Jenks’ Tavern and Massasoit Hotel were located on the same site.
When Isaac Jenks moved to Spencer in 1775 and bought a small inn he expanded into a tavern, he never would’ve dreamt that decision would be part of a series of serendipitous events. The impact of which, would be felt far beyond 43 years that Isaac owned Jenks Tavern, (until his passing on September 20th in 1818).
Within a year after he arrived in Spencer, during the winter of 1776, Jenks Tavern’s young guest was a 26 year old named General Henry Knox who had 50 cannons and ox sleds as he made his way to Dorchester Heights and George Washington to force the evacuation of British troops out of Boston on March 17, 1776.
Taverns were the source of great influential conversations and meetings. Spencer was a major stopping place on the Old Boston Post Road’s stage route between Boston and Hartford, and on to New York in 1784. Once in Spencer, passengers changed stages from one coach that would come from Boston and connect with one coming north from Hartford. “Each stagecoach would turn around and return whence it came.”
Travelers often stopped for the night at Jenks Tavern in Spencer, (as mentioned General Knox, pushing his cannons through the streets of the town on his way to Boston from Ticonderoga), and on October 22, 1789 George Washington stayed in Spencer. Perhaps Knox suggested Washington stop and enjoy Jenks Tavern. Spencer still has colonial-era milestone markers showing the route of the old post road.
Shortly afterwards Spencer’s new economy started up. As with most small towns of the time that flourished and evolved into industrial hubs, Spencer’s industry in 1820 became boots.
The Prouty family started manufacturing first, and later opened up their factory in 1855. As one of the largest in the nation at the time, Spencer contributed trade talent for logistical support and human resources as many brave men joined up for battle during the American Civil War. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~macspenc/Civilwar.html
On September 20th 1870 Jenks Tavern burned down. But, any walk through downtown Spencer today will show that this was a great time of new building in Spencer’s downtown following the American Civil War of 1861-1865.
The site where both Knox and Washington stayed, later became the site of the Massasoit Hotel. The hotel was the stage coach hub where passengers would stopover or change coaches going south to Hartford Connecticut or North to Barre Massachusetts and beyond to Vermont.