Weigant’s Tavern is one of those special buildings in Newburgh surrounded by history, mystery, and neglect. It might look like scrap wood to you, but this building is special with Weigant Family connections to the Revolutionary War. According to local historian Mary McTamaney, the original tavern was located at the north side of Broad Street just east of Liberty. The building was most likely moved during the 1930’s, and it is unlikely any of the original 18th-century building parts remain.
However, as Orange County Historian Johanna Yaun stated,”The structure was moved and repaired so we’ll never know how much of the configuration is original. But the care given to moving the structure in the 1930’s illustrates a chapter of Colonial Revivalism in the early 20th century. I think this story, especially in a city so rich with Revolutionary War connections, is important to remember. We weren’t only the place where Washington headquartered, we are also the place that pioneered the historic preservation of sites associated with the founding era. The tavern reminds us that if not for the local militias and committees of safety (the men who rose up from the community to take a stand against the monarchy), Washington’s army would not have come into existence. We can’t explain the success of the Army without telling the story of what happened in the colony’s taverns.”
It is exciting to learn that Thomas Burr Dodd of RipRap LLC will oversee the rehabilitation of Weigant’s Tavern (also spelled Weigand and Weygant). The interior condition is much worse than anything that you can imagine just by judging from the outside. There isn’t one right angle in this entire building. The floors are warped, the walls are disintegrating and everything else is collapsing. It is little wonder it hasn’t imploded. Where does one even begin on a project like this? In the first few minutes of talking to Dodd, you realize he has a passion for history and old buildings. He has tentative plans to create an office here, but would also consider other possibilities like renting out to a tenant who wants to restore the original tavern use.
The abandonment that plagued this corner of the Old Town Cemetery made it an incredibly frightful place. Hopefully, the development of Weigant’s Tavern will be one more building block to the revitalization of northern Liberty.
*Please note, there are no tours of the tavern and you should not try to gain entry. For now, enjoy these photos of the current condition.