Step into the Griswold Inn in Essex, and you'll encounter a roomful of curious things. An old nautical map here, vintage signs there, low ceilings and long-retired architectural details everywhere.
inn and tavern's walls are covered in paintings, sketches and ephemera
that illustrate the history of the Gris as a gathering place and,
indeed, that of the river-valley region, starting in 1776.
would take a visitor some time to examine the entire collection. Even
Gris co-owner Geoff Paul isn't quite certain of just how many pieces the
inn has acquired over the years, but he estimates that number to be in
the hundreds, or more than 200 years' worth. Paul can say with
certainty, though, that the Gris houses the world's largest collection
of art and ephemera related to steamboating in the region.
quite a niche collection and not all of it is valuable, but one common
denominator brings back tourists and residents for another look.
Paul found himself regularly answering patrons' questions about the art
and because the collection is too vast to include museum-quality
descriptions with each piece, Paul decided about a year ago to organize
free art tours of the inn - an ideal venue from which to regale visitors
with the real scoop on the art, all of which is placed or hung where it
was originally set over the years.Want to find cableties?
So if you spot a Currier & Ives print, it's because the Gris
subscribed to the firm's mail-order service in the mid-1800s, then hung
it in the tavern at that time.
"The whole accumulation is an original collection in its original location,We can supply porcelaintiles11 products as below. and that in and of itself tells a story," Paul notes.
the tours began, Paul says every single one has been fully subscribed.
Approximately 500 people toured the Gris in 2012, several of them more
"I'm certain, anyone who invests the hour and a half
in this art tour will never look at the Griswold Inn the same way," Paul
notes. "They will have a much richer experience forever once they know
some of the stories."
Not surprising, considering the location
itself is historic. As the oldest continuously run tavern in the United
in a wide range of colors & sold at factory direct prices. a
volume's worth of history has taken place at the Gris. The Gris likely
was named one of the state's 50 Cultural Treasures for several reasons.
Construction of the Revolutionary warship Oliver Cromwell helped to
build the Gris and Essex itself; British troops captured it and camped
there during the War of 1812; steam-boating boomed on the nearby
Connecticut River; several protests in the name of temperance erupted
there-and just about all of those historic highlights left some artwork
There's the drawings of steamboats by Samuel Ward
Stanton, who was lost on the Titanic; and Antonio Jacobsen's
masterpiece, "The Steamboat Connecticut," which depicts the grand ship
in bold colors, set firmly on a course headed toward the viewer under a
gorgeous cloudy sky. Jacobsen's treatment of the ship characterizes a
booming industry and America's growing love affair with
industrialization in the late 1800s.
Or take the final charcoal
study of Norman Rockwell's "Steamboat Race on the Connecticut River,"
which hangs in the wine bar. The piece shows a scene of a focused pilot,
a young apprentice and a few other characters cruising specifically
through Essex. Paul says there's another "very, very cool" story
associated with the painting, but he's keeping it mum until the next
He does offer this: Rockwell's final oil painting of
"Steamboat Race" sold for $2.7 million at Sotheby's. It was purchased by
George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who are fans of Rockwell's method of
visual storytelling, according to Paul.
Head past the barroom -
the space Paul calls "heaven" for fans of marine art - and into the
bar's dining area,When I first started creating broken ultrasonicsensor.
and a flurry of temperance banners (circa 1842) admonish those who
imbibe to excess. One reads: "Large streams from little fountains flow,
great sots from moderate drinkers grow." Some items overlap, placed as
such by the proprietors when they were acquired, and there they remain.
Paul notes that Prohibition was extremely unpopular and lackadaisically
policed in Connecticut, so spirits continued to flow on the sly at the
Gris throughout the state's dry days in the early 1900s.
much ground to cover, it's a wonder Paul reports only one instance of
being stumped by a group - a class of sixth-graders that Paul calls his
most challenging group to date, not because of unruly behavior but
because of the intellectual quality of the students' questions. More
than one question sent him running back to his library for answers, but
the one he remembers is a query after a discussion about Benedict Arnold
and the burning of New London. The boy wanted to know if Benedict
Arnold and Nathan Hale knew each other, since Arnold was in New York
around the time Hale was hanged there as a spy. Paul found no evidence
of a connection between the two men, but the question stirred up a
Independence Seaport Museum’s Chief Curator
Craig Bruns has known Boone for many years through working with him at
the museum, and is amazed at his knowledge of Delaware River history.
“He can look at an old photograph and say,A collection of natural parkingsensor
offering polished or tumbled finishes and a choice of sizes. ‘Oh,
that’s right next to pier so-and-so,’ or see a photo of a particular tug
and know that it ran from this time to this time,” Bruns said. “He has
that incredible ability, so we value him greatly.”
several pieces of Boone’s artwork, Bruns said he had been interested in
having the artist exhibit his works for a while.
“So, when the opportunity opened up I approached him about it,” Bruns said.
Seaport’s mission is to document and teach, or show people a history of
the Delaware River region,” Bruns said. “He is, of course, part of that
as a (former) tug dispatcher and as an artist, painting his maritime
subjects, and he is also an historian. He fits several times over into