Robbin's Tavern stood on the west side of City square and south-east corner of Harvard street. It was built in 1796, and stood directly in the rear of the site of the Three Cranes Tavern, before alluded to. It was demolished in 1816, and the Charlestown Town Hall erected upon its site, which, in turn, was demolished in 1868 to make room for the City Hall.
Ireland's Tavern was built in 1797, and stood on the north side of Cambridge street, near the Lowell Railroad bridge.
Yoelin's Tavern was built in 1798, and stood on the east side of City square and north-west corner of Chamber street. It was first occupied as a tavern in 1821, and was destroyed by the great fire before alluded to. The first meeting of the proprietors of Warren bridge was held there in 1828.
Copp's Tavern was built in 1799, and stood on the south side of City square, near the corner of Bow street. The building, which had ceased for some years to be occupied as a tavern, was demolished in 1866 to make room for the Waverley House.
"Sic transit gloria mundi." Thus have disappeared from time to time, with but few exceptions, the taverns, inns, and coffee-houses of the Town of Boston, while the bodily forms of those who took their ease in them have long since crumbled into dust. We will now resign to the pen of the local historian of a century hence to describe the mammoth hostelries of the City of Boston, which have arisen since the era of railways, steamships, electric telegraphs, ocean cables, telephones, electric lights, and other modern developments of science and art.
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A correspondent asks in connection with an article in the May number on "Town and City Histories," in which was incidentally mentioned the government of Western towns by trustees, the following question: "Can you tell me where I can find that government treated of; also, that of towns in the Middle and Southern States?" The question is a hard one to answer. Of the town meeting, that peculiarly New England institution, much has been written; but about the local forms of government prevalent in the States between the Hudson and the Pacific Ocean very little has found its way into print. The local historians seem to take it for granted that all these things are understood everywhere, and so shed little light on the question. The pages of this magazine will be open to any one who can give the desired information.
The season of agricultural fairs, "cattle-shows" and the like, is about over. There is scarcely a county in New England, scarcely a State in the Union, but has had a fair of some sort or other. Most of them report better exhibits and larger attendance than ever before. Some few report a falling off in attendance. That all these fairs have done exhibitors much good is doubtful; that they have benefited the thinking portion of their attendants is unquestionable. Unfortunately, the thinking portion of a farming community is lamentably small. Most people go to a "cattle-show" to be amused; a few go to learn. The few that derive benefit from seeing the wonders of the earth collected in pens and on tables are helped just as a teacher gets benefit from a teacher's institute—both get food for thought. At the cattle-show the farmer may learn of new methods and see their results. The trouble is that the ordinary farmer goes to the fair for the same reason that the average citizen buys a ticket to the menagerie—to see the circus. There are more clowns at a cattle-show than the sawdust ever saw. The horses may not be so pretty or gaudy, but they go faster. One man defended himself very frankly at the dinner of a county fair in this State when he said: "The Lord made horses to go, and I like to see them do it." This question of trotting or no trotting at the fair is not a new one; but with age it seems to acquire toughness,—like chickens, for instance.
But passing by the horse question, we come to the question of clowns, which is really a very serious one. It may be irreverent to compare "cattle-show" orators to circus clowns, but really the temptation is irresistible; and then they are the only features of the respective exhibitions that have speaking parts. Joking aside, there are important lessons which the speaking and the speakers at the recent fairs may teach us. We find that the candidate for office has become a great attraction, one which the fair-managers bid high for. They draw well, too.
This calls to mind this year's Salisbury Beach Festival, a time-honored institution which has degenerated into a money-making affair in these later days. This year there was, to be sure, a large crowd present, but yet the attendance was smaller than in any year for a long time. The number of people present was between 3,500 and 5,000. Prominent gentlemen in Essex County were advertised to address the crowd. The newspaper comment on the event is short and to the point: "There was no speaking, as the crowd was more interested in seeing the Lawrence Base Ball Club beat the Newbury porters, by a score of 9 to 7." Again: "The principal attractions were Professors Parker and Martin at the skating rink, and the 4,000-pound ox."
O Tempora! O Mores!