Historic Holyoke Homestead Takes on Modern Touch

by Laurel | March 14th, 2013

29 July 1928

Its Old Cider Mill Now Known as “Blue Lantern Tea Room”

Menu Remains Intact Except for Spaghetti

Colonial Travelers Unacquainted With Italian Dish — Arrangements Made to Buy Surplus Energy of Water Company

The March of progress is without sentiment. Modernity takes everything in its path, including sentiments that surround even old homesteads. Where Nature once held sway and its music broken only by an occasional stage coach there new sounds the hum of flying motors, the shriek of steam engine whistles and the humming of electric cars.

Blue Lantern Tea Room

Holyoke Homestead, Once a Haven For Colonists,
Is Now the Blue Lantern Tea Room

The picture shown here is of the second oldest home on the old Post Road, its age being surpassed only by the Tavern in Holyoke. The early history of the house is not available, but it is known that the house and land were once owned by a family named Briggs, passing through the generations of that family name. Later it became the property of Burnetts and is now owned by Mrs. Alice Nye of Hartford.

Outside the house on the door is a sign which says simply “Built in 1786.” As one inspects the premises he marvels at the solid construction of such an early generation. The house is located at Smith’s Ferry and has housed, according to tradition, many notables of colonial days. In the rear of the house is the old cider mill now covered with the vine known as Dutchman’s Pipe. A sign on the southern end of the house tells the story. It is now known as the “Blue Lantern Tea Room.”

Spaghetti New Dish on Menu

Inside the house one marks that pillars and poets are joined by wooden pegs, nails appearing only where alterations have been made to suit the new business. The new lessees of the house, Archie W. Henry and Charles J. Rigali, are conducting the tea room and are specializing in the kinds of foods that made these places famous. There is but one change from the regular menu of the tea room and that is in the serving of spaghetti. Imagine! Spaghetti dinners where once colonial notables dined as they passed through from New York to Boston. There are a few antiques within the house to remind one of colonial days. A chair here and there, a page from a Bible with the family names, andirons and an old spinning wheel, that is all.

On account of its antiquity, and the special use to which it has been put, the homestead is becoming famous once more and is well patronized by the people of this vicinity and the tourists. Just to peek inside is the reason ascribed by the tourists, whose curiosity has been aroused by the sign outside the door.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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