History
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1652

The White Horse Tavern was originally constructed as a two-story, two-room residence for Francis Brinley.

1652
Francis Brinley
1673

It was acquired by William Mayes, Sr. and converted to a tavern. For almost 100 years, this large and comfortable tavern was the meeting place of the Colony’s General Assembly, Criminal Court and City Council.

1673
1702

William Mayes succeeded his father as innkeeper and was granted a license to sell “all sorts of strong drink.” William was a notorious pirate that operated in the Red Sea and returned to Newport with his bounty. Openly welcomed and protected by the townspeople, the privateer caused much embarrassment to officials of the British Colony. Mary Mayes Nichols, William’s sister, and her husband, Robert, shortly followed as innkeepers and for the next 200 years, with one brief interruption, the Tavern remained in the Nichols family.

1702
1708

The Tavern became “home of the businessman’s lunch” as councilors dined here and charged their meals to the public treasury.

1708
dining room
1730

Jonathan Nichols became tavern keeper and gave the White Horse Tavern its name.

1730
Jonathan Nichols House
1776

Walter Nichols, the new proprietor, moved his family out of the Tavern and out of Newport rather than live with the Hessian mercenaries billeted there by the British. When he returned after the war ended, he added the gambrel roof and addition.

1776
Walter Nichols
1954

The Tavern showed years of use and neglect. Through the generosity of the Van Beuren family, the property was acquired by the Preservation Society of Newport County and was meticulously restored. This helped to save the structure from demolition.

1954
White Horse Tavern
1972

The Tavern was recognized as a National Historic Landmark and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

1972
1981

O.L. Pitts of Fort Worth, Texas and three partners purchased the Tavern. As sponsors of the America’s Cup, they continued the tradition of good fellowship, food and cheer. On his 90th birthday, O.L. Pitts turned the stewardship over to Paul Hogan, a Newport native.

1981
White Horse Entrance
2014

A Newport-based group acquired the property and became the ninth owner in the over 350-year history of the Tavern.

2014
White Horse, Newport facade