FREEPORT — Jameson Tavern, the Main Street landmark that may – or may not – have been the birthplace of Maine, is back on the market.
“It is an ideal owner/user building,” Realtor Jessica Estes said Monday about the 240-year-old building at the corner of Main Street and Justin’s Way, across the street from L.L. Bean’s flagship store.
Home to the tavern and restaurant as well as Brahms Mount, which weaves blankets and bed linens, the 8,000-square-foot building is owned by David Moser of the furniture-making Moser family.
“They have different ideas of what they want to do with their capital,” Estes said about the family’s desire to sell.
The asking price is $1.3 million. According to town tax records, Moser’s 115 Main Street LLC bought the building for $975,000 in September 2014. The town assesses its value at $1.18 million, with annual taxes now $17,000.
The restaurant has a lease through Aug. 31, 2024, according to the Boulos Co. listing. Estes said the Brahms Mount lease expires later this year and it is uncertain whether the company wants to remain in the 4,450-square-foot space.
“Someone who wants the front could buy the building and have the (income from the) Jameson Tavern rent,” she said.
About 18 months before it was bought by Moser, former tavern owner John “Jack” Stiles suddenly closed it, blaming a weak economy. The tavern reopened in summer 2013.
While it was first the home of Dr. John Anglier Hyde, the building was operated as a tavern by Capt. Samuel Jameson beginning in 1801. The Jameson Tavern website notes poets Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and John Greenleaf Whitter, as well as Franklin Pierce, 14th president of the U.S., visited the establishment.
Whether the tavern was where papers were signed to separate Maine from Massachusetts when statehood was granted in 1820 is in dispute. The Jameson Tavern website points to “old records” to uphold the claim, and, in 1914, the Daughters of the American Revolution donated a plaque calling it the “Birthplace of Maine.”
However, the Freeport Historical Society says it found no record the Joint Commission of Massachusetts and Maine ever met in town.
While serving spirits, the Jameson Tavern may also offer a few of its own. Over the years, guests and staff have reported seeing apparitions of a man wearing a top hat, and a little girl named Emily.
Emily may have been killed in a fire in the attic, according to the Tavern’s “Spooky History” page, and has reportedly been seen running through upstairs rooms and leaving the downstairs dining rooms.
Others have reported mysterious footsteps, falling pots and pans, and a waiter struck by a flying jar of toothpicks.
The Jameson Tavern building at 115 Main St., Freeport, is for sale for $1.3 million.