Wheelock-Shepherd Tavern

The Wheelock-Shepherd Tavern in Concord, Mass., is extremely significant as an important stagecoach tavern and gathering place of the Federal Period.

It stands on part of the former farm of Elanathan Jones Jr., where a small dwelling stood in 1796. Research indicates that the building was built by Joseph Cordis around that time, but was definitely there by 1801.

The building was rented to Jonathan Wheelock from then until 1821, until his debt became so cumbersome that he left town. Afterward, he and his wife tried running the Munroe Tavern in Lexington (one of our favorite landmarks!), but also without success.

William Shepherd, part owner of the stageline to Keene, N.H. took over the building in 1829. Stage passengers stopped here while the mail was sorted and horses changed. Shepherd called hi establishment Shepherd’s Hotel, and cultivated a “better” class of patrons than the teamsters who frequented the Bigelow
Tavern just to the east (now gone.)

He gave up the tavern in 1839 to take charge of a hotel in Manchester, which he ran successfully for the next forty years .

It ran as “Howe’s Hotel” from 1839-1846, and Col. Joseph Holbrook owned it from 1846-1884. calling in the Coffee House. Emerging railroads dampened the stagecoach business, making hotel and tavern business dwindle as well.

Holbrook moved the “coach house” wing to the west and converted the tavern into a double-house. He lived in part of it, renting the rest out to tenants including G.W. Minns, principal of the high school during the 1870’s.

After changing hands several more times, it was converted into a single family home in 1917. In 1959, Concord Academy acquired the property. It was rented out to Nashoba Country Day School in 1960, then converted into a dormitory and renamed the Wheeler House after a former secretary of the Academy.

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