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FREEPORT, Maine — Historic Jameson Tavern, the downtown pub first opened by Samuel Jameson in 1801, abruptly closed “until further notice” on Friday.
No one answered the phone on Monday, nor did anyone answer a knock on the locked door, although a fire burned in a fireplace inside the empty dining room. Attempts to reach owner John Stiles also were unsuccessful.
A sign on the door of the tavern states, “Jameson Tavern is closed until further notice. We are very sorry for any inconvenience. Thank you.”
The 7,782-square-foot building is currently listed for sale by Cardente Real Estate for $2 million.
“Everybody’s talking about it, unfortunately,” Matt Morrison, manager of Linda Bean’s Kitchen and Topside Tavern, said Monday of the “abrupt” closure. “Right now nobody knows what happened. It’s a friendly face in Freeport. Hopefully they’re OK and will open up again.”
On Monday, Mary Maxwell at Brahms Mount, a high-end textile retailer that shares a building with Jameson Tavern, said she had no idea what led the restaurant to close.
Built in 1779, Jameson Tavern is said to have hosted poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and John Greenleaf Whittier, as well as President Franklin Pierce, as they traveled to Bowdoin College, according to the tavern’s website.
“Old records indicate that commissioners met in the northeast corner of the second floor of the Inn to sign the final papers giving Maine her independence from Massachusetts and giving Jameson Tavern and the town of Freeport their claim to ‘the Birthplace of Maine,’” the website states.
In November, Stiles rented the front half of the building — previously the restaurant’s formal dining room — to Brahms Mount, while the tavern remained open in the rear.
At the time, Jameson’s office manager, Michele Moyen, told The Tri-Town Weekly that the restaurant and menu had been downsized because of “the economy, the amount of restaurants in Freeport [as well as a] loss of sales.”