Built in 1694 by Abraham Bryant, a farmer and blacksmith, the Parker Tavern is the oldest extant building in Reading, Mass.
Bryant’s heirs lived in the house until the 1730s. Ebenezer Nichols — a tanner and civically-involved gent — was its next owner.
After that, Ephraim Parker operated a tavern here from 1770-1785, and remained until his death in 1804.
“He served in the Battle of Lexington and Concord at the start of the American Revolutionary War, and hosted as a prisoner of war Colonel Archibald Campbell, whose regiment had been captured aboard ship in Boston Harbor in 1776,” says the official website. “Campbell remained at the tavern until 1778, when he was exchanged for Ethan Allen.”
Parker was the great-grandson of Thomas Parker, one of the founders of Reading.
The tavern was owned by the Sweetser family for most of the 19th century. It came into the town’s hands in 1916, until the Reading Antiquarian Society bought it in 1923. Since that time, the society has preserved it as a historic house museum.