

Union Street was laid out in 1636, but there are no municipal records documenting the Oyster House's date of construction. All that is known is that the building has stood on Union Street as a major local landmark for more than 250 years.

In 1742—before it became a seafood house, the building housed importer Hopestill Capen's fancy dress goods business, known colorfully as "At the Sign of the Cornfields." At this time, the Boston waterfront came up to the back door of the dry goods establishment, making it convenient for ships to deliver their cloth and goods from Europe.

The first stirrings of the American Revolution reached the upper floor of the building in 1771, when printer Isaiah Thomas published his newspaper "The Massachusetts Spy," long known as the oldest newspaper in the United States.

In 1775, Capen's silk and dry goods store became headquarters for Ebenezer Hancock, the first paymaster of the Continental Army. There is no reason to doubt that Washington himself was familiar with its surroundings. At the very spot where diners today enjoy their favorite New England specialties, Federal troops received their "war wages" in the official pay-station.

During the revolution the Adams, Hancock, and Quincy wives, as well as their neighbors, often sat in their stalls of the Capen House sewing and mending clothes for the colonists.

In 1796, a future king of France lived on the second floor. Exiled from his country, he earned his living by teaching French to many of Boston's fashionable young ladies. Later Louis Phillippe returned home to serve as King from 1830 to 1848.

1826 marked the end of Capen's Dry Goods Store and the beginning of Atwood and Bacon's establishment.

The new owners installed the fabled semi-circular Oyster Bar — where the greats of Boston paused for refreshment. It was at the Oyster Bar that Daniel Webster, a constant customer, daily drank his tall tumbler of brandy and water with each half-dozen oysters, seldom having less than six plates.

The toothpick was first used in the United States at the Union Oyster House. Enterprising Charles Forster of Maine first imported the picks from South America. To promote his new business he hired Harvard boys to dine at the Union Oyster House and ask for toothpicks.

A college president was salad man here. Jack Coleman, President of Pennsylvania's Haverford College worked in total anonymity for a few months during his sabbatical when he secretly sampled some of America's rigorous jobs and lifestyles.

The Kennedy Clan has patronized the Union Oyster House for years. J.F.K. loved to feast in privacy in the upstairs dining room. His favorite booth "The Kennedy Booth" has since been dedicated in his memory.

Since 1826, the Union Oyster House has known only three owners. Carrying on proud traditions in dining and service since 1970 have been Mr. Joseph A. Milano, Jr., and Ms. Mary Ann Milano Picardi." (visit link)
Website: Not listed

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