David Damon Tavern
21 Bow Street
North Reading, MA 01864

The David Damon Tavern was built in 1817 by Ebenezer Damon for his older brother, Captain David Damon, a Revolutionary War veteran. Here at the half way stop of the Salem-Lowell and Boston-Haverhill coach routes, the 21 room and 9 fireplaced tavern also served as the town's first Post Office.
In the early 1900's the town's first telephone switchboard was located here. Until her death in the 1950's, a daughter of a long line of tavern keepers lived here and kept a variety store in one end of the building.

When the Damon Tavern was enlarged in 1828, a handsome second story ballroom was added. About 1835, Rufus Porter (1792-1884) painted scenic murals on the plaster walls of the ballroom. An artist, inventor, and traveling painter, Rufus Porter's murals were found on the walls of many fine old New England homes. The few surviving examples of his work are today regarded as treasures, being part of our young American Republic's rise in the interest in arts and decoration.
In 1961, with aid from the Massachusetts Council of the Arts, the murals were restored by the North Reading Historical and Antiquarian Society. Today these murals, ballroom and upstairs rooms are in need of further restoration and preservation.

Upon his passing in 1944, local resident, William W. Weeks, left a sum of money for the establishment of a library. In 1958 the town used this bequest to purchase the tavern building from the Whitcomb family for use as a library. Thus the historic tavern became the Weeks Memorial Library.
The building was found to be structurally unfit in the 1980's and closed. In 1991, the library returned to its earlier home in Flint Memorial Hall, after extensive renovation to the former Town Hall Building.

Update on the Restoration

Previous Damon Tavern Restoration

Some Views of the Murals in the Ballroom

NR Historical Society Home

VLM 2001, Updated November 2012