Wednesday, March 11, 2009

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July 18, 1878
The Old Arndt Tavern

John P. Arndt came to Wilkes-Barre from Easton in 1897, for the purpose of merchandising and opening a trade to Easton by way of the turnpike - not yet constructed, but generally anticipated as speedily to become an accomplished fact. J. P. Arndt's father, a storekeeper of Easton, was the bottom partner of the enterprise.

Mrs. Arndt was the sister of Isaac Carpenter, a well known citizen of Wilkes-Barre at that period.

The house, as I remember it in 1804, was about twenty feet in front, with a long porch. The only entrance in front was into and through the bar-room.

In 1812, Mr. Arndt built an addition of a hall and two spacious parlors. It was never the "resort of gay parties". It had no dancing hall. Judge Fell's long room was for years the only place in Wilkes-Barre for such amusements. (Jamers A. Gordon) (Wilkes-Barre Times - Newspaper Article)

June 27, 1878
The Old Arndt Tavern

The architecture was simple, but substantial - two stories and an attic, or rather garret- plenty of windows in the sides and ends to welcome the air and sunshine. A wide porch, enclosed with railing, ran along the entire front, and there were easy benches or settees against the walls beneath the windows, where the wayfarer might rest from storm and heat. In fact, the whole appearance of the place betokened comfort and good cheer.

The interior was simple as the exterior. A wide hall ran through the centre. The rooms were large, closets, deep and dark, flanked the big open fire-places, for in those days wood only was used, and plain, strong furniture, principally of walnut and cherry woods, made up all the requirements of living by ht occupants, for the people of that day were simple in their tastes.

This house was known for many years as "Old Arndt Tavern". It stood upon the ground later occupied by the fine residence of E. P. Darling, Esq., about midway between Northampton and South streets, and was for those days a most comfortable and commodious tavern.

Just opposite the front door - across the roadway on the edge of the river green stood the usual tall tavern sign post with its painted signboard swinging in a frame, and surmounted to a martin house modeled after the tavern and to which the busy birds never failed yearly to come.

Farther over, on the edge of the river, and quite over the water, stood Arndt's store house, an unpainted structure looking much like a mill, as at each end in the angle of the roof a stout beam ran out bearing the blocks and tackle for raising and lowering heavy merchandise.

The proprietors of these buildings did a general and commission business, buying from the river craft - the Durham boats and arks, which at certain seasons of the year came down the river from "York state" loaded with grain, flour, salt, cheese, potatoes, spinning wheels, etc. They also owned and ran a distillery, which was located below the tavern.

They kept a hay scale, which was attended by a wonderful man in their employ John Michael Kienzle who was high constable, sexton, bell ringer, the terror of bad boys and evil-doers in general. He was in truth the factotum of the town - a whole police force, chief and specia within himself, once known or seen he could not be forgotten.

Thomas H. Morgan succeeded Arndt and kept the tavern. He was a popular host and a good businessman.

Morgan was followed by Major Orlando Porter.

The fame of the old place waned with the opening of the Phoenix, and it finally became a simple private dwelling, undergoing various changes until it passed to the Darlings. (Wilkes-Barre Times - Newspaper Article)

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