Mansfield PA and Richmond Township in Tioga County PA
Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Historic Businesses of the Tri-Counties
The Little Tavern in Mansfield
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Mansfield's Little Tavern was on the west side of North Main Street about in the north east corner of the present plaza parking lot, up next to Prospect Cemetery

The Little Tavern
Township: Richmond Township - Mansfield Borough
Article by Chester P. Bailey
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The Little Tavern

Written by Chester P. Bailey

The home which became known as the "Little Tavern" was more than just a tourist home in the days before "Bed and Breakfast". It was noted for its fine food and special accommodations for parties, weddings and afternoon teas.

The home was built by Andrew Sherwood who was educated at the Mansfield Normal School and Chicago University as a geologist. He assisted in the survey of New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania including Tioga County. He was born in Mansfield July 16, 1848. He married Miss Jennie L. Knapp of Lawrenceville on April 16, 1872.

Records in the possession of the late George Barden indicated that the house was built by Stephen Barden, grandfather of George in the late 1860’s. Stephen Barden also built the house on the N. E. corner of Elmira and Main Streets with lumber from his farm 1 ¼ miles west of the boro in 1875. Lumber was planed and finished at the Doane Sash and Blind factory on Railroad Street.

Mr. Sherwood called his home "The Kot) ‘Kontent". He was also a partner in the New Era Manufacturing Company a flouring mill that was built in 1882. The company also included a wood working factory, which was located south of his home and on the bank of Corey Creek. Both the home and mill were removed for the North Main Street shopping plaza in 1970.

The Sherwoods had one son and four daughters.

The home became known as the Little Tavern when Ms. Dora Welmet purchased it and opened it as a tourist home. She served meals in the early 1920’s. Several High School girls worked for Ms. Welmet. Phyllis Owen Swinsick recalled working there while in high school, 1924-25-26. She said the days seemed long, they wore organdy aprons in different colors for different days and a dollar tip was an event. Drinks were served but the customer had to bring their own bottle.

In 1926 the French family became involved. Ms. Welmet hired Mrs. Idessa French as cook. The French girls Mary, Harriette and Edith all worked as waitresses. Ms. Welmet died in 1928 and the French family continued to operate the Tavern while the estate was being settled. Harriette French Camanga recalls living at the Tavern while their own home was being remodeled (on Elmira Street). During that period other girls working there were the Precit girls, Sadie, Stella and Cora, making six waitresses.

  1. Wood of the T. W. Judge Company had morning coffee, picked up the daily order and often made special trips when they ran out of steaks. Ben Jones supplied the chicken.
Mrs. Anna Nares, with her daughter Mary had been catering parties from her home in Mansfield. She opened the Corey Creek Tea Room at the Corey Creek Golf Club. This proved to be so successful that she was encouraged to purchase the Little Tavern in 1930.

Under her guidance the Little Tavern became the Northern Tier’s most popular eating place. This quotation from the local newspaper clipping said, "The Little Tavern" where thousands have been fed with bountiful quantities of the best foods cooked to a Kings Taste for all castes and celebrities."

All cooking was done on a wood kitchen stove and an oil stove as back up.

The waitresses helped serve breakfast before going to school. There were no dishwashers or other labor saving devices. All washing was done in the basement by hand. All linens, bed, table and bath were done in a big old tub washer. Sheets and tablecloths were ironed on a mangle, as were napkins.

1936 Ad from yearbook of Mansfield StateTeacher's College

The Tavern was AAA rated and kept over night guests mostly from June to September. Regular meals and banquets were served. They had room to sleep 10 to 12 people and could serve 40 people, using a screened back porch for dining. There were two apartments in the garage for chauffeurs and nannies of the well to do people of the 20’s.

The dinners were $1.00 each with fruit cup, hot soup & crackers, relish, salad, hot homemade biscuits, coffee, desert, T-bone steaks or chicken. Tips averaged about 25 cents per table.

Mrs. Nares was known by all of Mansfield as Mother Nares and Aunt Anna, having been a foster mother to several girls who stayed at the Tavern while attending the Normal School.

Mrs. Nares died in 1934. Her daughter, Mrs. Wilmont Keeney and family continued for a time before the Plaza was built.

Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 08 FEB 2005
By Joyce M. Tice
Email: Joyce M. Tice

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