Parker Tavern : 103 Washington Street

  • Parker Tavern : 103 Washington Street
  • Walkable Reading
  • 103 Washington Street : Parker Tavern. This structure was not built by a Parker nor is it a tavern as we know them today, but it has a long and important history. The house dates from the earliest days of Reading, played an important role in the American Revolution, and even today serves to educate generations of school children. The structure has a stone foundation and wood shingles. It is the town's best-preserved example of the early, central-chimney, saltbox form of architecture. It has a simple Federal door surrounded with pilasters formed of recessed panels, capitals delineated by a narrow molding and shallow projection cornice. The windows are twelve over eight about the cornice. Its actual construction date is open to debate. Some historians feel the house was built in 1694 by Abraham Bryant Jr. and his wife Sarah. Other expert feel the style reflects 1724-25 architectural norms. The house passed from the Bryant family to Deacon Nathaniel Stow and then to Colonel Ebenezer Nichols and his son Ebenezer, Jr. in 1738. Col. Nichols served as an officer in 1722-1724 against the French and Indians and in the expedition against the French at Louisberg, Cape Breton, in 1745. He was in service at Cape Point and was wounded in the battle of Lake George. He became a colonel of a regiment under General Abercrombie at Ticonderoga in 1757, and sold his house the same year. Colonel Nichols is credited with drawing the earliest map of the town, was frequently town moderator and a selectman, and represented the town for nine years in the General Court. The "tavern" days came in Revolutionary times. Ephraim Parker opened the house to boarders and travelers. His most noteworthy tenant was Col. Archibald Campbell who had been taken prisoner after a brief skirmish in Boston Harbor and was held there for a time. Located on one of the original highways, delineated by Col. Nichols in 1764, the house was near a crossroads leading to present-day Wakefield and Woburn. In 1923 it was purchased by the Reading Antiquarian Society, which had the house restored by local architects, Adden and Parker. The society now maintains the tavern as a museum interpreting Reading's history. A caretaker is in residence in a modern structure attached to the house. It is visited each year by all third graders. It is also open to the general public several times a year.
  • National Register of Historic Places ID: 75000286
  • 03-2010
  • Reading, Mass. : Walkable Reading



Walkable Reading, “Parker Tavern : 103 Washington Street,” NOBLE Digital Heritage, accessed February 27, 2021,


Please let us know if you have any corrections, additional information or questions about this item.