The Old Stone Tavern, Poland, Ohio

For over 200 years this two story stone and frame building has stood in the center of the Village of Poland. If its walls could talk, here is what the walls could be heard to say:

“Jonathan Fowler was the architect and builder. He had traveled across the Alleghany Mountains in 1799 from Connecticut with his family and staked out a lot along Yellow Creek in Town One, Range One of the new Western Reserve. Fowler’s lot was located in what would later become known as the Village of Poland. He first built a small log cabin on the bluff overlooking the creek for his family and started making plans for a larger house. In the meantime his brother-in-law, Turhand Kirtland, was laying out more lots along the creek and selling them to the pioneers who were traveling west and looking for land in the New Connecticut Territory. Both Jonathan and Turhand had visions that this new community along Yellow Creek would someday grow into a town with homes, stores, churches, and schools similar to the Colonial towns in New England.”
“Jonathan’s house plans included extra rooms for a store and a tavern. He cut timber for the floors and roof and gathered stone from the creek bed for the two end walls. The end walls were designed to contain eight fireplaces and four chimneys. Fowler’s house plans also included a full basement, a large attic and a porch across the entire front of the building. Everything was in place by 1804, but Jonathan did not live long to enjoy the fruits of his hard labor. He drowned 2 years later in the Beaver River while transporting merchandise to New Orleans.”
“Over the intervening years the tavern has been owned by many families. At one time it was a favorite stopping point for stagecoaches on their way between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. The stagecoaches would remain behind the tavern overnight while the drivers and horses rested. Meanwhile the passengers would dine and sleep in the rooms over the tavern.”
“The tavern’s front porch became a platform for political rallies and in 1861 was used by the Union Army for recruiting soldiers to fight the Confederacy. Poland resident and future President of the United States, William McKinley, climbed the front steps of the tavern and was sworn in as a private in the 23
rd Ohio Infantry. Many run-away slaves on their way to Canada were often hid in the attic of the tavern.”
“After the Civil War, veterans would stop at the tavern for a drink of hard liquor and swap stories of their war experiences. They would, more than often, brag of their shooting skills and a contest followed behind the tavern. Standing on the bank of Yellow Creek, they would shoot at a target on the opposite side. Years later when a tree was cut down in the Riverside Cemetery it’s trunk was found to contain hundreds of lead bullets.”
Today the Tavern stands as a monument to the skill of its original builder. One has only to step inside the rooms of the present Antique Store to experience the same warm feeling that the early travelers must have felt when they first stopped to rest and dine at the Old Stone Tavern.